Thursday October 25 2018, Daily News Digest

The Most Free and Clear Cities

News Comments Today’s main news: Funding Circle cuts price range for IPO. Nelnet withdraws industrial loan charter (ILC) application. China Rapid Finance names former Hewlett Packard exec as Co-CEO. Faircent drops prime lending rates. Today’s main analysis: The most free and clear cities in America. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Fincera grows as China’s P2P lending industry falters. BNP Paribas discusses […]

The Most Free and Clear Cities

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China/Hong Kong

International

India

Other

News Summary

United States

Nelnet withdraws application for industrial loan charter (American Banker) Rated: AAA

Nelnet, a student loan servicing company, has withdrawn its application to become a Utah-chartered industrial bank.

The Lincoln, Neb., company had filed an application with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Utah Department of Financial Institutions in late June to form Nelnet Bank. Nelnet was pursuing an industrial loan charter.

The withdrawal is a “temporary step back” in what Nelnet knew could be a long process, Tim Tewes, the company’s president, said in a press release.

LendingTree Reveals the Most Free & Clear Cities in America (Lending Tree) Rated: AAA

Many U.S. property owners dream of the day they shed the mortgage, owning their homes outright. Reaching this milestone means not only skipping the monthly payment but achieving what is perhaps a lifelong goal of asset accumulation. LendingTree ranks U.S. cities by the proportion of such homeowners who are free and clear.

Source: LendingTree

The Federal Reserve’s measure of how much wealth households have in real estate equity has climbed from a $6-trillion level nine years ago to about $15 trillion in 2018.

Source: LendingTree

CreditShop Announces the Successful Conversion of More Than 500,000 Mastercard Credit Card Accounts (PR Newswire) Rated: A

CreditShop LLC today announced the successful conversion of more than half a million Mastercard credit card accounts and $1.4 billion in receivables. The portfolio, which was acquired in March 2017, was converted to the new Mercury Mastercard® which launched in May.  The Mercury Mastercard is marketed by CreditShop, and issued by First Bank & Trust of Brookings, South Dakota.

CreditShop believes that there are few reasonably priced credit cards available to credit-challenged consumers. There are about 75 million Americans in the “middle market” with FICO scores ranging between 575 and 675, and many are charged high fees by sub-prime credit card issuers.  The Mercury Mastercard is designed to give hard-working, middle market consumers access to a better credit card, at a reasonable price, so they can manage their financial lives better.

Covr Financial Technologies raises $ 10MM Series A from leading technology venture firms (PR Newswire) Rated: A

Covr Financial Technologies, a digital, multi-carrier life insurance platform for financial institutions, today announced it has raised $10 million in Series A funding. In addition to Covr’s existing individual and family investors that made additional investments during this funding round, Covr’s current venture partners all participated including Nyca Partners, Commerce Ventures, Countour Venture Partners and Connectivity Capital Partners and were joined by new investor Allianz Life Ventures. This most recent round brings Covr’s total fundraising to more than $20MM.

Fintech Leader OppLoans Appoints Stacee Hasenbalg to Chief Compliance Officer Role (PR Newswire) Rated: B

OppLoans has announced the appointment of Stacee Hasenbalg to the role of Chief Compliance Officer. Ms. Hasenbalg has held positions in banking and financial services for more than 20 years, including the role of Associate General Counsel, US Regulatory Liaison at Bank of Montreal, and Chief Compliance Officer at Avant. At OppLoans, Hasenbalg will join the executive team leading the company’s compliance and risk oversight function to ensure maximal transparency and efficiency as the firm delivers financing to underbanked consumers.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle cuts price range for London IPO (Financial Times) Rated: AAA

Funding Circle, the peer-to-peer lending platform, has cut the maximum valuation it is seeking in its upcoming stock market flotation, which is viewed as a test for UK investors’ appetite to back alternative lending vehicles.

The loss making company — which connects small businesses seeking credit with private and institutional investors willing to lend to riskier borrowers for potentially higher returns — originally set a price range of 420p to 530p per share for its IPO. This would have valued it at up to £1.8bn.

Funding Circle, which is the first peer-to-peer lender to go public in the UK, has now narrowed that price range from 440p to 460p, giving a maximum valuation of £1.5bn.

Lending to manufacturers grew over the last year (Business Insider) Rated: A

Lending to manufacturers grew by 7.4 per cent over the last 12 months, in contrast to a wider 2.1 per cent contraction overall in UK business borrowing, according to banking trade body UK Finance.

The figures released today also show that UK business deposits for non-financial companies grew by 1.5 per cent in the last 12 months.

PLATFORM RAISES £4.5M TO END ‘PAYDAY POVERTY’ CYCLE (Business Cloud) Rated: A

FinTech start-up Wagestream has raised £4.5m in funding from a group of the world’s leading technology and social impact investors.

The fledgling company’s ‘Get-Paid-As-You-Go’ service allows workers to access their monthly wages in real-time.

Backers include QED Investors, Village Global (a global VC backed by leading entrepreneurs, including Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos), as well as the London Mayor’s Co-Investment Fund and the Fair by Design fund, whose social impact charities include Big Society Capital, Nominet Trust and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Frank Field asks City watchdog to protect Wonga borrowers from ‘disaster zone’ (AOL) Rated: A

MP Frank Field has written to the City watchdog to seek assurances that borrowers from collapsed payday loan company Wonga will be protected from “a financial disaster zone”.

Following a meeting with Wonga’s administrators Grant Thornton, the independent politician has written a letter to Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) chief executive Andrew Bailey asking what steps the regulator will take to protect customers from loan sharks.

Mr Field wrote that it was still possible “people of good will” could buy the company’s £400 million worth of outstanding loans and “treat borrowers without exploitation”.

Tandem Bank adds auto-savings rules (Fintech Futures) Rated: B

Tandem Bank is launching the possibility of setting auto-savings rules, designed to help customers automate regular payments to the savings pot.

When a rule is triggered, money will be automatically moved from their current account into their Tandem account. This money will then start to earn interest.

China

As China’s P2P Industry Stumbles, One Company Is Soaring (The Diplomat) Rated: AAA

China’s peer-to-peer (P2P) lending industry is going through a challenging time, as regulators ensure that companies follow a list of over 100 new rules. The rules have been put into place to eliminate the fraudulent or poor business practices that have plagued the industry since its inception in 2006. Many of these firms have struggled to reduce customer credit risk, lacking sufficient financial and technological expertise. But some companies have continued to perform well despite the chaos, and one of these is Fincera, which lends to businesses.

Fincera Inc. is one of the first companies in China to make loans to trucking businesses online. The company operates a P2P lending platform called “Qingyidai” that continues to thrive despite the turbulence in China’s P2P lending sector. As hundreds of P2P lending firms are shut down and/or bailed out due to China’s current regulatory and economic environment, the few that persist stand out. For Qingyidai, the secret to survival is in its risk control methods, which combine technology with traditional risk control methods.

China Rapid Finance Limited (XRF) Names Former Hewlett Packard Executive as Co-CEO (Street Insider) Rated: AAA

China Rapid Finance Limited (“XRF” or the “Company”) (NYSE: XRF), a leading consumer finance marketplace and technology platform in China, today announced the expansion of its leadership team with the appointment of Russell Krauss, a former Hewlett-Packard executive, as Co-Chief Executive Officer and Vice Chairman. The appointment is intended to help accelerate its strategic corporate transformation as it launches new initiatives and business lines.

Crypto.com Announces Advisory Board (PR Newswire) Rated: B

Huey Lin (Operations)

Huey Lin is COO of Affirm which offers services that empower consumers to advance their financial well-being. Affirm was founded by Max Levchin and is one of Silicon Valley’s fastest growing fintech startups, having raised over US$500m. As COO, Huey is responsible for all aspects of operations, and scaling the company. Prior to Affirm, Huey spent nearly 12 years at PayPal in several key roles, including director of international risk policy & strategy and senior director of Asia-Pacific operations. She played an instrumental role in helping PayPal expand in Europe, meet critical global compliance requirements and was one of the first product managers.

European Union

Aren’t we at the ‘peak of the cycle’? BNP Paribas responds (Altfi News) Rated: AAA

In an exclusive interview with AltFi, Stéphane Blanchoz said the firm plans to originate €1 billion a year in SME loans in Europe, with at least €400m in the UK. Blanchoz is heading up the operation as head of SME alternative financing.

BNP is working with a number of origination partners, including CODE Investing and Caple, but also plans to originate loans itself.

The operation will focus on ‘medium enterprises’, with loans ranging from £500k to £5m. According to a presentation delivered at its offices last week, the asset manager sees this as an underserved segment of the market, populated by around 34,000 companies. Companies within this segment are turning over between £1m and £50m a year.

Ronald Kleverlaan, Director European Centre for Alternative Finance, Shares Insight Into European Fintech Marketplace (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Ronald Kleverlaan: The alternative finance market in Europe is currently preparing for the next growth phase with EU wide regulations, launch of new initiatives backed by large institutional funders and public support for cross-border investments.

Previously alternative finance was used in startups or specific higher risk industries and in several countries 10-20% of that market is already funded through alternative finance providers.

One of the main drawbacks is the maximum of €1 million to be raised by companies through a platform. In most member states this maximum has already been raised to €5 million or €8 million making it applicable also for larger scale-ups and growing companies to raise funding though these platforms.

The Finnish Financial Supervisory Authority approved Fellow Finance Plc’s prospectus (Globe Newswire) Rated: A

The Finnish Financial Supervisory Authority has today, on 26 September 2018, approved Fellow Finance Plc’s (“Fellow Finance” or the “Company”) Finnish language Prospectus (“Prospectus”) regarding the Company’s planned listing on the First North Finland marketplace of Nasdaq Helsinki Ltd and the initial public offering related thereto (the “IPO”).

The Prospectus will be available in electronic form on or about 26 September 2018, on Fellow Finance’s website at www.fellowfinance.com/company/ipo, at the website of Evli Bank Plc at www.evli.com/fellowfinance and at the website of Nordnet Bank AB Finnish Branch at www.nordnet.fi/fellowfinance. The printed versions of the Prospectus will be available on or about 27 September at the registered office of the Company at Ratakatu 1 b A 10, FI-00120 Helsinki, at Evli Bank Plc’s office located at Aleksanterinkatu 19 A, 4th floor, FI-00100 Helsinki and at the Nasdaq Helsinki Ltd (Fabianinkatu 14, 00100 Helsinki).

MYBESTBRANDS Launches Universal Checkout in Collaboration With Payment Provider Klarna (PR Newswire) Rated: B

Klarna, one of Europe’s leading payment providers, and MYBESTBRANDS, Germany’s largest online shopping mall for premium and luxury fashion, have joined forces to launch the Universal Checkout (UCO), the first cooperation of its kind in Germany. Innovative bot technology developed by MYBESTBRANDS combined with the Klarna Checkout will create a superior shopping experience for customers, driving increased order values, conversion and ultimately building loyalty for MYBESTBRANDS’ merchants.

Customers will now be able to add items from different merchants to a single cart on MYBESTBRANDS and then pay with a click via Klarna.

International

Striking the Delicate Balance Between Customer Experience and Fraud Prevention (TransUnion), Rated: AAA

Striking the delicate balance between customer experience and fraud prevention is not an easy feat. This was a common theme among newly released Forrester Consulting global studies exploring fraud in the financial services, insurance and single and multi-family rental industries.

Increases in fraud are corroborated by the research conducted by Forrester.

  • Nearly all financial services firms (94%) in the study recognized that they have experienced some sort of fraud, whether it’s identity theft/new account fraud, synthetic identity fraud, or account takeover fraud in the past two years.
  • Almost two-thirds of insurance companies (62%) have seen an increase in soft fraud and 57% have seen an increase in identity fraud in the past year.
  • Virtually all property management companies (97%) have experienced fraud in the properties they manage in the past two years.
Source: TransUnion

The studies come at a time when TransUnion’s own proprietary fraud data found that outstanding balances of suspected synthetic fraud for auto loans, bankcards, retail cards and personal loans have now surpassed $1 billion as of Q2 2018. Insurers and large and small property managers also face new fraud schemes as the prevalence of online applications continues to rise.

Source: TransUnion

See the full study on fraud here.

Speakers tell ABS pros not to sweat the credit cycle (GlobalCapital) Rated: A

Panelists speaking on state of the consumer ABS market on day two of ABS East told a packed audience that while the credit cycle is definitely in its late stages, material distress in consumer credit was unlikely to be seen for some time.

The comments reflect a broader sentiment that has been expressed at the conference, that the bull market is showing no signs of slowing down and is throwing the likelihood of a recession of any size into question (see related article).

This Exchange Protects User Funds by Keeping 98% in Cold Storage (News BTC) Rated: A

A new European exchange wants to protect their customer funds from governments and hackers by regulatory compliance and a special focus on security.

Blockchain.io is a newly announced exchange that intends on enforcing strict rules to comply with both international and local laws, even for future regulations. The company wants to stay regulatory-compliant, audit their records and only approve carefully selected coins in order to make sure that they stay on the right side of the law.

For instance, a variety of simple and complex order types will be featured. Moreover, there are plans to integrate a peer-to-peer (p2p) lending system to let user borrow from a fund managed and maintained by Blockchain.io. The interest rates of such transactions will be based on supply and demand.

Australia

Real Estate Startup Konkrete Gets Backing From Signum Capital (ThirtyK) Rated: AAA

Blockchain startup Konkrete announced it is receiving financial backing from Signum Capital, an investor in blockchain technologies.

Konkrete, which provides a platform for tokenizing real estate assets, is in the midst of raising $3 million. The Melbourne, Australia-based company has $2 million in precommitments with Signum as the lead investor, according to Australia’s Financial Review.

The announcement comes amid a flurry of blockchain-related real estate projects worldwide.

India

Faircent.com drops prime lending rates by 200Bps to 9.99% p.a. for unsecured loans (Economic Times) Rated: AAA

Leading NBFC-P2P Faircent.com on Wednesday announced a reduction in the interest rate on unsecured loans to 9.99% per annum for prime borrowers listed on its platform. According to a statement, the move is a first for India’s lending market, with such an interest rate being the lowest for unsecured loan offered by any private/PSU bank or alternative lending platform in the country, so far.

Faircent says this is the direct result of RBI regulating the peer-to-peer lending sector in India and recognizing it as an NBFC-P2P, thereby unlocking the alternative credit supply into the economy.

SC verdict on Aadhaar Act may make operations expensive for fintech players (Your Story) Rated: A

The Supreme Court of India on Wednesday, while upholding the constitutional validity of Aadhaar, struck down Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act, which allowed the sharing of citizen data with private entities.

Bhavin Patel, co-founder and CEO of P2P lending platform LenDenClub, says,

“The authenticity of data through Aadhaar is really high considering physical documents (like PAN card) can be copied. The costs of verification for delivering ultra-small ticket size loans (of say Rs 5,000) will definitely be a concern. We estimate that there will be a 30-percent increase in costs on physical verification, which will add up to another Rs 100 or Rs 150.  Also, deployment may take a day or more now (in an ideal scenario) since physical verification takes 24 hours at least.”

COAI to examine implications of Supreme Court verdict on Aadhaar linkage with mobile connections (Economic Times) Rated: A

Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) Wednesday said it will examine and assess implications of the Supreme Court judgement, which states that it will not be mandatory for customers to link Aadhaar for mobile connections and bank accounts.

The apex court Wednesday struck down the Section 57 of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 that permitted private entities like telecom companies or other corporates to avail of the biometric Aadhaar data.

Loan Rate DOWN: While HDFC, SBI, ICICI, Indusland Bank hike lending rates, this lender bucks the trend (Zee Business) Rated: A

Loan takers are having to pay interest through their noses and there has been no relief in sight for a long time. However, bucking the trend is this new-age online lender. Faircent.com has actually reduced interest rates on unsecured loans by a whopping 200 bps to 9.99% per annum for prime borrowers listed on its platform. This is lowest “lowest” interest rate for unsecured loans offered by any private/PSU bank or alternative lending platform in the country, Faircent claimed in a statement. It further said the reduction in lending rate is the “direct result of RBI regulating the peer-to-peer lending sector in India and recognizing it as an NBFC-P2P, thereby unlocking the alternative credit supply into the economy.”

Significantly, unsecured loans are issued without any collateral and are supported only by the borrower’s creditworthiness.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had hiked repo rate in August 2018 from 6.25% to 6.50% to curb inflation. This affected both the existing as well as future borrowers taking loans from banks. Following RBI decision, several public sector and private banks have increased their Marginal Cost-based Lending Rates (MCLR), making the with borrowers pay higher interest rates and EMIs on their loans. Faircent.com has done the opposite.

Asia

BoT readies peer-to-peer lending service (Bankok Times) Rated: AAA

The Bank of Thailand plans to set regulations for peer-to-peer (P2P) lending service by the year-end, widening opportunities for small-business operators to access financial sources.

The central bank expects to set out regulations to cover all related parties, including P2P lending platforms, borrowers and lenders, said assistant governor Ruechukorn Siriyothin.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday July 25 2018, Daily News Digest

Lending Club IPO

News Comments Today’s main news: Square, eBay partner on businesss loans. BNP Paribas launches UK fund for SME lending. Crowdstacker seeking 800K GBP on Seedrs. PPDAI to boost tech investment. Alipay, WeBank competition heats up. Today’s main analysis: The good news and bad news about Lending Club. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Americans are splurging on personal loans. How irresponsible mortgage lenders […]

Lending Club IPO

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

Other

News Summary

United States

eBay & Square Partner on Business Loans (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

eBay (Nasdaq:EBAY)  and Square Capital (NYSE:SQ) have signed an agreement to provide up to $100,000 in credit to sellers – in as little as one day. The partnership is not only a streamlined offering of financing for small businesses that use eBay but also a whack at traditional banks which are mostly unable to match such a speedy lending agreement.

Scott Cutler, Senior Vice President, Americas at eBay, says that eBay is committed to helping their sellers and providing credit in partnership with Square simply makes sense.

For example, if you have $30,000 CC debt and good credit you can get a 3-year payoff at about 6% and a 5 year at about 7%. That is a big improvement over a typical rate of 17.5% on purchases and an amazing 23.5% on cash advances. So you take out the $30,000 loan, pay off your credit cards and save thousands in interest while you are at it. In addition, your CC is now zero and you can start using it again.

Source: Seeking Alpha

They came to market via an IPO late in 2014 and were an immediate hit rising over 50% their first day. They were immediately valued at over $9 billion. Today they are at less than $2 billion, a drop of almost 80%.

And finally here is LC’s chart since the IPO. Talk about ugly.

Source: Seeking Alpha

Americans are splurging on personal loans thanks to fintech startups (Quartz) Rated: AAA

The stock of personal loans outstanding has grown to about $120 billion as of March, according to TransUnion data. That compares with $71.9 billion a decade ago—worth around $90 billion adjusted for inflation—when the subprime mortgage crisis crescendoed. About 17 million Americans have this type of debt which, unlike mortgages and automobile loans, isn’t collateralized by an asset.

Source: Quartz

Upstart financial technology companies like Lending Club, Prosper, and Avant account for about a third of this lending, up from less than 1% in 2010.

Source: Quartz

How Irresponsible Mortgage Lenders Created A Second Housing Bubble (Seeking Alpha) Rated: AAA

Rents Are Falling, But Prices Are Surging

I believe the culprit is a new crop of lenders who are outside of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac regulations on FICO scores and DTI. For example, San Francisco lender Social Finance (SoFi) is offering up to 3 million dollar loans with 10 percent down and “flexible DTI.

Source: Seeking Alpha
Source: Seeking Alpha

Firms like SoFi are the engine driving the madness in the California housing market. Here’s what Michael Tannenbaum, former Vice President of SoFi, had to say about their loans in 2016, “Sixty-five percent of the business we do is first-time home buyers; it’s a big deal we’re opening up to the jumbo first-time market.” A year later, he was gone. Other gems from the San Francisco Chronicle article – SoFi’s average loan at the time was $800,000 and two-thirds were in California. I shudder to think what their average loan size and DTI is now. Also, in addition to not being big fans of debt to income ratios, SoFi isn’t big on using other traditional measures like FICO scores to evaluate borrowers. In 2016, they declared their company a “FICO Free Zone” in a press release. Said a former business development associate, “The volume of applications coming in was crazy.” Other sources reported on the wild sex culture at the firm. As for their underwriting practices? As long as housing prices went up, they were more or less irrelevant. But, if prices go down, SoFi and their backers stand to lose a lot of money.

A Conversation with Figure’s Mike Cagney (Financial Revolutionist) Rated: A

Mike Cagney’s return to fintech’s center stage had been foreshadowed by a handful of reports suggesting that his new company would be focused on the origination of real estate-related assets and that, somehow, blockchain would figure into the mix. But Cagney, who played a foundational role in building SoFi into one of fintech’s biggest success stories before his departure, isn’t the type of entrepreneur who thinks small and nichey. With his new company, Figure, and the blockchain protocol it has built, Provenance, Cagney and his team of 80 professionals are taking aim at the gigantic world of institutional capital markets transactions. Why? Because that’s one place where the vig (i.e., rent-seeking) still sloshes around in copious amounts. But unlike SoFi, which is taking aim at banks, Cagney is now fixing his gaze on the administrators, trustees, custodians and other intermediaries who take a cut out of each securitization and other types of deals. On the eve of the first transaction to be put on Provenance (a HELOC), The FR’s Gregg Schoenberg sat down with Cagney to learn more about his plans and how blockchain is central to his mission.

Could Fintech & Blockchain Lending Further Drive The Housing Market Boom? (Forbes) Rated: A

Those who do not have the scores to secure loans from traditional lenders now have alternatives particularly in the form of P2P lenders. These platforms pool together money from interested investors and loan them out to borrowers.

They also have a much quicker turnaround compared to what customers might experience with banks and other large lenders. While these services started out only to fund smaller personal loans, some like LendingClub have grown and expanded to allow larger-value loans like mortgages to be made on the platform.

Blockchain-based lenders have built upon this crowdfunding concept and enhanced it with blockchain’s capabilities with smart contracts and tokenization. While initial efforts as espoused by the likes of 

Employer-focused PFM company gets $ 40 million (Business Insider) Rated: A

US-based personal finance management (PFM) company Even has raised a $40 million Series B funding round led by Keith Rabois of Khoshla Ventures, and including Valar Ventures, Allen & Company, Harrison Metal, Ron Conway, and Silicon Valley Bank.

Source: Business Insider

Even integrates with attendance, payroll, and banking systems to help consumers improve their financial health. Its features include Instapay, which enables users to request the money they have earned before their actual payday, and it uses AI to give users an “okay to spend” amount, so they don’t get surprised by sudden expenses. Additionally, it offers an automatic savings feature, similar to other PFM companies including Acorns and Cleo.

Fintech Startup LoanSnap Raises $ 8m in Series A Financing (Finsmes) Rated: A

LoanSnap, a San Francisco, CA-based developer of technology that protects people against dumb loans, raised $8m in Series A financing.

The round was led by True Ventures with participation from Baseline Ventures, Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, Core Innovation Partners, Joe Montana’s Liquid 2 Ventures, OVO Fund, Transmedia Ventures, and angel investors.

BlockFi Raises $ 52.5M for Cryptoasset-backed Loans (Business Wire) Rated: AAA

BlockFi, the leading cryptoasset to USD lender, announced today it has raised $52.5M to expand operations. Galaxy Digital Ventures LLC, a digital currency and blockchain technology investment firm founded by Mike Novogratz led the deal. This marks the industry’s first institutional investment in cryptoasset backed loans. BlockFi’s existing investors, which include ConsenSys Ventures and PJC, also participated in the funding round.

  • BlockFi planning rapid expansion of cryptoasset-to-USD lending platform
  • BlockFi partners with Galaxy Digital Lending LLC on loan purchasing facility and receives equity investment from Galaxy Digital Ventures LLC
  • Marks first institutional investment in cryptoasset backed loans

Credit Card Payoff App Tally Raises $ 25 Million (Cheddar) Rated: A

Tally, an automated debt-managing app, has raised $25 million in Series B funding with the goal of expanding its reach and finding new ways to alleviate consumers’ financial anxiety, Cheddar has learned.

Southern States Multifamily Portfolio Sells, Exceeding Targeted Returns for ArborCrowd Investors (The Daily Times) Rated: A

ArborCrowd (the “Company”) today announced its Southern States Multifamily Portfolio (SSMP) investment has been realized ahead of schedule, outpacing targeted return estimates. One of the properties in the portfolio is located in Mississippi and sold in late 2017. The two remaining properties, located in Alabama, recently sold. The aggregate portfolio sales price was $25.85 million, generating an internal rate of return (IRR) of over 29% for ArborCrowd investors.

The transaction marks the first of ArborCrowd’s six deals to complete its investment cycle, and its success is a great sign of the long-term viability of the Company’s growing platform. The SSMP investment opportunity was quickly oversubscribed when ArborCrowd presented the deal on its platform in February 2017, raising over $2.1 million in just 5 days. The over 29% IRR generated by the sale of the portfolio far exceeded the targeted 17% to 20% IRR projected by ArborCrowd at the time of the offering.

Lendio Reports Q2 Results: 90% Year-Over-Year Revenue Growth (Lendio) Rated: A

Lendio, the nation’s leading marketplace for small business loans, today announced record growth across all areas of its business, including 90 percent year-over-year quarterly revenue growth. To date, Lendio has helped facilitate more than $900 million in financing to over 45,000 small businesses across the U.S. and Canada through its marketplace of more than 75 small business lenders. The growth milestone comes after an 80 percent increase in loans funded through the Lendio platform in the last year.

From July 2017 to June 2018, Lendio facilitated nearly $400 million in loans to more than 22,000 small businesses. The average initial loan size among Lendio’s small business customers grew to nearly $35,000. The top five industries funded through Lendio’s marketplace include construction, retail, restaurants, health care and information media.

GM Maven CEO: Peer-To-Peer Auto Lending Will Be A Large Market (Bloomberg) Rated: A

Julia Steyn, Maven CEO, on their new peer-to-peer lending program for GM car owners, and the progress Maven is making in the shared economy.


Whitepages Pro Unveils Pro Insight, a Global Identity Review Solution Powered by Machine Learning (Global Newswire) Rated: A

Whitepages Pro, a global leader in digital identity verification, today announced Whitepages Pro Insight, a new and improved manual review solution designed to help businesses assess the identity risk of their customers, approve good transactions, and investigate fraud on a global scale. As the only global identity review solution that provides six ways to search, it enables users to balance accuracy and efficiency through direct workflow integrations, machine learning-informed insight, and robust analytics.

Within Pro Insight, users are first presented with Identity Review, a comprehensive interface that verifies and cross-checks both digital and traditional identity attributes (name, email, phone, primary and secondary addresses, and IP) to verify the identity behind a transaction. The solution analyzes and presents the relationships between the five core identity attributes in several intuitive ways:

  • Confidence Score – An overall measure of the risk associated with a transaction that cross-references the five core identity attributes. The Confidence Score is powered by machine learning insights from billions of transactional patterns across the Whitepages Pro Identity Network and the 70+ data signals of the Identity Check API.
  • Positive and negative signals – A concise list of primary factors that influence a given Confidence Score.
  • Results columns – A detailed list of matches, mismatches, and invalid inputs based on the links between a transaction’s identity elements. Users can click on specific attributes to further investigate associated people, historical data, and more.
  • Distance Map – A visual representation of geographical distances between phone, primary address, secondary address, and IP address.

Center For The New Middle Class: Non-Prime Consumers Spending More Responsibly On Vacation (Payment Week) Rated: A

Non-prime consumers are significantly less likely to be taking to the road for vacation this summer, opting for staycations instead, and spending far less on vacations if they take one, a new study released today from Elevate’s 

Source: The Center for the New Middle Class

Key findings from the CNMC survey conducted in June include:

  • The non-prime are 29% less likely to take a vacation
  • The non-prime are 22% more likely to “staycation”
  • If they do take a vacation, the non-prime spend half as much
  • The non-prime are 2x as likely to have turned down a vacation due to financial constraints
  • The non-prime are 61% more likely to borrow money for a vacation
  • Non-prime spend 18% less per child on summer entertainment
  • Those with children were more likely to take vacations and borrow money to cover costs

The research also indicated that across both credit segments, summer community resource utilization (i.e. pools, parks, libraries, etc.) was relatively high, with more than 85% in both segments using these facilities. Summer entertainment expenses per child were also very similar between the prime and non-prime groups.

Read the full report here.

United Kingdom

P2P Lender Crowdstacker Now Seeking £800,000 Through Seedrs Funding Round (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

Crowdstacker, a UK-based peer-to-peer lending platform, is now seeking £800,000through its equity crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs. Founded in 2014, Crowdstacker describes itself as an award-winning FCA regulated online alternative investment platform that provides ISA eligible P2P loans, bonds, and loan notes.

BNP Paribas launches UK fund for SME lending (FinTech Futures) Rated: AAA

BNP Paribas Asset Management will launch BNP Paribas UK SME Debt Fund 1, offering clients access to the UK SME lending market.

The asset management arm of the bank’s new fund will invest in senior loans to SMEs with an annual turnover of less than £50 million through its BNPP AM’s SME Alternative Financing platform.

The platform uses proprietary big data technology, which pairs with the bank’s balance sheet and infrastructure.

Podcast 159: Christoph Rieche of iwoca (Lend Academy) Rated: A

Christoph Rieche is the CEO and Co-Founder of iwoca, a small business lender based in London with operations also in Germany and Poland. The name iwoca stands for instant working capital so they have leveraged technology in order to provide capital to small businesses quickly and efficiently.

In this podcast you will learn:

  • Why Christoph decided to start iwoca.
  • The segment of the small business market they focus on.
  • What is behind the continued decline in overall small business loan volumes.
  • The loan product offered by iwoca.
  • The typical size of their credit lines.
  • The kinds of businesses applying for credit at iwoca.
  • How their underwriting works and level of automation they use.

Navigating through the P2P property maze (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

Landbay investors can expect returns of around 3.54 per cent on its fixed-rate product, or 3.18 per cent with its tracker-rate option, by investing in loans secured by UK property.

The Peer-to-Peer Finance Association member launched its IFISA in February last year, meaning that Landbay customers can also benefit from tax-free earnings on their investments.

LandlordInvest’s investors have earned average annual returns of 11.3 per cent to date, secured by residential or commercial property, with the option of an IFISA wrapper

London Proptech Firm Goodlord Forms New Open Banking Partnership With TrueLayer (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: B

Goodlord, a UK-based proptech platform, has formed a new open banking partnership with TrueLayer. Founded in 2014, Goodlord reports that its cloud-based platform is trusted by hundreds of agencies across the UK. The company has created a one-stop-shop by providing access to a dynamic suite of specialized services, including insurance, e-signing, referencing, and e-payments.

Starling Bank takes on Monzo with daring debit card design (FinTech Futures) Rated: B

UK digital challenger Starling Bank is upping its design game with the launch of a new teal-coloured vertical debit card as it plays catch up with Monzo.

The new card has all customer details, including name, card number and expiry date, on the back – and it’s rolling them out this week.

The card is inspired by the blue-green tones of the plumage of the starling bird. It is also one of the initial group of 16 original “web colours” formulated in 1987 to display web pages, reflecting Starling’s digital heritage.

China

PPDai to boost technology investment (Shine) Rated: AAA

PPDai, China’s first online peer-to-peer lending platform listed in the US, said today it would increase its registered capital to 1 billion yuan (US$149 million) and expand its artificial intelligence applications to hedge risks and improve investor confidence amid concerns over P2P lending.

The Shanghai-based company, which has about 71 million users ,employs AI, Big Data and blockchain to fight against risk and fraud.

Alipay and WeBank competition heats up as China reins in leverage (Financial Times) Rated: AAA

Alipay and WeBank are set up perfectly to take advantage of new priorities from Chinese policymakers to increase the flow of capital to small companies and households, their approach is different as WeBank looks to use bank partnerships to make capital connections.

Alipay uses scale, data and technology capabilities to compete with banks for deposits and funds its borrowing through the ABS market.

Alipay and WeBank plan to list their finance arms soon which will continue to put pressure on the rivalry as well as the broader financial market in China.

Zennon Kapron on what’s next for Chinese fintech (China Economic Review) Rated: A

Analysing these questions is all part of the day job for Zennon Kapron, the head of fintech research and consulting firm Kapronasia. In this interview with China Economic Review, Kapron gives his take on some of the market’s recent developments, and explains why China’s fintech industry is such an exciting space to watch.

CER: How worried should we be about the recent panic surrounding China’s small P2P lending platforms?

ZK: The fact that P2P lending platforms are failing is not surprising. Many of these platforms had inadequate internal operational processes, poor lending practices, and in some cases, were just complete scams. What will be interesting to see is if retail investors will still want to put new money on these platforms. I get the impression at the moment that many investors are just trying to get their money out. Even if the P2P industry manages to right itself, it may find that all the investors are gone.

China’s P2P Online Lending Dominoes Continue to Fall (Ciaxin) Rated: A

Another domino in China’s peer-to-peer lending industry fell.

Beijing-based iqianbang.com was the latest online P2P lending platform to close down. The company announced a “benign exit” last Friday night, citing “deteriorating online lending environment and drying up liquidity.”

Investors in several P2P platforms, including iqianbang.com, gathered Monday at a local Beijing police station to report the loss of money to police.

Chinese P2P Lender’s Controller Disappears After Sponsoring Portugal (Yicai Global) Rated: A

Zheng Yansen, the controller of peer-to-peer lender Guangzhou Leader Internet Financial Information Service has disappeared, the firm announced yesterday.

It also acknowledged that ‘some of its projects are delayed’ and said it will set up a work group as soon as possible to inventory its assets and businesses, request borrowers to repay loans earlier than scheduled, and liquidate collateral as quickly as possible.

European Union

FinLeap Partners With Fabrick to Launch Financial Management Startup for Small Businesses (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

FinLeap, the fintech start-up platform behind Germany’s SolarisBank, announced on Monday it has teamed up with Italian open banking platform Fabrick to launch a new financial management startup specifically for small businesses. According to FinLeap, the startup, called Beesy, will simplify accounting, tax and banking services for micro-enterprises and freelancers.

As soon as Beesy is launched, FinLeap added it will provide more details about the services and how they work.

Rabobank’s novel approach to protecting customer data (American Banker) Rated: A

Take Dutch-based Rabobank, for example, which now converts customer data to the Latin names of flowers and animals in order to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation that sensitive client information be disguised.

At the heart of all these regulations is the mandate that companies must make sure no one can access customer data who shouldn’t, and that every effort is made to protect that data from breaches. Storing customer data in the clear — not encrypted, anonymized, or pseudonymized — is not acceptable, to regulators or anyone else.

Source: American Banker
International

MoneyGram And Visa Team To Deliver Real-Time Global P2P (PYMNTS) Rated: A

MoneyGram and Visa announced today (July 24) that they have partnered to deliver real-time digital disbursements to MoneyGram customers using Visa’s push payments platform, Visa Direct.

Launching in October in two key markets, Mexico and the Philippines, MoneyGram will expand its options in which receivers from those markets may receive and use funds instantly  via their bank-issued Visa-branded debit card or Visa-branded prepaid card  and senders may choose the option by which to send those funds. The partnership leverages the trust that consumers globally have in the MoneyGram and Visa brands, as well as the ability for receivers to access funds 24/7/365 without having to visit an agent location to pick up cash.

Australia

Property Connect enters technology agreement with Clearmatch to market new lending products (Small Caps) Rated: A

Realty services group Property Connect Holdings (ASX: PCH) has entered into a minimum five-year licence agreement to use a technology platform powered by marketplace treasury company Clearmatch, in the development and marketing of its own lending products designed to ease property market transactions.

The binding heads of agreement allows Property Connect to use the SocietyOne platform owned by Clearmatch to develop products focused on the emerging project development finance and residential mortgage sectors within the private peer-to-peer lending market.

India

P2P lending platform Monexo partners with Cube Wealth for new-clientele (Business Standard) Rated: B

Peer-to-Peer (P2P) lender, has partnered with to provide clients with an alternative avenue for investments. The app-based firm’s user-base of 350,000 customers will have an option of placing a portion of their investments onto Monexo’s platform.

The market space is only three years old and until last October operated without any regulatory oversight. While there are 3,000 lenders in China with a total lending book of $500 million, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is said to have approved licenses to around eight firms.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday June 11 2018, Daily News Digest

credit card issuers

News Comments Today’s main news: How to invest in the sharing economy. Elevate expected to report $184.82M in sales. Funding Circle scraps downloadable loanbook. Ant Financial valued at $150B. Standard Chartered to apply for virtual bank license in Hong Kong. Today’s main analysis: Marcus update. Today’s thought-provoking articles: PeerIQ lending earnings insights. Alternative uses of fixed-income markets. LendingTree Personal Loan Offers […]

credit card issuers

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China/Hong Kong

International

Other

News Summary

United States

3 Ways to Invest in the Sharing Economy (Motley Fool) Rated: A

While not a hard asset like a home or car, lending services have also come into the crosshairs of the sharing economy. Lending Club, the nation’s largest peer-to-peer lender, gets borrowers lower interest rates and smaller fees than a credit card or other traditional lending source typically offers by connecting them with investors on its online platform.

Since becoming a public company in December 2014, Lending Club revenue has soared more than 50% as seeking out alternative means of funding has increased in popularity. That sounds like a great investment, but Lending Club has actually fallen on hard times. The stock is down 75% from its 2014 debut as a result.

Other concerns, like increased competition, have surfaced: Goldman Sachs‘ online-only bank Marcus is just one of them. But there is some hope for this “sharing” company as first-quarter 2018 revenue increased 22% on an 18% increase in lending origination.

Lending Earnings Insights: 2Q2018 (PeerIQ) Rated: AAA

Where are we in the credit cycle? Most lenders see the US consumer in a good place with high consumer confidence, home prices, and higher take-home pay from tax cuts. The economy is at or near full employment with low wage and productivity growth. GDP gains are driven by consumer spending, fueled in term by consumer credit (8% YOY growth – well ahead of GDP and wage growth). Over the next few quarters due to stimulus and short-term effects there may be robust GDP prints, however, 16 to 24 months out we expect a lower pace of growth and heightened recession risk.

Credit re-normalization continues across all major lending groups. Credit performance this quarter is generally in-line with expectations. We see some of the lowest charge-offs and delinquencies at near-prime and retail lenders such as Enova and OneMain. Online lenders such as LendingClub have increased their charge-off estimates by ~50 bps.

Card issuers are increasing loan loss reserves at a higher rate than loan growth, indicating expectations of higher losses going forward. American Express increased loan loss provisions by 35% although loan growth was only 16% and Discover increased loan loss provisions by 26% on loan growth of 9%. Capital One saw a drop in loans outstanding.

Read the full report here.

Marcus Update (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

GS Marcus Update

Personal loans are just the start, with possible expansion opportunities for Marcus into mortgages, credit cards, auto loans and insurance. There are 4 key product areas – Borrow, Spend, Save, Protect with 12 separate products listed with a focus on Clarity Money. Since its launch Marcus has served ~1.5 Mn customers with $3+ Bn loans originated and $20+ Bn in online deposits.

GS views their lack of legacy banking software as a competitive advantage and has invested heavily in building their platform. GS has invested, through capital spending and operating losses, $600 Mn, including reserves, up by $100 Mn.

GS is building Marcus as a business “for the next 50 years” but is expanding the personal loan program cautiously as the credit cycle may turn. GS wants to integrate the consumer platform with its wealth management business.

Source: Goldman Sachs

PeerIQ Webinar: Lending Earnings Insights Report – 2Q2018 (PeerIQ) Rated: B

PeerIQ is hosting a webinar by CEO Ram Ahluwalia on “Lending Earnings Insights 2Q2018” on Wednesday 6/13 at 3 p.m. EDT. We look forward to hosting you! Click to register and to add the invitation to your calendar.

$ 184.82 Million in Sales Expected for Elevate Credit (ELVT) This Quarter (StockNews Times) Rated: AAA

Equities analysts expect that Elevate Credit (NYSE:ELVT) will report $184.82 million in sales for the current quarter, Zacksreports. Two analysts have issued estimates for Elevate Credit’s earnings, with estimates ranging from $182.44 million to $187.20 million. Elevate Credit posted sales of $150.47 million during the same quarter last year, which suggests a positive year over year growth rate of 22.8%. The business is scheduled to issue its next earnings results on Monday, July 30th.

According to Zacks, analysts expect that Elevate Credit will report full-year sales of $803.08 million for the current fiscal year, with estimates ranging from $801.06 million to $805.10 million. For the next financial year, analysts expect that the firm will report sales of $930.53 million per share, with estimates ranging from $920.75 million to $940.30 million. Zacks’ sales averages are an average based on a survey of analysts that follow Elevate Credit.

Mulvaney Fires All 25 Members of CFPB Advisory Board (PJ Media) Rated: A

Mick Mulvaney, acting director of a controversial consumer finance bureau, fired an advisory board after the members criticized the new leadership for not taking their advice.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced Wednesday that the 25 current Consumer Advisory Board members will be replaced, and will be ineligible to reapply to the board, the Washington Post reports.

Eleven advisory board members held a news conference Monday calling out Mulvaney for canceling several meetings — which are required to take place under the Dodd-Frank Act which created the agency.

ALTERNATIVE USES OF THE FIXED-INCOME MARKETS (All About Alpha) Rated: AAA

The report, called “Building Resilience into Portfolios,” explains that the traditional use of fixed income in a portfolio is quite straightforward. That use generally involves a long position on debt of various sorts (sovereign, corporate, developed or emerging markets), that is relied upon to reap premiums from duration and credit risk.

But there are alternative uses of these instruments, and given the “rapid pace of change within fixed-income markets” in recent years they have become more available than ever, with the goal of securing absolute return, “steady positive returns above cash.”

These strategies include the exploitation of relative valuation differentials and/or the taking of short positions in order to profit from rising yields.

One obvious problem is that the central banks are about to start (in some jurisdictions have started) raising rates, reversing the tailwind that has benefitted the traditional use of FI in recent years.

Alternative investors in FX, though, have the flexibility to avoid such problems. They can “avoid issues, sectors, or sub-categories of assets altogether, as they see fit, investing solely in their highest conviction views.”

LendingTree Personal Loan Offers Report – May 2018 (Lending Tree) Rated: AAA

Offered APRs continue to rise for all borrowers, while lenders offer slightly lower loan amounts. Rate and loan amount offers varied widely among consumers, depending on factors including, but not limited to, credit score, income, and current debt obligations.

The most common reasons for seeking a personal loan are credit card refinancing and debt consolidation. These two categories comprise 63% of all loan inquiries.

Source: Lending Tree

Use Technology To Play The Real Estate Investment Market (Forbes) Rated: A

In Chicago, a new startup has introduced a tool that builds algorithms based on questions completed by the investor to establish the baselines. The tool then finds both on- and off-market deals that suit the preferences of the investor.

PayPal is launching a pop-up art exhibit in New York City (Tearsheet) Rated: A

PayPal wants its customers to get a tangible experience of what cash-back rewards look like, adding a physical and emotional association with the digital financial-services company.

PayPal is hosting a live walk-through pop-up exhibit in New York City on June 8 and June 9, the first time the company has hosted an experiential event of this kind. Anyone can attend the free event with music and refreshments. PayPal is the latest financial company to add realness to what many consumers see as abstract, transactional products.

Real Estate Crowdfunding Earns $ 10 Million in First Week (DS News) Rated: A

Atlanta-based real estate mogul Jay Morrison recently launched a new real estate crowdfundingprogram, and it’s finding some strong early success, having raised nearly $10 million in its first week.

The Tulsa Real Estate Fund is described as “the first African-American owned Regulation A+ Tier II crowdfund designed to revitalize urban communities across the U.S.” According to the group’s press release, the Tulsa Real Estate Fund “allows both accredited and non-accredited investors to collectively invest and own real estate projects around the country that are unique, diversified, and yield a reasonable rate of return.”

Ironhorse Funding Raises $ 30M of Capital from Crestline Investors (FinSmes) Rated: A

Ironhorse Funding, LLC, a Beverly, MA-based financing platform that provides operational and capital support for dealers and distributors in the motorcycle and powersports market, raised $30M strategic financing.

Crestline Investors made the investment through the firm’s Opportunity Fund III platform, which seeks to deploy capital where Crestline finds inefficiencies in the primary credit markets in North America and Europe.

The funding will be used to provide alternative financing solutions for consumers in the motorcycle and powersports market.

SBI HOLDINGS INC ORDINARY SHARES (OTCMKTS:SBHGF) on Focus After Report of Less Shorts (Fricisco Fastball) Rated: A

The stock of SBI HOLDINGS INC ORDINARY SHARES (OTCMKTS:SBHGF) registered a decrease of 3.53% in short interest. SBHGF’s total short interest was 3.16M shares in June as published by FINRA. Its down 3.53% from 3.28M shares, reported previously. With 11,600 shares average volume, it will take short sellers 273 days to cover their SBHGF’s short positions. The short interest to SBI HOLDINGS INC ORDINARY SHARES’s float is 1.59%.

The stock decreased 1.20% or $0.32 during the last trading session, reaching $26.41. About 3,352 shares traded. SBI Holdings, Inc. (OTCMKTS:SBHGF) has 0.00% since June 8, 2017 and is . It has underperformed by 12.57% the S&P500.

How two fintech entrepreneurs are rising from the ashes (San Francisco Business Times) Rated: A

Renaud Laplanche at Lending Club and Mike Cagney at SoFi were high-profile fintech founders, but each left under a cloud. Now they are seeking quick comebacks — and a measure of vindication.

Debt restructuring company Lendstreet receives $ 7m funding (Fintech Futures) Rated: A

US-based Lendstreet has just closed a $7 million series A equity round, led by Prudential Financial and Radicle Impact.

Prudential and Radicle join Lendstreet’s existing investors Accion, the Centre for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI), Serious Change, Crunchfund, Kapor Capital, and Cross Culture Ventures in participating in the round.

Knowledge Gap Contributing To Housing Market And Affordability Concerns, Cautiousness (PR Newswire) Rated: A

Ten years after the 2008 housing crisis, Americans eye the housing market with caution, as more than half (53%) of Americans who have or plan to buy a home admit they’re concerned about their ability to afford a home in the current market, according to a recent study of college-educated adults. The findings, release today by national online lender and FDIC-insured bank Laurel Road, also reveal that Americans on average believe a similar housing crash will occur in the next five years, and nearly one-fifth of respondents anticipate a crash in less than one year.

The survey found that women in particular are potentially underestimating affordability, as they are significantly less likely than men (49% vs. 59%) to be familiar with the alternatives.

This lack of knowledge around alternative options potentially contributes to the fact that more than one-third (35%) of respondents – and 46% of millennials – do not feel confident that they could currently afford a 20% down payment. Women (45%) feel particularly less confident than men (24%), while more than two-fifths (42%) of student loan carriers do not feel confident.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle scraps downloadable loanbook (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle has withdrawn its downloadable loanbook and stopped publishing loan performance data on a daily basis.

The peer-to-peer business lender announced on Thursday that it has launched a new statistics page which will be updated every three months.

The platform also announced that it has partnered with analytics firm AltFi Data who will provide independent verification of its quarterly loan information.

Foreign investment in UK technology firms doubles in just one year (The Telegraph) Rated: AAA

British tech businesses attracted $7.8bn of funding last year, which was almost double the amount received in 2016. Research by Dealroom and Tech Nation showed that the UK’s venture capital investment last year was higher than Germany’s total of $3.2bn and France, which brought in $2.8bn.

According to a report by EY, there was a 22pc increase in digital investment into the UK, which helped to offset a decline in investment to sectors such as a financial services and logistics, due to investor concerns over Brexit.

New SME funding hub will boost awareness of P2P (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

PEER-TO-PEER finance resources will be included in a new funding hub for high-growth businesses looking to scale up in the UK.

The state-backed development bank has partnered with 12 industry bodies to provide information on 17 types of finance, including P2P lending.

Silicon Valley CTO joins UK fintech MarketInvoice (PCR), Rated: A

Fintech start-up MarketInvoice has appointed Rija Javed as its chief technology officer (CTO) as the company looks to invest heavily into its technology. Rija Javed joins from Wealthfront, a leading Silicon Valley based start-up.

P2P fund boss Simon Champ exits Pollen Street Capital (AltFi News) Rated: B

P2P fund pioneer Simon Champ has left his role as head of the investment manager of the £735m P2P Global Investments trust, AltFi can exclusively reveal.

Champ was a founding partner of P2P Capital Solutions which later became MW Eaglewood Europe and was the driving force behind the launch of the P2P Global Investments trust (P2P GI), raising a large seed portfolio for the investment trust from respected fund managers such as Neil Woodford and Mark Barnett.

BNP Paribas Asset Management launches SME alternative lending platform, completes first UK loan (AltFi News) Rated: A

BNP Paribas Asset Management has completed its first UK loan on its new SME lending platform.

The loan, a six year senior unsecured amortising loan, was made to a specialist recruitment services company based in the West of England.

Leading the way (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

SINCE its fifteen minutes of fame back around ‘OB Day’ on 13 January, when excited media reports promised the dawn of a new era of high-tech banking, Open Banking has slipped back into the fintech background, accompanied from some quarters by accusations of having been something of a damp squib.

But such claims misunderstand the nature of the beast, says Imran Gulamhuseinwala, implementation trustee of the snappily-named Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) which develops and tests the APIs on which the  system is built.

There are a handful of peer-to-peer lending platforms already active in Open Banking, including Zopa and Lending Works.

LendInvest’s Buy to Let Product Propels Boom in Hiring as Demand Surges (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: B

Online mortgage lender LendInvest reports it is scrambling to hire new employees due to the demand of its Buy-to-Let (BTL) product. The LendInvest team has now grown to 15 people in the short period since the  BTL product was launched in November 2017.

Pike, joined the team from Fleet Mortgages.

LendInvest has also hired field-based Business Development Manager, Shane Wallace to cover the East of England. Shane brings over 10 years’ experience from Aldermore, where he was most recently employed as a Commercial Mortgage Manager.

China

Jack Ma’s Ant Financial Valued Around $ 150 Billion After Funding Round (Wall Street Journal) Rated: AAA

China’s Ant Small and Micro Financial Services Group Co. on Friday said it raised around $14 billion from domestic and global investors in one of the largest private-capital raises on record.

Standard Chartered says it will apply to operate a virtual bank in Hong Kong (SCMP), Rated: AAA

Hong Kong and London-listed Standard Chartered plans to apply for a virtual bank licence, making it the first traditional bank seeking a licence locally to operate purely online without physical branches.

European Union

The race to build Europe’s Robinhood: Invstr, Freetrade, Revolut, Dabbl and more (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

Startups across Europe are racing to try and replicate the success of Robinhood, the hot US stock trading app. San Francisco-based Robinhood offers a zero-fee trading app that has taken off with young Americans. Founded in 2013, it claims to have 4 million customers and in May hit a valuation of $5.6 billion. This success has not gone unnoticed. Fast-growing UK fintech startup Revolut on Thursday announced plans to build a commission-free stock trading platform, similar to the way Robinhood works.

Brokers are charging people as much as £5.00 ($6.70) per trade and the user interfaces are typically clunky, slow and confusing for consumers. The pain points are clear for us and the room for improvement is massive. We’ve just done some research and found 94% of millennials don’t actually invest but do want to, Ackred said. There are 16 million millennials just in the UK and 100 million more in Europe who are new to investing and have no good options to start.

International

The Center for Financial Inclusion Digs Into the Global Findex 2017 Numbers (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

Source: Lend Academy

The Center for Financial Inclusion, part of Accion, have released a follow up report digging into the Findex data and the picture is less rosy than what was highlighted in the World Bank’s initial report.

On the surface it looks like the world is making good progress towards financial inclusion with the Findex report showing that 68% of adults globally having some kind of bank account versus 61% in 2014 and 51% in 2011. That is rapid progress.

But CFI found a different story when just focusing on active accounts, those accounts that had some kind of transaction in the past 12 months. This takes the percentage down to 55% and what is worse the gap is widening between total accounts and active accounts indicating a growing number of people who open an account but never use it. This is true for both developing and high income countries but the gap is getting much wider in developing countries as shown in the graphic below.

Source: Lend Academy

SuperMoney Launches No-fee Financing Platform (DeBanked) Rated: A

At the Finovate Spring 2018 conference, CEO Miron Lulic and CFO Jesse Stockwell presented the company’s new SuperMoney No-fee Financing platform, which allows merchants to obtain point of sale financing from online lenders and banks.

The new platform allows a small business merchant, like a furniture store, to create a free profile that is co-branded with SuperMoney. With the profile, the merchant can easily see when a customer has applied for financing and follow up.

According to a Forrester Consulting study on SuperMoney’s website, businesses that offer point of sale financing enjoy an average increase in sales of 17 percent and an average increase in order value of 15 percent.

Spotting a Scamcoin: Ethconnect (Coin Clarity) Rated: B

While the term “lending platform” might sound harmless and even beneficial to society, it was never disclosed outright to whom the coins were being lent or for what exact purpose they were being lent (though they did have the courtesy to mention “volatility software” – a trading bot concept directly plagiarized from Bitconnect). They were in fact being “lent” to Ethconnect themselves. This lack of detail did not stop hundreds of people, blinded by the prospects of huge profits, from throwing thousands of dollars at the project. But also unlike Bitconnect, none of them would ever see another penny of it again.

Australia

Prospa founders admit float lost ‘vital momentum’ (Sidney Morning Herald) Rated: AAA

The co-founders of small business lender Prospa maintain the company can return to the public markets for a future float, after a last-minute regulatory query this week created “confusion” that sapped the listing of vital “momentum.”

India

Digital SME Lenders Bank On Co-Lending To Make Their Presence Felt (Bloomberg Quint), Rated: AAA

If corporate lending was the flavour of the season at the turn of the decade, then retail lending has captured the attention of financiers over the last few years. Now, it is lending to the country’s small and medium enterprises, which is attracting increased focus from both traditional and new-age financial sector entities.

Capital Float, ranked among the country’s largest digital lending platforms, disbursed Rs 1,500 crore to MSMEs in 2017-18 out of a total portfolio of Rs 2,500 crore, according to information provided by the company. The ticket size of loans ranged from Rs 50,000 given to small local businesses to Rs 8-10 lakh loaned to larger SMEs.

Latin America

Fintech Regulation Promotes Invocation In Brazil (Mondaq) Rated: AAA

Resolution no. 4.656/2.018 published by the Brazilian Central Bank on 26 April,  which regulated credit fintechs in Brazil, opens the door of the highly concentrated banking sector in Brazil, so that financial technology companies can offer products and financial services in the credit market. Today, credit fintechs already operate in the financial market, but always through a financial institution duly regulated by the Brazilian Central Bank (CB).

With this new regulation, two types of financial institutions with different business models were created. They are: the “Sociedade de Crédito Direto” (SCD) (“Direct Credit Company”), which will carry out credit operations only using its own financial resources, and the “Sociedade de Emprésimo entre Pessoas” (SEP), (Peer-to-Peer Loan Company), which will carry out credit operations only as a financial intermediary without retaining risks or using their own resources, known in the market as “peer-to-peer lending”. Both institutions, after approval by the Central Bank (CB), will be authorized to operate, only, through an electronic platform.

Asia

China’s fintech companies are exporting AI and big data to Asia’s ‘laggard’ banking markets (SCMP), Rated: AAA

Chinese fintech companies have made headway in expanding their business to Southeast Asian markets, as they increasingly find their know-how in big data and artificial intelligence being sought after by Asian financial institutions in risk management and compliance.

Online consumer finance platform Weshare, which offers consumer loans through its mobile app, says it is applying for a P2P licence from Indonesia’s central bank.

Korean web harvesting giant is ready to scrape data around the world (Korea Joongang Daily) Rated: A

We also have smaller fintech start-ups as our clients. One of them is Bomapp, an insurance service application that is designed to offer insurance advice and find redundant coverage of registered insurance. For a start-up like Bomapp, we don’t charge per piece of data because we acknowledge that start-ups lack funds. Instead, we agreed to take equity from Bomapp.

As P2P start-ups become more active, we also provide user data for them. Among our clients are Lendit and 8percent. They use the data to assess credit ratings and get information about individual asset size. They try to use the online data because the P2P companies pursue a different credit rating approach to banks. We see there is a great opportunity in the fintech industry because they are keen to venture into new businesses.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday May 3 2018, Daily News Digest

10 best states for small business lending

News Comments Today’s main news: Microloans for SMBs are becoming big business. RateSetter offers IFISA transfers. Funding Circle opens IFISA to transfers. Funding Circle SME Income Fund issues more shares. BNP Paribas Asset Management launches SME lending fund. Today’s main analysis: Lendio’s top 10 best states for small business lending. Today’s thought-provoking articles: The missing benefit in employee financial […]

10 best states for small business lending

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News Summary

United States

Microloans a glimmer of hope for small businesses in need (USA Today) Rated: AAA

The microloan market has evolved in the last five years, says Antara Dutta, a social entrepreneur and mentor with the Delaware chapter of SCORE, a volunteer network of small business advisers. Many nonprofit organizations, foundations and peer-to-peer lending networks have also entered the microloan market.

One such company is Funding Circle, a San Francisco-based lending platform that connects investors with small business owners.  “Banks have really pulled back from doing small business loans over the past decade,” says Sarina Siddhanti, Funding Circle’s U.S. Head of Commercial. “We fill that gap.”

While Funding Circle awards business loans up to $500,000, they also offer microloans to entrepreneurs who need less.

Lendio Announces Annual List of Top 10 Best States for Small Business Lending (Lendio) Rated: AAA

In honor of National Small Business Week, Lendio, the nation’s leading marketplace for small business loans, today announced its third annual list of top 10 states for small business lending, based on lending data from the Lendio platform, which matches businesses with more than 75 lenders.

Source Lendio; sba.gov

CommonBond’s Latest Study Reveals the Missing Benefit in Employee Financial Wellness (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

On Tuesday, CommonBond, an online lending platform servicing the student loan market, released the results of one of the most comprehensive employee financial wellness benefits studies to date. According to the lender, the research revealed the extent to which student debt affects employees’ financial wellness, as well as how companies are meeting, or not meeting,  the financial wellness needs of their employees.

Key findings of the study included:
  • Student debt cuts across all age groups, including parents who are taking out loans for their children: Nearly 75% of all workers have taken out loans to fund their own education, while 21 percent of workers expect to take out a loan for a child or other family member’s education in the next five years. 
  • Human resources executives prioritize benefits for employees without student debt: For employees with student debt, student loan repayment is the most-requested financial wellness benefit; however, human resources teams rank student loan repayment as their third priority. 
  • Employees do not think their benefits are as innovative as human resources executives believe: 71% of human resources executives see their benefits offering as innovative, compared with 50 percent of employees. 
  • Student loan benefits attract talent, retain employees, and improve work performance: 78% of employees with current or future student loan debt want their employer to offer this benefit, and 65% of employees over age 55 in these categories want the same.

RealtyMogul Brings Fintech Solutions To Commercial Real Estate Investment (Benzinga) Rated: A

What does your company do? What unique problem does it solve?

RealtyMogul is a unique commercial real estate private markets investing platform that provides discerning investors exclusive access to thoroughly vetted opportunities, rigorous underwriting, and high-touch customer service through licensed investment professionals. We strive to build wealth through sound principles and data insights, serving real people who want a smart alternative investing strategy.

Fannie and Freddie approve thousands of loans with no formal appraisals (The Washington Post) Rated: A

For homeowners and buyers, it’s been a windfall: relief from having to pay for a traditional mortgage appraisal that usually costs between $400 and $600. The savings nationwide to consumers in just the past year alone may total tens of millions of dollars.

Last year, the two largest sources of American mortgage financing — federally backed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — began accepting home-purchase loans that carried no formal property appraisal.

Ryan Lundquist, an appraiser in Sacramento, noted that computer programs “cannot smell 20 cats living at the property.”

Pat Turner, a Richmond appraiser, says that, worse yet, the “savings” from Fannie and Freddie may not always flow to buyers. He cited a recent case in his area where a major online lender allegedly charged a buyer $600 on a loan with an appraisal-fee waiver.

 

After ceding a key competitive advantage to fintech companies in recent years, several mass market and regional banks are testing alternative data for use in marketing, pre-screening, and underwriting consumer loan products like credit cards and personal loans, and exploring emerging use cases in fraud prevention and other areas.

While most lender decisions still use traditional sources, such as credit file data managed by the consumer reporting agencies, the potential for alternative data to transform lending is clear. Rent and utility payments, employment information, and behavioral data paint a clearer picture of a consumer’s creditworthiness and could allow lenders to reach underserved populations. In fact, alternative data has allowed Lending Club, a marketplace lender, to extend lower-priced credit to borrowers that would otherwise be classified as subprime, according to the Federal Reserve.

Inside Bank of America’s big plans for small businesses (TearSheet) Rated: A

What about branch transformation on the small business side? How is B of A marrying its physical and digital strategies?
We know in certain pockets of towns and cities you’ll have more business owners coming in and out than in others; in those centers with high traffic of business owners we add more capabilities so we’re there for them and have more people who understand small business.

What’s an example of technology you’re investing in?
Three weeks ago we launched our relationship rewards program, which is our version of the Preferred Rewards, where when you bring more to us — more deposits or lending — you get more benefits. It’s a very straightforward way to bank with us that encompasses lending, merchants and operating accounts. That’s a technology investment in itself because we have to on the back-end tie everything together and understand the full picture of the relationship; it comes from updating our products and solutions in the backend to streamlining the underwriting and fulfillment processes.

 

 

First RealFund Raises $ 500,000 of Preferred Equity for Brooklyn Property Renovation (Citizen Tribune) Rated: B

First RealFund (“FRF”) has raised $500,000 of preferred equity financing for the renovation of a 4-story brownstone in Brooklyn’s Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood.

Morgan Stanley kicks new tech strategy into gear (American Banker) Rated: B

Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman has asked Rob Rooney, the investment bank’s technology chief and leader of its international unit, to return to New York to focus solely on the tech part of his job.

“We have enormous, staggering amounts of data for risk management, [anti-money-laundering], regulatory and other purposes,” Rooney said. “The use cases here are enormous. The job in our technology organization is to make sure we build a strategy we can leverage across the firm, otherwise it’s not efficient.”

The bank is increasing its investments in innovation and cybersecurity, he said.

United Kingdom

RateSetter opens IFISA to transfers (Peer2Peer Finace) Rated: AAA

RATESETTER has opened its Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) to transfers from other providers.

RateSetter will accept full and partial transfers and there is no limit on the number of existing ISAs that can be transferred.

RateSetter introduces bonus scheme (Bridging & Commercial) Rated: B

Investors will receive a £50 bonus if they recommend the platform to a family member or friend who then invests £1,000.

The referred person can also receive a £100 bonus if they keep the £1,000 invested in RateSetter for a year.

Funding Circle opens IFISA to transfers (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle has opened its Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) to transfers, meaning that all of the ‘big three’ peer-to-peer lenders now offer this capability.

“Since last November more than £90m has been lent directly to businesses through the Funding Circle ISA, and we’re pleased to see so many of you taking advantage of the opportunity to earn attractive, stable returns tax-free,” the company said on a blog post on its website.

 

6%-yielding Funding Circle fund issues more shares (Citywire) Rated: AAA

The 6% yielding lender to small businesses, plans to sell up to 24.9 million shares it holds in treasury having bought them back when they briefly traded at a discount two years ago.

The shares are being offered to ‘qualified’ experienced investors at  102.2p, which is 2.2% less than the share price at Monday’s close and a 2%-3% premium to their net asset value.

Starling Bank partners with Samsung for mobile payments (AltFiNews) Rated: A

Announced today, digital bank Starling has partnered with Samsung to offer mobile payments method Samsung Pay to all Starling customers, creating the bank’s fourth partnership for making purchases via a mobile phone.

Starling users will now be able to make contactless payments at the point of sale using nothing but their Samsung phone, using iris, fingerprint or PIN recognition to prove their identity.

Nucleus targets start-ups with new type of loan (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

The alternative business finance provider announced the launch of Start-up Finance on Wednesday, which is tailored to help start-ups get their business off the ground.

Young companies can borrow between £25,000 and £20m, with a secured interest-only loan, over a period of up to five years.

High-cost lending provides “a socially valuable function”, says regulator boss Bailey (City A.M.) Rated: A

The boss of the UK’s top financial regulator believes access to controversial high-cost loans is an “important feature” for many Britons to fund everyday living.

Andrew Bailey, the chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority, today indicated a clampdown on the sector would not be forthcoming.

How to become an IFISA millionaire in 25 years (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: B

Figures from P2P analyst 4th Way suggest if a lender invests £10,000 each year across several platforms and aims for nine per cent interest after bad debts, they could be a millionaire within two-and-a-half decades.

Rip-off debts soar as rent-to-own, catalogue credit and doorstep lending surge after payday loan crackdown (The Telegraph) Rated: B

Debts from catalogue credit, doorstep lending and rent-to-own have all more than doubled in recent years even as regulators cracked down on payday loans.

Lenders now face a crackdown as the City watchdog wants to make sure high-cost loans are only used by borrowers who can afford the debt and are helped by it.

 

China

Niwodai Seeks Partners for Fintech-driven Expansion into Southeast Asia (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

Niwodai, one of the largest Chinese P2P lending companies, is said to be seeking a path into Southeast Asia, according to sources. The company is in frequent contact with potential partners, looking to map out a proper route to advancing their business, of which financial technology is the most powerful tool. Considering the challenges that most Chinese fintech companies have faced, proper cooperation with a local partner should be a win-win situation.

European Union

BNP Paribas Asset Management launches SME lending fund (AltFiNews) Rated: AAA

BNP Paribas Asset Management has launched a new SME lending fund for institutional investors.

The BNP Paribas Novo 2018 business loan fund follows on from its Novo 1 fund, launched in 2013. The new fund has the backing of the FF and the CDC and aims to provide new sources of financing to help French medium-sized companies expand.

BNP Paribas Novo 2018 could invest €264m over the next three years, the firm said in a statement.

German Varengold Bank Provides Credit Line to Estateguru (P2P Banking) Rated: B

Estonian property p2p lending marketplace Estateguru announced that it has secured its first institutional investor.

In March 2018, Estateguru signed the firm’s first institutional credit line to be invested in loans originated in the Baltic market with Germany based Varengold Bank AG.

International

New FIS Study Finds Larger U.S. and U.K. Banks Are Vulnerable to Losing Critical Small-Midsized Business Customers (Fintech Finance) Rated: AAA

The study found that more than 80% of surveyed SMB customers in the U.S., and 70% of SMB customers in the U.K., are satisfied with their primary banking providers. However:

  • In the U.S., SMBs report higher satisfaction with services from community banks over larger banks.
  • In the U.K., nearly one in four SMBs – most of which use larger banking providers – are planning to switch banking providers in the next 12 months
  • Common reasons cited by SMBs in both countries for switching banks are uncompetitive fees, dissatisfaction with services/products provided, outdated bank processes, or being declined for a business loan/line of credit.
  • SMBs in both countries report difficulty in obtaining reliable and accurate information from their banks, especially larger institutions, without visiting a physical bank branch.

Growing Adoption of Digital Tools

  • About 60% of SMBs in both countries have increased the number of transactions done digitally over the past year.
  • More than 40% of financial transactions were completed digitally by SMBs in both countries.
  • Acceptance of online, mobile app and person-to-person payments increased 38% over the last year for U.S. SMBs.

 

Banks are treating customers like product developers (TearSheet) Rated: A

Banks’ race to meet the customers “where they are” has taken on a new twist: customers are now product developers — not just end users.

Digital-only challenger banks like Monzo are emphasizing customer involvement to build a human connection with customers — a move others like Tandem, Revolut and Chime are also emulating. Chime, for instance, recently launched a chat feature within its mobile app that lets customers provide real-time feedback, a tool that’s used by around 50,000 users every month, according head of product Zachary Smith.

Three-year-old Monzo, which has 650,000 customers, has been active on various fronts in seeking feedback from customers on products while they’re in development — both through in-person “Testing Tuesdays” at Monzo offices and an exchange of views and polls on its online forums.

Rad Card Great HODL Survey Reveals Average Crypto User 25-34, Male (Bitcoin Exchange Guide) Rated: A

The team at Rad Card, found online at RadLending.com, just completed something called “The Great HODL Survey”.

  • The average cryptocurrency user is a male between the ages of 25 and 34
  • That person holds a bachelor’s degree
  • The average cryptocurrency users “hodls” between $1,000 and $10,000 worth of tokens, but has never used cryptocurrency for payment of goods and services
  • Crypto investors, overall, “prefer not to use their assets in real life as much as business owners”, according to the study, as well as freelancers or service providers that accept cryptocurrencies in exchange for their work, products, or services

Core features of the RAD platform include a P2P lending platform, crypto-secured lending, and a digital credit score. The company will offer its services to miners, small crypto businesses, post-ICO companies, exchanges and traders, and traditional fiat investors, all of whom can benefit from crypto-backed loans.

Fintech and the Sharing Economy (TLE) Rated: B

One of the phenomena this has supported is a surge in partnerships forged online, to provide peer to peer services.

The prediction is that the sharing economy will be worth over $335 billion by 2025. Fintech is pivotal in this, as it’s responsible for developing the accessible and efficient systems to carry out these digital “barter and buy” opportunities.

Peer to peer lending using Fintech also requires less cost to facilitate and therefore provides greater equality of opportunity.

ZPER Embeds Trustonic in New Mobile Wallet for Optimized Security (Blockchain News) Rated: B

Decentralized peer-to-peer (P2P) Lending Platform ZPER is using features from digital security semiconductor group Trustonic in its new mobile cryptocurrency wallet, claiming that it will be the most secure available.

The wallet will also be able to store and exchange multiple cryptocurrencies, thus enabling P2P cross-border value exchanges.

 

Australia/New Zealand

Online lender continues huge loan growth (Australian Broker) Rated: AAA

Neo-lender Wisr Limited saw a 42% growth in its origination of personal loans in the latest financial quarter.

This was the company’s largest quarter in loan originations since Wisr, formerly known as DirectMoney, began in 2014.

Loan originations have continued to grow over the financial year, growing by 20% in the first quarter and by 79% in the second quarter.

The FMA Makes A Guidance Note For Peer – To – Peer Lending Services & Crowdfunding Services (Mondaq) Rated: A

The Financial Markets Authority (FMA), New Zealand’s regulator for financial services, has released a guidance note to licensed peer-to-peer (P2P) lending services, licensed crowdfunding services for fair dealing in advertising and communicating offers of financial products or services.

Who is this guidance for?

  • The FMA addressed the guidance note to P2P lending services and crowdfunding services, but it is useful for anyone who is promoting or advising others about these services (i.e marketing teams, investment bankers, lawyers).
  • The fair dealing expectations stretch beyond New Zealand’s borders, so they apply to people overseas. Anyone who acts in relation to, or makes an offer of financial products or services in New Zealand should take note.
  • The guidance note is applicable to any media channel that businesses use to communicate and advertise their financial products and services (be it snail-mail or social media).

 

 

Bank names new group executive (Mortgage Business) Rated: B

Online lender ME has appointed Craig Ralston as group executive of customer banking, effective as of 1 May. He will be responsible for ME’s product and service delivery, with a focus on improving the design, simplicity and fairness of the bank’s offerings.

Mr Ralston joined ME in February 2015 as head of strategy to enhance the bank’s strategic and business planning cycle.

India

Fintech Startup OpenTap Raises ₹3 Crore from HNIs (IndianWeb2) Rated: AAA

Chennai-based OpenTap, a fintech startup focusing on the alternate lending segment, has raised about ₹3 crore funding from HNIs (high networth individuals). The capital raised will be used by the startup to strengthen its technology infrastructure and widen the reach of its financial services network across the country. The startup had earlier raised undisclosed amount in seed funding, in May 2015.

India Dealbook: MyLoanCare raise funding (Deal Steet Asia) Rated: B

Fintech startup MyLoanCare raises $975k in Series A round Online loans marketplace MyLoanCare, operated by My Finance Care Advisors Pvt. Ltd, has raised Rs 6.5 crore ($975,000) from Ncubate Capital Partners, the venture capital arm of Gurugram-based SAR Group.

Asia

Startup bags funds from Singapore ex-minister to get ultra-wealthy into crowdlending (Tech in Asia) Rated: AAA

Singapore-based Helicap is a new fintech platform that aims to bring a fund management angle in the peer-to-peer (P2P) lending space. To make this happen, it has raised US$1.5 million in seed funding.

The round was led by Teo Ser Luck, the former Minister of State for Manpower who last year decided to trade politics for the startup sector. Fintech company Nufin Data, where Teo serves as chairman, also invested.

Latin America

Neon Raises $ 22M in Series A Funding (Finsmes) Rated: AAA

Neon, a São Paulo, Brazil-based fully-digital Brazilian bank, raised $22m in Series A funding.

Propel Venture Partners, Monashees, Quona Capital, Omidyar Network, Tera, and Yellow Ventures participated in the funding round. As part of the investment agreement, Neon Pagamentos SA transferred its controlling interest to a holding company in the United Kingdom. In addition, as part of the new round, Jay Reinemann of Propel Venture Partners, and Marcelo Lima of Monashees, are joining Neon’s board of directors.

The company intends to use the funds for product expansion, investment in technology and innovation on customer experience.

Canada

On Wednesday, Lending Loop, a peer-to-peer online lending platform for small-business loans, announced a pilot project in partnership with Ontario that will provide $3-million of loans over the next two years. The government will boost Lending Loop’s loans by 10 per cent, which will help fund more than $30-million of loans to businesses across Ontario. The government will receive a full re-payment of the loan plus interest at the end of the loan terms.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Structuring Securies for the Alternative Lending Space

asset-backed securities

One of the leading asset management firms with an European origin, BNP Paribas Asset Management is a subsidiary of the parent company BNP Paribas, which is a prominent banking and financial services group in Europe. The Group BNP Paribas came into formation in the year 2000 with the merging of two institutions, namely, Banque National […]

asset-backed securities

One of the leading asset management firms with an European origin, BNP Paribas Asset Management is a subsidiary of the parent company BNP Paribas, which is a prominent banking and financial services group in Europe. The Group BNP Paribas came into formation in the year 2000 with the merging of two institutions, namely, Banque National de Paris (BNP) and French investment bank Paribas.

The structured securities division at BNP Paribas is headed by John Carey, a CFA charter holder with over two decades experience with the bank. The structured division of BNP Paribas Asset Management has grown to almost $40 billion in Assets Under Management (AUM). The division exclusively deals with institutional clients.

Commercial Mortgage-Backed & Asset Backed Securities (ABS) Are On the Rise

Jane Song, a portfolio manager at BNP Parabas specializing in short duration and structured securities, highlighted that clients are focused on augmenting their returns, especially in this low yield scenario. Thus, there is special emphasis on commercial mortgage-backed securities as well as asset-backed securities in the fixed income asset class. Residential credit is also in demand, especially the one’s having an implicit government guarantee behind the securities.
Other developments worth noting are market spreads are tightening, there is an underlying protection even during collateral deterioration, and the structuring of securities is now extremely vital. The 2009 crisis has led investors to focus on the risk evaluation of securities from all possible angles.

BNP Paribas’ Business Model

Song is also a CFA charter holder and deals in ABS and structured residential securities that are not guaranteed by the government.

The focus is on absolute returns through active portfolio management. The division is obsessed about managing risk and adding value to client portfolios. It uses multiple tools for risk assessment, and the focus is on identifying unique mortgage characteristics in a pool that will help them outperform their portfolio benchmarks.

Song also shares that post-2009 crisis, the credit card- and auto-backed deals have become standardized structurally. This helps thorough evaluation and comparison with other AAA rated products. According to Song, ABS investors follow a conservative approach; they want a regular issuer and a high level of liquidity along with wanting to see the relative value. Players like Citibank, Amex, and Capital One are amongst the largest issuers in the space.

Considering auto loans in particular, she concentrates on the pedigree and strength of the issuer. One concern she has regarding the auto market is the lengthening of the loan tenure to attract new borrowers. This increases supply in the market but also adds to the risk. As automobiles are depreciating assets, there is an incentive to walk away from a loan if the value of the asset falls below the value of the loan. This is what triggered the residential mortgage crisis, and Song is apprehensive about longer tenures. She believes consumer lending is another sector with great growth potential, although there is a headline risk associated with it and, in the case of unsecured loans, there’s no potential for recovery.

What Makes the Group Stand Out

BNP Paribas stands out for its global investment and asset management expertise owing to its worldwide presence. The core team has been together for over 10 years now and have been through several ups and downs in this business together including a 2009 financial crisis. They have an in-house team to analyze risk exposure and manage volatility.

The division has an institutional client base and deals largely with corporates, fund managers, pension funds, and central banks. Clients are mostly conservative and look for higher returns while focusing on asset-backed securities and government-guaranteed residential credit guaranteed.

Alternative Lending is the Future of Asset-Backed Securities

The division is not currently very active in the alternative lending market, though Jane believes the space is attractive for investors due to the spreads available. Players like SoFi are disciplined and have been able to integrate proper risk controls. A concern is that companies looking to grow aggressively might climb lower into credit quality thus increasing risk. Another issue is that as soon as the economy enters a recession, personal loans are the first to default. Moreover, there is no underlying collateral to be recovered.

BNP Paribas continuously endeavors to broaden its product base for return augmentation and to diversify its overall portfolio. Its managers are continually looking at the alternative lending space due to the attractive yields available. But there is a learning curve and the managers will only concentrate on established fintech lenders with a solid performance history.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Tuesday November 21 2017, Daily News Digest

Purchase APR LendingTree

News Comments Today’s main news: Experian buys, integrates Clarity Services. Think Finance files for bankruptcy. PayPal offers robo-investing. Assetz Capital achieves 1.5M GBP funding through Seedrs. Elevate launches industry research repository. Nav Athwal steps down as CEO of RealtyShares. Ping An Insurance prepares for Lufax IPO. TransferWise doubles revenue. Today’s main analysis: LendingTree releases monthly mortgage offer report. Today’s thought-provoking articles: The […]

Purchase APR LendingTree

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

Australia/New Zealand

India

MENA

News Summary

United States

Integration of Clarity Services Inc by Experian (Experian Email), Rated: A

Dear Clarity Services Inc Supplier:

As a supplier to Clarity Services Inc, we are writing to formally notify you that as of October 6, 2017, Clarity Services Inc has been purchased by Experian Holdings, Inc.

Effective January 1, 2018, purchases and invoice payments will be processed by Experian’s centralized Procurement and Accounting departments.

Source: Experian

Think Finance Files for Chapter 11 (U.S. Bankruptcy Court), Rated: AAA

Read the court brief here.

PayPal in robo-investing venture (The Australian), Rated: AAA

The payments company was connecting its website and smartphone apps with those of Acorns Grow, a five-year-old automated savings and investment service, the two companies said on Monday.

PayPal users would be able to use their accounts to make contributions to Acorns and would be able to monitor and manage their Acorns investments from the PayPal app, said Joanna Lambert, the company’s vice-president of consumer financial services.

PayPal is rolling out the Acorns offerings in phases, with the first batch of users getting access on Monday and all US users by early 2018.

Elevate’s Center for the New Middle Class Launches Industry Research Repository (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

The Center for the New Middle Class, a research-focused body developed by Elevate to engage and educate the public about the growing needs of individuals who do not have access to traditional credit options, today announced it has launched an industry research repository for researchers, reporters, policy makers and the general public. Known as the Resource Database, it is a curated collection of the best research on non-prime Americans and their challenges, attitudes, and needs.

In addition to containing external research and editorial content from sources such as Pew, the National Bureau of Economic Research and “The Atlantic,” the database will house research and commentary from the Center for the New Middle Class regarding economic conditions that affect America’s New Middle Class.

By visiting the database here users can search for entries, filter the results, and see the full bibliographic reference of information provided.

The Cleveland Fed Retracts Their Report on “P2P Lending” (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

The shame of all this is that all the sensational headlines have already been written and confirmed in many people’s minds the supposed shady nature of our industry. It would have been far better for everyone if the authors of this report had done their homework and produced a thoroughly researched report in the first place.

As Todd Baker pointed out, “we really should know which online lenders are adding to consumer financial health and which ones are detracting from it.”

Why The Cleveland Fed Pulled Their Online Lending Study (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

“[These borrowers] are not underbanked, they’re sort of overbanked,” observed Yuliya Demyanyk, a Cleveland Fed economist and co-author of the report. “Defaults on [marketplace] loans have been increasing at an alarming rate, resembling pre-2007 crisis increases in sub-prime mortgage defaults, where loans of each vintage perform worse than those of prior origination years.”

The authors of the Nov. 9 report “have received several questions about the composition of the underlying data set they used in their analysis,” the Cleveland Fed said on its website, and are “revising their paper to further clarify the data sample they used” and will post the new version as soon as it’s ready.

So, what happened?

One theory is that they may have stretched the definition of online lending so far as to make an accurate and credible apples-to-apples comparison implausible.

Karen Webster spoke with Lending Club’s head of government relations, Richard Neiman, to get a better sense of the source of discrepancy, since even Googling the definition of marketplace loan, Webster commented, might have saved the Cleveland Fed economists a lot of grief.

“The industry is so big now,” Neiman said, “that it is not easy for policymakers to fully understand the divergences between different platforms, the different products, the different modeling and the differences in levels of transparency that are now defined as online lending.”

LendingTree Releases Monthly Mortgage Offer Report for October (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

LendingTree, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, today released its first monthly Mortgage Offers Report which analyzes data from actual loan terms offered to borrowers on LendingTree.com by lenders on LendingTree’s network.

  • October’s best loan offers for borrowers with the best profiles had an average APR of 3.75% for purchase and 3.70% for refinance, on conforming 30-year loans.
  • For the average borrower, purchase APRs for conforming 30-yr fixed loans offered on LendingTree’s platform were down 3 bps month over month, to 4.31%, the lowest since November 2016. In contrast, the loan note rate of 4.18% was up 7 bps to the highest since July.
  • Consumers with the highest credit scores (760+) saw an average APR offer of 4.18% vs 4.44% for consumers with scores of 680-719. The APR spread of 22 bps between these score ranges was 1 bps lower than in September. The spread represents nearly $12,600 in additional costs for borrowers with lower credit scores over 30-years for the average purchase loan amount of $228,730. Additional costs are due to higher interest rates, larger fees or a combination of the two.
  • Refinance APRs for conforming 30-yr fixed loans were up 10 bps to 4.26%. The credit score bracket spread widened to 16bps from 15 bps, nearly $7,500 in extra costs over the life of the loan for lower credit score borrowers given an average refinance loan of $235,844.
  • The average proposed down payment for purchase mortgages have been rising for 7 months and reached $59,680 in October.
  • Average monthly payments were little changed at just over $1,100 for both purchase and refinance. The credit score bucket spread was $241 for purchase and just $77 for refinance.
Source: Business Insider
Source: Business Insider

Inflation and Counterfeit Credit (GoldSeek), Rated: AAA

Let’s take a look at an often-repeated idea that is popular in the gold and alternative investing communities. The government possesses a printing press. Therefore, it will never default. It will just inflate its way out of the debt. It will devalue the dollar.

The government does not set the value of the dollar. And it has no mechanism to set it. So, logically, it has no mechanism to reset it. It cannot devalue it. In the same way, you cannot lower yourself down by your bootstraps since you are not lifting yourself up by them in the first place.

We must emphatically state that the government does not print. It borrows. Congress does not have a printing press, to create greenbacks. It has a Treasury that can sell bonds to cover whatever payments the government is obligated to make that it has not got tax revenues for. Over the past year, for example, the government increased its debt by over 630 billion dollars.

Like any bank, the Fed borrows to fund its purchases of interest-paying assets. It earns a spread between what it pays (currently about 1.25%) and what its asset portfolio pays (over 2%). The commercial banks currently deposit over $2.1 trillion in excess reserves, and the Fed’s total liabilities are over $4.4 trillion including Federal Reserve Notes (on which the Fed pays zero). Unlike any commercial bank, there is a law that obligates us to treat the Fed’s liabilities as if they were money.

We are working on the problem that all borrowing and lending uses the dollar. We offer gold financing, simplified and a yield on gold, paid in gold.

Source: GoldSeek

Right now speculative mania is occurring in crypto currencies so that may (but not necessarily, beware correlation!) shunt such capital flows away from gold. As to default risk, there are signs of rising stress in high yield credit markets, but it’s early yet.

Nav Athwal Exits CEO Role at RealtyShares (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Nav Athwal, one of the more prominent founders in the real estate crowdfunding space, has announced his decision to step down from the CEO role at RealtyShares, a platform he founded four years ago.

Ed Forst, RealtyShares Board Member and former CEO of Cushman and Wakefield, has been selected as the interim CEO while the company searches for a permanent replacement.

Crowdfund Insider spoke to Athwal regarding his decision to change his leadership role at RealtyShares and he explained he would continue to be engaged with the company;

“RealtyShares is in the strongest position it’s ever been in. The company is moving from the build phase to the scale phase of its lifecycle. To best position RealtyShares for the future, I made the decision to transition out of my role as CEO to a new role on the Board of Directors. I asked Ed Forst to take on the role of interim CEO, while we look for a permanent CEO who will fit the culture and profile we’re seeking. I am still very much a part of RealtyShares and will be actively involved in strategic decision-making. I am looking forward to supporting the company in this new capacity and getting back into principal real estate investing and agribusiness. As I begin to work on additional projects, I will be sure to let you know.”

Leading RealtyShares Into Its Next Chapter (RealtyShares), Rated: A

I started RealtyShares four years ago with the idea of creating a company that would make real estate more accessible, efficient, and transparent. RealtyShares has come a long way since those early days in my living room. It is now a 100-person operation and the leading platform for online real estate investing and capital formation.

My primary focus has always been to best position RealtyShares for future success. RealtyShares is now at an inflection point. I will remain on the Board of Directors supporting the company as it continues on its journey to build a global marketplace for real estate investing.

Kabbage Releases Research: On Building Successful Small Businesses (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Kabbage Inc., a global financial services, tech and data platform serving small businesses, released new data reporting on the similarities that connect all small business owners (SBOs), including personal sacrifices, professional challenges and growth expectations. Featuring responses from 400 SBOs, the data shows more than 67 percent expect to increase revenues by the end of 2017, with more than half anticipating an increase of 10 percent or higher.

In partnership with Bredin, a leading small-business market research firm, Kabbage polled small business owners across industries, including retail, education, manufacturing, food and beverage, healthcare, automotive, energy and finance.

RealtyMogul Tops $ 300 Million in Real Estate Funding (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

RealtyMogul has topped $300 million in total deal flow.

RealtyMogul has garnered over 140,000 investors, received over $300 million invested into deals presented on its platform and returned $65 million to its investors since its inception in 2012.

RealtyMogul Wins Gold in 2017 Stevie Awards for Women in Business (BusinessWire), Rated: A

RealtyMogul has been awarded the Gold Stevie Award in the Consumer Services category during the 14th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business.

The Stevie Awards for Women in Business are the world’s top honors for female entrepreneurs, executives, employees and the organizations they run. All individuals and organizations worldwide are eligible to submit nominations – public and private, for-profit and non-profit, large and small. The 2017 awards received entries from 25 nations and territories.

The Postal Banking Solution (Jacobin Magazine), Rated: A

Fewer than two thousand people live in Bluff, but any one of them can walk into the post office and cash a check or apply for a loan.

Meanwhile, the United States is riddled with what are called banking deserts — inhabited areas, many of them urban, where residents have no access to a bank.

One in four US households is unbanked or underbanked, meaning they’re fully or partially boxed out of traditional financial services. Those 68 million people represent a growing market for payday loan sharks, and spend an average of 10 percent of their yearly income on the high interest and fees that go with alternative financial services — roughly the same proportion they spend on food.

But there’s a collective solution to the banking desert: we could set up a public postal banking system like New Zealand’s.

Fighting the fees: robo-advisers win followers, if only for lower costs (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette), Rated: A

But one day last year Mr. Hansen was complaining to his mother, an avid investor, about the high fees he was paying on his investment account. She suggested he look into an online investment company called Betterment that markets itself as a low-fee alternative to traditional financial advisers.

Some of the most popular robo-advisers — such as Betterment, Wealthfront and Charles Schwab’s Intelligent Portfolio — use exchange-traded funds to keep costs low. Betterment charges an annual fee of 0.25 percent of the account value. Wealthfront charges no fee for accounts $10,000 or less. Schwab’s robo-advising platform limits its fees to the operating expenses included in the ETF, which range between 0.07 percent and 0.21 percent of the fund balance.

Citizens Bank, a Providence, R.I.-based bank that claims the third-largest deposit market share in the Pittsburgh region, introduced a new digital investment and advisory platform on its online banking home page in September.

A July report by S&P Global Market Intelligence predicts that digital advice assets will grow from $98 billion at the end of 2016 to $460 billion at the end of 2021.

InterNex Capital Launches “Velocity” (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Digital asset-based lender, InterNex Capital (“InterNex”) is pleased to announce their Velocity platform for small and medium-sized businesses. Velocity provides borrowers on demand liquidity through the InterNex Line of Credit and delivers real-time access for working capital management. Velocity empowers accelerated growth and powerful analytics, traditionally only available to large enterprises.

Wells Fargo adds overdraft protection with Rewind (Bankrate), Rated: B

On Nov, 14th, Wells Fargo announced Overdraft Rewind, a new feature to help customers avoid fees for overdrawing their checking accounts right before payday, when overdrafts most commonly occur.

Going forward, the bank will not charge overdraft or insufficient funds fees if a direct deposit large enough to cover those charges is received by 9 a.m. local time the day after the account goes negative.

You don’t need to opt in; if you have a Wells Fargo account, you’re covered by default.

Fintech seeks to ‘democratize data’ with Nasdaq’s help (American Banker), Rated: A

The fintech startup Intrinio has partnered with Nasdaq to include the exchange’s real-time data feeds in its financial data marketplace.

Global Debt Registry Unveils Collateral Pledge Blockchain Proof of Concept (Global Debt Registry), Rated: A

Global Debt Registry (GDR), the asset certainty company, today announced it has developed a collateral pledge registry, the first of its kind in the structured credit space, using Hyperledger Fabric, one of the Hyperledger blockchain framework implementations hosted by The Linux Foundation.

Midwest is on the rise in attracting tech investors’ interest (Crain’s Cleveland Business), Rated: A

Among those quoted in the story is Mark Kvamme, a top venture capitalist in Silicon Valley who now heads Columbus-based Drive Capital. The firm has raised $550 million and invested in 26 companies, betting, The Timessays, that “the middle of America amounts to an undervalued asset, rich in markets, new business ideas and budding entrepreneurs.”

Even so, three-quarters of all venture capital invested in America goes to California, New York and Massachusetts, the National Venture Capital Association estimates, and Ohio gets less than 1%.

Getting Help with Credit Card Debt (Business Insider), Rated: A

For the many Americans who face unmanageable credit card debt, it’s time to get their financial lives in order, says Andrew Housser, co-founder and CEO of Freedom Debt Relief– and if they need outside help, time to know how to find the right firm.

People looking for a trustworthy debt relief organization to help win the battle against debt can ask Housser’s seven questions:

  1. Does the company provide actual consultations and free advice to consumers?
  2. Does the company provide educational material, including budgeting and financial advice, free of charge?
  3. What is the background of the firm’s management team?
  4. How long has the company been in business?
  5. Request and review the company’s dropout and completion rates.
  6. What are the fees, and how will the firm assess them?
  7. How will the company help with creditor calls?

Atomist is formally launching with the Developer Automation Platform, an open source client and API. The new Development Automation Platform is designed to bring automation into the development and delivery process so that developers can focus on more important tasks.

Companies such as NVIDIA, Pivotal, Kyyti Group, Marlette Funding and Barclays Africa use Atomist for automation.

Mphasis’ top trends in Cognitive Intelligence in 2018 (CIO), Rated: B

  1. Smart environments with Pervasive Human and Machine Networks
  2. Predictive Analytics driven Customer 360
  3. Artificial Intelligence driven Multi-structured analytics – Cognitive Intelligence can enable insurance companies in analysing contact centre as well as chat data interactions in real time to predict propensity for fraud based on voice, video and text analysis and correlating the same with other similar fraudulent customer behaviors. The long term objective in such scenarios is to build machine learning based intelligent systems which learn on an ongoing basis based on historical pattern based analysis of billions of user and machine data points and predicts events.
  4. Immersive Multi-modal User Experiences
United Kingdom

Assetz Capital Achieves £1.5 Million Through Latest Seedrs Funding Round (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Less than a month after launching its latest equity crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs, peer-to-peer lending platform Assetz Capital has successfully secured £1.5 million from more than 700 investors. The online lender took to the funding portal to raise £1 million for expansion.

Banking bots advise NatWest customers on investments (ITPro), Rated: AAA

NatWest has launched a chatbot that allows customers to seek financial advice from the comfort of their sofa.

The bot will determine the best way for customers to invest their money by asking questions such as what they want to achieve from investments, their current financial situation, what they can afford, their debts and other personal information, plus their attitude to risk.

It will then suggest ISA products they could consider for investment, plus how much they should consider investing and the most effective way to use their ISA allowance.

Monzo plans crowdfunding push to deepen ties with customers (Financial Times), Rated: A

Banking app Monzo is planning to launch one of the UK’s largest crowdfunding efforts next year to give customers in the fast-growing bank what it calls “a greater share of ownership”.

Tom Blomfield, chief executive, said the start-up, which raised £71m in a private equity fundraising earlier this month, intends to make a further cash call of between £10m and £30m in 2018.

However, the main driver of the crowdfunding push would be “to enable the customer base to own part of the bank”, Mr Blomfield said, adding that crowdfunding created a “genuine sense of ownership”.

Payday loan firm used £1.2m pension liberation scheme to pay debts (Citywire), Rated: A

Three directors of an insolvent payday loan firm which received cash from pension liberation schemes have been disqualified.

Speed-e-Loans.com (SEL), used £1.2 million from private investors via the schemes to meet its existing debts.

Directors Philip Miller, Robert Alan Davies and Daniel Jonathan Miller have been banned from acting as directors for nine, six and five years respectively for breaching fiduciary duties and the duties of care, skill and diligence.

China

Ping An Insurance Preparing For IPO Of Online Financing Platform Lufax (Asian Review), Rated: AAA

Ping An Insurance Group is working towards an initial public offering for its peer-to-peer online financing platform Lufax Holding, the Chinese insurer’s chief operating officer said on Monday.

She didn’t provide a timeline or size for the planned public offering. The company was valued at $18.5 billion after a round of fundraising last year.

Ping An Insurance sells tech, lightens assets to aid returns (Asian Review), Rated: A

Ping An Insurance Group will go light on assets and target technology exports as its next mainstay, China’s leading financial conglomerate said Monday.

European Union

TransferWise reports doubled revenue for last fiscal year (AltFi), Rated: AAA

The London-based firm’s annual revenue has grown by 140 per cent since last year, coming in at £67m this year compared to £28m in 2016. Its audited results show an adjusted operating profit of £2m, and an overall profit for the fiscal year of £7.4m.

As a result, TransferWise’s operating loss has decreased from £17m in 2016 to £56,000 in 2017.

Swiss Platform Launches ICO Engine to Host Start-ups (TheStreet), Rated: A

Switzerland headquartered Eidoo has today officially launched a initial coin offering (ICO)engine that allows companies and startups to host ICOs through the Eidoo mobile app.

According to data provider Coinschedule, $3.3 billion has been raised in more than 200 ICOsover the past 12 months alone and the popularity of this innovative ICO form of crowdfunding shows no signs of relenting.

BNP Paribas buys 10% stake in SME credit specialist Caple (AltFi), Rated: A

Through the alliance and a 10 per cent stake in Caple, BNP Paribas Asset Management (BNPP AM) is establishing a new platform to offer alternative credit to European SMEs.

Australia/New Zealand

CEO Jeff Greenslade details why Heartland Bank is moving aggressively into digital banking (Interest), Rated: AAA

Greenslade also reiterated Heartland’s forecast for June 2018 year net profit after tax of between $65 million and $68 million, an increase of up to 12% from $60.8 million in the June 2017 year.

“While some understandably lament the decline of branch banking, the bricks and mortar approach is not something we can compete in and is showing signs of obsolescence,” said Greenslade.

He pointed to Heartland’s digital services offering livestock finance, personal loans, SME working capital finance and deposits, noting “significant opportunity” to build on these.

Heartland has just six branches in Takapuna on Auckland’s North Shore, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington, Riccarton in Christchurch, and Ashburton.

India

Lower interest rates for borrowers in offing? Read where things stand (Financial Express), Rated: A

The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) guidelines for peer-to-peer (P2P) lending will attract more people to these platforms and help bring down the interest rates for borrowers, Bhavin Patel, founder and CEO of LenDen Club, told Shritama Bose. Players in the segment have sought the regulator’s clarifications on the permissibility of institutional lenders on P2P platforms, he added.

Will the RBI guidelines have an impact on the lending rates?

In the current scenario, the P2P lending market is a minuscule percentage of the huge lending market in India. But, due to the sentimental impact of the regulation, many more lenders may take to P2P lending, resulting in higher liquidity on such platforms. This will eventually lead to reduction of the interest rates offered to borrowers in this segment.

How Fintech is Shaping Up the Future of Financial Services (Dekh News), Rated: A

Traditional banking institutions have changed very little in the last hundred years. Most offer online banking and mobile apps these days, but behind the scenes, very little has changed.

In total, $49.7 billion was invested in fintech between 2012-16, which indicates just how important fintech is.

Fintech innovators are more cost-effective than traditional lenders. Their technology and business models are low cost. A traditional lender may have operating costs of around 7% compared to an online lender whose operating costs are as low as 2%.

A staggering 38% of customers no longer visit banks. The rise of online banks has proven that traditional bank branches are not essential. Online lenders such as Atom have become firmly embedded in the banking ecosystem.

MENA

A tale of how two cities thrive in FinTech world (Khaleej Times), Rated: A

Two cities thrive in this new world. Singapore and Abu Dhabi. Long before renewable energy was pervasive, Abu Dhabi had established Masdar. It has brought in the magic of the Louvre from Paris. Singapore has consistently been ahead of the curve of change. The world’s largest vertical botanical garden paves the way for urban farming. The Marina Reservoir is a masterpiece of engineering and vision that turned an inlet of the sea into a strategically critical freshwater resource for the “Little Red Dot”.

Recently, the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) held its inaugural FinTech Abu Dhabi Summit.

Two major announcements were made at the event. The first was the launch of the ADGM FinTech Innovation Centre by the first half of 2018.

The second was about a collaboration. ADGM and Plug and Play, the world’s largest startup accelerator based in Silicon Valley, signed a new partnership to launch a startup acceleration programme in Abu Dhabi, focused on FinTech. The programme, first of its kind in the Mena region, will be housed within the ADGM FinTech Innovation Centre. The partnership was signed by Ahmed Al Sayegh, chairman of ADGM, and Saeed Amidi, CEO, Plug and Play. Some of Plug and Play’s success stories include Google, Paypal, Dropbox and Lending Club.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday September 11 2017, Daily News Digest

Zopa trailing 12-month net return

News Comments Today’s main news: Equifax cybersecurity breach. Goldman to take on UK retail banks. China cracks down on online lenders, cryptocurrency dealers. Klarna is testing credit cards with employeees. Today’s main analysis: CECL overview. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Consumers who go to Equifax for help after data breach may not be able to sue. The data behind Zopa’s lowered return […]

Zopa trailing 12-month net return

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

APAC

News Summary

United States

Equifax Cyber Incident (Equifax Email), Rated: AAA

At Equifax, we recognize that consumers and customers expect us to provide superior data security, and we work hard to do that every day. Unfortunately, on September 7th, 2017, we announced a cybersecurity incident involving consumer information.  This cybersecurity incident strikes at the heart of who we are and what we do.  Above all else, our first priority is to support consumers and you, our customers, by doing what we can to make this right.

What happened?

On July 29, 2017, Equifax identified a cybersecurity incident potentially impacting approximately 143 million U.S. consumers. Criminals exploited a U.S. website application vulnerability to gain access to certain files. Equifax discovered the unauthorized access and acted immediately to stop the intrusion. We promptly engaged a leading, independent cybersecurity firm that has been conducting a comprehensive forensic review to determine the scope of the intrusion, including the specific data impacted. We also reported the criminal access to law enforcement and continue to work with authorities.

What information may be impacted?

The information accessed primarily includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. Criminals also accessed credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 U.S. consumers, and certain dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 U.S. consumers.

Additional Information:

We have found no evidence of unauthorized activity on Equifax’s core consumer or commercial credit reporting databases.  In addition, we have found no evidence that this cybersecurity incident impacted Equifax’s core consumer or commercial credit reporting databases, including,  ACRO, Workforce Solutions, including The Work Number payroll data, NCTUE, IXI and  CFN.

Where can I learn more?

We have set up a dedicated website at www.equifaxsecurity2017.com:

  • To see if you are potentially impacted, you can click on the Potential Impact Tab
  • To enroll in complimentary identity theft protection and credit file monitoring services and how to find out if your personal information may have been impacted, you can click on the Enroll Tab.
  • To learn more about the complimentary offering, you can click on TrustedID Premier Tab. TrustedID Premier provides you with copies of your Equifax credit report; the ability to lock your Equifax credit report; 3-Bureau credit monitoring of your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit reports; Internet scanning for your Social Security number; and identity theft insurance.

To speak to someone directly, we have also established a call center at 866-447-7559, available every day (including weekends) from 7 a.m. – 1 a.m. EST, for individuals to ask questions.

Consumers Who Go to Equifax for Help After Data Breach May Lose Their Right to Sue (Money), Rated: AAA

On Thursday credit bureau Equifax said a data breach put personal information of 143 million people at risk. Now its response is drawing more outrage, as lawmakers and others accuse it of encouraging consumers who come to it seeking answers to sign away their chance to seek recourse in the courts.

Following the breach, which compromised tens of millions of Social Security numbers and other valuable data, Equifax set up a website to help worried consumers determine whether or not their information was at risk. That website encouraged visitors to sign up for a program known as TrustedID Premier, the company’s credit monitoring service, which provides automated alerts to credit changes and up to $1 million in ID theft insurance. That’s where the trouble began.

TrustedID’s terms of service include an arbitration clause, insisting that customers agree “all claims, disputes, or controversies…shall be finally settled by arbitration” rather than a court of law. Such clauses aren’t unusual for credit monitoring services — or indeed many other consumer products. But in this circumstance, it created the impression that Equifax was asking consumers it had harmed to surrender their legal rights — including becoming part of a class-action law suit — before it would agree to help them.

One key legal avenue that arbitration clauses typically close off for consumers is the class-action lawsuit. That could be significant for Equifax — at least on one proposed class-action lawsuit was already filed against the company late Thursday, according to Bloomberg.

Equifax free credit monitoring service has some concerned (News Channel 6 Now), Rated: A

The 143 million Americans whose information was compromised by the Equifax data breach may still be on edge even with the free credit monitoring service being offered by the company.

Everything from names, addresses, social security numbers and credit card numbers were hacked in the Equifax data breach.

Kuehner said right now the company is sending out letters letting people know if they have been potentially affected. They can also check online at equifaxsecurity2017.com.

However, it is not only the breach that has consumers concerned, it is the company’s response.

“We’re taking unprecedent step of offering every U.S consumer in the country a comprehensive package of identity theft protection, ecredit file monitoring at no cost,” said Rick Smith, Equifax Chairman, and CEO, in a statement released online.

CECL Overview (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

This past Wednesday, FASB released an update to the current expected credit losses methodology (CECL) for estimating credit loss allowances. This new accounting standard, which was initially published in June 2016 (in conjunction with regulators such as the FDIC, OCC, and NCUA), will apply to financial assets carried at amortized cost, including loans held for investment and held-to-maturity debt. Once in place, these assets must be held on the balance sheet net of an expected loss account. Changes are effective for fiscal years beginning after Dec 15, 2019, for all for-profit companies that file with the SEC.

Once firms adopt CECL, management will have increased discretion around forecasts and ultimately net asset carrying value. This represents a dichotomy for investors. Assets should be carried at more accurate levels and better reflect the organization’s financial position. However, management estimates will significantly affect the balance sheet and income statement.

The major change with the CECL methodology is that organizations are expected to include forward looking information when determining credit losses. Banks will need to calculate expected credit loss at the loan level for the entire life of the loan and then aggregate with similar instruments.

Since ECL is calculated for the life of the financial asset, rather than the annual rate, almost all held-to-maturity instruments that are not risk-free will have a credit loss allowance. These long-dated assets may appear more volatile than financial statement users are accustomed to because their impairment has large implications for the balance sheet and income statement. Under the new regulation it will be more important to have correct, auditable, and explainable expected credit losses.

Source: PeerIQ, FASB, FDIC

Overall, we applaud the coming changes to US GAAP and expect investors to respond favorably.

Square Becoming a Bank Is Brilliant. Here’s Why (Inc.), Rated: A

However, there is much more to this story. In fact, this strategic decision could be one of the best moves the company has made. Square’s decision could start a revolution and revamp the entire financial institution structure to address the changes in the transaction and lending environment.

Square essentially is proving how the traditional bank is no longer necessary. By becoming their own bank, they do not have to seek out a separate institution as a strategic partner. They don’t have to add specific business banking services to their portfolio.

Although the banking sector has tried, most banks still have too many fees and capital requirements to provide business accounts with their needs. Numerous freelancers or startups just can’t satisfy those requirements because banks are still designed with the larger business in mind.

More small businesses need smaller sized loans to tap into for their launches and expansion. Recognizing how peer-to-peer lending has grown together as an entire industry illustrates how ripe the financial industry is for more competition. Peer-to-peer lending is more personal, with a much needed boost to the financial sector in watching to find new ways to provide the much-needed financial support of smaller entities and businesses.

With these products, it makes sense that the company could become a one-stop shop for financial needs. To become a one-stop service requires obtaining a bank charter, which is what the company has now applied for under the moniker, Square Financial Services Inc.

King of fintech defined by optimism (San Francisco Business Times/Ron Suber Email), Rated: A

Source: San Francisco Business Times

PeerStreet – Real Estate Investing for Rich Millennials (Nanalyze), Rated: A

While your average American doesn’t have much in the way of savings, the younger “millennial generation” is actually saving at a higher rate than any other generation. More than 80% of those “investment professionals” will then go on to underperform the market and get paid anyway.

If all of this sounds too daunting already and you want the easy way out, use Betterment.

Founded in 2013, Los Angeles startup PeerStreet has taken in just over $21 million in funding from investors that include Andreessen Horowitz to build “a marketplace that provides unprecedented access to high quality real estate loan investments“. Before you start getting too excited, take note that you’re going to need some cash to bring to the table. PeerStreet shows you some dropdown boxes when you create your account and unless you choose the one that says you make $300,000 a year or the one that says you have $1 million in assets, you’re not going to be allowed in. Those of you who were smart enough to major in a STEM subject are more likely to be squared away here while those of you who majored in underwater basket weaving should probably just stop reading right now.

Right away we can see that this is a property that is out of reach for the majority of Americans with a hefty $3.78 million price tag.

This means that the amount of money we could get from selling our property falls to around $3 million which still makes it very easy to pay off a $2 million loan. In fact, the only point we would start to worry is if property prices fell more than -53% over an 18-month period. This would represent a “black swan” type of event which has a very low probability of occurring. Of course there’s always the risk of PeerStreet going under but then you still have the property as collateral for the loan and you are first in line to receive payback should their property portfolio be liquidated. For providing everyone with this great service, PeerStreet takes a reasonable .75% fee which is paid each month alongside the interest payments.

The first thing to note here is that the price of entry is an extremely attractive $1,000. You’d be joining the 295 other investors who have already plunked down an average amount of $6,169 which brings the loan up to 91% funded. If you then went out and found 9 other properties to invest in, you’d have a nice little diversified portfolio of 10 various property investments that are transparent and relatively simple to understand (provided you took the time to understand the risks as we have done with this example), all for just $10,000.

Source: Nanalyze

Lend360: Fintech is No longer a Boutique Financing Option, but a Key Component of Lending Market (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The early days of peer to peer lending have morphed into a far more complex and data driven credit service that is competing against not just innovative Fintech startups but traditional lenders seeking to maintain relevance. Crowdfund Insider recently asked Lend360 organizers a few questions on their perspective of the online lending industry and what has changed – and what they expect going forward.

What has changed in the lending environment in the past 12 months?

The biggest change is that Fintech is no longer just viewed as a boutique financing option, but a key component of today’s lending market. For proof of this change one only needs to look at the push for a national Fintech charter.

Where do you see current opportunities?

As long as there is a demand for credit, there will be an opportunity for Fintechs to step up and fill the void.

 

Unexpected expenses hit non-prime Boomers hard (Banking Exchange), Rated: A

New research, “The unGolden Years: Non-prime Baby Boomers,” from the Elevate Center for the New Middle Class indicates that non-prime Boomers are borrowing against their 401k accounts three times as frequently as prime Boomers do. The survey found that 4% of prime Boomers have 401k loans, while 13% of non-prime Boomers have borrowed against these retirement plans.

Less than half—43%—of the non-prime Boomers in the company’s research feel comfortable with their ability to manage their day-to-day finances, let alone prepare for retirement. Not that prime Boomers all feel confident, either, with 76% saying they can manage daily financial needs.

Elevate’s study, based on a survey of over 1,000 prime and nonprime consumers, found that non-prime Boomers are 14 times as likely as prime Boomers to have difficulty predicting monthly income—and 4 in 10 say they live paycheck to paycheck. They also tend to have difficulty predicting monthly expenses and are therefore more likely to experience unexpected expenses, the research says.

Among non-prime boomers, 7 in 10 run out of money at least once a year, in spite of generally decent employment levels—frequently, in fact, with more than one job apiece.

The study asked respondents how they would meet an emergency need for $1,200. Among the non-prime Boomer respondents, nearly half had difficulty coming up with a source of funds—1 in 8 could think of no solution at all.

  • 22% of non-prime Boomers could cover the $1,200 surprise through savings—about half of the portion of prime Boomers who could do so.
  • 22% said they could use a credit card to cover the surprise, but less than a third said they could pay off that borrowing before it began to accrue interest.
  • 11% said they could tap family or friends for the money. Interestingly, only 2% of prime Boomers would go that way.
  • A small portion—4.4%—of non-prime Boomers would use payday lenders, deposit advances, or overdraft programs. Interestingly, in a separate question, 13% of non-prime Boomers said they’d used a payday loan in the previous 12 months.

HedgeCoVest Rebrands, Pivots Toward a TAMP (Wealth Management), Rated: A

HedgeCoVest is pivoting away from being a platform to help investors access hedge funds in favor of being a turnkey asset management platform. To reflect the change, the company is rebranding as SmartX Advisory Solutions.

And as part of the change, SmartX is bringing on 27 new investment strategies from firms like Blackrock, Morningstar Investment Management and Nasdaq Dorsey Wright. The models will cover strategies including ETFs, income portfolios, international equities, global/macro investing and U.S. equity strategies.

RIA in a Box Introduces Trade Monitoring

The technology company has a new employee trade-monitoring tool for its MyRIACompliance software platform that RIA in a Box says will help firms comply with Rule 204A-11, which requires the submission of securities holdings and transaction reports. The new tool digitizes the process, provides an interface for employees to electronically link applicable personal brokerage accounts, and provides chief compliance officers with supervision, administration and reporting capabilities.

Cryptocurrency IRAs

CoinIRA, a subsidiary of Goldco focused on digital currencies, is launching Digital IRA Bundles, new investment products that come prepackaged with combinations of popular cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum.

Commonwealth Selects Quovo for Aggregation 

Commonwealth Financial Network announced the completion of an upgrade to the account-aggregation features within Investor360 using Quovo.

Don’t Fall for Loan Sharks Just Because They Have Hip Branding  (Lifehacker), Rated: A

We all know payday lenders, loan sharks, and credit cards profit when you go into debt and, therefore, they can be dangerous. But many of these companies conceal their danger with clever marketing. Beware: a debt trap by any other branding is just as dangerous.

Over at the Outline, writer Gaby Del Valle discusses one such company, Affirm. v

The difference between this service and a typical subprime loan seems to mostly lie in the marketing. Unlike other loans, Affirm is a bit more upfront about the terms you’re getting into.

Everyone is picking on Affirm here, but the issue is not unique to them. This reminds me of the recent fiasco with Navient, the student loan servicer that was sued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) over shady business practices like misapplying student loan payments. In the lawsuit, Navient said they have no obligation to act in their customers’ best interest. But that’s not exactly the message that comes across on their “Financial Tips Blog.” These companies use financial literacy to hook you into making bad financial moves.

How to Use a Peer-to-Peer Loan to Pay off High-Interest Debt (Forbes), Rated: A

High-interest debt, such as credit cards, sometimes seems impossible to pay off.

Peer-to-peer loans are unsecured — you don’t have to tie any collateral to them. They’re attractive to borrowers with high-interest rate debt because they provide concrete payoff dates and an option for a fixed — and potentially lower — interest rate.

In fact, according to peer-to-peer platform Lending Club, its borrowers — on average — secure a 24% lower interest rate when using its peer-to-peer loans to consolidate debt.

SS&C Announces Major New Release of Precision LM Loan Management Solution (Business Insider), Rated: A

SS&C Technologies Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq:SSNC), a global provider of financial services software and software-enabled services, today announced the availability of Precision LM™ 3.0, the latest version of the company’s loan origination, servicing, accounting and asset management solution. The new version marks the culmination of significant input and engagement from Precision LM clients as well as SS&C’s proven ability to execute on its comprehensive development roadmap.

Pefin, a fintech start-up, is using A.I. to offer financial advice. Just don’t call it a ‘robo advisor.’ (CNBC), Rated: A

Automated financial advice is becoming more commonplace in the hunt for bigger returns, yet Pefin bills itself as “the world’s first [artificial intelligence] financial advisor.” The company aims to use machine learning to deliver a range of financial planning and investment advice via a chat interface.

“I started Pefin mainly because when you think about less affluent people, there’s really no access to financial advice aside from robos,” Joseph told CNBC in an interview recently.

“Robos are trying to execute a transaction, while we are trying to manage your finances. Investing is optional with us, and we’ll help you if we think it’s the right move for you” rather than generating fees for the company, she told CNBC.

Pefin Welcomes Catherine Flax as Chief Executive Officer (Benzinga), Rated: A

Pefin, the world’s first Artificial Intelligence (AI) financial advisor, welcomed Catherine Flax as Chief Executive Officer today.

Flax has had a multi-decade, distinguished career on Wall Street, as the Managing Director and Head of Commodity Derivatives, Americas at BNP Paribas and as Chief Marketing Officer of J.P. Morgan. She was named the Most Influential Woman in European Investment Banking in 2012 and one of the 100 most influential women in European Financial Markets in 2010 and 2011. Flax has been a leader in the FinTech space, as a Board Member of leading blockchain company, Digital Asset Holdings, and for the last two years, as an Advisor to Pefin in matters of Marketing, Regulation, Business Development and International Growth.

CoverWallet, Benzinga Fintech Award Winner, Appoints OnDeck’s Paul Rosen As COO (Benzinga), Rated: B

CoverWallet, the winner of Best Insurtech Solution at the 2017 Benzinga Global Fintech Awards, has hired Paul Rosen, formerly the chief sales officer at On Deck Capital Inc ONDK, as its chief operating officer.

Insurtech reminds Rosen of what fintech looked like five to six years ago, he told Benzinga.

Former OnDeck Director Joins Pearl Capital as Chief Revenue Officer (Monitor Daily), Rated: B

Pearl Capital Business Funding, a provider of direct financing to small and midsize businesses, announced Jared Kogan joined the company as chief revenue officer.

Kogan joined Pearl following a 10 year career in the fintech space, most recently serving as the director of OnDeck’s broker division where he funded 10,000 loans for over $650 million in volume and was able to grow production from $14 million to over $40 million per month. Prior to OnDeck, Kogan served as vice president at Newtek, the largest non-bank SBA lender in the country.

Bad Credit? Business Loan Options For Entrepreneurs (Business Computing World), Rated: B

Online Lending Platforms

Typically, these lenders operate only on the web and promise quick assessment and disbursal with less bureaucracy. Some specialist bad credit lenders are ready to structure loans according to your convenience. You can also look at peer-to-peer lending platforms that give you access to individuals who are looking to invest their money in different ventures. Again, these platforms can get cash relatively more quickly into the system.

United Kingdom

Goldman Sachs to take on UK retail banks (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Goldman Sachs is looking to expand its retail banking business to the UK, replicating its mass-market offering in the US, as it continues a steady march from Wall Street to Main Street.

The New York-based investment bank began to pivot in the US about 18 months ago, offering high-interest online savings accounts for a deposit of as little as $1. Last October it took a step further by launching Marcus by Goldman, a digital consumer-lending platform that seeks to rival the San Francisco trio of Lending Club, Prosper and SoFi.

Now Goldman is taking it international, aiming to launch an online deposit business in the UK about the middle of next year. According to Stephen Scherr, the bank’s head of strategy, the lender plans a greenfield start in the UK under the Marcus brand, but could look to buy a book of deposits — as it did in the US — if the opportunity came its way.

The data behind Zopa’s lowered return projections (AltFi Data Email), Rated: AAA

Zopa has an enviable track record of delivering net returns as evidenced by a more than 10 year track record of delivering 4-7% returns  (after losses and fees).

Source: AltFi Data
Source: AltFi Data

Investors value projected returns over track record (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

INVESTORS rank the expected rate of return as the most important factor when choosing an investment provider, research shows.

Analysis by bond provider Minerva Lending, based on a poll of 1,000 adults with more than £50,000 to invest, found 61 per cent consider the rate of return as the most important factor when choosing who to trust their money with.

The research, released on Friday, does not refer to peer-to-peer lending but investors appear to be looking for many factors that P2P firms offer.

Zopa’s Andrews warns on post-Brexit skills shortage (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE UK is facing a technology skills shortage that may worsen because of Brexit, Zopa’s co-founder and chairman has warned.

Giles Andrews (pictured) said that the peer-to-peer consumer lender’s decision to open a hub in Barcelona was partly due to a concern that it would be harder to recruit top tech talent following the UK’s departure from the EU.

Assetz signs for Manchester Green office (North West Place), Rated: B

Assetz Capital, part of the Manchester-based Assetz Group, has relocated from Newby Road in Hazel Grove where it occupied 3,000 sq ft of a 6,000 building, to take the newly refurbished Building 3 on a 10-year lease.

China

Cryptocurrency dealers and online lenders feel heat in China (Nikkei), Rated: AAA

On Friday, Caixin, a Chinese business news outlet, reported that financial authorities have decided to shut down virtual currency exchanges.

Beijing appears eager to eliminate money laundering and choke off capital outflows by shutting down bitcoin exchanges and other virtual currency trading platforms. It is also tightening its grip on peer-to-peer lending, in which individuals privately contract to borrow and lend.

Some exchanges have temporarily halted trading in response to the report. Investors rushed to sell their digital currencies for cash, sending bitcoin about 20% lower versus the yuan at one point on Saturday, compared with the day before, to below 24,000 yuan ($3,703).

Report Casts Doubt on Future of China’s Bitcoin Exchanges (Coindesk), Rated: A

Regulators in China are said to be considering a move to close all domestic bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchanges.

As of now, no official announcements from regulators have been seen. However, there are reasons to believe the report may be authentic.

The work group was first launched by China’s State Department in 2016 to tackle market risks in the country’s financial technology industry such as p2p lending.

Emerging Digital Payments are Crowding out the Banking Market (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

According to report from the Central Bank, in the second quarter of 2017, banking financial institutions have handled 36.247 billion electronic payment services, amounting to 545.58 trillion RMB, which was down about 4.4% from the same period of last year.

Actually, non-bank payments including Alipay and wechat Pay are growing rapidly. The Central Bank’s data also shew that in the second quarter of 2017, the scale of non-bank payment market reached to 570.95 trillion RMB. Compared to the amount of 23.35 trillion in the same period last year, it has significantly increased 34.87 percent.

 

WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On September 6th, Zhao Jianjun, deputy director of the Department of Finance at Ministry of Education, announced at a press conference that online marketplace lenders are banned from lending to college students in China.

On September 6th, Zhao Jianjun, deputy director of the Department of Finance at Ministry of Education, announced at a press conference that online marketplace lenders are banned from lending to college students in China. According to WeChat Pay, users of the new product will be able to make payments and transfer, send Hongbao, pay back credit card debt and be awarded with interest on their digital wallet balances.

As response to the latest regulation, NEO Council announced it would offer refunds for NEO purchased through its ICO.

On September 4th, China’s leading digital payment service Alipay announced to expand its operation to Norway.

Early this week, Proptech BBT announced that the platform had managed to secure RMB 60 million Pre-A funding from Hongdao Capital at the beginning of August.

European Union

Klarna is reportedly testing its own credit cards among employees (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Since Klarna received its full banking license this summer, there have been many questions as to how exactly it would be leveraged. One among many speculative scenarios includes launching the company’s very own credit- and bank cards.

Now there are some initial reports indicating that the credit card rumours are for real. Referring to internal documents it has been able to access, Breakit reports that the Swedish e-invoicing giant, valued at $2,5 bn, is testing credit cards in-house.

A memo sent through the company’s intranet has supposedly given Klarna’s Swedish employees the opportunity to test proprietary payment cards for a limited amount of time.

Knowledge is power in Grid Finance’s revolution (Independent.ie), Rated: A

SME lender Grid Finance is expanding its offering to include a digital pension product targeted at the owners of small businesses. The company has engaged Conexim to provide the back office infrastructure on the product – as well as the regulatory umbrella – while Grid will act as distributor.

It is the latest piece of innovation being undertaken by the company, which is looking to build what chief executive Derek F Butler calls “a small business bank in all but name”.

10 Swiss Fintech Startups to Watch (LinkedIn), Rated: A

The 10 selected entrepreneurs reflect the acceleration of the Swiss fintech scene in the recent years and the impressive quality of its startups. They will join the intense journey taking place from September 10 – 16 in New York.

  • Advanon, Phil Lojacono: Advanon in its basic version is an online platform that allows SMEs to pre-finance their open invoices directly through financial investors.
  • Algo Trader, Andy Flury: The startup provides an algorithmic trading software that allows automation of complex, quantitative trading strategies.
  • Creditgate24, Teddy Amberg: CreditGate24 is an independent Swiss company and a fully automated platform for lenders and borrowers which offers efficient, transparent and scalable credit processing at high quality.
  • KiWi (eBOP), Christian Sinobas: KiWi transforms merchant’s phone into a smart point of sale.
  • Monito (Global Impact Finance), François Briod: Sending money abroad? Monito is the Booking.com for money transfers, helping migrants and expatriates find, review and compare money transfer services.
  • OneVisage, Christophe Remillet: OneVisage is a leading cyber-security company developing biometric solutions to help financial services eliminating identity theft and increasing user’s digital experience.
  • SONECT, Sandipan Chakraborty: SONECT enables every shop in the neighborhood to act as a virtual ATM.

Should you let a ‘robot’ manage your retirement savings? (BBC.com), Rated: A

Consultancy firm Accenture found that 68% of global consumers would be happy to use robo-advice to plan for retirement, with many feeling it would be faster, cheaper, and more impartial than human advice.

Joe Ziemer, vice president of communications at Betterment, a US robo-adviser with more than $9bn under management, says: “The Betterment service takes your information and uses a series of algorithms to create an asset allocation plan, which might be, for example, 90% equities and 10% bonds for a retirement saver.”

Wealth Wizards, for example, typically charges £65 for investments up to £30,000, and 0.30%, or £300, on a £100,000 investment pot. Betterment charges 0.25% a year.

That’s peanuts compared to human advisers’ fees, which come in at about £580 for advice on a £200-a-month pension contribution, or £1,000-£2,000 for guidance on what to do with your £100,000 pot when your retire, according to UK adviser network Unbiased.

Robo.cash Reports Steady Growth in European P2P Lending (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The young lender says the total amount of investments now exceed €1.8 million. Approximately €400,000 in loans were added in August. The average invested amount per investor gained 2.2% to the previous month at €3,270 in August. In regards to the number of investors using the platform, in August Robo.cash added 188 users. Currently, there are more than 900 investors in total who have joined the platform in the first six months of operation.

Source: Crowdfund Insider
International

Mitek Unveils Mobile Verify® for Lending (Globe Newswire), Rated: A

For the first time at FinovateFall, Mitek (NASDAQ:MITK) (www.miteksystems.com), a global leader in mobile capture and identity verification software solutions, will demonstrate Mobile Verify® for Lending. This new, five step digital lending experience enables lenders to verify identity and bank account information in real time for fast loan decisions with a simple process for borrowers.

When applying for a consumer loan from a desktop computer, the borrower will first log into their online bank account and agree to have their account information shared with the lender. A text message is then sent to the borrower’s smartphone directing them on how to take four photos: front and back of their driver’s license, a selfie and a photo of their pay stub or other trailing document, to complete the loan application process. This new digital experience is quick and easy for the borrower and provides the lender with real-time identity and bank account verification.

Moroku lands on the BNP Paribas Radar (Moroku Email), Rated: A

Dear friends

Last week Moroku was identified as one of the top 4 Fintech’s globally best positioned to take on the battle for Millennials 

Fintech has transformed payments but not savings, says BlackRock’s chief executive (SCMP), Rated: A

The financial technology boom has transformed the way over a billion people engage with financial services, particularly when it comes to making payments, but Larry Fink, chief executive of BlackRock, the world’s largest money manager, said that no company has yet managed to use technology successfully to get people investing for the long term.

Both in China, and in Europe and North America, a plethora of investment platforms and robo advisory services are evolving, but none has yet reached critical mass.

Memorandum of Understanding Signed with GoldMint (LSE), Rated: B

Eurasia, the platinum, palladium, iridium, rhodium and gold production company, is pleased to announce it has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with GoldMint PTE (“GoldMint”), a Singapore based Limited Company.

Australia/New Zealand

Broker numbers to swell in SME space (AustralianBroker), Rated: A

More brokers will diversify into the SME loan space due to increased competition in traditional markets and growing demand from clients, the lender’s head of sales Michael Burke said.

“Brokers are not only looking to move into online lending because of the speed and ease of doing business it offers, but because their time-poor customers are demanding a more convenient solution involving faster turnaround times.”

As well as providing a digital platform to facilitate the loan process, OnDeck’s underwriting policy also helps ease the broker’s burden, Burke told Australian Broker.

PledgeMe joins Equitise in eyeing Australian market (Scoop), Rated: A

PledgeMe, the equity crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending platform, has joined rival Equitise in signalling plans to enter the Australian market ahead of a law change coming into effect across the Tasman this month.

Co-founder Anna Guenther will relocate to Brisbane for six months to establish the Wellington-based company’s Australian arm, according to a PledgeMe blog post. PledgeMe will participate in the Queensland government’s HotDesQ programme, which provides networks, support, and funding for companies to relocate to the state.

India

SoftBank Vision Fund makes second bet in two months; fintech remains investors’ favourite baby (Yourstory), Rated: A

SoftBank Vision Fund, the world’s largest pool of private capital, placed its second major bet on an Indian startup in a span of two months with its investment in OYO Rooms. The $250-million funding has taken OYO’s valuation from $460 million in August last year to between $850 million and $900 million.

APAC

This Not-for-profit Fintech Hub Wants To Impact The Unbanked Population (BLLNR), Rated: A

Allow me to set the scene: in the wider region of Southeast Asia that surrounds Singapore, where Lattice80, our not-for-profit fintech hub that we launched last year is based, there is a huge unbanked population. KPMG estimates put the number at about 438 million. In poor countries like Cambodia, the population with a bank account falls to just 5 percent.

McKinsey did a similar study in 2010 on the world’s 2.5 billion unbanked. Asia’s emerging markets were identified as a hotbed of unbanked. The same study suggests that reaching the unbanked population in ASEAN could increase the economic contribution of the region from US$17 billion to US$52 billion by 2030.

Multi-asset funds offer ‘all-in-one solutions’ (Straits Times), Rated: A

Q WHAT IS THE ATTRACTION OF MULTI-ASSET INVESTING?

It is the ability to combine a range of asset classes with different and largely independent economic drivers in order to achieve consistent return and reduce downside risk.

Years of central bank intervention in markets have depressed interest rates and left investors hunting for reliable yield. More asset classes beyond traditional equities and bonds have become more accessible in the past decade.

Q WHAT IS THE COMPOSITION OF YOUR MULTI-ASSET PORTFOLIOS?

More recently, we added peer-to-peer lending, mortgage and corporate funds that offer excess return over corporate bonds for a similar level of risk, litigation financing and credit funds. The world’s largest institutional investors have already diversified into these assets. Now, smaller institutions and individual investors can too, through our multi-asset strategies.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor