Wednesday November 22 2017, Daily News Digest

delinquent credit cards

News Comments Today’s main news: Ron Suber shares lessons learned from his first 120 days in ‘rewirement’. Paytm invests in CreditMate. Faruqi & Faruqi law firm investigates Qudian. China clamps down on microlending. Australian alternative lenders make Fintech 100. Today’s main analysis: Americans having trouble paying off credit cards. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Alt lenders accuse banks of not following […]

delinquent credit cards

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Canada

News Summary

United States

LESSONS FROM THE FIRST 120 DAYS OF REWIREMENT (Ron Suber), Rated: AAA

The first 120 days were filled with new languages, cultures, histories, beliefs, and people. I visited four foreign lands that were completely new to me, and no, New York and Silicon Valley were not on the itinerary.

Here are some lessons I’ve gained from the journey.

  • LESSON 1: Being first, ahead of your time and unique doesn’t guarantee success and longevity.
  • LESSON 3: The USA credit card and payments industry has a long way to go to catch up. No one (and I mean no one) swipes a credit card nor inserts a chip credit card in a machine and then signs a paper receipt in Australia and Singapore.
  • LESSON 4: There is still a huge opportunity to disrupt the currency exchange market. Upon arriving in Australia, I went to change US dollars to AU currently and was faced with: “No, you are not a customer” or “Yes, no problem” followed by a bad conversion rate and a 12% fee!
  • LESSON 8: New and old global giants are awakening to the FinTech Golden Age and responding accordingly, albeit slowly. Singapore is now a major global financial center that has come a long way very fast, and generally not focused on the short term.

The big successes are coming to those thinking long term (Bezos/Musk), the balance of power is shifting globally and the best is yet to come!!

P.S. Two young new FinTech companies to watch: Finch and Friendly Transfer. (No, I am not invested…yet)

US law firm launches investigation into star Chinese payday loan lender Qudian (SCMP), Rated: AAA

Qudian, the Chinese online payday loan platform, could be facing a rash of class-action lawsuits in the US after its share price tumbled drastically this week on the New York Stock Exchange, triggering concerns over the integrity of the firm.

New York-based law firm Faruqi & Faruqi, is now encouraging investors in Qudian to get in contact with it, as it is now “investigating potential claims against Qudian”, it said in a statement. Qudian was unavailable for comment.

Shares in the leading provider of online small consumer credit in China tumbled 5.28 per cent on Monday to close at US$20 in New York, 16.7 per cent down from its IPO price of US$24, and more than 40 per cent down from a historic intraday high of $35 reached on its trading debut on October 18.

Source: South China Morning Post

Americans are having trouble paying off their credit cards — and it could spell trouble for the economy (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

US credit-card debt recently surged to record highs, surpassing peaks seen before the 2008 financial crisis. Several large US banks and credit-card companies reported a rise in credit-card delinquency rates for August, the second consecutive monthly rise.

Source: New York Fed
Source: New York Fed

Fed funds is just 1% to 1.25% after four increases starting in December 2015, and yet many Americans pay credit-card rates well into the double digits.

Banks aren’t following CFPB data-sharing guidance, fintechs say (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Some fintechs are accusing financial institutions of not following either the spirit or letter of the data-sharing principles the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released in October.

One of fintechs’ primary accusations is that banks are selectively choosing fintechs to work with — leaving the rest out in the cold. Though the CFPB data-sharing principles do not spell out that banks should work with everyone equally, the spirit of the document suggests financial institutions should work with all trusted third parties.

Capital One has signed agreements with five fintechs and data aggregators—Clarity Money, Intuit, Abacus, Xero and Expensify—since introducing its data-sharing application programming interface in February. It says more are in the pipeline.

Banks have too many conflicting requirements

Another issue cited by fintechs is that it’s tough dealing with each bank’s different set of standards and requirements.

“Some of those standards may be in conflict,” Petralia said. “It can take years to comply with a bank’s requirements and it probably eliminates access to newer startups, to smaller businesses that don’t have a lot of cash sitting on their balance sheet, to support that kind of long lead time for legal requirements.”

Early Stage Investing vs. Real Estate Investing: Similarities and Differences (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Both venture capital (VC) investing and real estate investing involve some level of risk assessment, they both have the potential for big returns, and investors have the opportunity to help someone else reach a desired goal. Despite this common ground, there are some distinct differences.
Private Equity Investing
To realize returns on this type of investment, investors must understand the different stages of the startup cycle, how to evaluate a business plan, understand how to assess talent, technology, and business processes to determine whether a startup has the potential to succeed, and know how to judge market forces that could have an impact on the startup company.
Real Estate Investing
Real estate investments can be structured in many ways to benefit investors who are looking for specific types of returns. For instance, house flipping (Fund That Flip and Peerstreet) or commercial or multifamily flips (Sharestates and Patch of Land) offer short-term gains while rental properties (Roofstock and HomeUnion) offer long-term passive income. Commercial real estate investing (CrowdStreet and RealtyShares) may involve property development or long-term leasing with spans of three, five, ten years or more. New REITs (FundRise eREITs and MogulREIT) offer investors a way to invest in multiple properties or types of real estate through a single vehicle. Real estate funds or portfolios (AlphaFlow) also allow investors to diversify their debt investments through a single vehicle.
How to Evaluate an Early Stage or a Real Estate Crowdfunding Opportunity
Due diligence in real estate investing is also important. Basic criteria for evaluation include:

  • The platform – Does it have a strong financial position and available capital? Is the underwriting done in-house or outsourced? What is the background and experience of management team? What is their plan for insolvency, recouping losses, and managing risk?
  • Fees – Every investment involves opportunity cost. Is there an ongoing management fee, or does the investor pay a percentage based on returns or total portfolio size?
  • Borrowers – How does the platform assess borrower track record and credit? 
  • The investment – What is the developer’s business plan? What are the expected cashflows, expenses and projected returns? What is the loan-to-value before repairs and after repairs? Are investors in a first-lien position or second? Where is the property located?

CFPB, CashCall Spar Over Possible $ 287M In Restitution (Law360), Rated: A

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau squared off against CashCall Inc. and its affiliates in California federal court on Monday about whether it would be appropriate to make the online lender pay as much as $287 million for deceiving consumers, with the CFPB calling the company’s loans “financial snake oil” and CashCall saying its business was legitimate.

JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs Trial DLT for Equity Swaps (Coindesk), Rated: A

A group of major financial firms including JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs has trialed the exchange of equity swaps over a distributed ledger (DLT) system.

By carrying out trades across a network where all parties use the same valuation data and share the same books, in theory, payments can be processed nearly instantaneously and disputes over transactions will be less likely.

Small Business Saturday: Why Banks And Businesses Need To Start Playing Offense (Forbes), Rated: A

Similarly, while I do believe the banking industry has made strides in embracing technology over the past few years, the reality is that far too many bankers are still “playing defense” when it comes to fully integrating technology into every aspect of their business.

Finastra Universe introduces Sophia the humanoid robot (Finastra Email), Rated: B

I wanted to invite you attend Finastra Universe in New York on Tuesday, December 5thFinastra Universe is a one-day global executive event series focusing on fintech and the future of financial services.

The event will include panel and Q&A sessions, where Finastra experts and guest speakers will explore how financial firms can leverage new, more dynamic technologies within lending and other areas to improve internal efficiencies, deliver connected customer experiences and enhance business outcomes.

I’ve included a link to the full agenda Where: Marriott Marquis Times Square, 1535 Broadway, New York

When: Tuesday, December 5th, 2017
 
Click 

Financial tech is a big business. What Charlotte’s doing to become a larger player. (Charlotte Observer), Rated: B

More than 125 people attended the inaugural Southeast Fintech Venture Conference on Monday to hear presentations from investors, fintech success stories such as small-business lender Kabbage and new firms just getting off the ground, including some from Charlotte. Sponsors included investment firm Frontier Capital and asset manager Barings, which hosted the event at its new Tryon Street headquarters.

According to the National Venture Capital Association, Charlotte-area companies brought in about $393 million in venture capital investments in 2017, led by a $300 million round for payments company AvidXchange.

United Kingdom

Consumer credit – walking the regulatory tightrope (Lexology), Rated: AAA

Subprime and near prime lending have been subject to intense regulatory scrutiny during the aftermath of the financial crisis. The global economic crisis that took hold in 2007 has largely been attributed to the widespread practice of irresponsible lending to consumers, often with no means of repayment. In 2013, StepChange Debt Charity reported that the average payday loan debt of its clients was £1,657, whereas the same clients’ average net monthly income was a much lower £1,379.

Following the transition in regulatory regimes from the OFT to the FCA, a series of tougher measures have been introduced to move staunchly away from the lending practices which allowed firms such as payday lender Wonga to maintain a representative APR of 5,853% in 2013. The FCA has made it clear that it regards non-standard finance as a “high risk” activity and as such dedicates special resources to intensively monitoring businesses in this sector.

Almost half of SMEs have never checked their credit score (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

Nearly half of SMEs (44%) have never checked their credit score, according to the latest research from RateSetter’s business finance division.

RateSetter’s research also found that a further 6% of businesses had not checked their credit score within the last 12 months and only 18% had viewed their score within the last six months.

Never mind the Brexit: Alternative finance offers a route to prosperity (Startups.co.uk), Rated: A

It is a little over a decade since Northern Rock became the first UK bank in 150 years to fail because of a run on its deposits. For a brief moment it looked as if the entire global financial system might collapse overnight, with only government intervention and billions in bail-outs preventing a worst-case scenario.

According to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the number of small businesses that were successful in their attempt to get a loan fell from 90% in 2007, to 65% in 2011.

According to our latest research, just 43% of small business owners see trading conditions improving in the coming year. Meanwhile 52% of start-up business owners say they do not think banks will continue to lend at the same levels in 2018.

More than half of the 1,000 small business owners we surveyed say they are planning to grow or expand their business in 2018.

These alternatives to traditional forms of lending are proving particularly popular among the 96% of UK businesses that employ fewer than 10 people.  According to our research, 40% of start-ups and younger business owners say the growth of alternative finance options has made them less reliant on banks for funding.

Investment Committee: Arnaud Gandon, Heptagon Capital (Citywire), Rated: A

One area of credit we find attractive, however, is lending to small businesses in the UK and Europe. The opportunity set for companies such as Funding Circle is growing fast, due to the retreat of traditional banks in providing loans for smaller companies. During the last quarter, Funding Circle outstripped the major high street banks for net new loans. We see the company essentially as a technology platform enabling the efficient issue of small loans to thousands of companies. It has a solid management team and is looking to expand its successful business model to other geographies.

Here’s what the UK’s fintech community is most concerned about over Brexit (Verdict), Rated: A

Fintech is now worth over £7bn to the UK economy every year and employs around 60,000 people, according to the Treasury office.

Marta Piekarska, director of ecosystems at Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger project, said she believes Brexit will impact fintech in the UK because it will make things harder for collaboration.

“About half of our developer workforce today are non-UK European nationals. Already it is hard to find great developer talent in the UK.  Obviously, if freedom of movement isn’t as easy and non-UK EU nationals feel that it’s not really a nice environment to come to the UK to work, then we will have a problem.”

Open Banking: How can customer centricity drive innovation? (City A.M.), Rated: A

The Payments Services Directive (PSD2) is a major piece of UK/EU legislation that will ensure that all payment service providers (PSPs) that operate in the single market are subject to rigorous supervision and adhere to the appropriate transformative rules to create a fair, open-banking framework.

In practical terms, a customer will be able sign up for a loan, credit card or a mortgage by using a log-in that looks and feels a little bit like Facebook Connect and authorises the provider to see all of the customer’s financial transactions from the previous 36 months. The main gatekeepers and one of the leading innovators in this space are London-based FinTech company TrueLayer. As the go-between between a customer, their bank and the product or service provider, they ensure real-time, secure connectivity of the customer’s data.

Blockchain Based Building Platform BitRent Announces Token Sale (The Merkle), Rated: B

BitRent has given itself a mission: to make real estate investing easy, transparent and profitable all over the world. The platform uses a combination of techniques that will allow its users to control construction processes. These techniques include BIM open modeling and computer aided monitoring using RFID chips, to make investing in commercial and residential shared-equity construction more transparent and predictable. On the platform, investors can invest in real estate, without a minimum entry threshold. The online mode allows them to control construction processes and receive dividends when the construction has been completed. Moreover, users can receive data on free area or items of commercial property.

The BIM (Building Information Modeling) technology that the platform uses, allows all users of the platform to monitor a project at any stage.

The platform will release its RNT tokens, based on Ethereum. The token sale will start on the 1st of December 2017, 11:00 UTC and will last till March 1, 2018.

China

China clamps down on online micro lending; U.S.-listed shares plunge (Reuters), Rated: AAA

China took steps to rein in the rapidly growing and lightly regulated market for online micro-lenders in the government’s latest crackdown on internet finance, sending shares of U.S.-listed Chinese financial firms into a tailspin.

A top-level Chinese government body issued an urgent notice on Tuesday to provincial governments urging them to suspend regulatory approval for the setting up of new internet micro-lenders, sources who had seen the notice told Reuters.

The multi-department body, tasked by the central government to rein in risks in the internet finance sector, also told local regulators to restrict granting of new approvals for micro-loan firms to conduct lending across regions, according to the sources.

Shares Of Chinese Online Credit Providers Crash Over Crackdown Fears (NASDAQ), Rated: A

Shares of Qudian ( QD ), Yirendai ( YRD ) and other China-based providers of online credit plunged Tuesday on reports that China’s Internet Financial Risk Management Group had ordered a suspension of online small-loan approvals, but some stemmed their losses by session’s end and others even gained ground.

In addition to Qudian and Yirendai, also falling were China Rapid Finance ( XRF ) and PPDAI Group ( PPDF ).

U.S.-listed Chinese financial firms dive on regulatory action (Reuters), Rated: A

Shares in online lender Qudian (QD.N), whose shares only debuted last month, sank by as much as 20 percent in early trading.

Shares of China Commercial Credit Inc (CCCR.O) fell 6.4 percent, those in PPDAI Group (PPDF.N) some 17.8 percent. Jianpu Technology (JT.N), which also debuted just this month, fell 9.5 percent and China Rapid Finance (XRF.N) slipped 12.92 percent.

From Drone Hackers to Cyber Bodyguards, China Cyber Security a Growing Concern (China Money Network), Rated: A

Q: What major trends are you seeing in China’s cybersecurity market?

A: I think the major trend in China is similar to what is happening in the rest of Asia. The frequency and extent of cyber-attacks are increasing rapidly.

Q: What Chinese business sectors are most vulnerable, or need to do more to protect themselves?

A: Tech companies with lots of portals to its websites, especially like peer-to-peer lending, or any tech companies with valuable intellectual property are prime targets of cyber attacks.

Q: What should Chinese tech companies be doing to defend themselves, or at least reduce the damage done by cyber attacks?

A: Firstly, employee education is important. Over 90% of hacking is conducted through phishing and spear phishing. We have worked with a Chinese company with 20,000 employees, and we sent 20,000 emails to them with a link offering a chance to win iPhone. 30% of the staff clicked on the link, which actually is a quite regular percentage. In a real-life scenario, if 30% of your 9000 staff were to click, that’s 3000 cases of malware potentially downloaded into your systems. But after phishing training, finishing the exercises, the number was reduced to 5%.

Q: There are reports saying cyber security experts “cyber bodyguards” is one of the hottest jobs in China. What particular specialty expertise faces the greatest shortage?

The “cyber bodyguards” are in a booming industry, particular for providing preventative measures. Firstly, there are the penetration testers; also known as ethical hackers or white hat hackers. They replicate what a real hacker would do; not stealing any data or doing anything bad, but will scan systems for any gaps and weaknesses in the company’s defenses that may be exploitable during a cyber attack. They will then advise on remediation measures.

European Union

EBA weighs up risk and rewards of Fintech in new Discussion Paper (FinanceJobs.ie), Rated: AAA

The European Banking Authority takes a cautious and carefully balanced view in its deliberations on how it should approach FinTech in its latest Discussion Paper. In reviewing the FinTech landscape in Europe the EBA raises many more questions than it answers, concluding that it should undertake much more detailed follow-up work in a number of areas. But it does raising warning flags about possible unevenness in the playing fields offered by different jurisdictions, in the area of sandboxing and innovation hubs, for example.
Overall, the The European Banking Authority says, FinTech may increase competitiveness in the Single Market by lowering barriers to entry for newcomers while preserving fair competition and incentives to innovate.

The EBA says a significant increase in overall operational risk has been witnessed in the last few years, including higher conduct risk, increased cybersecurity issues and digital fraud issues, and increased outsourcing risk. ‘At the same time new or previously immaterial risks, such as the risk of mismanagement of personal data / lack of data privacy, seem to be amplified by the lack of expertise of human resources and the inadequacy of technology infrastructures.’

It points out that alternative lending platforms such as peer-to-peer lending can put pressure on the interest income from loans of existing credit institutions while new entrants offering commoditised products and services at lower costs, such as money transfers and brokerage, can reduce the fees and commission income of established players.

DreamQuark beefs up financial services through artificial intelligence (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Meet DreamQuark, a French startup that wants to help banks, insurance companies and asset management firms with all of their artificial intelligence needs. DreamQuark crunches your data, creates models based on machine learning and lets you apply those models on all past and future data points.

International

Robeco launches fintech investment fund (Finextra), Rated: A

Robeco has launched a Global Fintech Equities fund to give wholesale and retail investors exposure to companies that are transforming the financial sector.

The actively managed fund will invest in three distinct segments, labelled ‘today’s winners’, ‘fintech enablers’ and ‘challengers’. Today’s winners include companies that already have a competitive advantage in this space, fintech enablers provide the digital backbone for emerging companies, and challengers are the companies that have the breakout potential to stand out from the pack.

Following a successful pre-ICO, Etherecash has announced a public ICO that launched November 15th and will end December 19th. Focusing on the 2.5 billion unbanked, Etherecash looks to excel in both spending and sending, as well as providing a peer-to-peer lending platform, to enable those with little or no credit history the ability to access funds.

The ICO sale will auction off 144,000,000 tokens, which will help support ongoing development of the platform and can be purchased with Bitcoin or Ethereum. A bonus of 12% is available for participants in the first week, which goes to 3% in week four, and finally to 0% in week five.

The ICO has a soft cap of $15 million, which if not reached, will conclude the ICO as a failure with funds returned to the respective investors. The hard cap is set at $100 million. 40% of funds will be used for further core development; 25% in growth and marketing; 20% for legal, accounting, and advisory feeds; and the remaining 15% for admin and operational costs.

57% of internal frauds are carried out by senior and middle management, according to the whitepaper.

Australia/New Zealand

Aussie lenders make Fintech 100 list (TheAdviser), Rated: AAA

Ten Australian companies have been listed in KPMG’s Fintech 100 list, which identifies the top 50 fintech firms and an “emerging 50” list of companies “seeking to boldly push the envelope in financial services”.

Online SME lender Prospa was the highest ranked Australian company at number 24. It also placed second on the Australian Financial Review’s Fast 100 list after averaging a 239 per cent revenue growth since 2013–14 and holding $50 million in equity and debt funding in 2017.

US-based lender OnDeck, which broke into the Australian market in 2015, placed 28th in the ranking, up two places from last year’s report, while German fintech Spotcap (which also has operations in Australia) came in at number 32.

How I’m Saving a Week (or ,500 This Year) on My Home Loan (Mozo), Rated: A

Fast forward to three months ago, when I suddenly realised my rate of 4.27% was more than 60 basis points higher than the best on the market. I had become a victim of that time honoured tradition of banks fattening profit margins and it was time to do something about it.

I knew there were now stacks of lenders offering rates below 4.00%, and after comparing the best loans decided to go with an online lender to take advantage of their super low variable rate of 3.64%.

India

Paytm invests in online lending startup CreditMate (VC Circle), Rated: AAA

One97 Communication Ltd, which runs mobile wallet firm Paytm, said on Tuesday it has picked up a stake in Mumbai-based fintech startup CreditMate.

CreditMate helps two-wheeler dealers and financiers assess and approve vehicle loans to customers with no formal credit history, Paytm said in a statement.

8 ‘blockhain hacks’ which NITI Aayog, AWS, Microsoft, Accel, Coinbase believe are beneficial for society (YourStory), Rated: AAA

Anshul said that there is a lot of hype and misconceptions related to blockchain. He explained that outside of a small group of crypto-savvy investors and developers, blockchain is often synonymous with cryptocurrency, and erroneously so. Their goal with this hackathon was to give developers (with or without past blockchain experience) a chance to envision how the same distributed ledger technology that powers Bitcoin might be able to improve transparency, efficiency, and honesty in enterprise and government processes, particularly in regions of the world suffering from high corruption.

Anshul added that another objective of the event was to explore use cases for concepts like IndiaChain — a blockchain infrastructure for a Digital India, building on existing initiatives like Aadhar, the world’s largest biometric identity project with unique 12-digit IDs for 1.2 billion Indian residents.

Gif credit- Proffer

Here are eight hack projects recognised by the partners.

  • 1. SWASHchain: a battery SWApping and SHaring infrastructure verified on the blockchain
  • 2. AgroChain: tracking farm products from farmer to consumer
  • 3. chAIn: decentralised AI with Homomorphic Encryption to guarantee data privacy
  • 4. Betoken: decentralised Hedge Fund for social impact investing
  • 5. Open Complaint Network: crowdsourcing issues and rewards
  • 6. 0xSHG: zero-interest loans for rural microfinance – Hence the team believes that blockchains are a unique solution which address both issues by organising not just financial capital but also social capital. The team has created an Aadhar-linked capital-pooling network.

  • 7. SureFly: last-minute crowdfunded insurance for flight delays – Insurance premium is calculated as a function of the probability that a passenger will miss a flight which is in turn a function of flight time, insurance seeker’s distance from the airport, traffic on the roads, length of airport lines, etc.
  • 8. MyH2OBot for “Habit Economics”

Sharing economy: creating opportunities in the digital era (livemint), Rated: A

The rise of the sharing economy is commonly attributed to culture or ideology. It’s assumed that millennials don’t want to be trapped by houses, cars and other expensive belongings, for example, or that they believe sharing is good for the environment.

Research conducted by the BCG Henderson Institute (BHI) indicates that economics, not attitude, is driving the sharing economy.

Among respondents who use sharing services, 40% of Germans, 57% of Americans and 67% of Indians said that well-priced, convenient offers could convince them to abandon ownership altogether.

Aside from physical assets, investors have also poured $5.7 billion into peer-to-peer lending ventures.

Start-ups by no means have a lock on the sharing market, however. In fact, 55% of consumers in India said they would prefer dealing with established operators—the highest among the countries surveyed.

Asia

Banyuwangi Regent Anas Connects MSME with Fintech Startups (Netral News), Rate: A

Banyuwangi Regional Government will again partner with digital platform startups to develop the region.

After with Gojek ride-hailing service provider, there are several more similar companies that will be embraced. One of them is the startup of financial technology (fintech), especially for financing facilities to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME).

Canada

CANADIAN PAYMENTS INNOVATION FORUM SAYS COLLABORATION CONTINUES TO DRIVE FINTECH INNOVATION (Betakit), Rated: A

At the third annual Canadian Payments Innovation Forum in Toronto, over 100 payments and banking executives gathered to examine how FinTech is transforming the Canadian financial services industry, and what providers can do to prepare.

After launching with Samsung Pay earlier this year, Gamble indicated that ‘cash alternatives’ would continue to be a focus and something to watch in the market. Due to Interac’s smaller size (the company has about 250 employees), Gamble said they just don’t have the “bandwidth” to do everything themselves, so turning to partnerships is key.

“We strive to deliver alternatives to cash, and as a community, we’ve done an amazing job of delivering contactless capabilities at POS. Canadians moved more than $90 billion in etransfers this year, so our little country is significantly leading the space in P2P transfers.”

AI is already moving forward quickly in financial advice and management, and the use of financial technology, or fintech, seems to be growing among older Canadians.

“Our average client is 47 years old and our second largest demographic group is baby boomers,” says Randy Cass, CEO and founder of Nest Wealth, a Canadian financial robo-advisor that was founded in 2013.

“For retirement planning, the AI isn’t necessarily cutting the financial advisor out of the process. What we’re likely to see is AI helping the financial advisor to get faster and more comprehensive data analysis and provide more seamless client support,” Mr. Narvey says.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday October 16 2017, Daily News Digest

fintech financing

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi withdraws banking application. SoFi completes largest loan securitization to date. Retailer sues Kabbage. New UK marketplace loan deal mandated. OakNorth achieves unicorn status with 154M GBP raise. PPdai plans $350M U.S. IPO. Linked Finance gets 2M Euro equity investment. Today’s main analysis: Q3 2017 FinTech Insights Report (must-read). New generation of high net worth individuals spur […]

fintech financing

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Middle East

Africa

News Summary

United States

SoFi withdraws U.S. banking application, citing leadership change (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Student online lender Social Finance Inc said on Friday that it is withdrawing its application for a bank license in the wake of the departure of a number of senior executives, including co-founder and former Chief Executive Mike Cagney.

SoFi Completes its Largest Loan Securitization to Date (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

SoFi announced today the closing of a $776.7 million offering of SoFi Professional Loan Program 2017-E notes.

SoFi 2017-E marks the company’s largest asset-backed securities issue to date and its 10th ABS transaction this year, bringing SoFi’s total issuance for 2017 to $5.375 billion.  Since inception, SoFi has closed 30 transactions totaling $12.4 billion in issuance.  With the closing of SoFi 2017-E, SoFi maintains its position as a top ten ABS sponsor. The recent transaction was heavily subscribed with orders totaling $2.3 billion.

Wealth Management Firm GENCapital Partners with SoFi and Celebrates One-Year Anniversary (Digital Journal), Rated: A

GENCapital is proud to announce a partnership with SoFi, a new kind of finance and lending company. In addition, GENCapital celebrated its one-year anniversary in September.

FT Partners Research Publishes Q3 2017 FinTech Insights Report (FT Partners Email), Rated: AAA

Highlights of the Q3 2017 report:

  • Q3 2017 financing volume of $5.1 bn was lower than in Q2 2017 ($8.8 bn), but higher than in Q1 2017 ($4.3 bn). This quarter saw the second highest financing deal count ever at 412 transactions, only behind Q1 2016, which had 438.
  • Financing volume year-to-date is tracking just below 2016’s record level and is on pace for the second strongest year ever. This is even more impressive considering that 2016 was skewed by a handful of megadeals in China.
  • The Banking sector continues to be the most active sector this year in both the number of transactions (356 year-to-date) and financing volume ($6.3 bn year-to-date).
  • 2017 FinTech financing volume in Europe ($5.3 bn) is already more than 2x the financing volume of 2016 for the region ($2.6 bn).
  • Q3 2017 M&A volume ($32.9 bn) was the highest since Q4 2015 ($50.5 bn), which included Visa’s $23.4 bn acquisition of Visa Europe. This quarter had eight $1 billion+ M&A deals, which is the most since Q4 2015 (which also had eight).
  • So far this year, 57% of the total global M&A dollar volume is comprised of international targets, although only 38% of the number of transactions represents international targets.
Source: FT Partners

Get the full report here.

Mass. Retailer Sues Over Alleged High-Interest Loan Scheme (Law360), Rated: AAA

A Massachusetts clothing and sports retailer filed suit in federal court Thursday alleging that financial technology company Kabbage Inc. evaded state law by offering high-interest loans through an industrial bank based in Utah, which places no ceiling on interest rates for commercial loans, all the while serving as the true lender.

NRO Boston LLC and owner Alice Indelicato accuse Kabbage and Celtic Bank Corp. of devastating the retailer with their “rent-a-bank” scheme, whereby the bank was listed as the lender for loans in order to get….

Lending Club founder Renaud Laplanche opens up on his ‘frustrating’ exit and new startup Upgrade (Business Insider), Rated: A

Renaud Laplanche tries to “keep a positive attitude rather than focus on my frustration” when it comes to Lending Club.

“It was very, very frustrating. I’m not commenting on the story, but the best way to actually understand what really happened is to read the filings. I think the press made it sound a lot worse, a lot more sensational, than it really was.”

Upgrade raised $60 million (£45.7 million) in April, the biggest ever Series A funding round for a US fintech startup. Many of Lending Club’s original investors have backed the business and Jefferies, an investment bank burned by Lending Club’s loan term scandal, has signed up to buy loans from Upgrade — a vindication for Laplanche.

Now he is focused on “what can I learn from it, what can I do better. Upgrade has been part of that.”

Global Debt Registry Verifies Over $ 1.5 Billion in Loans (AltFi), Rated: A

Global Debt Registry (GDR), the asset certainty company known for its loan validation expertise, today announced it has exceeded a $1.5 Billion of loans issued by digital lending platforms and verified by the Company’s suite of due diligence solutions. On the heels of the GDR’s announcement of its successful SOC 1 Type 2 and SOC 2 Type 2 attestations last week, this achievement confirms the Company’s role as a leader in online lending’s ongoing expansion, driving capital growth in the sector by providing certainty and transparency around investors’ online lending portfolios and protection against risks surrounding the loan data integrity.

Amex targets Square, PayPal in small-biz lending (American Banker), Rated: A

In the digital age, a lot has changed about how businesses operate — and a lot of new data is being generated in the process.

This creates new possibilities for judging a consumer or merchant’s creditworthiness. Square and PayPal have been taking advantage of this for years with models that rely on a merchant’s sales history to determine their likelihood to repay a loan, and American Express is ready to compete.

Redpoint Capital Group, LLC Enters into Credit Services Agreement with Elevate Credit, Inc. Subsidiaries (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Redpoint Capital Group, LLC (“Redpoint”), an alternative investment company focused on providing financing across an array of asset-based strategies, announced it has entered into two additional Credit Agreements with two separate wholly owned subsidiaries of Elevate Credit, Inc.

Rise Credit Service of Ohio, LLC entered into a Credit Services Agreement with Redpoint Asset Funding Ohio, LLC (“Redpoint Ohio”) whereby Rise Credit Service of Ohio, LLC acts as a credit service organization on behalf of consumers for certain loans originated, funded and collected by Redpoint Ohio.

Furthermore, Rise Credit Services of Texas, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company, entered into a Credit Services Agreement with Redpoint Capital Asset Funding, LLC (“Redpoint”) whereby Rise Credit Services of Texas, LLC acts as a credit access business on behalf of consumers for certain loans originated, funded and collected by Redpoint.

In addition to the agreements with Redpoint and Redpoint Ohio described above, Rise Credit Services of Texas, LLC, Rise Credit, LLC and the Company also entered into new guarantees of certain receivables of the Company and its subsidiaries held by Redpoint and Redpoint Ohio.

True Link Financial Secures $ 8 Million Series A Round (PR Newswire), Rated: A

True Link Financial, the financial services provider for seniors, announced today that it has raised $8 million in a Series A funding round led by QED Investors, with additional investment from Radicle Impact and Initialized Capital. In conjunction with the investment, QED’s Founding Partner Frank Rotman will join True Link’s Board of Directors. With this latest round True Link has raised $15.8 million since the company’s founding in 2012.

The 45 million seniors in America – the largest and fastest-growing segment of the population – are facing new challenges. Average lifespans increased by more than thirty years over the 20th Century, stretching savings further and layering in new medical costs. Since the time today’s retirees entered the workforce, the percentage of workers with a pension has dropped by more than half. 5.5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s today, and more than 16 million will have the disease by 2050. And according to True Link’s groundbreaking 2015 study, financial fraud costs the aging a whopping $36 billion a year. In short, people are living longer with fewer resources and more risks.

The company’s customer base has grown twentyfold in the last three years. Its cards division is the first Silicon Valley startup debit card issuer to turn a profit, and its robo-advisor is Silicon Valley’s first robo-advisor to turn a profit.

Could online lending become the next systemic risk? (American Banker), Rated: A

When banks resisted expanding credit in the years following the financial crisis and passage of the Dodd-Frank Act, online marketplace lending seized on what seemed like a niche opportunity: targeting the credit markets deserted by banks.

But with issuance of marketplace securitizations now exploding — rising 300% cumulatively in the past two years — the idea of online lending as a niche is quickly deteriorating.

Google and Amazon are ready to disrupt small business lending, former Obama advisor says (CNBC), Rated: A

Tech behemoths Google and Amazon are poised to put competitive pressure on traditional banks in the small business lending arena, one of former President Barack Obama‘s cabinet members said Tuesday.

Karen Mills, who served as Obama’s administrator for small businesses, told CNBC that the tech giants would probably push to disrupt the market and deal a blow to established lenders.

“I think they are going to dominate the market, and that is the next phase that’s coming,” she told the LendIt Europe fintech conference in London.

SBA Lending Activity in FY17 Shows Consistent Growth (PR Newswire), Rated: A

The U.S. Small Business Administration today announced fiscal year 2017 lending numbers showing increasing loan levels in small business lending through the 7(a) and 504 loan programs, as well as increases in lending to women, veterans and emerging communities.

SBA approved over 68,000 loans in the 7(a) and 504 loan programs in FY17.  These programs provided over $30 billion to small businesses.

In FY17, the 7(a) program supported a consistent number of loans — more than $25.44 billion combined across 62,430 loans.  The SBA continues to streamline and improve access to its loan program for small loans and emerging communities, delivering more than $5 billion in smaller loans of $350,000 or less in FY17.

7(a) lending to women-owned businesses (both majority and minority owned) grew in total dollar and volume.  FY17 lending exceeded $7.5 billion, an increase of $298 million from FY16.

FY17 504 lending to women-owned businesses reached $955.2 million, a $277 million increase over the previous fiscal year. Loans to veterans totaled $1.15 billion for 7(a) and 504 lending.

Ray Sturm of AlphaFlow (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • What AlphaFlow does and why it is unique in real estate investing.
  • The real estate platforms they are working with today.
  • Why they are looking to also work with offline hard money lenders.
  • How they decide which platforms to work with.
  • Details of their own proprietary real estate analytics platform.
  • The area of the real estate market they focus on.
  • The average duration, rate and LTV of the loans they invest in.
  • Why they decided to become a Registered Investment Advisor.
  • The types of investors coming to their platform today.
  • How they are able to get new investors a diversified portfolio with days.
  • The tech they are using to connect to the real estate platforms.
  • Some of the big names that participated in their recent seed round.
  • Ray’s view on the real estate crowdfunding space in general.
  • How Ray thinks about the long term direction of AlphaFlow.

    

P2B Investor Program Allows Community Banks to Lend More with Marketplace Lending Partnership (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

P2B Investor has launched an interesting partnership program that is good for banks, good for borrowers and good for P2Bi. Banks, typically smaller banks, would like to lend more to SMEs but are risk averse due to multiple reasons. P2B Investor’s new program allows the bank to buy the first half of the loan with their low cost of capital, and P2Bi marketplace buys the second half. Thus the SME has a hybrid line of credit to finance its cash needs.

Payday loans rule could change in 2019 (MSN), Rated: A

Consumers who are caught in a financial squeeze might one day be able to skip the payday loan store and turn to banks and credit unions for lower-cost, quick-fix loans.

Congress could move to overturn the rule — but some say that’s unlikely.

What could change: Lenders eventually would be required to research upfront whether borrowers could afford to repay all or most of  their short-term loans at once — including payday loans and auto title loans — and longer-term loans with “balloon” payments.

What won’t change: People who are cash-strapped still will be looking for ways to cover their bills.

AutoGravity Is Fintech’s Answer To Car Shopping (Benzinga), Rated: A

AutoGravity, a fintech platform for car shopping, has been nationally available for less than a year. The app’s been downloaded more than 750,000 times and processed more than $1 billion in financing requests.

Of the 20 largest automotive lenders, AutoGravity has some form of an agreement with 19, said chief marketing officer Serge Vartanov.

The app’s momentum is building: 100,000 of its downloads came in the month of August alone.

AutoGravity is now available in 49 states after kicking off with a soft launch in California.

While AutoGravity doesn’t disclose its overall lender portfolio, it has previously announced partnerships with Mercedes-Benz Financial Services and Hyundai Capital and a $30 million investment from Volkswagen and Daimler Financial Services.

Cardplatforms disrupts the financial services market (Biz Journals), Rated: A

The Boca Raton fintech company has grown revenues by nearly 400 percent in 2016.

CarGurus races up 72% in a week with 4 strong pops (NASDAQ), Rated: A

CarGurus and three medical device companies each had a strong debut, averaging a first-day pop of 45%.

Issuer
Business
Deal Size
($mm)
Market Cap
at IPO ($mm)
Price vs.
midpoint
First day
return
Return
at 10/13
CarGurus ( CARG ) $150 $1,798 14% 72% 78%
 Online marketplace for buyers and sellers of new and used cars.

The rise of a new kind of finance is setting off alarm bells at the Fed (Business Insider), Rated: A

The challenge is that regulatory bureaucracies in Washington, including the Federal Reserve, may be too slow to react to new technology — from cryptocurrencies and blockchain to crowdfunding — in the same way policymakers missed the risks embedded in the “innovations” in mortgage finance that ultimately fueled the worst housing bust and financial crisis in modern history.

“We’re not going to call it banking — we’re going to call it something else,” Bullard said.

The Unbanking of America, by Lisa Servon (Patheos), Rated: A

Add in the number of people suffering because of the poor economy, especially millennials in the Gig Economy, living from paycheck to paycheck, unable to accumulate enough money for emergency savings, and Americans’ use of businesses such as check cashing companies or payday lenders or other alternate lenders, is entirely rational, in her portrayal, and it’s wrong for policymakers to act as if all Americans need to do is to be told they should get a bank account and that’s that.

Servon’s research for the book consisted, in part, of actually working at a check cashing service and a payday lender.

She then concludes the book by talking about “innovators.”  She profiles a start-up that intends to provide an alternate credit-scoring model that takes into account other types of financial behavior that’s not typically incorporated into the mainstream credit bureaus’ credit scores, and a start-up that intends to make it cheaper to transfer money from one person to another, and a bank, KeyBank, that is more mission-oriented than the usual faceless big corporate bank.

One thing she entirely fails to mention is the fact that interest rates have dropped so dramatically.

A second development in the banking world that she neglects to mention is the rise in prepaid debit cards.

And the third missing item is that of competition.

Corporate Boards Should be Demanding Management Answer These 5 Questions About Company Culture (Entrepreneur), Rated: A

  1. Is the leadership team operating with a high level of professionalism and integrity? Do they value diversity and inclusion?
  2. Do legal and HR have a seat at the table in making key strategy, organizational and business decisions?
  3. Does the company have published policies, processes and trainings so employees easily understand what type of behavior is unacceptable and what to do if they have a problem?
  4. What is the company’s strategy to create a diverse and inclusive environment on the board and in the office?
  5. Does the board have oversight and access to management, so as to be informed about the company’s internal controls and policies and when the same are violated?

Is the way the CFPB handles enforcement about to change? (Housingwire), Rated: B

But regardless of what happens to Cordray, the way the CFPB handles enforcement could be changing as we speak, because the CFPB’s enforcement director is apparently leaving the bureau.

Anthony Alexis, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s enforcement chief, is stepping down after more than two years overseeing the agency’s efforts to combat abuses by the financial industry, a departure certain to fuel speculation that Director Richard Cordray will leave soon to pursue the Ohio governorship.

Alexis, a former Mayer Brown partner who was named enforcement director in 2015 after holding the role in an interim capacity, announced his departure plans to CFPB staff Thursday afternoon, according to a former CFPB attorney who is familiar with the matter.

BREAKING: Auto Racer, Atty Guilty Of Running Criminal Payday Loan Empire (Lexis Nexis), Rated: B

A Manhattan jury on Friday found auto racer Scott Tucker and his attorney Timothy Muir guilty of operating a $2 billion criminal payday loan empire that preyed on millions of vulnerable borrowers and entered into sham deals with Native American tribes.

FINRA ratchets up fintech engagement (FinancialPlanning), Rated: B

FINRA was looking to ratchet up engagement with industry players, he said.

To that end, the regulator has hosted roundtable discussions around the country with fintech firms, robos, vendors, and traditional broker-dealers’ technology departments to get a better handle on how the business is changing, Cook said. Later this month, FINRA will convene a new fintech advisory committee.

United Kingdom

New UK marketplace loan deal mandated (Global Capital), Rated: AAA

The transaction, MOCA 2017-1, will be offered in three tranches and is backed by 31,153  Zopa loans with a total outstanding balance of £208.96m. The loans have an average current balance of £6,708 and a weighted average seasoning of 4.5 months. The average interest rate is 7.2%.

Challenger bank OakNorth nabs £154m, claims unicorn status (AltFi), Rated: AAA

OakNorth, a challenger bank focussed on lending to high growth businesses and property developers, has raised £154m in equity money in a round that values the company at £934m (approximately $1.3bn). The fundraise pushes the firm into “unicorn” territory – a term reserved for private tech firms with a valuation north of a billion dollars.

The money comes from The Clermont Group, Toscafund and Coltrane, which together have purchased a 16 per cent stake in the challenger bank. OakNorth says the money will be used to boost its lending by an additional £1.5bn.

This £4bn problem is stunting SME growth (City A.M.), Rated: A

Every year, tens of thousands of small businesses see their loan applications refused by the big banks.

In fact, figures from the British Business Bank (BBB) indicate that this amounts to around £4bn in loans annually – a staggering figure when you consider that this is preventing businesses from being able to reach their full potential.

SMEs are expected to contribute £241bn to the British economy by 2025, up 19 per cent from last year’s figure of £202bn, according to research from challenger bank Hampshire Trust Bank and the Centre for Economics and Business Research.

Seen and Heard at LendIt Europe: The Future of Finance (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

“Data that the bank holds on the consumer belongs to the consumer and not the bank.”

Imran Gulamhuseinwala OBE, Global Head of Fintech at EY

“Banks have outdated technology. To change that takes a lot of effort. From where they are starting, it is not easy.”

Jaidev Janardana, CEO of Zopa

“Users do not really care about the tech. They just know it works.”

Radoslav Albrecht, CEO and founder of BitBond

“As for Cost of Capital. Marketplace lending has access to a very wide range of cost of capital. A lot of platforms sell loans to banks. You have Credit Unions buying loans. Credit Unions have a return target of 2 to 3%. Lower than Goldman Sachs. Marketplace Lenders have access to similar cost of capital.”

Renaud Laplanche, CEO and founder of Upgrade

“The biggest myth of all is that Banks and other financial services are advantaged at this.  They have all the data. The truth is the data is fragmented across all different tech stacks and it is difficult to utilize. Very expensive and slow. The data is in the wrong place.”

Antony Jenkins, CEO and founder of 10X Future Technologies

BitRent Opens New Horizons for Investors (The Merkle), Rated: A

Blockchain platform BitRent announced a revolutionary solution in the area of new-built property: commercial and residential property shared investing at an early stage of construction and total control over construction process in real time by means of modules and structures chipping. The company operates on blockchain technology and smart-contracts protocol. BitRent platform’s mission is to make real estate investing easy, transparent and profitable all over the world.

Christine Farnish on the changing role of the P2PFA (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

There are changes ahead for the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA). The self-regulated trade body has been shaping industry standards for six years, but as alternative lending enters the mainstream, even the P2PFA has to be willing to evolve.

However, the next board meeting – set to be held in November – is expected to focus on an update to the P2PFA rules, membership criteria, and the association’s role in the wider regulatory community.

The departure of RateSetter and LendInvest (which no longer defines itself as a P2P lender) has brought the P2PFA’s market share down to around 50 per cent of the UK’s P2P sector. Current members include Funding Circle, Zopa, MarketInvoice, Landbay, ThinCats, Lending Works and newest member Folk2Folk but no new members have joined since February of this year. However, Farnish rejected rumours that the association is “a closed shop”.

For now, the P2PFA is focused on reviewing its own rules and Farnish confirmed that a revised version of these rules will be published before the end of the year.

Robo-advice in ten points  (London School of Economics and Political Science), Rated: A

The asset management industry is currently in a state of flux, and the manner in which individuals and institutions interact with their wealth managers is on the cusp of dramatic change. Digitisation and increased use of technology should mean that we are at the point of a low-cost revolution.

Robo-advice in ten points:

  • Robo-advice is online
  • The key is probably cost: Robo-advisors can be 60-70 per cent cheaper than traditional solutions and can provide savings of 1 percentage point per year of assets. Over a lifetime of investing, this would make £100,000s of difference to millions of investors in the UK alone.
  • Growth is strong: Whilst still only a fraction of the market, the assets under management of major players are growing between 50 and 100 per cent per year, and new entrants and concepts are developing all the time. There are currently over 100 robo-advisors in Europe with most based in either Germany or the UK.
  • There is a long way to go: Nutmeg, the UKs’ largest robo, has $1bn in assets, but Legal and General, the UK’s largest traditional asset manager, has over $1 trillion – a thousand times larger. Data in the US is similar, with BlackRock having $6 trillion under management and Betterment, the largest US robo, having a fraction of this.
  • On-boarding is a noted differentiator, but also a concern: The faster process and fact finding may not always be up to date with regulations or as rigorous as it should be.
  • Millennials are less important than predicted: Most of the original players in this nascent market targeted millennials. But older, wealthier and still tech-savvy baby boomers have become core clients.
  • Robo-advisors mainly use ETFs
  • Future robo-advisors will be more sophisticated
  • Robo-advice aids financial inclusion: Both the regulator and the industry are hoping that robo-advice will improve participation and access to the investment process.
  • Robo-advisors typically use Modern Portfolio Theory: Robo-advisors typically use mean-variance optimisation for asset selection, but future solutions are likely to use Liability Driven Investment (LDI) frameworks  for portfolio construction.

Ignoring women: Banking’s £130bn a year own goal? (AltFi), Rated: B

Financial services firms could be missing a £130bn opportunity by not winning over women, according to a new report.

UK financial institutions are failing to connect with female customers at every stage of the buying journey, from advertising to offerings and funds, finds Kantar’s latest research. It shows financial advertising and marketing strategies fail to communicate trustworthiness, dependability or understanding – particularly to women, 65 per cent of whom report low confidence in their financial institutions, compared to 55 per cent of men.

Only 38 per cent of women claim to feel ‘in control of their financial future’ compared to 51 per cent of men.

China

Chinese P2P Lending Platform PPdai.com Plans $ 350M IPO In US (China Money Network), Rated: AAA

Chinese peer-to-peer lending platform PPdai.com will seek an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange, the company said in a filing, marking the latest Chinese financial technology company to go public. PPdai.com is currently values as a unicorn on China Money Network’s China Unicorn List with a US$2 billion valuation.

The company aims to raise as much as US$350 million through the IPO, though it has not determined the listing price or the number of shares to be offered, according to an IPO prospectus filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

This week, China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) announced that it had grant an operation license to Shenzhen Wei Min Insurance Agency Co. Ltd. Tencent owns a majority stake (57.8%) of this new insurer.

On October 10thAlipay announced to introduce house rental service in eight cities (Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Chengdu, Xi’an and Zhengzhou). Users can enter the credit renting platform by searching “rent” in Alipay. If users’ Sesame Credit is above 650, they can enjoy deposit exemption and pay rent monthly.

Hexindai, a less well-known online consumer finance platform, is going to be listed in the US.  Hexindai plans to raise $80 million in this IPO.

October 10th marked the 92th birthday of the world-renowned Palace Museum. It was on the same day that the museum started to embrace a brand new era of digital payment. 

Li Ka-shing shows strong backing for Hong Kong’s fintech sector with MioTech funding (SCMP), Rate: A

Horizons Ventures, Li’s private investment arm, led a US$7 million Series A funding round for MioTech, one of just a few Chinese tech companies in the firm’s portfolio.

Qudian IPO: What Investors Need to Know (The Motley Fool), Rated: B

The Chinese micro-lending specialist is about to hit the U.S. stock market following an IPO early next week. Millions of Chinese consumers and businesses tap Qudian for credit, but does this make the stock a potential buy?

Qudian’s sweet spot is consumer loans. According to a study from Oliver Wyman commissioned by the company, it was the top small lender in the country in terms of number of active borrowers and volume of transactions as of June 30.

These loans are fairly small, even by local standards, and typically have short durations. There sure are a lot of them, though — in the first six months of this year, the company dispensed a total of around 38.2 billion yuan ($5.8 billion).

Over Ten Chinese P2P Lending Platforms expand to Southeast Asian Market (Xing Ping She), Rated: B

Recently, the PINTEC Group has announced a joint venture in Singapore to enter the Southeast Asian market with robo-adviser as its entry point. So far, there are more than 10 Chinese Internet finance companies layout in the Southeast Asian market,including Lufax, Dianrong.com, etc.

Yu-Hang Guo, the co-founder& co-chief executive of Dianrong.com, said that China’s internet finance companies have concentrated on the southeast Asian market, there are active plans as well as passive responses. With Chinese regulations tightening, many of them are looking abroad for growth. It is reported that cash loans, P2P and third-party data services have become the three most promising businesses in the Southeast Asian market.

Actually, before the small and medium-sized internet finance platforms have been set foot, industry faucets such as Ant Financial have already started to move and accelerate into the digital payment market in Southeast Asian.

European Union

Linked Finance Secures €2 Million Equity Investment (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Ireland-based peer-to-peer lending company Linked Finance announced on Thursday it secured €2m in equity funding to support its plans for expansion. The funding round was led by the company’s original venture capital backers, Frontline Ventures. The platform has now lent over €34.5 million to Irish SMEs since its launch in 2013, with more than €16.9 million already repaid to its lenders.

The Revolut founder on why his people work 12-13 hours a day (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

So far this year, Revolut, which started as a foreign exchange card linked to an app, has launched business accounts, loans, loyalty offers, mobile phone insurance, a bill splitting feature, a subscription “Premium” account, a chatbot, and more. Oh, and raised $66 million.

“The vision is very simple,” Storonsky said. “At the moment in the world, all banks are very local. As a result, you always struggle with international activity. That means you always need to open new bank accounts, issue new cards, set up a new credit profile.

“Nowadays people are all international. Banks are not providing this service. The vision for us is alternative global banking. Anyone in the world can just download the Revolut app and set up a local bank account to access any services they need.”

‘A lot of people work on weekends’

It’s a bold ambition. But can the business sustain this pace? I had heard from people in the industry — startup founders, PRs, former staff — that Revolut’s working culture can be tough: long hours, aggressive targets, burn out.

“We are not about long hours — we are about getting shit done,” Storonsky said. “If people have this mentality, they work long hours because they want it.”

It should be said that all the company’s Glassdoor reviews are five-star reviews, even those that mention the hours. “This company is highly addictive,” one reads.

German fintech Compeon scoops €12m fundraise (AltFi), Rated: A

A credit brokerage platform by the name of Compeon has raised €12m in a series B fundraising round. The round was led by existing investor Tengelmann Ventures, with btov Partners and Dieter von Holtzbrinck Ventures also participating.

Compeon processed a total of €2.5bn in loan requests in 2016, with an average loan request of €700,000.

Israel’s Migdal Partners Decentralized P2P Lending Platform Lendoit (Finance Magnates), Rated: B

Lendoit, a new decentralized P2P lending platform, has announced that it has partnered with one of Israel’s biggest institutional investment firms, Migdal Investment Banking. Established in 1965 and part of Migdal Capital Markets Group, it currently manages assets valued at $9 billion for thousands of clients in the Israeli private, business and public sectors.

International

PRIVATE CREDIT INDUSTRY: SUPPLY AND DEMAND (All About Alpha), Rated: AAA

The Alternative Credit Council, an affiliate of the Alternative Investment Management Association, has put out a paper on the present state of the private credit industry, considering both the demand (from borrowers) for its services and the supply (from investors) of capital to lend.

In preparing this paper, the ACC has partnered with Dechert LLP, an international law firm that specializes in financial and regulatory intricacies, to research and present a discussion of how private credit has managed to “cement its place in the lending landscape globally.”

One of the points of the paper is that private credit so understood is no longer stuck in the midmarket. It is moving outward in both directions.

On the other side of the market, there continue to be a number of borrowers who are good risks yet whose needs are not being met by the banking system, which is undergoing its own uneasy transformation in the face of regulatory pressure.

The top three characteristics of private credit that borrowers value most are: the speed of decision making, the ability to develop complex structures, and the flexibility of terms.

FinTech builds on blockchain for international mobile payments (Computerworld), Rated: A

IBM has partnered with a Polynesian payments system provider and an open-source FinTech payment network to implement a new international exchange based on a blockchain electronic ledger.

The new payment network uses IBM’s Blockchain Platform, a cloud service, to enable the electronic exchange of 12 different currencies across Pacific Islands as well as Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

KlickEx Group, a United Nations-funded, Pacific-region financial services company, and Stellar.org, a nonprofit organization that supports an open-source blockchain network for financial services, are backing the new cross-border payments service.

How to Get a Loan with Bad Credit (The Global Dispatch), Rated: B

If your bank does not agree to your request, start exploring alternative lenders. Do not limit your options to institutions. Your friends or family members can lend you the cash you need to handle an emergency. Peer to peer lending is a great alternative to banks, which allows you to borrow from individuals instead of institutions.

You can easily access a quick loan with bad credit online if you have a stable and verifiable source of income. Online lenders run your credit history but will approve your loan request with proof that you can repay in time. In most cases, the lenders offer payday loans that fall due on your next payday. You must be careful when applying for a personal loan online. Most of the search results you will get are from marketing companies and not direct lenders.

Australia

TSYS’ ProPay Sets Up Shop In Australia (PYMNTS), Rated: A

TSYS’ merchant services company ProPay is expanding into new territory.

The company announced in a press release this week that ProPay has launched in Australia, bringing small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) there to its merchant acquiring payment network and enabling them to efficiently accept card payments. The solution is built for direct-selling companies, micro merchants, distributors and payment facilitators.

Australian Government Agencies Flagged For Company Card Fraud (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Australian government agencies are reportedly plagued by company card fraud and misuse, according to new analysis from media company Fairfax Media. By certain accounts, some agencies are seeing more than $100,000 in misspend.

Fairfax analysts found an array of instances in which government purchasing cards were used for personal use, including one that attempted to use a Weather Bureau card for a transaction surpassing $1,000, an Able Seaman who repaid nearly $2,350 after misusing a card and one employee at the Foreign Affairs department who was fired after spending more than $7,000 on the department’s credit card, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

The ABS had 156 cases of inappropriate spend on its cards, Fairfax found, valuing more than $43,000 in misspend.

India

P2P lenders seek clarity from RBI on appointment of trustee (Livemint), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending (P2P) platforms in India have requested the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to allow non-bank trust companies to act as trustees for fund transfers between the participants—investors and borrowers—on their platforms.

“It took us six months to get a trustee. Most of the bank promoted trustees were unwilling to come on board as the industry is nascent,” said Mukesh Bubna, founder and chief executive at Monexo Innovations Ltd, a Mumbai-based P2P platform.

“This creates a monopoly. A limited number of trustees managing transactions for multiple P2P firms may lead to conflict of interest and also a higher fee being charged by the trustees for managing the escrow accounts,” said Raghavendra Pratap Singh, co-founder at i2iFunding.com, a Noida-based P2P platform.

So far, the firms have informally reached out to the regulator, said two people close to the development. They requested anonymity. They are expected to send formal feedback to the regulator soon.

Email sent to RBI did not elicit any response.

Why RBI should ease regulations for P2P lenders (VC Circle), Rated: A

For the sake of brevity, below are summarised certain key issues of the P2P directions after taking into consideration various arguments in the central bank’s consultation paper:

  1. P2P entities as NBFCs
  2. Ambiguous definition of P2P lending – The term “or otherwise” in the definition does not clarify whether P2P lending is restricted only to online platforms.
  3. Net-owned fund and leverage ratio – The RBI in its directions stated that any NBFC-P2P platform needs to have net-owned funds of more than Rs 2 crore or as is prescribed by the central bank.
  4. Limit on lending – However, the P2P directions state that loans are subject to a cap of Rs 10,00,000.
  5. Exempting non-institutional lenders from regulation
  6. Are NBFC-P2Ps intermediaries for banks?

How tech has relaxed Mumbai’s monopoly on finance (India Times), Rated: AAA

Six months after he founded payment gateway company Razorpay in 2013, Harshil Mathur was looking to shift his headquarters from Jaipur. Of his three options — Delhi, Mumbai or Bengaluru, Mathur chose the tech hub of Bengaluru over the financial capital, Mumbai.

Source: Times of India

With the rise of tech startups that focus on financial services, the traditional banking landscape is transforming — and Mumbai, Delhi-NCR and Bengaluru are competing to become the country’s fintech capital. Mumbai is still the financial capital as it is home to major banks and financial institutions, but it is technology that is becoming integral to finance.

Source: Times of India

Watch out for these 5 fintech platforms to revolutionise business in India (Business Standard), Rated: B

A marketplace lending platform in India, Rubique empowers individuals and SMBs with an easy and smoother access to across a wide range of loan, credit card, and products.

LoanTap is a fintech platform delivering flexible EMI free loan products to salaried professionals.

India’s largest peer to peer lending website, Faircent is a platform where people who have spare money, use the means of lending it directly as a form of loan, thereby eliminating intermediaries and their margins.

Having started as an online mobile recharge and bill payments app. Paytm in a short span of time has scaled to over 250 million registered users.

CreditMantri is a multi-services platform that helps borrowers secure loans from its partner financiers.

Asia

A new generation of HNWIs spur shift in investment (Asia Asset), Rated: AAA

HNWIs’ wealth growth remains led by Asia, with ongoing gains from an increasingly affluent middle class, enhanced productivity, and property price gains.

As the largest HNWI market, the US has been the beneficiary of a sustained rally in the equities market, driven by capital inflow and currency appreciation. The recent resurgence in mergers and acquisitions and initial public offerings is also driving wealth growth.

By comparison, Europe remains beset by low yields and flagging economic growth, characterised predominantly by inherited wealth and ‘old money’.

Research from around 940 Asian shows a clear shift towards engagement of financial investment professionals over self-management.

Also notable is the shift in allocation from domestic to international equities. In 2013, there was a 60:40 split favouring domestic equities, but this has reversed to favour international stocks through to 2017.

HSBC, with US$112 billion of private bank client assets under management (AUM) in its core Hong Kong and Singapore markets, is building upon its existing investment platform and network as a new entrant to the Australian market as of November 2016.

Fintech Start-Up fidentiaX Introduces World’s 1st Marketplace for Tradable Insurance Policies (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Fintech start-up fidentiaX is in the developmental phase of creating the world’s first marketplace for tradable insurance policies by disrupting the status quo by empowering policyholders to monetise policies on the blockchain. fidentiaX will also be setting up fidentiaX Open Source Foundation (fSOF) to proliferate the embracing of blockchain technology for the insurance industry.

In 2016 alone, the total market size for insurance premiums in the 40 OECD reporting countries was estimated to be in the north of $3.86 trillion dollars and Asia is projected to the be fastest-growing market for life insurance with an estimated real annual compounded growth rate of 10.2%.

fidentiaX’s marketplace will be a membership-based ecosystem focusing on the key stakeholders and providing the following services:

  • Policy ledger – Break traditional reliance on intermediaries by creating a digital ledger for policyholders.
  • Trustless Marketplace – Provides a platform for buyers and sellers to connect and trade policies via the blockchain.
Middle East

Kuwaiti Fintech Startup Ajar Online Closes Second Investment Round Led by BECO Capital (Albawaba), Rated: AAA

Ajar Online, a fintech startup based in Kuwait, closed a second investment in a round led by Dubai-based venture firm BECO Capital, followed by an investment from Sharq Ventures, since late 2016.

The service allows tenants to pay their rent online, at anytime and anywhere via SMS and email in less than 60 seconds. Simplifying the rent collection process for landlords and providing efficient property management tools to save time, reduce cost and take the right decisions.

Africa

Discovery Gets Go-ahead to Operate a Bank (Tech Financials), Rated: AAA

The South African Registrar of Banks has given the go-ahead for Discovery, South Africa’s medical scheme operator and financial services group, to operate a retail bank.

The firm announced on Monday that NewDisc Limited (to be renamed Discovery Bank Limited) has been granted a banking licence in South Africa by the Registrar in terms of Section 17(1) of the Banks Act.

The company plans to operate a retail bank to be known as Discovery Bank by 2018.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor