Thursday May 30 2019, Weekly News Digest

financial hub

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi has raised $500M. Morningstar accelerates acquisition of DBRS. PayPal hits $10B in small business loans milestone. Lendy goes into administration. Klarna launches installment loan app for all retailers. New York overtakes London as financial hub of the world. Today’s main analysis: LendingClub’s advance shareholder meeting presentation (A MUST-READ). Today’s […]

The post Thursday May 30 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

financial hub

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Online lender SoFi has quietly raised $ 500 million in funding, led by Qatar (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Online lending startup Social Finance, better known as SoFi, took another tack this morning, quietly announcing in a press release that it has closed half a billion dollars in a single funding round led by Qatar Investment Authority, a Doha, Qatar-based private equity and sovereign wealth fund.

SoFi Raises $ 500M, Valuation Remains $ 4.3B (PYMNTS), Rated: A

The company said it will use the capital to invest in growth and add some muscle to its $2.3 billion balance sheet. The company’s valuation will stay about the same as with the last funding round two years ago, which was led by Silver Lake.

SoFi Is Close to a Deal Putting Its Name on L.A. Football Stadium (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Social Finance Inc., a financial technology startup, is close to signing a deal that would put its name on a new NFL stadium under construction in Inglewood, California, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The deal for the stadium, which would be home to the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers, hasn’t been signed so figures could change. But currently the agreement would have SoFi pay $20 million a year for 20 years, these people added.

Morningstar to Accelerate Credit Ratings Business with DBRS Acquisition (Morningstar), Rated: AAA

Morningstar, Inc. today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire DBRS, the world’s fourth-largest credit ratings agency, for a purchase price of $669 million. The combination of DBRS with Morningstar Credit Ratings’ U.S. business will expand global asset class coverage and provide an enhanced platform for providing investors with leading fixed-income analysis and research.

PayPal’s Latest Milestone: $ 10 Billion In Small Business Loans (Forbes), Rated: AAA

The small business lending market is booming and it’s not the traditional banks that are benefiting. Fintechs are leading the way. Case in point: PayPal.  It hit a milestone, announcing it has provided more than $10 billion in loans to more than 225,000 small businesses around the globe.

The $10 billion mark comes a little more than five years after PayPal made its first loan. Today it has issued more than 650,000 loans through financing programs in the U.S., UK, Australia, Germany, and Mexico.

PayPal Crosses $ 10 Billion In Small Business Loans (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Now they are hitting some impressive quarterly milestones, originating $1 billion per quarter, so their next $10 billion is surely to happen even quicker.

deBanked recently highlighted the leading small business originators which showed that PayPal is solidly the leader when it comes to originations in the US. OnDeck which is second to PayPal reported originations of $636 million in Q1 2019. According to data provided by Funding Circle on their website, which includes their lending globally, they have originated $9.5 billion in loans.

Source: deBanked.com

LendingClub Posts Presentation in Advance of Shareholder Meeting (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Borrowers can save over $ 2,000 by shopping for lenders who offer low mortgage fees (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

Key findings

  • Mortgage fees in the first quarter had a median of $2,059 for purchase loans and $1,807 for refinancing.
  • The more offers a borrower receives, the greater the potential for savings. For people receiving five offers, the median spread between the highest and lowest fees offered was $2,045.
  • 7% of new purchase borrowers and 8% of refinance borrowers were offered $0 in fees.
  • 15% of new purchase borrowers and 19% of refinance borrowers paid less than $500 in fees.
  • 28% of purchase borrowers paid less than $1,000 in mortgage fees, with 35% of refinance borrowers also paying less than $1,000 in fees.
  • At the high end, 13% of purchase borrowers were hit with fees over $5,000, 3% over $10,000 and 0.21% over $20,000.
  • For refinance loans, 12% were offered upfront fees over $5,000, 1% over $10,000 and 0.02% over $20,000.

Home Loan Provider Earns Top 5-Star Rating from TopConsumerReviews.com (PRWeb), Rated: A

TopConsumerReviews.com recently gave their highest rating to LendingTree, an industry leader among providers of Home Loans, for another consecutive year.

Where Are We in the Credit Cycle? (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

First, a quick summary of headlines. The Fed agreed to keep interest rates on hold for longer according to the minutes of the April meeting. The decision is expected to help inflation pick up towards the Fed’s 2% target. The Fed’s latest ‘dot plot’, shown below, indicates Fed governors on the margin expect lower rates in the 2019 to 2021 timeframe suggesting lower growth expectations.

Source: PeerIQ, US Federal Reserve, Bloomberg

“…what we see is right now the fundamentals of the economy in the U.S. on a global basis and the fundamentals of consumers and unemployment being low as you mentioned, means that credit is in good shape and we just don’t see that changing a lot.”

Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America

Kroll also released a report on the Evolution of the Consumer Loan Marketplace Sector to lay out how the sector has matured over time. The report comes on the heels of a Fitch report that said that declining credit enhancements in MPL deals is unwarranted.

Prevent attrition and win new relationships with loan options (Bankless Times), Rated: AAA

Small business clients are increasingly looking to alternative lenders for financing. There are numerous draws for SMB clients: a fast and easy application process, quick funding, and a higher chance of being approved for a loan.

According to the Federal Reserve’s Small Business Credit Survey, the main reason clients applied for funding from an online lender was the speed of decision / funding (63 percent) followed by a better chance of being funded (61 percent).

The number of small business owners who turn to alternative lenders for funding has increased steadily since 2016.

Source: Bankless Times

RedWeek Teams Up with Affirm to Help Travelers Vacation Now and Pay Later (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

RedWeek.com, the largest online community for timeshare rentals and resales, announced a new partnership with Affirm that will give travelers the flexibility to pay for their vacation rentals in simple, monthly installments.

Travelers can check eligibility for a loan online before booking their next trip and, after entering five simple pieces of information, receive a real-time decision without impacting their credit scores.

3 Alternative Lending Options to Help Build Your Business Credit (Nav.com), Rated: A

1. Online Business Loans

Once upon a time, if you wanted to borrow money for your business you had to make a trip down to your local bank branch or credit union to see if you could qualify for funding. However, a new generation of business lenders has since emerged to offer business owners an alternative way to secure capital.

2. Invoice Financing

Is your business structured in a way so that it gets paid after delivering services or goods to customers? If so, invoice financing is an alternative lending option that might work for you.

3. Microloans

Microloans are issued through non-profit organizations aptly named microlenders. Although the maximum loan size is generally $50,000, the average microloan issued to a small business or startup is a much smaller $6,000.

CoreLogic Teletrack launches a new platform for lenders and credit issuers (Automotive News), Rated: A

CoreLogic today launched the new CoreLogic Teletrack platform, offering lenders and credit issuers superior access and greater insight into alternative credit data through one of the industry’s largest alternative credit databases. The new platform and solution combine upgraded services, data, products and an analytics engine to help users discover new market segments, make smarter risk decisions and grow their business throughout the credit lifecycle.

What Intuit knows about you (AXIOS), Rated: A

Intuit said Tuesday it had agreed to buy analytics company Origami Logic, effectively doubling down on the use of customer data to enhance its marketing.

The company can cross-sell its own products as well as products and services from third parties — like a Capital One Platinum Credit Card or a loan from Lending Club — based on what it knows about you.

Kabbage And Azlo Collaborate To Make Small Business Lending Easier (eSellerCafe), Rated: A

US online banking platform Azlo and online small business lender announced the launch of Mission Street Capital, a new program that provides small businesses banking with Azlo access to loans through Kabbage up to $250,000.

BitX Funding Strikes Equipment Finance Alliance (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Small business lending marketplace BitX Funding has struck an alliance with transportation equipment finance company Pelagic Capital, the companies said in a press release Tuesday (May 28).

On the Dark Web, your social security number is only worth (CB Insights Email), Rated: A

5 Home Loan Apps To Test-Drive (Spokes-Recorder), Rated: B

Not many know this discount bulk retail giant also provides a loan marketplace to shop for the best mortgage rate. While open to all, Costco members can access discounts on lending services. Loan options include home equity, fixed and adjustable rate, FHA, VA, USDA, and jumbo. Note, this lender’s services are strictly digital so you will not be able to meet up with someone face-to-face.

Top 5 ways to start Investing With Little Money!! (EconoTimes), Rated: B

Though P2P lendings are not low investment choices; with Fast invest, it is possible. You can start investing here with just 1 pound to accelerate cash flow. The website allows investors to deposit amounts and based on that suggests loans. After you choose the loan pack as an investor, the site assigns borrowers. Once the borrower takes the loan from you, the site starts increasing your invested amount with the applied interest rate of up to 14% till the payback period. It also comes with buyback guarantee if the borrower fails to return your loan in the payback period.

Real estate crowdfunding sites provide you the opportunity to invest in third-party properties. Fundrise is the best crowdfunding platform to go for that lets you start investing with only $500. With a year’s saving, you can start investing in this crowdfunding site and gain 8.7 to 12.4% annual returns based on your deposited amount.

BFS Capital Appoints Fred Kauber as Chief Technology Officer and Chief Product Officer (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

BFS Capital today announced the appointment of Fred Kauber as Chief Technology Officer and Chief Product Officer. As a member of the management team reporting to CEO Mark Ruddock, Kauber will be responsible for leading a customer-focused product and technology organization whose mission is to help BFS re-imagine financial services for small businesses.

United Kingdom

Peer-to-peer lending provider Lendy enters administration (Credit Strategy), Rated: AAA

Damian Webb, Phillip Sykes and Mark Wilson of RSM Restructuring Advisory have been appointed as joint administrators of three companies within the Lendy Group: Lendy Limited, Saving Stream Security Holdings Limited and Lendy Provision Reserve Limited.

Does Lendy Collapse Hint the Failure of P2P Loans Industry? (LearnBonds), Rated: A

Before administration, over £90 million of loans defaulted out of £160 million of outstanding loans. The collapse of Lendy means investors had lost millions of pounds.

BondMason Reportedly Is Shutting Down P2P Business (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

BondMason, an online savings and investments platform that sources investments from across the peer-to-peer (P2P) market for its clients, has reportedly announced it is officially shutting down its P2P lending business.

Combating The Payday Loan With On-Demand Wages (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Peter Briffett, CEO of U.K. FinTech Wagestream, told PYMNTS in a recent interview that the cash flow constraints of having to wait for a single day to receive wages every month can be dangerous to the financial wellness of professionals. A single, expensive incident can force these professionals into debt via bank overdrafts or credit cards — or worse, Briffett said, into the payday loan cycle.

The company recently announced a $51 million funding round for its solution — led by Balderton Capital and Northzone, which provided equity, and Shawbrook, which provided debt.

Microfinance Trends and Size of the Market (Cryptopolitan), Rated: A

And that is where microfinance is moving – to an era where individuals and businesses can get financial services from other individuals and business entities. Technology is providing tools for matching borrowers and lenders. And even more important – the tools for creating contracts that execute accordingly.

European Union

Klarna Launches a Direct-to-Consumer App With Installment Payments Built in (Digital Transactions), Rated: AAA

Announced Tuesday, the Klarna app presents the retailer’s site with a footer containing a Pay with Klarna button. When selecting that option, the shopper can pay for purchases in four equal installments with no interest or fees. The app is open to any merchant, not just those already affiliated with Klarna, the company says. These could include retailers without an alternative-payment option or that use a competitor’s program.

10 more big retail tech plays in 2019 (Retail Innovation Hub), Rated: A

PayTech venture Klarna is launching its first UK “all-immersive store” in London’s Covent Garden, with a private VIP party on 4th June.

Becoming a mortgage lender (IPE), Rated: A

Stabelo’s model is to pool capital from institutional investors in exchange for fixed-income securities and uses the money raised to lend mortgages directly to homebuyers. The firm offers mortgages in conjunction with Avanza Bank, which is the biggest online lender in Sweden, and owns just under 20% of Stabelo.

International

London toppled by New York as world’s financial hub (Tech HQ), Rated: AAA

A survey by consultancy and advisory firm Duff & Phelps, involving 180 executives in asset management, private equity, hedge funds, banking and brokerage, found that confidence in the UK capital has plummetted in the last year.

Just 36 percent ranked London as the foremost global financial hub— a year-on-year drop of 17 percent. With New York rising 10 percent, ranked by more than half (52 percent) as the world’s new financial powerhouse, the two cities have “switched places”.

Source: Duff & Phelps

Crypto Lending Platform Cred to Migrate Tokens to Binance Mainnet in New Partnership (CoinTelegraph), Rated: A

Major crypto exchange Binance has partnered with decentralized crypto lending platform Cred to bring its services to the Binance ecosystem, according to a press release publishedon May 29.

As part of the agreement, Cred will migrate some of its ERC-20 LBA tokens to Binance’s mainnet, Binance Chain, and become the official lending and borrowing platform for the decentralized financial ecosystem.

Crypto Lending Startup BlockFi Launches Gemini Dollar Accounts (CoinTelegraph), Rated: A

Cryptocurrency asset management company BlockFi announced that its interest-bearing accounts now support the gemini dollar (GUSD) in a post published on May 29.

Per the announcement, GUSD deposits will see a yearly yield of 6.2%, paid in the stablecoinin question. BlockFi notes that it also offers GUSD as a U.S. dollar funding option and as collateral from institutional cryptocurrency borrowers.

Top 5 emerging fintech hubs (World Finance), Rated: A

São Paulo
Brazil has more fintech start-ups than any other Latin American country, and most of them are consolidated in the country’s financial centre, São Paulo.

Lithuania
One country poised to see an explosion of opportunities after Brexit is Lithuania. In February of this year, the country saw around 100 British financial companies apply for a licence in the country.

Estonia
Estonia has one of the highest rates of start-ups per capita in Europe. According to Startup Genome, 29 percent of all jobs created by these start-ups are within the country’s fintech industry.

Frankfurt
Home to the European Central Bank and more than 200 banks – most of which are foreign – Frankfurt plays an important role in the EU’s financial system.

Bengaluru
Bengaluru (previously Bangalore) is anticipated to become one of the next big tech hubs. One of Asia’s fastest growing start-up ecosystems, the city is home to 438 fintech start-ups and has been dubbed the ‘Silicon Valley of India’.

Nexo Releases Crypto Lending Update Clarifying Misconceptions and Future Outlook (Bitcoin Exchange Guide), Rated: B

Nexo claims their key business model “is unchanged” but that the company is:

“actively exploring new avenues to maximize token utility and investor value.” The company also claims their ultimate goal is to become “a multi-billion dollar financial institution.”

These are the world’s 100 most influential people in gender policy this year (CNBC), Rated: B

Apolitical, a peer-to-peer lending platform for governments, unveiled its list of the world’s 100 most influential individuals on gender equality on Wednesday. It recognized politicians, activists and academics, among others, who were shaping gender policy in 2019.

Australia/New Zealand

Advice beyond mortgages: “the opportunity is huge” (NZ Adviser Online), Rated: AAA

According to Adrienne Church, General Manager at small business lender Prospa, venturing into an unfamiliar type of lending may be worrying – but it is also necessary as the lending market expands, and the property market remains as unpredictable as it inevitably always is.

Asia

TaniGroup Secures US$ 10 Million in Series A Funding to Re-Imagine Agriculture in Indonesia (Global Banking and Finance), Rated: AAA

Agritech startup TaniGroup, which operates agriculture e-commerce TaniHub and peer-to-peer lending provider TaniFund, today announced it raised a US$10 million Series A round of financing led by Openspace Ventures with participation from Intudo Ventures, Golden Gate Ventures, and The DFS Lab.

Peer-To-Peer Lending In Indonesia: A Regulatory Update (Mondaq), Rated: A

In February of this year, the Indonesian Financial Services Authority (Otoritas Jasa Keuangan  or “OJK”) issued an updated checklist for peer-to-peer lending (“P2P lending”) platform providers (“Checklist”) registering with the OJK or applying to the body for a business license or change of ownership. The new Checklist introduces several changes to the previous checklist issued in October 2018. We highlight the key material changes and new requirements introduced by the Checklist.

MENA

Qatar Investment Authority invests more than $ 500M in SoFi (Mobile Payments Today), Rated: AAA

Qatar Investment Authority has led an investment of more than $500 million in SoFi, a mobile-first personal finance firm. The investment values the company at $4.3 billion on a pre-money basis, according to a release from the fund.

East Africa

Kenya Is Also Setting The Standard For Mobile Lending (Forbes), Rated: AAA

We all know that Kenya revolutionized mobile payments for the developing world and brands like M-Pesa continue to lead the market, but what about mobile lending? According to Creditinfo Kenya, 93 percent of all mobile loans originate from regulated financial institutions, and there are around five million borrowers and each has an average of 5.89 loans.

Canada

This Alternative Lending Company Offers Investors a Huge Margin of Safety (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

Home Capital is a specialty finance company that primarily deals in mortgages. The company typically deals with borrowers who don’t meet normal bank requirements. It offers traditional mortgages and consumer lending as well as securitizing insured mortgages and offering home equity lines of credit.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday May 30 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Monday March 5 2018, Daily News Digest

marketplace lending

News Comments Today’s main news: Kabbage says ‘no’ to lending for assault guns. Collateral enters administration. Orix invests $60M in Wecash. SMBs accept face-to-face payments via mobile devices. Today’s main analysis: The friction between new finance and old regulations (a must-read report). Today’s thought-provoking articles: 3 lessons from LendingClub’s earnings. The business schools that produce the highest salaries. Beware fintechs […]

marketplace lending

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Africa

News Summary

United States

Online lender Kabbage to restrict weapons lending (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Kabbage Inc, a U.S. online lender for small businesses, said it will cut ties with clients that make or sell assault-style rifles or that sell weapons or ammunition to people under 21 years old, one of the strongest steps by any financial firm after last month’s high school massacre in Florida.

3 Revelations From LendingClub’s Earnings Report (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

1. Lawsuit settlements

One piece of good news is that the company recently dealt with its largest liabilities from the 2016 scandal, settling both federal and state class action shareholder lawsuits. The bad news: LendingClub has to pay plaintiffs a total of $125 million, with $47.75 million covered by insurance, leaving LendingClub on the hook for the remaining $77.25 million. That amounts to roughly 12% of the company’s liquid assets and about 5% of the current market capitalization.

2. A challenging environment

In addition to these company-specific problems, the macroeconomic environment has become more challenging, though that is no fault of LendingClub. Increased awareness of personal loans delivered via the internet has spurred a large increase in applications, and LendingClub saw a 43% increase in applications in 2017 — much higher than the company’s 3.7% growth in originations.

3. Cost cuts in 2018

LendingClub believes it has stabilized both its credit model and its investor base in 2017 while introducing new investor products, and it will pivot in 2018 to focusing on controlling costs. Part of that will entail outsourcing its loan servicing to industry-standard third parties while reallocating internal engineers to the things that differentiate the company, like data-driven underwriting and product innovation.

For the full year 2018, the company forecasts 18% to 22% revenue growth while targeting cost growth of only 14% to 16%.

 

The top 20 business schools where graduates earn the most money, ranked from lowest to highest salary (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

With that in mind, online lender SoFi looked at the average salary graduates of American business schools earn and ranked the top 20.

SoFi’s approach is unique. It reviewed the self-reported income on over 60,000 student-loan refinancing forms from January 2014 to December 2017.

The average salary for graduates of all business schools SoFi reviewed was $109,992.

  • 20. University of Texas at Austin — $139,776
  • 3. Stanford University — $186,534
  • 2. Columbia University — $189,295
  • 1. University of Pennsylvania — $224,034

There is Friction Between New Finance & Old Regulation (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The Milken Institute is out with a comprehensive report this week that drills down into existing legislative action by Congress that addresses the emerging Fintech industry. This is the first report of its kind and provides a solid perspective on what Congress has accomplished to date while recognizing the fact elected officials can do far more.

“Subjecting nonbank lenders to 50 different state usury laws is inconsistent with today’s increasingly interconnected and digital global economy.”

The research provides multiple policy recommendations. In brief, they are as follows:

  • Provide certainty on “true lender” and “valid when made” issues to maintain a vibrant, competitive marketplace for credit.
  • Harmonize inconsistent state-by-state regulations related to mobile banking to drive financial inclusion and access.
  • Update tax reporting guidelines regarding cryptocurrency transactions to protect against tax evasion and to promote a more transparent, responsible marketplace.
  • Enable the reporting of alternative data that can expand access to credit.
  • Develop common reporting standards among U.S. financial regulators to foster a more transparent marketplace.
  • Require the IRS to automate certain data collection and reporting processes that can help enhance the speed and efficacy of the underwriting process.

This report is a must read policy paper for Capitol Hill staffers and US Fintech industry participants.

Read the full report here.

Equity and Credit Market Volatility, Continuing Bank-FinTech Partnerships (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

US equity markets had a bad week as the S&P500 closed 3.3% lower at 2,659. CDX IG spreads widened marginally by 0.6 bps to 55 bps and CDX HY spreads widened by 8.7 bps to 337 bps. We have seen significantly higher volatility this year, driven mainly by rising interest rates and inflation expectations. No new MPL deals have priced since the rise in volatility, although we expect the first $1 Bn MPL ABS transaction to announce soon.

We share a few anecdotes from our informal conversations which we share in generic fashion to protect the innocent:

  • A large issuer: “Our bonds are oversubscribed 2 to 3x. And when we share that with our investors they want more.”
  • A large ABS investor: “We need help monitoring losses in the personal loan ABS space. Is this an indutry issue?”
  • A large investment bank (Warehouse): “We ar doubling our exposure to warehouse lending. We have the mandate to grow the book.”
  • A large investment bank (Syndicate Desk): “MPL has gone mainstream now.”
  • A lender: “The 5% risk retention requirement is hurting our ability to issue loans to consumer and grow our business responsibly.”
  • An issuer: “We are a small emerging originator and we have 7 term sheets – from large banks and small – in the last few weeks. Competition in warehouse lending is growing.”

Also heard at the conference was that Citibank is planning a Marcus-like online lender to enter the consumer unsecured loans space, although the timeline was unclear. Our view is that the GS Marcus – and specifically the ROE and NIM opportunity – is inspiring competitive response from other banks including Citi.

Marketplace lenders develop new wrinkles to attract more funding (American Banker), Rated: A

Last year, marketplace lenders learned that maintaining diverse sources of funding is just as important as managing the credit risk in their loans.

LendingClub, Marlette Funding and others developed their own securitization platforms, rather than relying on whole-loan sales to large investors. They also invited some of these investors to contribute seasoned loans to collateral pools for these in-house deals.

Marketplace lending’s death has been over exaggerated (PaymentsSource), Rated: A

It’s clear that equity investors no longer see the value of marketplace lenders, such as companies that provide credit at the point of sale or online lending.

Source: PaymentSource

A typical lender leverages equity into debt at a fixed ratio. If they want to grow their portfolio they have to raise equity and lever it into more debt. An off-balance sheet marketplace eliminates the equity-debt leverage ratio allowing a lender to double and triple their portfolio as quickly as they can grow their marketplace.

The SEC Goes Hot with ICO Subpoenas but are Regulators “on Shaky Legal Ground?” (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The fact the Securities and Exchange Commission has been issuing subpoenas to initial coin offering (ICOs) issuers has been rumored for quite some time. Recently, multiple publications, including Crowdfund Insider, revealed this fact. The SEC has been warning of this sort of activity for many months and, while not surprising to most, it is an unpleasant moment for an issuer when that subpoena shows up.

Mulvaney says the CFPB will depend heavily on state Attorneys General for enforcement of consumer protection laws (Lexology), Rated: B

For example, the acting director noted that the agency will devote greater resources to consumer education, instead of relying heavily on enforcement actions to ensure consumers make the correct choices, reaffirming previous remarks in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece (previously covered by InfoBytes here).

Mulvaney stated that he does not anticipate devoting any further resources to mandatory arbitration clauses, citing Congress overturning its arbitration rule through the Congressional Review Act as evidence the Bureau does not have the authority to do so.

3rd Circuit holds payday lender’s arbitration clause unenforceable (Lexology), Rated: B

On February 27, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit held that an arbitration clause is unenforceable if the corresponding forum selection provision designates a forum that does not actually exist.

The benefits of fintech for the credit invisible (microbilt), Rated: A

 

Rethinking The Reputation Of The Merchant Cash Advance (PYMNTS), Rated: A

The rise of alternative lending and familiarity of growing names like OnDeck is beginning to shift public perception of the merchant cash advance, however.

There are scenarios, too, in which a merchant cash advance may actually be the best financial option for a business in need of working capital.

“We see a lot of clients who already have a long-term equipment loan, or an SBA loan, or a loan from a traditional bank or a factoring line, and they’re looking to unlock short-term liquidity from their business,” he said. “When you take out an SBA loan or equipment loan, you have to have some type of collateral to pledge, and that money can dry up quickly. We come in un-collateralized.”

One driver behind the shifting reputation of merchant cash advances is the industry’s participation in technology adoption and innovation.

At Best Egg, talk is a best practice (American Banker), Rated: B

So, every quarter, he and the company’s management team host an all-hands meeting and outline to the company’s 100-plus employees what the most important goal for the next 90 days will be.

So the word went out to employees that for the time being, efforts to grow the business would have to take a back seat to making certain that the existing business was profitable. According to Meiler, it was employees’ focus on the task that helped Best Egg rack up $11 million in GAAP profits last year, even as competitors were still posting operating losses in the tens of millions of dollars. And, he adds, the company still grew its business by 60% anyhow.

Best Fintechs to Work For (American Banker), Rated: A

Office exercise happens beyond a standing desk at many of the companies. NvoicePay not only provides stretching areas and lockers to employees, it offers monthly classes with a certified trainer and kinesiologist. Marlette Funding’s Best Egg unit offers employees self-defense classes on site, along with yoga.

And if you like the beach, check out nCino, where employees regularly go for early morning paddleboat sessions at nearby Wrightsville Beach in Wilmington, N.C., and SmartbizLoans, which hosts “Disco Yoga” at San Francisco’s Baker Beach.

Addressing an employee’s well-being and comfort comes in different forms, whether it is Cross River Bank’s policy of providing 100% of the premium for various insurance benefits covering employees and their families, Nav’s unlimited paid time off option for employees, or Ensenta’s tradition of celebrating workforce diversity with multiple holidays, including Kwanzaa, Diwali, and the Day of the Dead.

To keep burnout in check, PeerStreet mixes play with hard work (American Banker), Rated: A

To that end, they’ve established a company that regularly celebrates its successes and milestones with parties, and encourages employees to get together and have fun in nonwork environments. A prime example of the latter is the PeerStreet Olympics, an annual event in which the company is divided for a day into teams of friendly athletic competition, some of which takes place on the beach near its Southern California offices.

United Kingdom

Peer-to-peer lender Collateral enters administration (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Collateral (UK), a small P2P company offering pawnbroker-style and property-backed loans with 15 per cent returns, went into administration on Wednesday after it emerged that it was not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority.

BondMason offers to step in on Collateral loans (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

PEER-TO-PEER investor BondMason has offered to step in and manage the loanbook of the troubled Collateral platform.

BondMason, which invests in loans across more than 30 P2P platforms on behalf of investors, revealed it has invested 2.48 per cent of its portfolio through Collateral, which has fallen into administration.

P2P platforms reassure investors after Collateral closure (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

PEER-TO-PEER lending firms have been reassuring their investors about the safety of their platforms in the aftermath of Collateral going into administration.

Business lenders Ablrate and MoneyThing have both sent messages to their customers detailing their stability, performance and regulatory requirements that mean they have to hold client money separately and have a ‘living will’ that puts a plan in place should a business fail.

Growth in the number of Zombie businesses in the South East says report (Daily Echo), Rated: A

The proportion of south east companies which are only paying the interest on their debts – one of the signs of a so-called ‘zombie’ business – has risen to four per cent in December from one per cent in April 2017, according to indicative research by R3, the insolvency and restructuring trade body.

This represents around 12,000 businesses in the region.

Beware Fintech Firms Bearing Bitcoin (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Rather than try and undercut banks, or chase millennial savers’ pennies at a loss, fintech firms are now leaping at the chance to make serious cash through a technology that most banks won’t even touch. What’s more, Bitcoin has the power to take over people’s lives. One trader says it’s worse than gambling; Korea calls victims “zombies.”

Here’s a roll call of recent converts: Mobile-payments firm Square Inc. has rolled out Bitcoin trading; social-payments app Circle splashed $400 million on Poloniex, only about 15 months after it had stopped offering bitcoin trading; and money-transfer company Revolut has started offering crypto trading facilities.

Trading platform Coinbase booked more than $1 billion in revenue last year, according to Recode, which, if true, is more than peer-to-peer marketplace Lending Club and more than Square. On top of the money to be made from trading fees and asset-price gains, Bitcoin could also act as a lure, helping startups cross-sell their other products to a bigger audience.

 

London Fintech Humaniq Launches New Version of Mobile App (Crowfund Insider), Rated: A

On Friday, London-based FinTech firm Humaniq revealed it is marking the milestone of its mobile app reaching its first 50,000 downloads by unveiling a new, improved version.

Some of the new features include:

  • New referral program: The new 2.0 referral program will build on this by displaying community progress with referrals and thereby make the referral process more transparent and intuitive for all users.
  • Transaction options extension: Transactions can now be made through the messaging chat system.
  • New registration process: Allows users to start interacting with a Humaniq assistant bot, which becomes smarter and is learning to execute more useful commands, even without the registration.

Peer-to-peer lender Linked Finance helps firms to add 2,400 jobs (The Times), Rated: A

The country’s largest peer-to-peer lending platform said that it had supported the creation of more than 2,400 jobs since it began its Irish operations almost five years ago.

Linked Finance, which connects local businesses in need of loans with an online lending community of individuals, institutions and other investors, said firms that had borrowed money through its platform had raised staffing levels by 24 per cent on average.

City Moves for 5 March 2018 – who’s switching jobs at ArchOver? (City A.M.), Rated: B

ArchOver, the peer-to-peer (P2P) business lending platform, has announced Bill Johnston will join its board of directors as a non-executive director (NED). In his role, Bill will support ArchOver in formularising its training and development programme, to ensure it has the right talent in place as it continues to scale.

China

Orix invests $ 60m in Chinese fintech startup (Asian Review), Rated: AAA

Japanese financial services group Orix bought a 6.4 billion yen ($59.8 million) stake in Wecash, a Chinese startup that uses big data and artificial intelligence to rate consumer credit.

Wecash can calculate a consumer’s creditworthiness in 10 seconds or less using phone records and other personal information, and has partnered with dozens of financial institutions so far. It also suggests potential lenders to consumers looking to take out a loan.

Only about 30% of the Chinese population is believed to borrow money from banks.

Hong Kong gives fintech measures the thumbs up (Asia Asset Management), Rated: B

Hong Kong will allocate HK$500 million (US$64.1 million) to financial services, including fintech, over the next five years, Mr. Chan said in the budget speech.

European Union

We talked to Nordic fintech queen Lena Apler – and her message to legacy banks is reboot or die (Business Insider), Rated: A

Big banks are particularly exposed when it comes to ETF funds. The fast-growing $5 trillion-dollar industry is being challenged by a crop of robo advisors, such as Apler’s portfolio company Sigmastocks, an algorithm-powered tool that tailors portfolios for customers, or BetterWealth, a roboadvisor app.

Although the region’s leading banks, such as Danske, Nordea and Swedbank are doing some good things and building new digital banking products and roboadvisory capabilities, Apler says, it won’t be enough.

Apler’s online bank Collector, which received its full banking license in 2015, has expanded to comprise cards, saving accounts and quick loans to both consumers and businesses. Collector doesn’t face the same issues as legacy banks in a digital world, Apler explains.

International

SMBs Turn To Mobile Devices To Accept Payments In Face-To-Face Environments (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

The retail point-of-sale (POS) terminal market is no stagnant business. While it is currently a $15 billion industry, Global Market Insights is expecting it to reach $45 billion by the year 2024.

Only 13 percent of small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are considering adding new payment types to face-to-face and remote environments, according to The PYMNTS SMB Technology Adoption Index.

Here are five ways SMBs are accepting payments from their customers.

  1. About a quarter – or 26 percent – of SMBs use hardware and software integrated POS to accept payments in a face-to-face environment.
  2. Almost two in 10 – or 19 percent of SMBs – use check scanning to accept payments in a face-to-face environment.
  3. And just about the same amount – 18 percent – of SMBs use NFC-enabled terminals to accept payments in a face-to-face environment.
  4. Fourteen percent of SMBs use mobile phones to accept payments in a face-to-face environment.
  5. Just under one in 10 – or 8 percent – of SMBs use mobile tablets. 

AltFin Shines As Investor Interest In B2B FinTech Continues (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Total venture capital across the global FinTech market between 2010 and 2017 hit a combined $97.7 billion, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 47 percent.

Accenture highlighted Kabbage, the U.S. alternative small business lending firm, that secured $900 million in 2017, while other alternative finance players, like LendingPoint and SoFi, landed significant investment rounds.

This week, alternative lender C2FO showed that the alternative finance funding gears are still turning, landing $100 million from Allianz X and Mubadala Investment Company. Existing backers Temasek, Union Square Ventures and Mithril Capital also participated, an announcement said.

This week’s blockchain investment comes from Square Peg Capital, which provided $5.5 million in Series A funding to AgriDigital, an Australian company hoping to use the funds to expand into North America.

Reports in The Australian Financial Review this week said the company uses blockchain to facilitate supply chain finance to the agriculture business, offering supply chain management features also powered by distributed ledger technology.

Why More MBA Students Are Gunning For Careers In Fintech (Business Because), Rated: A

According to CB Insights, $4.7 trillion of revenue generated by financial services firms is at risk of being displaced by fintech startups.

Prominent business school alumni have founded successful fintech startups, such as Giles Andrews, who setup peer-to-peer lender Zopa after getting an MBA at INSEAD. Jeff Lynn and Carlos Silva developed crowdfunding platform Seedrs during their MBA at Oxford’s Saïd Business School. According to PwC’s Global Fintech Report 2017, funding of fintech startups has increased at an annual growth rate of 41% over the past four years, with $40 billion in cumulative investment made.

Niels Turfboer is UK managing director at Spotcap, the Berlin-based online lender.

Lending and profit on the blockchain – Bitstrades targets new markets (The Merkle), Rated: B

Bitstrades is clearly aiming to position itself as a complete platform that both links users together and also leverages economies of scale to make both lending and investing possible. The Bitstrades ICO raised millions in funding and now the BSS token is available for trading.

TigerWit Raises $ 5M in Funding (Finsmes), Rated: B

TigerWit, a global fintech company, secured $5m in funding.

Australia/New Zealand

Financial planners not needed in credit space (TheAdviser), Rated: A

Bringing financial planners into the credit space would be unnecessary, according to a Commonwealth Bank executive, as there are more than enough brokers to service the mortgage needs of Australians.

The CBA executive said: “With 16,000 brokers out in the marketplace, we’re certainly not in a position where we need more people to serve Australians well in meeting their mortgage needs. For me, it’s certainly not a quantity issue.

The PC has also alleged that brokers working for lender-owned aggregators could feel compelled to provide customers with home loan products offered by the bank with an ownership share of the business.

Commissioner Stephen King referenced CBA’s ownership of Aussie Home Loans and cited figures published in the PC’s report, which said that 37 per cent of loans written by Aussie brokers were for CBA products.

We launch a new calculator that figures out the true “cost of credit” of a loan contract (Interest.co.nz), Rated: B

This one will be very helpful for readers who know just three things: how much they are borrowing, the amount of their repayments, and the number of those repayments.

It will be very useful indeed for anyone contemplating taking out a personal loan, a car loan, or even a payday loan.

With just these three items, you can work out the effective cost of credit of the debt obligation, expressed as a % per annum.

India

FY 19 – Beginning of a New Era for P2P Lending in FinTech Sector (India Info Online), Rated: AAA

India is poised to be a USD 4-trillion economy by 2022, of which USD 1-trillion would be digital economy.

Digital economy was a focal point for this budget ’18 as government’s support with regard to lending MSME’s allocated 3794 crore in the form of capital support and interest subsidy by 2022 which will help develop the MSME sector. Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) contribute about a third of India’s manufacturing output and provide employment to over 10 crore people. Despite this, the share of institutional lending in the total borrowings of MSMEs is less than 10%.

The prudential guidelines include maximum leverage ratio that can be maintained (2 times), minimum net owned funds (Rs2 crore), cap on aggregate exposure of lender to all borrowers (Rs.10 lakh), borrowers across all P2P (Rs10 lakh), exposure of single lender to borrower (Rs50,000) and maturity of loans (not exceed 36 months).

Signzy is helping banks solve customer authentication, onboarding problems with blockchain-based solution (YourStory), Rated: B

Signzy developed blockchain and AI-based solutions to digitally identify, verify, and authenticate customers. Its onboarding solution, Real KYC, has now been deployed by more than 45 large clients, including leading banks, NBFCs, mutual funds, P2P lending platforms, payment wallets, and so on.

Africa

Nigerian banks are using Facebook Messenger to onboard small businesses (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Mastercard is working with Facebook Messenger to bring a digital payments and banking experience to small businesses in Nigeria, in an effort to incentivize Nigerian merchants to close the mobile payments adoption gap and bring them onto the formal financial grid.

The payments giant, which has said it’s in the business of killing cash, is bringing this initiative to a country where 98 percent of the $301 billion in consumer-to-business payments is transacted using cash.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday September 25 2017, Daily News Digest

Federal Reserve Balance Sheet

News Comments Today’s main news: Prosper closes on $50M funding round at $550M valuation. SmartBiz Loans hits $500M in SBA loans. Labour proposes debt cap that would force credit card companies to write off billions. European Central Bank considering requiring fintechs to hold more capital. RateSetter raises $10.5M. FinEX Asia’s private equity fund manager invests $50M in Prosper. Today’s main […]

Federal Reserve Balance Sheet

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

Prosper Closes on a $ 50 Million Funding Round at a $ 550 Million Valuation (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Earlier this week Prosper closed on a Series G transaction where they raised $50 million from an investment fund co-managed by FinEx Asia and LPG Capital based in Hong Kong. While Prosper would not confirm their new valuation sources said the post money valuation was $550 million. This represents a 70.5% drop in value from their high in 2015. So the rumors from last month are true.

On April 2, 2015 Lending Club was trading at $19.26 a share. Yesterday the shares closed at $6.10 which is a 68% decline in valuation. This is pretty much in line with the decrease in valuation at Prosper.

A spokesperson for Prosper told me that the money will not be used for operations but rather for new projects. Prosper is now cash flow positive with liquid assets of around $42 million as of Q2 2017. There was no dire need to get this funding round done but it will be helpful for them as they look to grow in a sustainable way.

FT Partners Advises Prosper on its $ 50,000,000 Financing Round (FT Partners Email), Rated: AAA

FT Partners is pleased to announce our role as sole strategic and financial advisor to leading marketplace lender 
Source: FT Partners

Download and read the full transaction announcement here.

Fed News, Prosper Financing, ABS East Highlights (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Source: PeerIQ
Source: PeerIQ

Fed Reducing Balance Sheet and Not Offering Regulatory SandBox

Source: PeerIQ

On heels of 70% plunge in valuation, Prosper CEO defends latest fundraisings (Biz Journals), Rated: A

After pocketing $50 million in a huge down round and another deal that could give an investor group a 30 percent stake in the marketplace lender, there’s really only one question for the CEO: Are you giving away the store?

SmartBiz Loans Hits $ 500 Million Mark in SBA Loans for Small Businesses (Small Biz Trends), Rated: AAA

Small business lending platform SmartBiz Loans has announced surpassing $500 million in funded Small Business Administration loans.

SmartBiz Loans says it ranked as the leading facilitator of traditional SBA 7(a) loans under $350,000 for the 2016 fiscal year. This means SmartBiz surpassed Wells Fargo and other major banks in relation to SBA lending.

Small Business Loans Are Still An Option For Struggling Business Owners (Inquisitr), Rated: A

Small business loans are helpful for business owners who have no other financial options. SmartBiz Loans has announced that it surpassed $500 million in funded Small Business Administration loans. A fifth bank has joined its software platform.

According to the Buffalo News, M&T Bank leads a federal small business lending program in the Buffalo-Rochester region. The program’s overall totals have decreased from a year ago. The Small Business Administration reported 806 of the SBA 7(a) loans were originated through August. That’s down 21 percent from the previous period a year ago. Its amount of dollars were down 7 percent from last year, down to $132 million.

M&T Bank used to lead the way until August. Its number of loans dropped down to 41 percent. Its total dollars declined 11 percent to $25 million. It’s still well ahead of Wells Fargo. However, Biz2Credit, Fundera, and others have been catching up.

Matic Insurance Services Debuts Integration with Roostify, Advances to Final Round of TechCrunch Startup Battlefield (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Matic Insurance Services (Matic), a digital insurance agency that enables borrowers to purchase homeowner’s insurance during the home-buying transaction, has forged a partnership with automated lending technology provider Roostify. The company announced the news Tuesday afternoon from the stage of TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield, part of the TechCrunch Disrupt SF conference held in San Francisco this week. Matic was one of just six elite startups chosen to advance to the final round of the competition.

YC wants to let people invest in its startups through the blockchain  (TechCrunch), Rated: A

“We are interested in how companies like Y Combinator can use the blockchain to democratize access to investing,” said Sam Altman, who leads the accelerator, onstage at Disrupt yesterday. “We should try to figure that out.”

Our sources tell us YC is actually a little further along than that. Like a growing number of venture groups that are jumping into the digital currency world, the group is actively sussing out how it might use cryptocurrency to expand the investment pool.

Millennials still don’t like robo-advice (AltFi), Rated: B

A survey from online marketplace LendEDU found that 46 per cent of people between the ages of 18 and 34 who are saving for retirement use a financial adviser. In comparison, only 24 per cent of the 500 surveyed have used a robo-advice platform.

Around 75 per cent of respondents said they have never used an automated wealth management service, but 62 per cent of those said it was because they had never heard of robo-advice before.

Even so, millennials do not seem to trust automated wealth platforms. Of those surveyed, 51 per cent think a robo-adviser is more likely to make a mistake while managing money, while only 48 per cent think a traditional adviser is more likely to make an error.

Millennials Still Gravitate Toward Human Advisors over Robos: Survey (Advisor Hub), Rated: B

More than 46% of respondents in a survey of 502 millennial investors saving for retirement said they had sought advice from a human advisor, according to LendEDU, a student loan refinancing company. That is almost double the 24.3% who said they had used a robo-advisor either in addition to a human advisor or exclusively, according to the survey, which was released September 19.

AIC taps KKR’s Gopalan as CEO (PE Hub), Rated: B

Angel Island Capital (“AIC”), a San Francisco-based alternative investment advisor and credit manager, today announced the appointment of Dev Gopalan as Chief Executive Officer. A seasoned financial services executive, Mr. Gopalan joins Angel Island Capital from leading global investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (“KKR”), where he served as Head of US Private Credit and was a member of the Global Private Credit Investment Committee and KKR Credit Portfolio Management Committee.

United Kingdom

Concern at scale of peer-to-peer lender’s defaults (Telegraph), Rated: AAA

A rapidly growing peer-to-peer lender has exposed investors to a bankrupt for a second time, while a quarter of its loan book is considered to be in default, raising fresh concerns about regulation in the booming new finance market.

Sources close to Lendy Finance, which earlier this year became the title sponsor to the sailing regatta Cowes Week, spoke to The Sunday Telegraph after becoming concerned that the level of defaults revealed an ongoing weakness in underwriting checks, which is putting investors at risk to losses. The FCA is investigating how peer-to-peer lenders disclose default rates as part of a delayed consultation into the burgeoning industry.

A study of Lendy’s loan book reveals that almost 25pc of loans, worth £47.2m, are outside original terms, meaning repayments can be one day to 434 days overdue.

However, Lendy says that just 14.5pc of its loan book is “currently in default as defined by our agreements with lenders, and in line with the wider bridging and development finance market”.

Labour proposes debt cap that would see credit card companies forced to write off billions of pounds owed by customers (Telegraph), Rated: AAA

Credit card companies would be forced to write off billions of pounds in long-term customer debts if Labour got into power under a policy to be unveiled at the party’s conference.

John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, will propose capping the amount of money lenders can charge in interest so that no one has to pay back more than double what they borrowed.

But with £14 billion owed by those classed as being in “persistent debt”, the policy raises questions over whether the cost of the policy would end up being passed onto other borrowers.

The average credit card debt owed by those in persistent debt – classed as people who have paid more interest charges and fees than their original borrowing – is £3,464 per person.

The Financial Conduct Authority has estimated that lenders would lose up to £1.3 billion per year as a result.

My Bondmason Result After Exit – Yield was Mediocre (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

Last year in September I signed up at UK platform Bondmason in order to test first-hand how an investment of 1,000 GBP would develop.

What was bad, was that it became clear to me, that the interest level in combination with the non-performing loans would make it very unlikely for Bondmason to reach the projected return – at least for my portfolio. Especially with the Invoice Discounting loans there were issues.

In April 2017 Bondmason announced it would require a larger minimum investment amount of 5K (previously 1K) and raise fees for small portfolios to 1.5% (previously 1%). Dang. I was in no way interested to deposit more money. So my portfolio did not even get to celebrate 1st anniversary. In July I gave them notice to liquidate my portfolio/account. Since then I withdrew 1,013.94 GBP – only slightly more than I deposited. My account still exists as there is 20 GBP stuck in two property loans in default and also 1.41 GBP in cash.

Source: P2P-Banking

Starling is looking to raise £40 million in a new funding round (Business Insider), Rated: A

Startup bank Starling is seeking to raise £40 million from investors in a new funding round to drive international expansion.

The bank, which opened to the public earlier this year, has appointed advisory firm Quayle Munro to oversee the fundraising, according to Sky News.

According to the report, Starling plans to use the money to expand into other European markets, with the first of these likely to be Ireland, where it recently gained a passport — which will allow it to access EU markets after Brexit.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell vows to cut interest payments on debt-laden Brits – but it could cost the City £13bn (The Sun), Rated: A

Mr McDonnell will today outline plans for a 100 per cent ceiling for three million owing on average £3,464 in a move that could cost the City £13billion.

The plan, in which someone borrowing £1,000 would pay back no more than £2,000 in total, would bring credit cards into line with current rules on payday loan firms.

It would also apply to in-store credit cards.

What Goldman Sachs Retail Banking Will Look Like (The Market Mogul), Rated: A

Goldman Sachs already has a mass-market offering in the US, after launching its online lender Marcus 18 months ago. Since its inception, Marcus has supervised over $1bn worth of loans to businesses.

Goldman Sachs will start taking deposits in the UK, but in the long run, the bank has plans to lend UK customers money through Marcus like in the US.

NatWest recently announced its plans to launch an online lender Esme Loans, allowing SMEs to quickly take unsecured loans of up to £150,000. Online lending is likely to become more crowded as Santander has also announced plans to incorporate digital banking in its services.

Can an app really change the way we buy houses by dragging lawyers into the tech age? (The is Money), Rated: A

Conveyancing – the legal process of transferring ownership of land and property from one party to another – has changed considerably over the past 10 years.

Technology has so far failed to make inroads to improve the process – and no matter how slick your online lender or mortgage broker tries to be, everyone’s held to ransom by the law.

What is When you Move ?

Simon: Frustrations we’ve seen our clients navigate, in addition to our personal experiences, triggered something of an obsession to develop a tech solution for an industry deep-rooted in some of the most archaic practices still in use  in modern-day business.

When You Move is an app that allows home buyers and sellers to see easily in real time where everyone is up to in the process – be that you, the lawyer, the mortgage broker, the valuer or the lender.

Adopting fintech is saving UK businesses £4.6bn, according to MarketInvoice (City A.M.), Rated: A

The survey found 65 per cent of 3,482 UK businesses have adopted at least one fintech solution, with 19 per cent making use of four services. These fintech products are helping the firms to save on average over £5,500 a year.

MarketInvoice estimates that 65 percent of 1.3m UK businesses are therefore making this average saving, meaning a total of £4.6bn is being saved thanks to fintech.

Ex-Goldman, Barclays and Lloyds MD has just jumped to a fintech firm after 30 years in banking (efinancialcareers.com), Rated: B

Adam Barrett, the head of institutional sales at Lloyd Banking Group has joined the exodus from banking to fintech. After more than 30 years in investment banking, at UBS, Goldman Sachs and Barclays, he’s just gone to peer to peer lending platform Invest & Fund.

Fintech “critically important” for future of UK financial services (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

MAINTAINING the UK’s position as a leading fintech and innovation hub is “critically important”, according to a survey of City firms.

The CBI/PWC financial services survey, released on Monday, questioned 94 companies, including banks, finance houses, securities traders, fund managers and the insurance industry.

Banks in particular saw a need to ensure that the UK remains a leading fintech and innovation hub.

European Union

European Central Bank could ask fintech banks to hold more capital (AltFi), Rated: AAA

The European Central Bank is considering requiring banks involved in financial technology to hold more capital buffers.

Cawley to chair peer-to-peer lender Linked Finance (Irish Times), Rated: A

Former Ryanair deputy chief executive Michael Cawley has been appointed chairman of peer-to-peer lending platform Linked Finance, which hooks up companies requiring capital with individuals and institutions looking to lend.

As of this month, it says it has 16,000 registered lenders on the site. Businesses to have availed of loans through the platform include Viking Splash Tours, the Irish Fairy Door Company and tech company Big Red Cloud.

Linked Finance has set a target to facilitate lending of up to €250 million in coming years. It says its lending was up by more than 240 per cent in the first half of this year. SMEs can borrow up to €250,000 on its platform.

How CrossLend is changing the game for European investors (LendIt), Rated: B

By November 2016, we were engaged in a strategic pivot, actively shifting our focus from B2C to B2B, so we could offer our single-loan securitisation solution to major players on Europe’s lending stage.

The good news is that investors also stand to benefit from the opportunities inherent in CrossLend’s single-loan backed notes, and here’s how:

  1. Simplified access
  2. Flexibility
  3. Ease of diversification
  4. Transparency
  5. Favourable regulatory treatment
  6. Liquidity
  7. State-of-the-art investment tools
International

ConsenSys And Tapscotts Are Warming Up To Global Ethereum-Based CarbonX Platform (ETHNews), Rated: A

On September 21, 2017, blockchain software company ConsenSys announced the launch of a peer-to-peer (P2P) trading company, CarbonX, which will employ the Ethereum blockchain to tokenize carbon credits.

CarbonX is backed by a co-founding group that includes co-authors of best-selling book Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the WorldDon and Alex Tapscott. The company intends to purchase Certified Emission Reduction Credits, also called carbon credits, to be tokenized with the Ethereum blockchain. CarbonX will also tokenize investments it makes in reduction projects.

Report: There are 214 Unicorns in the World. A Good Number of them are Fintech (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

CBInsights has just published an updated report, along with some accompanying slides, tallying the number of Unicorns globally and outside the US.

According to their numbers there are 214 Unicorns in the world. There are 24 countries with Unicorns and the US leads the way with 52% and China follows in second place with 23%.

E-commerce is number one and Internet Software & Services take second place. Fintech Unicorns are in 3rd place.

Fintech names like SoFi, Stripe, Credit Karma, Prosper, Kabbage, Avant, are on the list. Outside the US, Fintech names include Lu.com, ZhongAn, Saxo Bank, One 97 Communications, Klarna, Funding Circle, Transferwise are there.

Australia/New Zealand

Sydney fintech RateSetter just raised $ 10.5 million after blitzing peer-to-peer rivals (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer online lender RateSetter Australia has secured a $10.5 million capital raising round and has doubled its loan levels on 12 months ago.

Peer-to-peer online lender RateSetter Australia has secured a $10.5 million capital raising round and has doubled its loan levels on 12 months ago.

Australian banks drop ATM fees (Financial Times), Rated: A

Australian consumers will no longer face charges when using another bank’s cash point after the country’s four major banks dropped ATM withdrawal fees for domestic users amid greater regulatory scrutiny for the industry.

Wealth management still key for banks (The Sydney Morning Herald), Rated: A

Former Commonwealth Bank chief executive David Murray says there remains a strong case for bank involvement in wealth management, despite the recent trend of lenders offloading life insurance and funds management assets.

CBA last week became the latest bank to retreat from “manufacturing” wealth products, selling its life insurance arm for $3.8 billion and saying it may spin off the investment business of Colonial First State in an initial public offering.

PledgeMe founder Anna Guenther hopes to take crowdfunding to Australia (NZ Herald), Rated: B

Anna Guenther is planning to take PledgeMe across the Ditch with the Australian Government set to legalise equity crowdfunding next week.

Two new high-profile digital wallet partnerships and the Australian alternative finance market ranks second in the Asia Pacific (Finder), Rated: B

Commonwealth Bank has announced it will be giving its 4.4 million app users access to Android Pay. The bank will also be allowing its customers to make contactless payments with their Garmin smartwatches in early October, with Apple Pay becoming available by the end of the year.

Australian fintech lender Waddle has announced the expansion of its invoice financing and factoring services to New Zealand. The lender is looking to meet the “significant demand” from small businesses in the New Zealand market.

Woolworths customers will be able to use their iPhones to collect and redeem Woolworths Rewards points when shopping at the supermarket or its partners from next month. Find out how much you can collect and redeem here.

India

P2P lending: Direct selling agents may come under RBI regulatory ambit as NBFCs (The Hindu Business Line), Rated: AAA

The Reserve Bank of India’s recent move to regulate peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms as non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) has created a grey area of sorts, spelling trouble for thousands of direct selling agents (DSA) or direct marketing agents (DMAs).

The Finance Industry Development Council (FIDC) says it is “very much possible” that DSAs/DMAs who have been providing loan facilitation (offline) services to retail and corporate borrowers, from banks and NBFCs (with whom they have signed a written contract) for the past many years, may also fall under the ambit of RBI’s P2P regulatory framework as NBFCs.

Start-up funding crawls: 20 months, Rs 70 crore (The Indian Express), Rated: A

Since it was floated in January 2016, the government’s Rs 10,000-crore Fund-of-Funds for start-ups (FFS), launched in line with the Start-up India Action Plan of the Government, has made slow progress with only about Rs 70 crore having been disbursed to start-ups until the beginning of this month.

The 17 funds include Mumbai-based early-stage investor Kae Capital, which raised its second $30-million fund in February last year and is reported to have got a commitment of Rs 45 crore from the FFS. Kae Capital has investments in about 16 start-ups, including Truebil, a used-car marketplace owned by Paix Technology; peer-to-peer business loan marketplace startup Loanzen; second-hand products marketplace ListUp promoted by Gijutsu Solutions and shopping portal Fynd run by Shopsense Retail Technologies.

Asia

FinEX Asia’s Private Equity Fund Manager Announces US$ 50 Million Investment in Prosper Marketplace (ACN Newswire), Rated: AAA

FinEX Asia is pleased to announce that its private equity fund manager closed an investment of US$50 million in Prosper Marketplace, a U.S. online marketplace lending platform for consumer loans.

“FinEX Asia is excited to complete the Series G financing into Prosper, a leader in marketplace lending in the U.S.,” said Maggie Ng, CEO of FinEX Asia. “Our team’s expertise is in fintech and consumer lending. Our investment strategy starts with the U.S. because of our strong network with online marketplace lenders. In parallel we are considering investment opportunities in other verticals globally.”

Founded earlier this year by Maggie Ng, a former Consumer Lending Head and Chief Risk Officer at Citibank, FinEX Asia aims to help Asian investors look for quality investment opportunities, both in fixed income and equity investments, by using its fintech platform and know-how. The investment made into Prosper is a good illustration of how such opportunities are welcomed by Asian investors and that FinEX Asia’s investment strategies are well recognized by the capital it represents.

Singapore’s FinMomenta to lend to low-income employees (The Hindu Business Line), Rated: A

Singapore-based fin-tech start-up FinMomenta, which entered the Indian online P2P (peer to peer) lending market early this year with its product called Tachyloans, will soon be lending to salaried professionals working in small and mid-size firms.

Called Corporate HR loans, FinMomenta aims to make lending easier for the working class. The loan size ranges from ₹50,000 to ₹5 lakh.

Blockchain Fintech Firm, MicroMoney Starts a Private Presale for Early Birds (PR Newswire), Rated: A

MicroMoney, a global fintech blockchain company and lending services provider, announces a private presale for its token-generating event for the early birds among funds and big contributors. This presale started on September 15th, 2017.

MicroMoney is a fast-growing company founded in 2015 with the offices in five Asian countries – ThailandMyanmarIndonesia, Sri Lanka, and Cambodia. The company plans to expand its presence to 5 more countries by 2018. MicroMoney was established as a company focused on micro-financing in the money lending industry, providing customers with online loans without any collateral requirements using machine learning algorithms.

There are still more than 2 billion of the unbanked in the world, especially in the emerging market.

Japanese firm eyes expansion in PH (Sunstar), Rated: A

CROWDCREDIT, a Japanese cross-border marketplace lending company which promises to fill in lending gaps by providing funds for lending and financial institutions including banks, is currently studying the market and possibility of business expansion in the Philippines.

In other countries, such as the United Kingdom, for example, banks receive loan applications more than their existing deposit or more than the loans that they can cater to. The case is opposite with Japan’s banks with more excess deposits than loans. With this, the basic concept of Crowdcredit is to provide this excess fund for loan to other countries that would need them.

Crowdcredit has a vast network of global partners which includes Mfx, Kobranzas, Fellow Finance, Savy, Cream Finance, Ovamba, Bondora, Mogo, Mintos, and Prestiamoci.

New LendingCalc White Paper Examines Opportunities in SE Asian Marketplace Lending (LendingCalc Email), Rated: A

Author Terry Tse Provides Practical Advice About How to Select Best P2P Platforms

LendingCalc, Inc., a direct investment platform providing global access to digital specialty finance for institutional investors, has released a new white paper examining the investment opportunities within the growing marketplace lending sector in Asia. The paper was written by newly appointed strategic adviser, Terry Tse, who served as Chief Risk Officer at the China-based P2P giant, Dianrong, and is currently Senior VP of International Development at the largest B2B payment company in China, Lian Lian Pay.

In the paper, Tse contrasts U.S. and Asian regulations and explains how the regulatory regimes in Asia impact the lending opportunities abroad. He also describes the emerging P2P business environment in Asia, which appears to be extremely well positioned for growth. In addition, Tse explains the key structural incentives Asian P2P lenders have implemented to discourage borrowers from defaulting.

The paper concludes with a number of practical suggestions to help investors navigate the socalled “Wild East” that is marketplace loan investing in Asia.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday May 17 2017, Daily News Digest

developed ex-us vs usa total market etf

News Comments Today’s main news: Earnest is looking for a buyer. SoFi gets into wealth management. DBRS assigns provisional ratings to SoFi Professional Loan Program 2017-C LLC. Prosper issues new securitization backed by George Soros. Lending Club hires PayPal exec as new president. TransferWise reaches profitability. Renren announces 2016 results, unaudited. Today’s main analysis:  Capital One forays into digital ID. Today’s […]

developed ex-us vs usa total market etf

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

Asia

South America

News Summary

United States

SoFi gets into wealth management (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

SoFi wants to be at the center of its members’ financial lives, and believes the best way to do so is to provide new products that complement its existing portfolio of student loan, mortgage and other loans. Today the company is announcing the launch of SoFi Wealth, a product it believes will compete with Wealthfront, Betterment and other low-cost wealth management platforms.

But the company is looking to go a step further than just creating yet another roboadvisor. SoFi Wealth will offer access to non-commissioned, licensed financial advisors that members can reach by phone or by chat to answer investment questions or just help them improve their overall financial health.

Wealth management customers will get the same benefits as other members, including access to community events, career coaching and discounts on other SoFi products. Management fees will be waived for SoFi loan borrowers, but otherwise are just 0.25 percent and will be waived for the first $10,000 invested.

People interested can sign up with as little as a $500 initial investment or monthly recurring deposit of $100 for access to any of its low-cost ETFs.

Capital One forays into digital ID, aiming to leverage KYC know-how (American Banker), Rated: A

Capital One Financial is trying to turn the expense of thoroughly vetting bank customers into a moneymaker with new digital identity products.

In so doing, Capital One is one of the first in the U.S. to test if businesses will pay banks to check users’ identities, and if consumers will sign into websites through their banks the way they use social media accounts. Since banks already have to collect and verify sensitive information, to comply with know-your-customer regulations and to prevent fraud, they theoretically could leverage this work and expertise for other businesses. Consumers, in turn, would have fewer passwords and usernames to remember and would not have to give out sensitive information such as Social Security numbers quite as often. Banks in Europe and Canada have begun to offer such services.

It is a market that several U.S. banks are dipping their toes into. One of the most prominent is USAA; in the past several years it has acquired multiple digital identity firms. This year it also granted development rights to some of its patented security technologies to Persistent Systems to create digital authentication tools.

DBRS Assigns Provisional Ratings to SoFi Professional Loan Program 2017-C LLC (DBRS), Rated: AAA

DBRS, Inc. (DBRS) has today assigned provisional ratings to the following classes of Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes (the Notes) issued by SoFi Professional Loan Program 2017-C LLC (SoFi 2017-C):

— $96,069,000 Class A-1 rated AAA (sf)
— $230,156,000 Class A-2A rated AAA (sf)
— $175,653,000 Class A-2B rated AAA (sf)
— $41,000,000 Class B rated AA (sf)
— $18,000,000 Class C rated A (sf)

RATINGS

Issuer Debt Rated Rating Action Rating Trend Notes Published Issued
SoFi Professional Loan Program 2017-C LLC Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes, Class A-1 Provis.-New AAA (sf) May 16, 2017 US
SoFi Professional Loan Program 2017-C LLC Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes, Class A-2A Provis.-New AAA (sf) May 16, 2017 US
SoFi Professional Loan Program 2017-C LLC Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes, Class A-2B Provis.-New AAA (sf) May 16, 2017 US
SoFi Professional Loan Program 2017-C LLC Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes, Class B Provis.-New AA (sf) May 16, 2017 US
SoFi Professional Loan Program 2017-C LLC Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes, Class C Provis.-New A (sf) May 16, 2017 US

Lending Club hires Paypal global credit head as new president (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Lending Club has hired the head of Paypal’s global credit business as its new president, amid efforts to get on the front foot after last year’s loan mis-selling scandal.

Steve Allocca, PayPal’s vice-president of global credit, will start work at Lending Club next week, the company said in a statement on Tuesday, reporting to Scott Sanborn, chief executive. He will lead Lending Club’s efforts to deliver credit to more people across an expanding range of product categories, the company said.

PayPal Credit is the successor to BillMeLater, which PayPal’s then-parent, eBay, bought in 2008. The idea was to expand the company’s financial offerings, help merchants get more business and beef up its fraud detection tools.

Before joining PayPal in 2013, Mr Allocca had various consumer-facing roles at Wells Fargo after training as a banker at First Chicago, a bank bought by Bank One and then JPMorgan Chase.

US marketplace lender Prosper issues new securitization backed by George Soros (AltFi), Rated: A

US marketplace lender Prosper is prepping a $450.5m consumer loan ABS transaction that is expected to close on May 24, 2017.

Prosper announced it had agreed a $5bn programme of securitizations backed by a consortium of investors including credit Suisse and George Soros’  Soros Fund Management LLC.

Online Lender Earnest Said to Be For Sale (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

According to a report by Bloomberg, Earnest is up for sale. The San Francisco based online lender is said to have an asking price of $100 million. Founded in 2013, Crunchbase reports Earnest has raised over $99 million not including an undisclosed sum in a VC round in January 2016 and $200 million of debt financing.

DBRS Confirms Ratings on Three OnDeck Asset-Backed Securities Transactions (DBRS), Rated: A

DBRS, Inc. (DBRS) has today conducted a review of the outstanding public ratings of five securities from three structured finance asset-backed securities transactions: OnDeck Asset Securitization Trust II LLC, Series 2016-1; OnDeck Account Receivables Trust 2013-1 LLC; and Prime OnDeck Receivables Trust II, LLC. Of the five ratings reviewed, all were confirmed at their current rating levels.

RATINGS

Issuer Debt Rated Rating Action Rating Trend Notes Published Issued
OnDeck Asset Securitization Trust II LLC, Series 2016-1 Series 2016-1 Asset Backed Notes, Class A Confirmed A (sf) May 16, 2017 US
OnDeck Asset Securitization Trust II LLC, Series 2016-1 Series 2016-1 Asset Backed Notes, Class B Confirmed BBB (low) (sf) May 16, 2017 US
OnDeck Account Receivables Trust 2013-1 LLC Class A Revolving Loan Note Confirmed A (low) (sf) May 16, 2017 US
OnDeck Account Receivables Trust 2013-1 LLC Class B Revolving Loan Note Confirmed BBB (low) (sf) May 16, 2017 US
Prime OnDeck Receivables Trust II, LLC Class A Loans Confirmed A (low) (sf) May 16, 2017 US


SoFi’s CEO wishes the US had less student loan debt
(TechCrunch), Rated: A

SoFi was founded on the business of helping high-earning graduates refinance their student loans. But perhaps ironically, CEO Michael Cagney thinks today’s record amount of student loan debt is a bad thing.

“When you go to a school and take a loan out, no one explains what you can afford, how much money you’re going to make when you graduate and how much you’re able to pay back,” he explained.

Meanwhile, universities aren’t incentivized to provide that education because it’s in their interest to have students matriculate, and there’s no downside to the college when a graduate is unable to pay back their loans.

Money360 Closes $ 45M in Commercial Real Estate Loans in April, Breaks Monthly Record (Marketwired), Rated: A

Money360, a commercial real estate marketplace lending platform, closed more than $45 million in loans in April, the company announced today. This brings the company’s total production to over $250 million in closed loans, with an expected $500 million in transactions by year-end. Money360’s recent loan closings span properties nationwide and provide a variety of borrowers with quick funding to purchase or refinance income-producing properties.

The more than $45 million in loan closings, all of which have loan-to-value ratios of not more than 75 percent, include:

  • A $9.70 million bridge loan for a two-story, 198-room hotel property in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The 131,000 square foot property was built in 1983 and renovated in 2011.
  • A $7.70 million bridge loan for a multi-tenant, medical office building in San Jose, California containing 20,341 square feet of rentable space.
  • An $8.50 million bridge loan for a five-story, multi-tenant office property in Orange County, California containing 58,755 square feet of rentable space.
  • A $4.90 million bridge loan for a two-tenant, 19,107 square-foot anchored retail property in Ocean County, New Jersey.
  • A $6.00 million permanent loan for a one-story, 10-tenant retail property in Johnson County, Kansas containing 39,483 square feet of rentable space.
  • A $3.48 million permanent loan for a one-story, four-tenant retail property in Johnson County, Kansas containing 21,450 square feet of rentable space.
  • A $5.00 million permanent loan for an anchored retail center containing 202,219 square feet of rentable space, located in San Bernardino County, California.

Automation Drives Retirement Savings to New Heights (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: A

Financial advisors may want to pay closer attention to automation in retirement savings accounts. Auto-escalation and auto-enrollment played major roles in how Fidelity retirement savings accounts reached new highs this year, Bloomberg writes.

Among the 27% of employees who raised their contribution, 50% did so in such auto-escalation accounts, Jeanne Thompson, a senior vice president at Fidelity, tells the news service. And for workers under 30, automated increases accounted for a whopping 68% of the rise in savings rates, according to Fidelity’s analysis.

SoFi CEO explains how his fintech company will make banks ‘more… (CNBC), Rated: A

CBC National Bank Ranked 3rd Highest Customer-Rated Mortgage Lender in First Quarter by LendingTree (PR Web), Rated: A

CBC National Bank, headquartered in Fernandina Beach and with branches in Fernandina Beach, Ocala and The Villages, Fla., and Beaufort and Port Royal, S.C., today announced that it has been named by LendingTree as the 3rd highest customer-rated mortgage lender in the first quarter of 2017.

Online loan marketplace LendingTree said its rankings feature top lenders in multiple loan product categories, including mortgages, personal loans, business loans, and auto loans. CBC National Bank earned the 3rd highest ranking in the mortgage category.

Can financial technology unite Republicans and Democrats? (The Hill), Rated: A

Last year, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) set a course for the future of financial services. Now it appears that the agency is adrift without a captain, and a storm is upon it.

The fintech charter proposal may not survive legal challenge. The OCC has said that it has authority to issue fintech charters to non-depository companies if they engage in other “core banking activities,” such as paying checks or lending money. But that position is based only on the OCC’s own 2003 regulation, which the state regulators are also challenging. And, as Sens. Merkley and Brown noted, other SPNBs that do not accept deposits (bankers’ banks, credit card banks, and trust banks) are specifically authorized by Congress under the National Bank Act.

Congressional Republicans and Democrats have both recognized the importance of the issue, and Congress is the right institution to explore the implications for the burgeoning fintech industry and the federal-state banking system. And unlike the highly partisan warfare over the Dodd-Frank Act, the SPNB charter provides a rare opportunity for members of both parties to work together to fully examine the risks and benefits of providing a national bank charter to fintech companies.

Finra chairman John Brennan says DOL rule has raised standard for financial advice (Investment News), Rated: A

Finra chairman John J. Brennan said on Tuesday that even if the Labor Department’s fiduciary rule is repealed, it has elevated and put into plain language the idea of providing investment advice that’s better for clients’ returns than for financial advisers’ revenue.

The DOL regulation, which would require financial advisers to act in the best interests of their clients in retirement accounts, was supposed to be implemented on April 10. That date was pushed back to June 9 so that the agency can reassess the measure under a directive from President Donald J. Trump that could lead to its modification or repeal.

If the DOL rule meets its demise, the concept will live on at the Securities and Exchange Commission and at Finra, the broker-dealer self-regulator, Mr. Brennan said.

Finra president and CEO Robert Cook said he supports the concept of raising advice requirements for brokers.

Clayton’s SEC Likely to Roll Back Enforcement (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: A

The SEC’s new chief is likely to focus on well-functioning capital markets and capital formation rather than enforcement, Todd Cipperman writes in the Hill.

But Clayton’s “Wall Street pedigree” and his opening statement to the Senate Banking Committee suggests that he will not spearhead enforcement to the same extent as his predecessor, Mary Jo White, Cipperman writes.

As a securities lawyer to Wall Street firms, Clayton will likely focus on broader policy goals and regulations vetted by the financial industry, in part by putting more emphasis on the Division of Investment Management and the Division of Trading and Markets rather than enforcement, according to Cipperman.

But Clayton’s reign isn’t likely to result in unregulated markets. Clayton cites as role models former SEC chairmen Arthur Levitt and William Donaldson, both of whom were tough on the industry despite being insiders, according to Cipperman. Because of that — and because regulatory change occurs slowly — advice firms should stay focused on compliance, he writes.

Real estate crowdfunding firm graduates to first apartment property (IBJ), Rated: A

A local startup that uses crowdfunding to invest in residential real estate is starting to make bigger acquisitions by progressing from rental homes to apartment complexes.

Jacob Blackett and Sterling White launched Holdfolio in October 2014 by attracting investors to collectively purchase run-down rental houses that the company could renovate with hopes of turning a profit.

Now the company has acquired its first apartment property, in the Garfield Park neighborhood on the city’s near-south side, and has another under contract in Beech Grove.

Holdfolio buys properties and bundles them into a portfolio. The residential properties are renovated, and outside investors can buy equity stakes in the properties via an online platform. They receive returns from rents paid for the properties.

The company so far has drawn about 100 investors who have forked over a minimum of $10,000 each. Holdfolio says they have reaped an 8 percent average annual return on their contributions.

The company targets properties that are considered distressed and in areas of the city that can benefit from the company’s investment. Holdfolio typically purchases the homes it targets for roughly $25,000.

Elevate Appoints Denise Russell as Head of Enterprise Risk Management (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Elevate Credit, Inc. (“Elevate”), a leading tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, today announced the appointment of Denise Russell as Chief Risk Officer, effective immediately.

As Chief Risk Officer, Russell will oversee internal audit, regulatory compliance and enterprise risk management operations including risk identification and mitigation activities. She will work closely with the Elevate executive and legal teams to identify opportunities for enterprise risk reduction in support of the company’s strategic plan. Russell will lead a team of more than 15 compliance, audit and risk management professionals.

United Kingdom

Fintech unicorn TransferWise reaches profitability, planning ‘new financial services (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Six years after launch, TransferWise, the London-headquartered international money transfer startup, which was most recently valued at a reported $1.1 billion, has announced that it has finally reached profitability this calendar year and is “cash-generating”.

Breaking this down a little, the company says it’s currently seeing £8 million per month in revenue, which extrapolates to a £100 million revenue run-rate, and is growing 150 per cent year-on-year and expecting to do the same this year. It also says over £1 billion is being moved every month, saving its customers what it claims to be over £1.5 million per day in foreign exchange fees.

With that said, let me speculate on what products I think the company could quite easily move into, should it choose to do so. Friend-to-friend or P2P payments within the same country, along the lines of Paypal’s Venmo or Barclays Pingit, doesn’t seem a stretch, given that TransferWise already has much of that infrastructure already in place. It also seems odd that the company doesn’t offer its own debit card with low cost currency exchange when spending abroad, for example.

Were TransferWise to do the latter, that would see it go up against Revolut, and a ton of other much more recent fintech startups that utilise MasterCard’s low exchange rate, including all-your-cards-in-one app Curve, of which Hinrikus himself is an investor.

P2P Property Lender Lendy Tops £300 Million. (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Peer to peer property lender Lendy has surpassed £310 million in originations with £50 million coming in last 100 days. The P2P lender states that investors and developers are responding to post-Brexit slowdown in bank lending.  Lendy adds that quick turnaround, security and low Loan to Value (LTVs) are key to their growth. Lendy says there are over 16,000 registered users on their site.

Lendy highlighted several UK property investments recently listed on their platform:

  • £7.5 million for the purchase and redevelopment of a commercial building in Marylebone, central London
  • £5.7 million for the development of a major residential building at Liverpool waterfront
  • £2.4 million for the development of a major student accommodation complex in Huddersfield

CreditEase’s Tang Joins Oxford Said’s New Global Leadership Council (PR Newswire), Rated: A

CreditEase announces today that its founder and CEO Ning Tang has been appointed to the University of Oxford’s Said Business School’s (“Oxford Said”) new Global Leadership Council. This council of senior global leaders will provide independent advice and guidance to the school.

Said Business School is a vibrant and innovative business school embedded in the historic and prestigious University of Oxford. The school offers programs and research opportunities that have global impact and help individuals and organizations find ideas and valuable network to tackle world-wide problems. As one of the fastest growing business schools in the world, the school is ranked 1st in the UK in the FT’s ranking of open enrollment programs in 2016, and 2nd globally for aims achieved in the FT ranking of MBA programs in 2017.

BondMason looks to non-P2P investments (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

PEER-TO-PEER investment manager BondMason is increasing its exposure to non-P2P lenders to broaden its offering.

The firm aims to get its clients a seven per cent return by selecting P2P loans across approved platforms on their behalf, but chief executive Stephen Findlay says he is now looking outside the industry to provide more diversification for investors.

BondMason is also working to increase awareness among financial advisers and recently partnered with professional body the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment (CISI) to compile a report on the P2P sector.

Fintech competition heating up in money transfer space (AltFi), Rated: B

Revolut has quietly allowed users to make international money transfers in roughly 3-5 days for some time. These transfers are free for amounts of up to £5,000, with a 0.5 per cent charge applying for larger amounts.

Now there is a new Turbo option, which will see international transfers delivered in 1-2 business days, for a flat rate fee of £5 for amounts of up to £5,000, again with a 0.5 per cent fee applied for larger sums.

China

Renren Announces Unaudited Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year 2016 Financial Results and Update on Proposed Transactions (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Fourth Quarter 2016 Highlights

  • Total net revenues were US$20.3 million, a 49.8% increase from the corresponding period in 2015.

    • Advertising and Internet Value-Added Services (IVAS) net revenues were US$10.8 million, a 31.4% increase from the corresponding period in 2015.
    • Financing income was US$9.5 million, a 77.8% increase from the corresponding period of 2015.
  • Gross profit was US$4.4 million.
  • Operating loss was US$16.4 million, compared to an operating loss of US$29.0 million in the corresponding period in 2015.
  • Net loss attributable to the Company was US$93.3 million, compared to a net loss of US$53.0 million in the corresponding period in 2015.
  • Adjusted net loss (1) (non-GAAP) was US$87.9 million, compared to an adjusted net loss of US$43.2 million in the corresponding period in 2015.

Fiscal Year 2016 Highlights

  • Total net revenues were US$63.4 million, a 54.1% increase from 2015.
    • Advertising and IVAS net revenues were US$34.0 million, a 4.7% increase from 2015.
    • Financing income was US$29.4 million, compared to US$8.6 million in 2015.
  • Gross profit was US$11.6 million, compared to US$4.4 million in 2015.
  • Operating loss was US$73.0 million, compared to an operating loss of US$105.3 million in 2015.
  • Net loss attributable to the Company was US$185.4 million, compared to a net loss of US$220.1 million in 2015.
  • Adjusted net loss (1) (non-GAAP) was US$161.8 million, compared to an adjusted net loss of US$193.3 million in 2015.

(1) Adjusted net loss is defined as loss excluding share-based compensation expenses and amortization of intangible assets. See “About Non-GAAP Financial Measures” below.

CDB Capital Leads $ 42M Round In Chinese Fintech Firm Wacai (China Money Network), Rated: A

China Development Bank Capital, an investment unit under China Development Bank, has led a US$42 million strategic investment in Chinese financial technology firm Wacai.

Chinese investment firms CBC Capital, New Horizon Capital, Qiming Venture Partners and Ally Bridge Group also participated in the financing round, the company announced today. Today’s investment brings the company’s total fundraising to over US$200 million cumulatively.

The company has cumulative users of 160 million and has facilitated wealth management product transactions in the range of RMB100 billion (US$14.5 billion) annually, it says.

European Union

Twino and KPMG publish European alternative lending index (Finextra), Rated: AAA

TWINO, Europe’s fastest growing peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform, has today released the first ever Alternative Lending Index (ALI) in conjunction with KPMG.

The report compares lending environments across Europe over the period 2010- 2016.
Highlights
· Highest ranked countries for alternative lending in Europe are: Hungary, Slovenia, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Greece and Ireland
· Countries with largest potential in terms of overall lending market size and alternative lending environment are: Poland, Greece and Ireland
· In 2010-2016 total density of credit institutions per 1 million inhabitants decreased from 19 to 15
· Aggregate European credit gap has increased from close to breakeven in 2010 to 12 percentage points of GDP
· Significant differences in availability of financing for household and corporate borrowers across countries:
· UK significantly higher for corporate borrowers than for households
· Credit gap for the UK and France is negative, indicating lending demand is met with a surplus
· Germany is lending market leader – total outstanding loans reach EUR 2.5 trillion, followed by France, where outstanding loans are EUR 2.1 trillion
· Ireland top country by number of credit institutions per 1 million inhabitants, followed by Austria and Finland
Currently the countries ranked as the most favourable for the expansion of alternative lending are Hungary, Slovenia, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Greece and Ireland whilst France, Germany, Netherlands, Austria, Finland and Sweden show highly efficient lending markets and therefore the lowest ALI.

Interview with the Founders of DoFinance Janis and Viesturs Kulikovoskis (P2P-Banking), Rated: A

What are the three main advantages for investors?

  • Potential investment risks for investors are well-balanced and brought to minimum: all loans are secured with a BuyBack guarantee. If the borrower doesn’t pay back the loan, you don’t have to wait for an extra 30 days (after the investment due date) to get your funds back – your money is available right away;
  • You have access to your money at any timeif you decide to withdraw invested money before the due date, you can receive your money starting from 14 to 28 days after your request with (or without) accumulated interest, depending on your chosen investment plan and preferred withdrawal term;
  • Your money never sits still; it is always earning. Auto Invest program on DoFinance reinvests funds the moment the borrower returns the loan and the investor’s money becomes available.

According to the press release Alfa Finance Group has invested 2 million Euro in launching DoFinance. Can you please describe what the money was used for?

The money was invested in technologies to create the platform and in building our loan portfolio.

What was the greatest challenge so far in the course of launching DoFinance?

The greatest challenge was to develop a risk assessment tool that would minimize the risk of failure to repay the loan, be effective and secure. Risk assessment and management is our strength, and all our loans are secured with a BuyBack guarantee. If the borrower doesn’t pay back the loan, you don’t have to wait for an extra 30 days (after the investment due date) to get your funds back – your money is available right away.

Another challenge was becoming available also to Asian investors. DoFinance is the first European-based P2P lending platform to open customer center in Indonesia, bringing together European customer centered approach and Asian investors. We are happy to be the first ones to offer such individual approach to all our customers and give the chance to Asian investors to invest in Europe.

Is DoFinance open to international investors?

Yes, DoFinance is available to private individuals holding a bank account in EU, EEA countries as well as Asian countries which are not included in the lists of high-risk and non-cooperative jurisdictions and international sanctions (Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam etc.).

What is your opinion on the planned upcoming regulation in Latvia for p2p lending?

Fintech industry has a potential to become Latvia’s success story which would contribute to both image and prosperity of the country, thus there must be healthy balance between industry regulation and its self-regulation. The entire financial industry and eventually the consumer will benefit from the development of FinTech as banks and FinTech companies will start cooperating when it comes down to providing financial services, customer service etc. Therefore, it is the state’s responsibility to create environment where these companies will stand and where intellectual capacity of labor will increase and taxes will be paid. At the same time, the regulation must ensure transparency and monitoring – simply because then dishonest entrepreneurs wouldn’t be able to harm investors.

International

US AND GLOBAL STOCKS REMAIN STRONG – WEEK OF MAY 16, 2017 (SoFi), Rated: AAA

U.S. stocks are strong; developed world stocks are rallying, but still uncertain; and despite some investors’ fears, emerging markets are still appealing. Here’s what’s been happening in the market over the past few weeks.

U.S. equities remain strong
United States equities are continuing to look very attractive after a positive jobs report and an impressive earnings season. The hiring report in early May was more positive than expected with 211,000 jobs added in April, bringing unemployment to a 10-year low. There was also continued wage growth, meaning that, on average, households were getting a bump in income. This increased spending power in the economy bodes well for U.S. equities (stocks).

Earnings season has also revealed impressive corporate earnings growth. While it’s relatively easy to have nowhere to go but up after negative earnings growth in the first two quarters of last year, it’s still reassuring to see higher company earnings and sales growth pushing stock prices up.

Developed world equities still uncertain despite rally
Over the past two weeks, stocks of companies in the developed world outside the U.S. are catching up after lagging behind for much of the post-U.S. election rally. This is largely because European equities were held back due to uncertainty about which way the French election would go. With Macron’s victory and a smooth election in the Netherlands back in March, developed world (excluding U.S.) equities have begun to close the gap.


In Japan, equities remain reliant on Japanese policy makers to lead the country out of its current disinflationary state, but current efforts inspire little confidence based on the failure of similar policies in the past.

Emerging markets hold potential
The cyclical recovery story in emerging markets is still holding our attention. After years of lagging behind the developed world with recessions in Brazil and Russia, we are finally seeing growth at a faster pace. Global trade is accelerating once more, and the positive growth in the U.S. and E.U. is expected to further boost emerging market economies as demand for exports increases.

There have been some recent signs of slowed growth in China. This is mostly due to the fact that China recently raised interest rates in order to curb property price inflation.

Backed by Chinese gov, Silk Ventures is a new $ 500M fund to invest in European and U.S. ‘scale-ups’ (TechCrunch), Rated: A

European and U.S.-based tech ‘scale-ups’ with Asia ambitions, rejoice. Outing today is a new $500 million VC fund from Silk Ventures, and backed in part by the Chinese government.

It plans to invest across all stages from Series-A upwards, and says that, although it will remain open to tech startups from any sector, a key focus will be “deep tech and science, industry 4.0 technologies, such as Internet of Things and robotics, fintech and medtech companies”. I’m told that the first investments from the fund will be announced in July.

Headquartered in London but with offices in Menlo Park, Beijing and Shenzhen, too, Silk Ventures took its tentative first steps as what it describes as a “digital accelerator,” consisting of an online platform connecting startups to corporates, thus facilitating links to Asia.

Meanwhile, the new $500 million fund is backed 50 per cent by the Chinese state-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) Shenzhen, who is acting as both an LP and Strategic Partner.

Is Fintech a Disruptor or an Enabler for the Big Banks? (Finance Magnates), Rated: A

Ever ubiquitous, in 2016 the term ‘fintech’ appeared in the global print media 90,000 times and multiple times that in social media. In a study conducted by Citigroup in 2015, they found that fintech investments topped $19 billion, which represents a tenfold increase from 2010.

The argument towards fintech being perceived as a disruptor is largely due to the fact that fintech start-ups have the freedom to be a lot more nimble. They are not burdened down with legacy technology systems and restrictive regulations.

For example mobile-based banks have emerged in the past year, such as Monzo, Starling, Tandem and Atom, all of which offer accounts that allow customers to manage their money and lifestyle.

Yet, there are many who are of the contrasting opinion that fintech developments are set to be an enabler for established financial service companies. In possession of enormous capital, they are in a position to invest in these technologies and take a more innovative approach towards attracting new customers, cut costs and boost profits.

The emergence of fintech has motivated banks to consider their pain points, in ways which may be solved through technological innovation.

Additionally, banks can look to fintech as a means to enable their revenue growth with higher margin and through less capital-intensive programs, such as insurance or wealth management. By incorporating fintech applications such as robo-advisers and automation into their operational model, they then have the means to scale their business more rapidly to provide services to clients that beforehand were not profitable or were too taxing on their customer service systems.

Australia/New Zealand

Small Business Lender OnDeck Launches #turnthatNOaround Campaign (Bandt.com.au), Rated: AAA

The campaign, which is already running on radio in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, is scheduled to run across outdoor, social (LinkedIn and Facebook) and digital media to encapsulate an integrated multi-channel outreach.

With the #turnthatNOaround campaign, OnDeck aims to reach small business owners who have experienced a “no” from their banks, giving them an opportunity to secure a loan that is much faster than the banks – taking just one business day.

Australian expert’s robo advice warning (NZ Herald), Rated: A

The founder of an Australia’s robo-advice business says a law change may not be enough to allow such companies to operate in New Zealand.

Under the current law only “natural persons” may give financial advice in New Zealand but a change to the Financial Advisers Act is expected to make robo-advice legal here by 2019.

In New Zealand there are growing concerns about an advice gap after research by the Financial Markets Authority found most people who got professional financial advice had assets of more than $200k, leaving question marks over how people with less money, including those with savings in KiwiSaver, get advice.

Chris Brycki, who founded robo-advice business Stockspot in 2014 and now has several thousand customers, said he was keen to enter the New Zealand market but could not do so because the company could not find a suitable banking partner.

Asia

Singapore fintech firm says launches first digital platform for trade finance assets (Euro News), Rated: AAA

A Singapore central bank-backed fintech firm, CCRManager Pte Ltd, on Tuesday launched what it says is the first digital platform for the distribution of international trade financing, transactions now handled mainly by phone and email. CCRManager Pte Ltd, which received a grant from the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s Financial Sector Development Fund, is supported by 16 financial institutions, including Bank of China, DBS Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Spain’s BBVA and the commercial insurance arm of Swiss Re.

CCRManager charges a transaction fee on every successful deal. The Singapore-based company said its users will be able to list assets for distribution, negotiate deals, and manage supporting documentation in a secure environment. The web-based platform will enable members to manage the entire process of distributing trade finance internationally to other banks, credit insurers, and fund managers.

South America

Brazil’s Central Bank Plans FinTech Regulations for Recession Respite (Cryptocoins News), Rated: AAA

The Central Bank of Brazil is eyeing regulations for the FinTech sector this year to help industry startups and companies to enter and expand in the country currently reeling from a recession.

According to a Reuters report today, the Banco Central do Brasil (BCB) – the country’s monetary authority- is looking at implementing these regulations within this year to fuel the growth of FinTech firms and services in Latin America’s biggest economy.

As of March 2017, Brazil’s economy was 8% smaller than it was in December 2014.

While details are scarce, some of the new regulations will help financial technology companies and startups in areas including:

  • Financing via peer-to-peer lending platforms connecting borrowers directly with individual investors
  • A wider playground, by facilitating foreign banks to enter Brazilian shores without the need for a presidential decree
  • Diversification, by helping financial technology companies team up with banks to offer loans or ‘securitized credit from institutional investors.’

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday April 20 2017, Daily News Digest

real estate technology

News Comments Today’s main news: California SC finds arbitration agreement waiver unenforceable. BondMason first P2P provider to launch SIPP. China’s internet finance thrives as fraud fades. Marvelstone plans robo-advisor for family offices. Today’s main analysis: Real estate tech deals tick up. Today’s thought-provoking articles: 5 areas of fintech attracting investment. UK still fintech unicorn capital of Europe. Millennials favor search […]

real estate technology

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

Australia

China

APAC

News Summary

United States

California Supreme Court Finds Arbitration Agreement Waiver of ‘Public Right’ Unenforceable (JD Supra), Rated: AAA

On April 6, the California Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion in McGill v. Citibank, finding that a pre-dispute arbitration agreement was unenforceable to the extent it required the plaintiff to waive her right to seek public injunctive relief. According to the court, the right to pursue a public injunction constitutes an “unwaivable public right” under California law. Therefore, “a provision in any contract ― even a contract that has no arbitration provision ― that purports to waive, in all fora, the statutory right to seek public injunctive relief . . . is invalid and unenforceable under California law.”

The California court further explained that its partial unenforceability finding is consistent with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Mitsubishi Motors Corp. v. Soler Chrysler-Plymouth, Inc., 473 U.S. 614, 628 (1985). In that case, the Court stated that “[b]y agreeing to arbitrate a statutory claim, a party does not forgo the substantive rights afforded by the statute; it only submits to their resolution in an arbitrable, rather than a judicial forum.”

The court also acknowledged, but found no reason to address, the plaintiff’s related claim based on what is known under California law as the “Broughton-Cruz” rule, asserting that a request for a public injunction cannot be decided in arbitration. Finally, the decision remanded the case to the California Court of Appeals to consider ― if either party should raise the issue ― the question of whether the rest of the arbitration agreement remains enforceable in light of language contained in the most recent version of the underlying account agreement stating that, “if any portion of the arbitration provision is deemed invalid or unenforceable, the entire arbitration provision shall not remain in force.”

Pepper Points

  • The decision of the California Supreme Court in McGill v. Citibank will likely be appealed.
  • In light of this decision, providers of consumer products and services should review their existing arbitration agreements to determine whether the consumer’s ability to pursue a public injunction or other “public rights” is completely foreclosed.
  • McGill v. Citibank also highlights the risks of including language in an arbitration agreement (or in any contract) stating that the agreement will be invalid if any portion of the agreement is deemed invalid or unenforceable. Given the impossibility of predicting how courts may interpret even well-settled questions of law, standard severability language is always preferable unless different language is specifically mandated.

Five areas of fintech that are attracting investment (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

At the same time, some of the steam has come out of the sector. Overall investment and merger and acquisition activity in fintech almost halved from a record high of $46.7bn in 2015 to only $24.7bn last year, according to KPMG.

Another negative factor was the governance scandal last year at Lending Club, the biggest online lender in the US, combined with disappointing performances by some of its rivals, which turned investors off peer-to-peer lending.

China

Total fintech investment in Asia inched up to a new record of $8.6bn last year, although the number of deals fell by more than 8 per cent. More than half the region’s total fintech investment came from one deal: Ant Financial’s $4.5bn funding round.

Artificial intelligence

The launch of voice-activated assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Voice has opened up possibilities for making online banking easier for customers. Banks such as Capital One have already latched on to this trend.

Cyber security

Cyber security shot to the top of the boardroom agenda for banks after one of the biggest bank robberies in history was carried out by cyber thieves on the Bangladesh central bank via the Swift payments system in February 2016. The crooks made off with $81m that was on deposit at the US Federal Reserve.

Blockchain

Most big financial groups remain convinced of the potential for blockchain to revolutionise parts of their industry and several central banks are examining the potential for using the technology to create digital currencies. Venture capital investment in blockchain companies rose by a fifth to $544m last year, according to KPMG.

Insurtech

The insurance industry has been slower than other areas of finance to wake up to the digital disruption at its door. But recently start-ups such as So-sure, Friendsurance, Lemonade, Guevara and Brolly have emerged with plans to transform the sector. Venture capital investment in insurance technology companies doubled last year to almost $1.2bn, according to KPMG.

Real Estate Tech Deals Tick Up, But Still Well Below Peak (CB Insights), Rated: AAA

2016 was a banner year for real estate tech with over $2.6B in funding to the category across 277 deals. At the current run rate, 2017 could very well reach another consecutive funding high, even as deals are on track to come in slightly below last year’s total.

So far this year, real estate tech companies have received $733M across 61 deals.  At the current run-rate investment activity is on track to reach $2.9B invested across 247 deals.

On a quarterly basis, deals have materially declined since Q3’16.

Funding, on the other hand, has increased in each of the last three quarters and Q1’17 received the second-largest quarterly funding total ever, behind Q2’16.

Why I Don’t Believe in the Hybrid Advice Model (Lend Academy), Rated: A

On paper, it looks pretty good: let the robot do the simpler stuff, like a modern-portfolio-theory allocation between a few ETFs, and have a human being intervene to provide more sophisticated and personalized advice.

In practice, I think it’s nonsense. If you believe the market is truly efficient, then there’s no point in using an advisor, robot or human. Just invest in a broad market ETF and be done with it (except for tax harvesting).

If you think the market is efficient-ish, then low cost optimization is the solution. Go robot. If you think you need an active manager, you should read the trove of statistical analysis that demonstrate you’re simply paying for someone’s yacht. Indexes beat stockpickers [92% of time]…

It does make sense for robo-advisors to move to the hybrid model, since it allows them to differentiate and de-commoditize their service, but for their clients, not so much.

Machine learning algorithms have become so good in the last 10 years, that any number-crunching and quantitative decisions a smart but junior employee can do, the machine will do better, faster, and cheaper.

Wealthfront Now Offers Securities-Based Lending (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: A

As its first move into lending, robo-advice provider Wealthfront has revealed it will let clients borrow money against their investments, Reuters reports.

Along with robo rival Betterment, the robo-advisor has increased competition in the wealth management space against the likes of wirehouses Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley, brokerages like Charles Schwab and even fund houses with direct-to-consumer offerings like Vanguard.

Investors with at least $100,000 with Wealthfront can now borrow up to 30% of their balance for loans for anything except purchasing more investments on the firm’s platform, the company announced Wednesday.

Reuters reports loans will cost between 3.25% and 4.5%, and any money a client deposits into their account after taking out a loan will pay off the balance rather than investments.

Edward Jones partners with SixThirty to support financial technology startups (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Financial services firm Edward Jones today announced a multi-year partnership with SixThirty, a St. Louis-based venture fund that invests in financial technology (FinTech) startup companies. Backed by the St. Louis Regional Chamber, SixThirty was founded in 2013 and to date has funded more than 25 startups across the globe.

As part of the partnership with SixThirty, Frank LaQuinta, a general partner with Edward Jones, has joined the organization’s Investment Committee which evaluates the investment pipeline and selects FinTech startups that SixThirty invests in.

Pi Capital Advises Money360 on $ 250 million South Korean Financing Vehicle (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Pi Capital International LLC (“Pi Capital”) is pleased to announce that it was the exclusive financial advisor and placement agent to Money360, Inc. for a structured debt facility of up to $250 million. The financing vehicle is designed to allow Money360 to employ funding as it provides commercial real estate loans to its U.S. client base. The fund provides Korean investors with a short-duration, high-yield fixed-income instrument.

“The fund raise by Pi Capital will allow us to substantially increase our assets under management,” said Evan Gentry, M360 Advisors’ CEO. “We believe this gives us a competitive advantage with an anticipated $250 million investment from one of South Korea’s most reputable financial institutions.”

ApplePie Capital Announces Appointment of Chief Development Officer and Franchise Finance Company Acquisition (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

ApplePie Capital, the first online lender solely dedicated to the franchise industry, today announced the appointment of franchise industry veteran Ronald Feldman as chief development officer, as well as the acquisition of Funding Solutions, LLC, a well-established national franchise lending consultancy that specializes in SBA, conventional and equipment finance loans. Feldman and Funding Solutions’ managing partner Randy Jones will join ApplePie’s leadership team.

These additions position ApplePie’s financial platform to exponentially expand upon its hallmarks of speed, flexibility and efficiency with new product options, an expanded network of lending sources and an extraordinary wealth of franchise finance expertise for its growing list of franchisor partners. Currently, ApplePie serves more than 40 franchisors including Orangetheory Fitness, Jimmy John’s, Jersey Mike’s and Marco’s Pizza.

Responsible for growing ApplePie’s brand portfolio and contributing to product strategy, Ronald Feldman comes to the company with more than 20 years of experience in franchise leadership and franchise financing.  He previously served as chief development officer at FranData, the industry leader in market research, and as a principal and co-founder of Franchise America Finance (FAF) and The Siegel Financial Group. Feldman was also an early franchisee of The Goddard School system. As an active advocate of the franchising business model, Feldman currently serves the International Franchise Association (IFA) as chair of the Supplier Forum Advisory Board and sits on both the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the association.  Feldman was awarded the Sid Feltenstein MVP Award for service to the IFA’s Political Action Committee (FRANPAC) in 2013.

Why More Millennials Would Rather Visit The Dentist Than Listen To Banks (Forbes), Rated: A

Unfortunately, some Millennial stereotypes are rooted in fact. A 2015 PWC survey showed that only 24% of us have basic financial knowledge, and even so, only 27% of us seek financial advice on saving and investing.

When it comes to jobs, we’re not the deadbeats that people assume. In fact, a 2015 Deloitte report found that 54% of Millennials had started or had planned to start their own businesses by year-end. Although we may work differently than generations past, many of us are passionate, entrepreneurial and looking to make a difference.

“Advisors need to understand how truly connected this new generation is to each other and to information.” When it comes to trusting a financial advisor, Kamine highlights this outsider oversight as a road block.

Millennials currently represent a meaningful fraction of U.S. wealth that will grow as baby boomers continue to pass down an astounding $30 trillion over the next 30 years. When this transfer of wealth happens, an estimated 66% of Millennials will fire their parents’ financial advisor, according to InvestmentNews Data.

This year, 86% of Millennials said they are interested in socially responsible investing, according to Morgan Stanley.

The Millennial Disruption Index reports 71% of us would rather go to the dentist than listen to what banks tell us. In our financial planning, we have shorter-term goals that we’re trying to align with the things we care about.

With an average age of 51, many advisors still build financial plans based on their view of a traditional life cycle with set ages for when we start a family, buy a house, climb the corporate ladder and retire. But their view is not our reality. Kamine adds, “Financial advice has been like a structured box without much creativity or understanding of the individual. Advisors need to become more dynamic because we’re revolting against structure. I’ve told my advisors I don’t envision buying a house for at least the next five years. And I’m definitely not focused on planning for retirement 40 to 50 years from now.”

Miami fintech company DadeSystems receives $ 2 million in funding (Miami Herald), Rated: A

DadeSystems, a Miami-based provider of account receivable automation solutions, raised $2 million in funding to accelerate its growth from Miami early-stage venture firm Ocean Azul Partners.

New GAO Study Examines Fintech Industry Regulation (Banking Journal), Rated: B

The report, the first in a series on regulation in the fintech industry, focuses specifically on marketplace lenders, mobile payments, digital wealth management platforms and distributed ledger (also known as blockchain) technology.

While the GAO did not issue any recommendations in the report, it noted that regulation of these four subsectors was varied depending on the types of products or services offered and the way in which they are delivered to consumers.

College Ave Student Loans Kicks off the Naked Financial Truth Digital Tour Featuring Financial Advice for Parents and Students (BusinessWire), Rated: B

College Ave Student Loans, the leading next-generation student loan fintech lender, has teamed up with America’s #1 College Life Expert Harlan Cohen to help families get comfortable with the uncomfortable when it comes to college and money. Hosted by Harlan Cohen, author of The Naked Roommate, the Naked Financial Truth Digital Tour will feature a series of free webinars and videos focused on financial advice, strategies and tips to help parents and students plan for post-secondary education.

The first webinar, “The 7 Biggest Financial Mistakes College Students Make (And How Parents Can Help)” will be held on Tuesday, April 25 at 7 p.m. ET. Registration for the webinar is free and available online at

Ben Franklin’s Fintech Accelerator is First of its Kind in the Region. These 8 Startups Made the Cut (Biz Journals), Rated: B

These eight companies — which are required to have a presence in the region to receive an investment — will begin the 12-week accelerator on April 24, meeting with mentors and advisors selected to help guide them toward growth and fundings. They run the gamut of the financial industry, from creating data visualizations of personal assets to a student loan repayment benefit program. Four focus on putting financial technology to use solving social issues.

  • Asset-Map (Philadelphia)
  • Bright Idea Energy (Philadelphia)
  • College Affordability (Wynnewood)
  • Factury (Silicon Valley and New York City)
  • FinPay (King of Prussia)
  • FixList (Philadelphia)
  • NeedsList (Philadelphia)
  • PeopleJoy (Philadelphia)

RayJay Adds Real-Time Client Updates to Planning Tools (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: B

In the next several weeks Raymond James is setting its sights on rolling out a revamped suite of “longevity” planning tools. The updated software comes with the kinds of bells and whistles that advisors might expect from a nearly five-year-old package – a “new look and feel” as well as a “more conversational design,” as company execs put it.

Other notable enhancements, they say, include more flexibility for analyzing portfolio return patterns and capabilities allowing real-time updates as clients’ household budgets and retirement goals change over time.

TAMARACK IMPLEMENTS ITS SALESFORCE.COM LEASE/LOAN ORIGINATOR FOR CHANNEL PARTNERS CAPITAL (NEF Association), Rated: B

Tamarack, a leader in providing independent software solutions in the equipment finance and commercial lending industry, has added Channel Partners Capital as its newest client to utilize Tamarack’s Lease/Loan Origination Accelerator on Salesforce.

Channel Partners, a leading provider of small business working capital loans, will benefit from added flexibility, streamlined operations and enhanced audit controls, as a result of using Tamarack’s Lease/Loan Origination Accelerator on Salesforce.

Tamarack’s Lease/Loan Origination Accelerator on Salesforce is a scalable solution offering users the ability to automate work queues,increase throughput of loans without additional head count and customize notifications from lead generation through to funding.

United Kingdom

UK is capital of Europe for fintech unicorns (The Telegraph), Rated: AAA

The UK dominates the European financial technology industry, with figures showing it boasts more billion-dollar fintech companies than the rest of the continent put together.

Britain houses four fintech “unicorns” – companies valued at $1bn (£780m) or more – with a combined valuation of $18.5bn, according to a report by the technology investment bank GP Bullhound.

This compares to two in the rest of Europe, which are worth $4.6bn between them.

Globally, fintech investment grew slightly to $13.6bn, although there was a decrease in the number of investments from 942 to 840.

BondMason is first P2P provider to launch a SIPP product (AltFi), Rated: AAA

BondMason has become the first peer-to-peer service provider to launch a self-invested personal pension (SIPP) product. The service aims to offer investors a flexible and tax-efficient way to save for retirement.

The new retirement product, which selects loans across P2P lending platforms, will grant UK savers exposure to higher-return assets than traditional pension savings products. Starting from a minimum investment of £5,000.

Just Google it! Millennials favour search engines over financial advice (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

MILLENNIALS are favouring search engines over professional financial advice when it comes to managing their own money, research claims.

A poll of more than 2,000 adults by Zurich UK claims 15 per cent of millennials, referring to those aged 18-34, are turning to search engines such as Google instead of seeking professional financial advice, more than any other age group.

Only three per cent of 35-44 year olds and nine per cent of those aged 45-54 and over 55 respectively, opt for web-based information.

Asked why they eschew professional help, one in five millennials cited confidence in their ability to sort their own financial futures as a reason for not initially seeking professional help, while 37 per cent felt they do not earn enough to need to speak to a financial adviser, and almost a quarter said they were too young.

Loan searches on the internet ‘may affect credit rating’ (BBC), Rated: B

High Street bank TSB said some loan providers make a “hard mark” on credit files when someone asks for a loan price or quote.

TSB chief executive Paul Pester said: “We estimate that consumers are losing out by as much as £400m each year, which is going straight into the pockets of aggressive loans providers. It is time the industry comes clean on these costly underhand tactics.”

P2P lending is fast becoming the go-to option (Bridging and Commercial), Rated: B

P2P lending offers an innovative funding option for businesses – including developers – and is fast becoming the go-to option.

It’s essential that the development finance sector stays competitive and vibrant, and alternative lending allows that to happen. Far from just being a back-up for situations that the traditional lending sector can’t cater to, crowdfunding and P2P platforms can actually be a more efficient source of funding.

European Union

2018 is shaping up to be a regulatory nightmare for financial services (Information-age.com), Rated: AAA

Achieving compliance will not happen overnight. Indeed, MiFID II is widely considered to be one of the most sprawling pieces of financial legislation ever devised, and thus it presents numerous challenges. One of which being that recording calls will become mandatory for all areas of financial advice.

Then, if you add GDPR (the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation), coming into effect in May 2018, into the equation, 2018 is shaping up to be a regulatory nightmare for financial services firms. Under GDPR, we all have a‘ right to be forgotten’ or a right to erasure of all personal information held on us by a particular company. This places a duty on companies to be able to quickly access and delete the information they hold on specific individuals, on request.

However, comparing the responses of IT professionals and those responsible for managing Risk & Compliance within a business shows IT teams have a better overall understanding of the consequences of non-compliance. 62% of risk and compliance managers admitted to not knowing a company can be fined up to five million euros or 10 per cent of annual turnover, compared to only 42% of IT managers and decision makers.

Tinder for microloans: How to share lending risk with strangers (Russia Beyond the Headlines), Rated: A

A stranger’s photograph appears on your smartphone screen, and you decide whether to give him or her a loan or not. The money is not yours, but instead is provided by microfinance organizations. That’s the main difference from traditional American P2P (peer-to-peer) lending, and with Suretly you can earn or lose depending on whether the recipient of your largesse proves to be a reliable borrower or not.

Suretly is geared exclusively to short-term loans of up to one month; in other words, those with the highest interest.

The money itself is loaned by the microfinance organization that the borrower applies to, but only if they attract enough sureties to cover the whole amount, plus interest. Users share the risks, and depending on whether the individual returns the money or not, they can lose or earn from $1 to $10.

On the app, borrowers are divided into seven categories from A to G depending on their trustworthiness. The higher the risk that the loan won’t be repaid, the higher the price of its surety. The maximum commission is $1.5.

Australia

Goldfields Money makes Australian BaaS play with Singapore’s Instarem (Daily Fintech), Rated: AAA

Listed Australian deposit taking institution Goldfields Money (ASX:GMY) looks to be making good on its intention to become a leading player in the digital banking product distribution and BaaS market in Australia, announcing last week that it had signed an MoU with Singapore headquartered remittance fintech Instarem.

What is interesting about the MoU is the intent to move beyond remittance towards a broader banking play for cross-border SMEs and products orientated towards visa holders visiting or living in Australia.

The two companies should have a healthy market ready to capitalise on. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, over the last 10 years the proportion of the Australian population born in China alone has increased from 1.2% to 2.2%, coming in just behind New Zealanders and British immigrants. Those born in India currently make up 1.9% of the population, while citizens from the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia collectively add up to further 2.7%.

Migration isn’t going away. And the degree to which an individual’s assets are spread across countries is also on the increase thanks to globalization.

China

China’s Internet finance thrives as fraud fades (XinhuaNet), Rated: AAA

China has four large state-owned banks, and state-owned enterprises generally have easier access to financing. Many small companies are troubled by the financing bottleneck, creating pent-up demand.

Meanwhile, working-class families struggle to figure out where to invest their savings to seek higher returns, and many of them move money online. The country, home to the world’s biggest online population, also has a number of groups, such as college students, who are underserved by banks.

By March 2017, 3,607 Chinese P2P lending platforms had run into trouble or been forced to close, with only 2,281 platforms in normal operation.

On top of P2P lending, Internet finance also covers business such as third-party online payment, crowd funding, and other financial services.

Risk caused by the Internet finance industry has wide repercussions. Some P2P lending platforms resembled hybrid financial institutions providing clients with various financial services online, analysts said.

Businesses such as P2P lending, Internet-based insurance, third-party online payment, and online asset management were among key areas for strengthened supervision, industry observers said.

Internet finance last week appeared on the top banking regulator’s list of ten most important areas for enhanced risk control, with targeted measures to be taken to stem emergence of a financial crisis.

Wang said 2017 will be a watershed year for Chinese Internet finance as the rules are tightened, bringing the industry out of the wilderness.

Tishman Speyer, CreditEase team up to invest $ 1.4b in China (Deal Street Asia), Rated: A

New York-based developer Tishman Speyer is teaming up with China’s CreditEase Wealth Management to invest $1.4 billion in China and other countries within the next three years.

The strategic partnership is aimed to extend “global cooperation in resource sharing, fund investment, buyouts and business development,” the firms said in a joint statement.

APAC

Marvelstone Capital plans a robo advisor platform for family offices (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Singapore-based Marvelstone Capital plans a robo advisor platform for the under-served family office market in Asia.

The platform is being developed with Singaporean fintech startup Smartfolios, and will be launched in the third quarter of 2017. It will be available on desktop and mobile for Marvelstone Capital’s clients.

Marvelstone will target family offices based in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, as well as India. The company points out that Malaysia is an important market and Cho added: “It is a huge market and the culture is quite unique as well, there’s a huge Shariah-compliant market, so it is definitely one of the most important markets for us.”

No Uber Moment for Fintech Just Yet (Broadridge), Rated: AAA

 

Wednesday April 19 2017, Daily News Digest

FinTech MENA

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi raised new $105M fund.Landbay unveils March 2017 UK Rental Index.P2P-Banking launches IFISA comparison database.Personal loan applications surge in Australia. Today’s main analysis: Development of fintech in Hong Kong.Fintech startups in MENA raise $100M last decade. Today’s thought-provoking articles: OCC fintech plan uncertain as comptroller term expires.Goldman’s internal fintech revolution can’t […]

FinTech MENA

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Australia

China

MENA

Africa

News Summary

United States

Online lender SoFi has a new $ 105 million fund for yield-hungry investors (CNBC), Rated: AAA

SoFi, the online lending start-up sporting a lofty $4.3 billion valuation, has just raised a $105 million fund to give outside investors another way to buy into the company’s loans.

In a regulatory filing Monday afternoon, SoFi Prime Income Fund is listed as the issuer of equity in a limited partnership. According to the filing, the fund has 33 investors that put in a minimum of $500,000 each.

Nino Fanlo, SoFi’s chief financial officer, said the fund is the first of its kind for SoFi and provides another avenue to raise capital for issuing loans. Returns after fees are expected to be in the low double digits, he said.

OCC Fintech Plan Faces Uncertainty as Comptroller Term Expires (Credit Union Times), Rated: AAA

As the term of Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry expires and with no replacement in sight, the OCC could be headed toward a showdown with Congress over the agency’s decision to issue special charters to fintech companies.

In March, the OCC published a draft supplement to its licensing manual, which contains existing regulations for chartering national banks.

And although Curry said the OCC will issue charters to fintech companies, his own future is in doubt. His term expired this month and President Trump has not nominated a replacement, although Joseph Otting, a former associate of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at OneWest Bank ,has been mentioned as a possible nominee.

Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), ranking Democrat on the Senate Banking Committee and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) said earlier this year that authority to issue such charters must come from Congress.

Meanwhile, traditional banking and credit union trade groups are divided over the charter proposal.

Earlier this year, NAFCU said that the OCC must ensure that online lenders are subject to the same consumer protections and data standards as banks and credit unions.

The American Bankers Association has said it supports the concept of the OCC issuing fintech charters, but wanted it to ensure that companies meet the same standards as traditional banks.

For Goldman, the Fintech Revolution Can’t Come Soon Enough (NYT), Rated: A

Goldman Sachs’s internal technology revolution cannot come soon enough.

Goldman’s fledgling Main Street operation is a bright spot. With more than $115 billion in deposits, it’s already one of the top 25 banks in the United States by that measure. Marcus, as the online consumer-lending unit is called, is experiencing “demand more robust than we thought,” the unit’s boss, Harit Talwar, said recently.

Consumer lending can earn at least a 3 percent return on assets — triple what Goldman has been managing as a whole of late.

For now, lending through new web platforms remains a small industry, with just $40 billion of credit extended over a decade, according to Deloitte.

CREATING A BETTER TOMORROW (NYSE), Rated: A

Texas-based Elevate Credit (NYSE: ELVT), which recently held its IPO at the exchange, exists because of what it sees as an opportunity in the financial services market.

In between are working people, roughly 170 million residents of the U.S. and the U.K., whom Elevate refers to as “the New Middle Class.” These are people with low or no credit scores, who often have to resort to non-prime lenders in moments of personal or medical emergency.

Elevate offers three products. The first, called Rise, is an unsecured, online loan vehicle; Sunny is its U.K. counterpart, and Elastic is a line of credit issued by Kentucky-based Republic Bank, Member FDIC. While the company’s customers have credit scores typically in the 560 to 600 range, those with lower credit or no credit can also be approved, depending on what Elevate’s data analysis reveals about their reliability.

Elevate’s analytics platform, DORA, is home grown. It’s based on open-source software tools that enable model development and risk analytics. DORA inputs and outputs are monitored and evaluated to help ensure legal and regulatory compliance. Elevate’s IQ platform deploys business logic and algorithms. And driving the analytics and decision-making technology is the very human decision to create specific data sets, generated from sources that monitor non-prime customers.

The platforms draw on more than 10 different sources of consumer information, including the big three credit bureaus as well as other bureaus that specialize in non-prime customers. In addition, Elevate acquires data from LexisNexis, ID Analytics and other unique data sources to validate the applicant’s identity and to draw inferences about the applicant’s intent to repay. Elevate uses this data in ongoing tests to optimize its underwriting, to ensure that fraud and serious credit risks are more easily distinguished from acceptable risks.

In the last year, Elevate’s charge-off rates have remained steady, while its customer acquisition costs have dropped, says Rees.

Elevate also uses its nimble, data-driven underwriting model to reward its best customers. Borrowers who establish a history of on-time repayment, and who take advantage of online financial literacy tools and videos, will see their APRs drop over time. Currently, the most responsible Elevate customers pay APRs as low as 36 percent.

Is An OnDeck Acquisition On Deck? (PYMNTS), Rated: A

When OnDeck completed its IPO in 2009, it entered the public markets with a massive amount of buzz, ending the day with a share price north of $20 dollars and a valuation around $1.9 billion.

Two years out, and the banks’ lunch remains uneaten — because those alternative lenders like OnDeck have had a rather bumpy two years.  OnDeck’s share price is down 75 percent since its 2014 IPO — in the last 12 months the firm has shed 37 percent of its value.

Today OnDeck’s market cap stands at $330 million.

Marathon Partners Equity Management, LLC has owned 1.75 percent of OnDeck since the end of 2016 — and the activist investor is now pushing for a new direction, preferably one that involves a sale.

That letter apparently did not get quiet enough of a reaction from the board — OnDeck’s official response was that they “value dialog with their shareholders,” and so as of the end of last week, the campaign ramped up.

Whether or not very drastic changes are coming soon to OnDeck remains to be seen — the annual meeting for shareholders will likely be spirited.

Not Everyone Is Happy About Latest Fintech Charter Proposal (Corporate Counsel), Rated: A

Public comments are now available from companies, regulators, advocacy groups and individuals weighing in on the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s licensing manual draft supplement for special purpose national bank charters.

The OCC received only 17 total comments on its March 15 supplement for evaluating bank charter applications from financial technology companies, far from the 120 it received on the broader whitepaper Exploring Special Purpose National Bank Charters for Fintech Companies, which introduced the idea of the OCC granting fintech companies these bank charters back in December 2016.

“While many states have made admirable efforts to align their regulations with technological innovation, state laws by and large were drafted for a physical branch banking environment that did not envision online delivery of financial services,” wrote Robert Lavet, general counsel of San Francisco-based personal finance company Social Finance, or SoFi, in his comments to the OCC.

In her comments, personal lending company Oportun Inc.’s chief compliance officer Joan Aristei voiced no concerns with the financial inclusion standards. She wrote the guidance on this type of plan will “inform our discussions regarding how we can modify and enhance the efforts we have already undertaken,” adding that she “appreciates the OCC’s willingness to innovate and look beyond traditional measures of financial inclusion.”

New York State Department of Financial Services superintendent Maria Vullo called the OCC’s proposal for fintech charters a “hasty and misguided effort.” She said that regulation for the financial technology providers is better left to the states, not the OCC.

The Tax Implications of Real Estate Crowdfunding (Alpha Flow), Rated: A

The first thing to understand is that an equity investor in a syndication is actually a partner in partnership. Investments in syndications will generally be considered “passive” activities.

When combining all passive activities, if the investor has a net passive loss, then the remaining net loss is effectively “suspended” whereby they are carried forward to future years and subject again to the passive activity rules. If an investor has passive income then that is taxed at the taxpayer’s marginal tax rate.

In the subsequent tax year, any passive losses that carried over can offset passive income that is generated.

Crowdfunding syndications offer one additional special tax advantage and that is favorable long-term capital gains rates. When a property (apartment building, retail center, etc.) is acquired through a syndication and is held for longer than one year, the sale of the property would typically result in long-term capital gains. These gains are taxed at a rate of 15% (with certain exceptions). Any depreciation that was deducted on the property would be subject to tax rates not to exceed 25%.

MortgageHippo raises $ 2.25M to help lenders give you a mortgage online (Chicago Tribune), Rated: A

MortgageHippo, a mortgage-technology startup based in Chicago, has raised about $2.25 million in seed funding, the company announced Tuesday.

CMFG Ventures, based in Madison, Wis., led the $1.5 million round that closed last week, Saportas said. CMFG is the venture capital arm of CUNA Mutual Group, which sells insurance and investment products to credit unions. The investment closed MortgageHippo’s seed funding.

Inside Bond Street’s content marketing strategy (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Jones said the company is “passionate about building a brand,” which it does by creating editorial content. It has a blog that profiles business owners Bond Street serves across the country, like the guys behind the Two Hands cafes and restaurants or the women that launched Sky Ting Yoga in New York City; and an online magazine that looks at the cultural and economic impact of independent businesses in New York (celebrity restaurateur Daniel Boulud and artist Baron von Fancy are among many interviews that address the importance of supporting local businesses). It also has a podcast called the Nitty Gritty that features the entrepreneurs behind brands like Sweetgreen, charity:water, McNally Jackson and Smitten Ice Cream; and a series of city-specific resources for female entrepreneurs.

Jones declined to share Bond Street’s annual content marketing budget, but said the company has two dedicated employees working on content marketing, out of about 40 total employees.

Marketing has become expensive for online lenders because of the high cost of customer acquisition. Partnerships are an easy way to bring that cost down, Benton said. To date, Bond Street has partnered with WeWork to offer loans to member companies of the co-working space company; SMB-focused software companies like Booker and Front Desk to offer their clients discounted loans; and most recently, with NerdWallet, the comparison shopping site for credit cards and other financial services, to help provide small business owners with financing options.

Payix and Nortridge Software Announce Strategic Alliance (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Payix® and Nortridge Software announce they have formed a strategic alliance to help lenders connect with their borrowers and improve their ability to collect payments. The alliance allows Payix to offer real-time integration between its suite of collections tools and the Nortridge Loan System (NLS).

Payix’s collections tools include its intuitive, engaging and affordable mobile collections application, as well as web, interactive voice response (IVR), text, and collector portal applications. Nortridge clients can add the Payix solutions to their existing collections tools with virtually no IT work on their part and in just a few weeks’ time.

The Nortridge and Payix teams collaborated in the development of the seamless web services interface between the Nortridge Loan System and the Payix payment system, ensuring that transactions could be carried out in real-time and without interruption.

Payix’s collections tools are white-labelled to help lenders promote their own brands with their borrowers, and they were specifically designed for any size lender to use easily and affordably.

China Rapid Finance will be the Fifth Online Lender to IPO in the US (Lend Academy), Rated: B

In late March, 2017 we learned that Chinese online lender China Rapid Finance filed to go public, hoping to raise up to $100 million. They will list on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol XRF and will be the second Chinese online lender to go public in the United States.

Milbank Advises FinTech Lending Company College Ave Student Loans in Its $ 30 Million Capital Raise (Milbank), Rated: B

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP advised College Ave Student Loans on a $30 million capital raise.

The Milbank team was led by Corporate partner Roland Hlawaty with Corporate associate Joanne Luckey.

$ 3M Raised for Clarendon Park Apartments in Phoenix Through RealtyShares (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

RealtyShares, a leading online marketplace for real estate investing, today announced that its network of accredited investors has collectively funded a $3 million investment for the acquisition of Clarendon Park Apartments, a 138-unit multifamily property in Phoenix, Ariz.

The deal is sponsored by Rincon Partners, an Arizona-based owner and operator of multifamily properties focused primarily on the Southwestern United States. Rincon Partners intends to use the funds to rehabilitate and modernize the apartment interiors and amenities to potentially improve its position within the market.

The property is located in midtown Phoenix, between the city’s two largest employment corridors and close to shops, restaurants and newly developed amenities. The property itself features a swimming pool, spa, clubhouse and fitness center, as well as access to light rail within two blocks.

United Kingdom

Landbay Unveils March 2017 UK Rental Index (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Last week, UK-based peer-to-peer lending platform Landbay released the March 2017 Rental Index. This report reveals details about the country’s rental market.

“Since March 2016, average rents in the UK have risen by 0.9% to £1,191. In England, rents were up 0.87% to £1,222; in Northern Ireland, they rose by 0.07% to £557; meanwhile in Scotland rents rose to £723 following annual growth of 1.25% and in Wales, the average rent is up 1.41% to £636. Average rents for one, two and three-bed properties hit £1,012, £1,152 and £1,321 respectively in March 2017.”

P2P-Banking Launches Database to Enable Investors to Compare IFISA Providers Easily (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

P2P-Banking launches a new IFISA database, that enables investors an easy comparison of offers by IFISA providers. UK taxpayers can invest up to 20,000 GBP per year tax-free in ISAs. This amount is per tax year, so a person could invest 20,000 GBP this tax year and invest 20,000 GBP in a different ISA next year. The Innovative Finance ISA, short IFISA, was introduced in 2016 with most offers becoming approved by HRMC only in the 2017/2018 tax year.

The new database of IFISA offers allows speedy selection and sorting to review IFISA products by different providers and then links to the provider’s website for in detail information. Investors can filter by interest rate, term, loan type, minimum investment amount, possibility of transfers in and out, flexible IFISA, bonus & cashback promotions and several other criteria.

Fintech synergy as challenger bank teams up with robo advice app (AltFi), Rated: A

Starling Bank is partnering with app-based wealth manager Moneybox for real-time savings.

Moneybox’s savings and investment services will be now offered by digital-only bank Starling to enable customers to easily open ISAs and round up their spending in real time.

The service will be available to Starling customers as early as the end of April.

The new service is made possible through Starling’s open APIs. The integration has two distinct features. Firstly, it allows customer data to be securely shared between the two apps, meaning transactions will appear within the Moneybox app in real time as customers spend.

Secondly, the integration with Starling means that customers will be able to set up round ups from their Starling account in a matter of seconds.

Starling Bank publicly launched its API and developer platform to enable external developers and technology companies to integrate with the banking app earlier in April, and Moneybox is the first to launch a live integration on this API.

CEO Stephen Findlay Comments on BondMason’s New SIPP Service (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

In response to growing demand from investors in search of better investment returns for their pensions, UK P2P service provider BondMason has launched a new Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) service.

The new SIPP service offers a flexible, tax-efficient way to save for retirement and allows investors to access returns from a diverse set of approved P2P Lending opportunities. Investors can open with a lump sum from £5,000 and there is no tie-in – an investor can typically exit in full within 48 hours. The service also aims to allow SIPP administrators to easily and compliantly grant their clients access to returns from P2P Lending.

Social P2P venture hindered by wholesale crackdown (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE FOUNDER of ThinCats has said that the regulator’s clampdown on wholesale lending will affect projects that can be funded through his social peer-to-peer lending platform Community Chest.

Kevin Caley (pictured) launched the social enterprise last year and it funded its first loan in February 2017 for £130,000. The debt facility went to a local Birmingham finance company called ART Business Loans, which supports West Midlands enterprises.

But Caley says the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)’s tighter restrictions on wholesale lending mean that loans like these will no longer be possible, as the money was lent to another lender.

ClearBank: a MSFT Azure B2B Fintech (Daily Fintech), Rated: A

A well kept secret of the UK B2B banking sector, is now public. Clear Bank, a clearing Bank in the UK, is ready to compete with the four UK clearing banks,

  • Barclays
  • HSBC
  • Lloyds
  • Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).

Clear Bank is the fifth UK clearing bank and the only one that is pure B2B since it does not offer services direct to the consumer.

Back in the 60s there were 16 clearing banks in the UK. Consolidation in this part of transactional banking has left the UK currently with 4 clearing banks that process over 80 Trillion pounds annually worth of payments in the UK.

Clear Bank will be helping Challenger banks to access the payment system at the Bank of England level, at the same level as incumbents.

Clear Bank will help the 44 UK Building societies offer current account services in a cost effective way. Right now, only 2 out of the 44 offer such capabilities to their members due to prohibitive costs.

Clear Bank will boost indirectly retail banking by reducing the substantially processing costs, which will facilitate competition for incumbents in the UK.

Clear Bank will help Fintechs by providing Banking as a service through the Cloud at a very low cost. Clear Bank will be offering an API so that Fintechs can interconnect to the ClearBank Fabric.

UK Firms VC Funding Holds Steady Despite Brexit (PYMNTS), Rated: A

According to Venture Beat, U.K.-based startups raised $1.04 billion in venture capital (VC) during the first three months of 2017. That’s a slight decrease from the $1.17 billion raised during same period one year ago, but it’s above the amounts raised in each of the last three quarters.

The U.K. remains number one in Europe for VC raised, with Germany second at $779 million and France third at $665 million.

Peer-to-peer lending service Funding Circle helped push the U.K. into the number one spot, raising $97 million in VC funding and $43 million in debt funding during the first three months of 2017.

Which fintech stocks does Neil Woodford own? (The Motley Fool), Rated: A

The fintech — financial technology — sector has emerged rapidly over the last decade. The Confederation of British Industry expects it to be worth £300bn in the UK alone by 2020.

Given Neil Woodford’s long-prevailing dislike of the big banks, it’s perhaps not surprising that he’s attracted by the relatively simple business models and exciting investment opportunities in the fintech sector.

Woodford is invested in some unquoted fintech companies, such as RateSetter, a peer-to-peer lending platform, and Seedrs, which opens up venture capitalism “to anyone with an internet connection”. However, he also has two holdings that are listed on the stock market — and very interesting they are too.

P2P Global Investments (LSE: P2P) is a FTSE 250 firm with a market cap of around £700m.

VPC Specialty Lending Investments (LSE: VSL) is in the FTSE SmallCap index but is a decent-sized company with a market cap of around £290m. Its business is similar to P2P’s and like the FTSE 250 firm, considerable quantities of cash flow into shareholders’ pockets.

George Banco appoints RateSetter co-founder to board (Loantalk), Rated: A

Guarantor lender George Banco has appointed the co-founder of peer-to-peer platform RateSetter as a non-executive director.

Peter Behrens (pictured above) – who also serves as the chief operating officer at RateSetter – co-founded the platform in 2010, and has seen more than £1.8bn of loans facilitated through the company in this time.

Alternative funding options come into focus (Works Management), Rated: B

Alternative funding options will be a major theme at Business, Innovation, Technology and Efficiency (BITE) 2017 hosted by MHA Carpenter Box at the Amex Stadium, Brighton on Thursday 27 April.

Andy Davis (pictured), former editor of FT Weekend and author of the ‘Beyond the Banks’ report on alternative finance, will be one of the industry experts forming an ‘alternative funding panel’ at the free one-day conference, where he will share his expertise with local business leaders.

European Union

Why EU Passporting Is Vital For Britain’s Fintech Firms (Forbes), Rated: AAA

The impact on fintech could be significant, as an Emerging Payments Association (EPA) report Passport to the Future makes clear: “HM Treasury estimates the UK fintech market employs 60,000 people and is worth £6bn to the UK economy. Fintech is part of the UK’s financial services sector that employs 1.9 million people and contributes 10 per cent of the UK’s GDP. Payments represents over 40 per cent of financial services in revenue terms and in 2016, 40 per cent of all fintech investments were in payments companies, amounting to £10bn globally.”

In a recent survey of its members, the EPA found that 88 per cent of its members think that passporting rights are important or very important to their current businesses, while over 91 per cent think passporting is important or very important to the UK’s fintech sector and its continued growth.

As the EPA’s report states: “This could see the flight of some or part of the 5,500 licensed companies abroad and have a significantly negative impact on the UK economy.”

Alfa Finance Launches New P2P Lender DoFinance (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Latvia based Alfa Finance Group has launched a new peer to peer lending platform named DoFinance.  The company stated it had invested €2 million to get the P2P lender up and running. The online lender is said to be available in all EU and EEA countries.

International

Simplex Partners with Beacon – Risk Magazine’s FinTech Start-Up of the Year (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Simplex Inc., one of Asia’s leading financial services technology firms, announced a strategic partnership with Risk Magazine’s FinTech start-up of the year, Beacon Platform, Inc.

The partnership combines Simplex’s expertise in implementing trading and risk management solutions with Beacon’s experience in building cross-asset trading and risk management platforms for industry leaders including Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Australia

Personal loan applications surge as credit cards wane (The Sydney Morning Herald), Rated: AAA

Australians are shunning high interest credit cards and turning to personal loans for large purchases.

Driving the switch are tech-savvy consumers taking up loans from peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders, a new breed of online competitors to banks.

Credit card applications fell by almost 4 per cent in the March 2017 quarter compared with the same quarter last year, the latest report on consumer credit by credit bureau Equifax shows. That’s the biggest fall since September 2012 quarter.

Reserve Bank figures suggest that more frequent but lower value transactions are being made on credit cards.

One P2P lender is showing an interest rate on its website of 10.3 per cent on a $10,000 unsecured personal loan paid back over three years.

Banks would typically charge 13.02 per cent for a loan on the same terms, while credit cards are higher still – typically 14.15 per cent for a non-rewards credit card and 19.6 per cent for a rewards card, plus annual fees.

China

Development of Financial Technologies (Legislative Council Panel on Fiancial Affairs), Rated: AAA

This paper provides an update on the local financial technologies (Fintech) landscape and measures to support the development of the industry.

The number of Fintech start-ups operating in co-working spaces and incubator/accelerator programmes in Hong Kong increased by 60% between August 2015 (86) and August 2016 (138), according to Invest Hong Kong (InvestHK)’s Start-up Profiling Survey.

Hong Kong attracted about US$400 million of venture capital (VC) investment in Fintech companies during 2014-2016, lower than the Mainland and India (both of which are economies with huge domestic markets) but ahead of regional peers such as Australia, Japan and Singapore1 .

Universities such as The Chinese University of Hong Kong and The Hong Kong Polytechnic University will launch dedicated, publicly-funded firstyear first-degree and senior year programmes in Fintech starting from the 2017/18 academic year. Moreover, The University of Hong Kong’s School of Professional and Continuing Education has been offering a part-time, four-month programme, Executive Certificate in Internet Finance.

For payment services, the general public is increasingly receptive to new products and services, as Stored Value Facility (SVF) operators are launching new services while banks are rolling out new payment services (such as a note-issuing bank’s mobile App which enables cross-bank P2P fund transfer through mobile messaging). Building on the momentum from the introduction and development of various new payment channels in the market, the Government will strive to provide more convenient means for settling government bills and fees, such as making on-line credit card payment through digital wallets in mobile phones. HKMA will also work with the Government to explore with the industry ways of improving the payment infrastructure (such as introducing the Faster Payment System in 2018) and encouraging more standardisation in payment applications across various services providers, including the use of QR codes in streamlining the payment process, and facilitating the development of new electronic and mobile payment channels by the Government for various government services.

Read the full report here.

Alibaba’s Ant Financial Increases Bid for MoneyGram (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Dallas based MoneyGram (NASDAQ:MGI), a global provider of money transfer services, has become quite popular. This past January, Alibaba’s Ant Financial subsidiary announced it had offered the firm $13.25 per share to acquire the company. The two companies had entered into a definitive agreement to merge.  Today, it appears that agreement was not quite as definitive as thought as Ant Financial has now increased the share offer to $18/share.

Last night, MoneyGram and Ant Financial announced they had updated the agreement in an effort to fend off a competing bid by Kansas based Euronet Worldwide.

Dianrong Announces New Financial Leadership Appointments (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Chinese peer-to-peer lending platform, Dianrong, announced on Tuesday the following financial leadership changes, effective immediately: Xuxia Kuang, the lender’s CFO, has been named COO. Yawen Cui has joined Dianrong as the new CFO. Kuang and Cui will report to Dianrong founder and CEO Soul Htite.

MENA

‘Fintech startups in Middle East, North Africa raised $ 100m last decade’ (Venture Burn), Rated: AAA

Fintech startups in the Middle East and North Africa have raised $100-million over the last decade, yet 28% fail in their initial years, says a new report by business support organisation Wamda and online payment gateway Payfort.

The region was home to 105 fintech startups by the end of 2015 (see featured image), with half of these having been launched since 2012. In all 30 firms are situated in North Africa. The UAE leads with 30 fintech startups, followed by Egypt with 17 and Jordan and Lebanon with 15 each.

Just 10% of fintech startups in the region account for 43% of investments and employ 55% of the 1600 employees in the sector.

Africa

How to make sure your crowdfunding campaign is successful (Destiny Man), Rated: AAA

“The vast majority of the South African market activity – $13,8m – came from peer-to-peer consumer and business lending, with the remaining $1.2 million spread across microfinance, donation-based and reward-based crowdfunding,” according to a report published by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Funding.

In order to reap the benefits of crowdfunding, it’s important to launch a great campaign. Patrick Schofield, CEO and founder of Thundafund, a crowdfunding platform that has helped several companies start or expand, says there are several things you can do to increase the chances of success for your business.

“Spend as much time on pre-campaigning planning as you would on your actual campaign. If you’re thinking of [running a campaign] for up to 45 days spend, 45 five days getting your ducks in a row,” he says.

Approaching journalists and key influencers will get you enough people who can make noise about what you’re doing.

‘Crowdfunding is the future’(Times Live), Rated: A

In an alternative funding benchmarking report by the UK’s Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, published last month, South Africa was identified as the potential leader in the growth of online and peer-to-peer lending models in Africa.

In 2015 South Africa represented 18% of the total African online alternative finance market, raising more than $15-million. Kenya was the only African country ahead of it, with $16.7-million raised. South Africa’s online alternative finance market focused more on business activity and less on charitable causes.

Local IT firm Khonology has partnered with the UK’s White Label Crowdfunding to develop bespoke crowdfunding platforms for entrepreneurs here.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday March 8 2017, Daily News Digest

Wednesday March 8 2017, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: Ron Suber offers 5 ways alt lenders can work with banks to prosper. OCC comptroller fires back at FinTech charter critics. Zopa has record lending month. RateSetter returns fall due to high demand. Today’s main analysis: Corporate credit spread tightens following Trump’s address to Congress. Today’s thought-provoking articles: China consumer finance needs high tech solution. […]

Wednesday March 8 2017, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

MENA

Asia

News Summary

 

United States

Prosper CEO’s Ron Suber’s Keynote Address at LendIt (YouTube), Rated: AAA

 

 

Corporate credit spreads tighten following Trump’s address to Congress (Morningstar), Rated: AAA

While the markets pulled back slightly in the latter half of the week, risk assets remained near their highs after a significant boost Wednesday following President Donald Trump’s address to Congress. The average spread of the Morningstar Corporate Bond Index, our proxy for the investment-grade bond market, tightened 5 basis points to +118 last week. In the high-yield market, the credit spread of the Bank of America Merrill Lynch High Yield Master Index tightened 24 basis points to +360.

Comptroller Curry hits back at critics of fintech charter plans (Finextra), Rated: AAA

In a speech to the LendIT conference in New York, Curry offered a stout defence to charges laid by banking trade bodies and state regulators over its plans.

“To be clear, the National Bank Act does give the OCC the legal authority to grant national bank charters to companies engaged in the business of banking,” Curry told the conference. “That authority includes granting charters to companies that limit their business models to certain aspects of banking, and it is not circumscribed just because a company delivers banking services in new ways with innovative technology.”

Kabbage nabs $ 500M for small business loans (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Kabbage, a billion-dollar startup that combines machine learning algorithms, data from public profiles on the internet and other factors to rate and then loan people money for their small businesses, is today announcing another big step up in its ambitions. The company has secured over $500 million in fixed-rate, asset-backed notes, money that it will use to expand the amount, payback terms and size of loans it makes to SMBs over the next three years. To date, Kabbage has loaned over $2.7 billion to SMBs since being founded in 2009.

Kabbage said the securitization was oversubscribed.

As part of this closing, Kabbage is forming a new subsidiary,Kabbage Asset Securitization, to issue the notes in four classes. Kabbage said that the senior class of notes is “anticipated to be rated ‘A(sf)’ on the closing date by Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA).”

Kabbage notes that this is an upgrade on its previous rating.

Lantern Credit boosts machine learning engine through ARC library acquisition (Finextra), Rated: A

Lantern Credit, a financial technology company working to solve systematic inefficiencies in the consumer credit industry, is enhancing its proprietary machine learning engine, Beam AI, with the acquisition of the Abstract Regression-Classification (ARC) Machine Learning Library.

The machine learning library enables Lantern Credit to use a human-machine hybrid learning approach that incorporates human guidance in the machine learning training process to produce more reliable outputs.

Lantern Credit’s Beam AI will use the symbolic regression technology to ensure that credit offers presented to consumers are actionable and timely.

RealtyShares Raises $ 32.9M for Midwest Real Estate Projects Through Crowdfunding (BusinessWire), Rated: A

RealtyShares, a leading online marketplace for real estate investing, has released new data showing the extent of crowdfunded investments in several Midwest real estate markets.

Developers, sponsors and borrowers in Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana and Illinois have raised $32.9 million to date from RealtyShares’ network of investors, offering a source of financing for real estate projects by leveraging technology to connect potential investors with expertly vetted real estate deals.

Thus far 114 deals have been funded in the region through RealtyShares, with an average deal price of $288,000. Deals of up to $1.5 million have been financed in both Columbus, Ohio, and Chicago, Ill. Anchoring RealtyShares’ position in the region, $14 million has been raised for 53 deals in Illinois, with several investors targeting properties in and around Chicago. Buckeyes are also showing a significant level of activity, with $12.25 million raised for 30 deals in Ohio, concentrating around the Cincinnati and Cleveland areas.

Patch of Land Hires Chief Investment Product Officer (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Patch of Land, a leading online real estate marketplace lender and crowdfunding platform, announces the addition of Matthew Zall as Chief Investment Product Officer as the firm prepares to expand into the single-family rental market with longer term, permanent financing products. The number of non-owner occupied single-family properties in the U.S. including townhomes, condos, and 2-4 unit properties grew to almost 24 million units valued at over $6 trillion in 2016, according to ATTOM Data Solutions.

Zall brings to Patch of Land more than 12 years of real estate and mortgage experience, as well as expertise in financing and product development. He pioneered three of the industry’s first-ever multi-borrower single-family rental securitizations, helping to build Blackstone Group subsidiary, B2R Finance, (now known as Finance of America Holdings, LLC) from start up to a multibillion dollar lender in only a few years. Prior to joining B2R, Matt was a Commercial Real Estate (CRE) trader at J.P. Morgan and Bear Stearns. At Patch of Land, Zall will execute strategies to enable the expansion of the firm’s position as a marketplace lender by offering both accredited and institutional investors additional opportunities to invest in this asset class.

Fintech Startup Current Announces $ 3.6 mil Raise With Eye on Injecting “Cs” Into Payments and Banking Space (Huffington Post), Rated: A

Today “stagnating banking industry,” announced a seed round venture capital raise of some $3.6 million backed by

THE FINTECH PARADOX IN ONLINE BUSINESS LENDING – March 2017 (IOU Financial), Rated: A

However, not all Fintech business models have yet matured into profitability, key to the definition of success. A structural element of future success for new entrants resides in their ability to access cheaper funding and quality customers. Who can offer these things?  With that in mind, Banks, especially small ones, should feel confident they can monetize their position to bring down their cost of innovation.  By working with innovative companies in financial technology, they can quickly benefit from new and very cost efficient ways to grow revenues. Online lending could be the first expertise to explore in order to welcome small business back and help them grow.

It is true that technology has enabled new entrants to offer innovative services not available at banks, either as a product offering or at a more competitive price.  It is also true that banks have been slow at embracing technology as a growth engine, mostly due to lack of capital to fund innovation. This is especially the case for smaller banks who tend to lack financial and human capital to invest heavily in R&D and innovate. Large banks with deep pockets have found ways to either build or partner and grow their presence in areas where technology offer a clear competitive edge. Large banks have in fact recognized the win-win rationale for partnering with Fintech, an opportunity also open to small banks. Large banks love Fintech because they can afford it. Small banks can as well.

How will the paradox divide disappear between banks and Fintech Alternative Lenders?  It will dissipate with the online lender taking time to educate banks about their efficient loan platforms and how they can help banks reach new customers, develop new funding sources and grow revenues, especially non-recourse fee income.  Banks should also be curious and consult with online lenders to better define how they can benefit from their technology and expertise in lending small.

StackSource Announces Lending Marketplace at LendIt Conference (CRE.Tech), Rated: B

Today was a big day for Tim Milazzo, his company StackSource and possibly commercial real estate lending as whole. Tim had been selected as a pitch finalist for the LendIt conference in New York.

But, Tim had an extra surprise in store for this big day. His company StackSource has been a tool for property lenders to centralize workflow. While they are a new company, emerging from the TechStars accelerator program late last year, they have already helped property owners process over $1B of loan offers on the platform. But, this was never the end game for Tim and his co-founder Nathan. They started the company with the idea of creating a marketplace for commercial real estate borrowers. Today, they not only pitched at LendIt, they also went live with the marketplace that they originally envisioned.

United Kingdom

Zopa reports record month of lending (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: AAA

Zopa has recorded its second consecutive month of record lending.

The peer-to-peer platform revealed that it lent more than £81m during February 2017 as it approved nearly 12,000 borrowers.

This was £24m more than for the same period last year.

The platform celebrated a record year of lending during 2016 as it passed the £2bn milestone and back in November it announced plans to launch a bank.

P2P Lender RateSetter Partners with Mortgage Aggregator Connective (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

P2P lender RateSetter announced a partnership with national mortgage aggregator Connective which aims to give accredited brokers access to their personal loan products.

The move is part of RateSetter’s ongoing focus on the broker channel to continue its growth in consumer and business lending. By joining Connective’s lending panel, RateSetter plans to help brokers improve client’s financial wellbeing in areas outside of the traditional mortgage offerings.

RateSetter returns fall as market demand rises (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RETURNS on RateSetter’s shorter-term accounts have fallen slightly due to changes in market demand.

The platform’s rolling market product was at 3.3 per cent last week and is now offering three per cent, its one year fix is now 2.9 per cent, down from three per cent, while its five year fix has actually increased slightly from 4.8 per cent to 4.9 per cent.

The rates are set by market demand on the RateSetter platform, but as of the end of March 2016 they were at 3.4 per cent for one month, 3.7 per cent for one year, 4.8 per cent for three years and 6.1 per cent for five years.

BondMason to increase bridging funding appetite (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer (P2P) service provider BondMason aims to expand its lending through bridging lenders in 2017, with over half of investment expected to be through non-P2P platforms.
The news follows a surge in demand for bridging finance in the final quarter of 2016, with the total lending figure for the year standing at £2.83bn.
Stephen added that while the bridging market has seen more competition from P2P lenders, it was mostly “around the edges”.

Misys backs gamification to educate next generation on money management (Zawya), Rated: A

Misys is making gamification an integral part of its Misys FusionBanking Essence Digital platform to help banks educate the next generation on better money management. Integrating Moroku’s GameSystem directly into the Essence Digital architecture enables banks to inject some fun into personal financial management (PFM) and help consumers achieve their savings goals.

With research research forecasting the mobile gaming market in MENA to be worth up to US$400m by 2021, the case for gamification in helping banks to attract, engage and retain customers is compelling. Banks stand to benefit from building greater trust with consumers and capturing market share. Gamification can also deliver a significant boost to customer experience. FusionBanking Essence Digital brings points, leaderboards and rewards to standard banking activity, to educate and also support savings and spend management.

China

China Consumer Finance Challenge Needs High-Tech Solution, China Rapid Finance CEO Tells LendIt (Broadway World), Rated: AAA

The challenge of expanding consumer finance to China’s vast population can only be effectively tackled with a high-tech solution that enables low-cost customer acquisition, Dr. Zhengyu (Zane) Wang, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of China Rapid Finance Limited (“CRF” or “the company”), told the LendIt USA 2017 conference.

Over the past two decades, China has emerged from being a market that in 2000 featured essentially no credit bureau, decision science, or consumer finance, Dr. Wang said in a March 7 keynote address at LendIt USA 2017, which was held at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City. China’s consumer finance market today boasts many of the same elements as the U.S. China now has a central bureau for credit reporting that covers 800 million people, while credit cards serve about 300 million people, he said.

Still, China’s consumer finance market has a long way to go, in a nation where non-mortgage credit is only 2 percent of GDP, Dr. Wang told the LendIt audience. Only about 16 percent of Chinese consumers have credit cards, compared with about 60 percent in the U.S.

MENA

Iran Launches a FinTech Association to Push for Development (Crypocoins News), Rated: AAA

Iranian financial technology companies have banded together to create Iran’s FinTech Association, several months after the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) suggested the idea, reports the Financial Tribune.

Known as FinTech A, the Iran FinTech Association is designed to bring industry players under a single area so that solutions can be found to their problems and improvements can be made between innovators and regulatory bodies.

Nasser Hakimi, director of CBI’s IT Department, said to the Financial Tribune, that he had proposed that FinTech companies develop a forum to figure out the challenges involved, identity key questions, as well as reach out to the regulator for solutions.

Last February, it was reported that while economic sanctions had been lifted against Iran, screening rules were still in place when trading with Iran, putting barriers in place for those within the U.S. and the EU who wanted to conduct bitcoin transactions within the country.

Asia

Indonesian P2P lending platform Amartha raises Series A, aims to disburse US $ 30M by end of year (e27), Rated: AAA

Indonesian P2P lending platform for unbankable society Amartha today announced that it has raised “seven digit” US Dollar in Series A round led by Mandiri Capital Indonesia (MCI).

Amartha plans to use the new funding to expand their coverage by creating mini-branch across Java and Bali, which they aim to complete by end of 2017.

Having had disbursed “more than” IDR68 billion (US$5 million) to 30,000 women who owns small businesses, the startup aims to disburse US$30 million to 100,000 borrowers by end of the year, with 10,000 active lenders on board.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday February 21 2017, Daily News Digest

Tuesday February 21 2017, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: Defaults Slash Returns for Online Loan Investors Colchis and P2P GI. Banks warm to alt finance providers. Anaxago opens up French RECF to institutional investors. Alibaba to invest $200mil in Korea’s Kakao Pay. Today’s main analysis: OFF3R Index: Strong P2P lending growth continues. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Midsized companies turn to MPL. Consumer confidence at 10-year high. P2P […]

Tuesday February 21 2017, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

  • Defaults Slash Returns for Online Loan Investors GP:”Very interesting data from Colchis and P2P GI. A must read. Defaults are a real problem that has to be taken seriously.”
  • PeerIQ’s weekly industry update. GP: “Lending Club is showing stronger interest in balance-sheet risk throught building securitization shelf in-house. Other platforms may want to take note. And a very interesting reminder that all debt indicators are in the green.” AT: “With consumer confidence high, wage growth strong, and other economic indicators improving, we should see a rise in consumer loans. The outlook for MPL has never been better.”
  • High rate of defaults hit P2P lending sector. GP:” Finextra is mentioning this article. AT: “This is truly one of the biggest problems the industry faces. On the flip side, defaults are bound to happen. They are a critical part of the lending business.”

United Kingdom

European Union

Australia

Asia

India

United States

Defaults Slash Returns for Online Loan Investors, (WSJ), Rated: AAA

LendingClub unit, Colchis Capital record lowest returns in their main funds since each launched in 2011.

At LC Advisors, the Broad Based Consumer Credit (Q) Fund returned 1.83% in 2016, down from 5.76% in 2015 and 8.02% in 2014, according to the investor documents. That was worse than the 2.65% return of the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate Index, a broad measure of performance of various fixed-income securities that LC Advisors uses as a benchmark.

LendingClub said in a securities filing in January that it was seeing signs of a stabilization in delinquencies after it raised rates on borrowers by a weighted average of 1.18 percentage points over the course of several months. And the Broad Based Consumer Credit (Q) Fund has outperformed its benchmark by more than 2 percentage points over the past three years. “The holistic performance of the Fund tells an important story,” LC Advisors said in a letter to investors.

Colchis’s P2P Income Funds, which have $1.3 billion in assets under management, posted a 2016 return of 6.2%, according to investor documents.

Colchis’s returns exceeded 9% in each of the preceding four years but were weighed down in 2016 in part because of weak debt-collection efforts at LendingClub and Prosper and a new accounting regime introduced earlier in the year, according to the documents.

Meanwhile, P2P Global Investments, which is managed by a unit of U.K. hedge-fund firm Marshall Wace LLP and listed on the London Stock Exchange, returned 4.1% in 2016, down from 6.6% the year prior.

At the end of the year, the fund’s shares traded at a roughly 20% discount to its net asset value.

Weekly Industry Update: February 20, 2017 (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

In a major shift, Lending Club unveiled in their

High rate of defaults hit P2P lending sector (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Investors in the peer to peer (P2P) lending sector have seen their returns suffer due to a high rate of borrower defaults among start-ups, reports the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

Shares in a number of P2P lending platforms have dropped as high profile players like US-based LendingClub and On Deck Capital have faced numerous difficulties. Investors previously attracted to the sector are now rethinking their approach, reports the WSJ.

The lending platforms are finding it difficult to bring down the default rates of their borrowers – insisting on more stringent credit standards and a more thorough application process would make the challenger lenders less attractive in comparison to the incumbent, traditinal lenders.

 

United Kingdom

Midsized Companies Turn to Marketplace Lending at Lendix & Creditshelf (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

At the onset of the marketplace lending market, lending to businesses was equated with lending to small and very small businesses: businesses at the low end of the small and medium-size enterprise (SME) market who were borrowing on average under €100,000. However, as the alternative lending market matures, it seems to attract larger SMEs borrowing bigger tickets, north of €400,000.

Olivier Goy is the founder and CEO of Lendix, an international business lending marketplace launched 2 years ago in France which has since then expanded into Spain and Italy. Tim Thabe is the co-founder and Managing Director of creditshelf, a German B2B lending marketplace for SME corporate borrowers and professional investors which launched in 2015.

Olivier GoyAt the onset, we did not plan to serve bigger tickets.

To give you an idea: the average loan size projected in our business plan was €50,000. The actual loan size in our first year of operation was €200,000. Now it is €400,000.

Of course, our funding mix, the fact that 80% of our funding comes from institutional investors was key to achieving this.

Tim Thabe: Indeed, we have deliberately targeted larger tickets. Our motivation was twofold. Firstly, we believed that we needed larger tickets to justify the expense of in-depth credit risk analysis. Secondly, the larger SMEs have more history and substance, and therefore more material to which we can apply this risk analysis in a meaningful way.

Currently, our average loan size is between €500,000 and €600,000. We expect it to grow towards between €800,000 and €1 million.

Olivier Goy: Bigger tickets are less expensive to recruit than small SME borrowers. However, the structure of larger SMEs is more complex, therefore is takes more time to analyze them and assess their credit risk. So far, we have not noticed a major difference in default rate, even though we know for a fact that there is a negative correlation between company size and credit default rate.

Olivier Goy:  European alternative investment funds (ELTIFs) now make it easier to invest in larger tickets. We are voluntarily limiting ourselves to €2.5 – €3 million because don’t want to be exposed to a few big tickets.

Tim Thabe: At creditshelf, we don’t have a regulatory loan size limit because we use a fronting bank and because we raise funds for each project from a small number of accredited investors; 20 or fewer.

The main issue with regulation is that it is not consistent throughout Europe.

Tim Thabe: We believe that there is a gap in the private debt market reaching from very small tickets all the way up to ticket sizes of €10 million or €15 million where private debt funds are starting to operate and traditional private placements can be arranged economically.

OFF3R Index: Strong P2P Lending Growth Continues (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

OFF3R, an online marketplace for alternative investments, published a report on P2P lending and crowdfunding last week. OFF3R said that while equity crowdfunding sagged in January – dropping 65% from December – P2P lending remained strong.

Regarding P2P lending, OFF3R covers nine UK platforms in their Index. According to their numbers, these nine platforms lent a total of £294 million in January 2017, an increase of 6% versus December 2016.

OFF3R stated that historically low-interest rates are helping to drive investor interest in P2P lending assets as their risk-adjusted returns are appealing. OFF3R said this is highlighted by the fact that the Index platforms lent 50% more money in January 2017 compared to the same month in 2016.

Banks warm to alternative finance providers (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: AAA

Speaking at Fintech Fortnight on 16th February, Angus Dent, CEO of P2P business lender ArchOver, revealed that some banks were now directing borrowers they cannot serve to alternative finance providers rather than rejecting them outright.

Angus suggested that by recommending borrowers to platforms such as ArchOver or RateSetter, banks could maintain a relationship with the client rather than risk losing them to a competitor in future.

P2P lending discovers new pitfalls in the construction sector (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

A couple of years ago, a little-known civil engineering company called Elimco UK got into trouble.

Pressed for money, the company did what a small but growing number of businesses are doing today. It turned to the “peer-to-peer” lending sector. In June 2015, Elimco began using MarketInvoice, a startup backed by the government-owned British Business Bank. Cash flowed again, but not for long. Eight months later, Elimco was in administration and MarketInvoice’s investors were looking at losses of almost £800,000.

When MarketInvoice first took on Elimco as a customer in June 2015, the firm was assigned a high risk rating, seven out of 10, even though it had a guarantee from its Spanish parent company. But Elimco’s risk rating soon improved dramatically. By August, just two months later, it was selling invoices with a risk rating of two out of 10, in part because it had made payments on time.

To-date, MarketInvoice has financed around £1bn in invoices and plans to double that number this year alone. The construction sector accounts for about 16 per cent of invoices* sold through the seven-year old startup.

One of the factors investors are unable to filter by with MarketInvoice’s autobid function, however, is sector. An investor can’t decide to avoid construction companies, for example. Last year, in an email to an investor seen by FT Alphaville, a MarketInvoice employee said this was because it would be harder for businesses to get financing if investors could engage in sector by sector “cherry picking”.

In construction, you have ‘set off’ rights, which give a customer the right to withhold payments due on one contract in order to compensate for costs incurred on another contract. It’s basically a form of security for the customer.

Set off rights proved to be an issue in the case of Elimco. When it went into administration, it was owed £1.4m by Scottish Power, which in turn claimed around £2m for costs it would have to incur to complete other work Elimco was contracted to do. Elimco UK had little in the way of assets, so the only money available to be distributed to MarketInvoice was the money owed by Scottish Power, which had effectively said it wouldn’t pay because of its ‘set off’ rights.

BondMason CEO Stephen Findlay Comments on RBS Move into Online Lending via NatWest (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Last week, NatWest – part of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) – announced a new online platform designed to simplify the loan making process for UK SMEs.

Stephen Findlay, CEO of BondMason – Robo-Advisor for investors in P2P loans, shared his thoughts on RBS’s strategic move challenging peer to peer lending.

“… we don’t view this as negative competition to the P2P platforms already in this space, or vice versa. Rather, we think these different offerings will complement the industry and encourage improved standards and better self-regulation as more participants enter the market – a ‘flight to quality’ which we certainly welcome. The move by the banks also supports the growth of what is becoming a mainstream asset class, demonstrating that P2P lending is now recognized and being embraced by the traditional banking and finance sector.”

European Union

Anaxago Opens Up French Real Estate Crowdfunding to Institutional Investors (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Anaxago Immobilier, the real estate arm of leading French equity crowdfunding platform announced last Saturday that it has secured € 10 million of funding pledged by a group of French institutional investors, qualified investors, and family offices to finance real estate development projects alongside retail investors. With this move, the firm departs from its 100% retail investor-funded model.

The French real estate crowdfunding market emerged only in 2015. It is almost entirely dedicated to the short-term (average 17 months) debt-funding of real estate development, as opposed to funding buy-to-let.

This FinTech CEO Is Making Money Instantly Available Anywhere In The World (Forbes), Rated: A

The mission of Creamfinance is to become the first one-click consumer loan provider in the world; making money available anytime, anywhere. The startup has raised over $7.3 million in funding to date, and has grown to over 200 employees expanding across 7 countries. In 2014, the data-driven consumer lending company raised 5 million Euros from the leading international venture capital fund, Flint Capital, which invests across the U.S., Israel and Europe.

Creamfinance currently offers consumers rapid credit solutions in several global markets, including Poland, Latvia, Czech Republic, Georgia, Denmark, and Mexico.

Matiss Ansviesulis: We focus on Smart Data scoring, otherwise known as behavioral pattern recognitions tools focusing on relevant, value-adding data.

We all know that big data is defined around four core aspects – data volume, velocity, veracity, and value. Whereas volume and velocity aspects refer to data generation and storage process, veracity and value deal with the usefulness of the data. In Big Data, due to the large number of data points, a lot of noise is being created, which challenges the value of data. Instead, we focus on smart data — well-defined, meaningful information that can expedite information processing and offer more privacy, stability. This is way more economical and creates less noise.

In 3-5 years, I hope to have initiated more discussion and action towards FinTech and banks cooperation. Also, in 3-5 years, I expect other companies to put emphasis on smart data scoring that leads to quicker decision making, and therefore more speedy loans for the customer.

Australia

Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison recently told a G20 conference in Germany of his plans to encourage more robo-adviser start-ups to launch in Australia.

But his comments highlight a general lack of understanding of the differences between “robo-advisers” and the digital advice needs of the majority of Australians.

However this leads to a common misunderstanding that pure B2C robo-advice start-ups address the everyday person, they don’t. In fact, we estimate they will only represent 5 per cent of the market.

It is broadly accepted that 15 per cent of the Australian population utilises traditional financial advisers (about 2.4 million people currently see planners according to Investment Trends— and typically that is the wealthiest 15 per cent of the population seeking to enhance investment opportunities.

The fact is robo-advisers are geared towards people making non-super investments. Ordinary working Australians – the other 85 per cent of the market – are accumulating wealth into superannuation and their homes.

Advising the remaining 80 per cent of the population is what the banks and super funds are striving for.

Asia

Alibaba Unit to Invest $ 200 Million in Korea’s Kakao Pay (Cryptocoins News), Rated: AAA

China’s Ant Financial, the financial investment arm of Alibaba Group and the world’s most valuable Fintech company, will invest $200 million in the mobile payment subsidiary of Kakao Corp, a major South Korean messaging platform.

Ant Financial announced the investment to be a part of a ‘larger strategic partnership agreement’ which will see Kakao Pay gain access to Ant Financial’s tremendously popular Alipay platform, allowing subscribers of both platforms to use each other’s services. Fundamentally, the move is to bridge Ant’s 450 million global users with Kakao Pay, which has over 14 million members in South Korea.

Further, the new partnership will benefit some 7.5 annual Chinese tourists visiting South Korea. Alipay users will be able to use their payments app with Kakao’s network of 34,000 South Korean merchants, both online and offline.

New platform revolutionizes the way Cambodian businesses borrow money (Southeast Asia Globe), Rated: A

Frustrated by limited funding options for small businesses, Chansamrach Lem launched the country’s first online peer-to-peer lending platform

Securing funding is a significant challenge for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) everywhere, but it is an even bigger obstacle in Cambodia, where banks, by and large, only accept real estate as loan collateral and few alternative financing solutions exist beyond friends and family.

While other P2P lending platforms are already in use in Cambodia, Komchey is the first such software to be designed and owned by a Cambodian company.

India

RBI asks banks to collaborate with fintech cos (India Times), Rated: A

The RBI deputy governor has said that in view of the competition from fintech companies, banks should reorient their business model and look at collaborating with more efficient players after assessing the likely impact of disruption.

The deputy governor said that SME lending, being a hugely underserved market, is a major opportunity for fintech startups to build and scale up sustainable businesses by offering services such as credit underwriting, and marketplace lending.

With around 51 million units throughout the geographical expanse of the country, MSMEs contribute around 8% of GDP, 40% of the total exports and around 45% of the manufacturing output.

South America

Interview with the CEO of Brazil Fintech Company, IOUU (TechBullion), Rated: A

Bruno Sayão: Our inspirations are Funding Circle (Europe) and Prosper (USA) and like them, we are passionate about micro and small companies, so we want to revolutionize the way they access financing. For this, we want to build a marketplace and make financing fair, simple and fast.

Bruno Sayão: IOUU charges only a credit origination fee after the company is able to capture the desired loan amount.

Bruno Sayão: In IOUU we try within 48 hours to inform if the company is going to be able to take loan with us, we created an extremely efficient process, whereas in the banks these processes are inefficient.

In addition, the interest rates charged are much lower than the banks, since our spread is extremely low because the whole process is done 100% online and we do not hide tariffs, the borrower knows exactly how much to pay in interest, IOF and Rate.

Bruno Sayão : Currently our biggest challenge is to get a partner financial institution interested in backing our operations, because in Brazil we can only operate being within the norms of the Central Bank of Brazil, since we act as banking correspondent;

Bruno Sayão : For the Brazilian to invest is still difficult and complex. People can not really understand the types of investments that are available and how they can do them. Estimates indicate that 55 million people over the age of 18 do not have a bank account and that 40% of micro and small enterprises in Brazil are debtors.

Bruno Sayão : Peer to peer lending is a risky investment made to diversify the investor’s portfolio. To mitigate risk to the maximum for the investor, our technology can verify in more than 500 public and private databases the credit history of the companies that will be published for capture in the platform. In addition, we recommend never investing the entire value in a single company, but rather diversify the investment into a pool of companies.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday February 16 2017, Daily News Digest

Lending Club investors

News Comments Today’s main news:  Lending Club Q4 results: the banks are back. NatWest and  Royal Bank of Scotland set to launch digital lending platform. Auswide Banks takes control of MoneyPlace. Indonesia allows on-balance-sheet lending for FinTech startups. Today’s main analysis: Lending Club Grows Auto Refinance. Lend Academy proud to have banks back at LC. Today’s thought-provoking articles: BondMason responds to […]

Lending Club investors

News Comments

United States

  • LC Q4 earnings review — the banks are back. GP:” Lending Club’s banks being back on the platform are a great sign of trust and comfort. I think everybody can now claim the Lending Club crisis was over. So now that the crisis was over, it wasn’t that bad, wasn’t it? If this is the types of crisis our industry will face I would be comfortable saying that it is safe to invest in our industry.” AT: “Lending Club has made a nice comeback. 2017 looks very promising, as Lend Academy points out.”
  • How the CFP Board is court next generation of planners. AT: “Since Millennials are the largest living generation and have very different attitudes about saving and investing than previous generations, it only makes sense to encourage more of them to enter into the financial planning field.”
  • How investors can cash in on soaring student debt. AT: “Not a whole lot new here, this article is geared toward investors not familiar with student loan investing.”
  • Why lending startups like Float want to ditch FICO. GP:” The only reason not to look at FICO in my eyes is cost. Otherwise why not use an indicator that is correlated? Perhaps once can use more then FICO but ignoring it completely all the time seems unwise.” AT: “As the article points out, not all alternative lenders are ditching FICO, but those that are do so for practical reasons.”
  • Lending Club grows auto refinance gradually. GP: “We continue to look for ways for Lending Club to resume growth. Auto Lending was their best bet until the crisis hit. I hope this turns into a valid channel and it allows them to diversify beyond credit card debt refinancing. As we learned with the capital sources it’s not healthy to be concentrated in one market segment.”

United Kingdom

European Union

Australia

Asia

News Summary

United States

Lending Club Q4 Earnings Results Review – The Banks Are Back (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Lending Club has released their Q4 2016 and 2016 year-end results. The company originated $1.987 billion in loans, up 1% from Q3 2016 of $1.972 billion. The most significant news of the earnings release was that bank participation totaled 31% of the platform in Q4 2016, up 18% from the previous quarter which shows that the banks are back. In the Q & A section of the earnings call, CEO Scott Sanborn stated, “We’ve got back on a bank by bank level all of the people we were hoping to have back.” This also happened quicker than Scott had expected. Also worth noting is that the company achieved this goal without investor incentives in Q4 unlike in Q2 and Q3 2016 where loans were offered to investors at a discount.

What you’ll also notice looking at the chart below is that the Other Institutional category dropped 5% sequentially, from 18% to 13%. This category of investor includes investment banks, hedge funds and fund managers who typically seek higher yields. Lending Club has tightened credit and adjusted pricing which has had an effect on these investors.

Now the question is whether they can spur some growth in 2017 on the borrower side of the equation. The company also provided guidance for the first time in several quarters which should give investors some idea of what to expect going into 2017.

How the CFP Board is courting the next generation of planners (On Wall Street), Rated: AAA

Amid growing worries that there are not enough new advisers to replace those who are retiring, the CFP Board’s Center for Financial Planning is rolling out a host of new initiatives aimed at expanding and diversifying the workforce.

In the coming weeks, the center will launch an internship program aiming to place workforce re-entrants at planning firms, and a social media campaign geared for students highlighting the diversity of the profession.

The center is also looking expand and solidify financial planning as an academic discipline.

How Investors Can Cash In On Soaring Student Debt (Forbes), Rated: A

In Q4 2016, total outstanding student loans topped $1.4 trillion—that’s more than auto loans or credit card debt. The student loan debt market is now only second to the mortgage market in terms of size.

While the consumer price index climbed 44% since 2000, tuition has soared 151%. Students now graduate with an average of $33,000 in student loan debt.

SoFi and CommonBond, the two-main P2P platforms that service students, have issued $8.5 billion in loans. Around $6 billion of that has been securitized by the likes of Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.

It’s worth noting that the total potential refinance market for P2P student loans is really about $480 billion. The headline $1.4 trillion is reduced because around 40% of loans are too small, and 42% have rates that are too low to be refinanced using P2P.

Students who refinance with SoFi save an average of $288 per month and $22,359 in total. Variable rates range from 2.35%–6.28% and fixed rates from 3.37%–6.74%.

CommonBond offers variable rates from 2.35%–6.27% and fixed rates from 3.37%–7.74%. Borrowers enjoy average savings of $15,114 when they refinance loans through the platform.

In comparison, the interest rate on Federal Direct Loans for undergraduates is currently at 3.76%. Borrowers also pay an additional 1.069% on each disbursement they receive. While this rate is below those offered by P2P lenders, the majority of student loans were made when interest rates were higher, with many students paying up to 8.25%.

Why Lending Startups Like Float Want To Ditch The FICO Score (Fast Company), Rated: A

Last year Social Finance, or SoFi, started using its own proprietary underwriting score in place of FICO when evaluating applications for its student loan, personal loan, and mortgage products.

And now they’re joined by Float, a Los Angeles-based lending startup, whose founders also say they have no plans to use FICO. The platform is launching today, and a look at its business model reveals why it thinks it can survive without it. Float is an app designed for lending small amounts of cash to customers in a pinch. If you’re facing the possibility of an overdraft, for example, a Float credit line, ranging from $50 to $1,000, can help you stay in the black. As with a classic American Express charge card, repayment is due in full the following month. Float also levies a flat 5% transfer fee.

Instead of pulling a FICO score, Float looks at two years’ worth of transaction history in an applicant’s bank account.

It’s also cheaper: Pulling credit reports adds enormous expense to the underwriting process.

Float has also noticed that customers who arrive via Instagram are better borrowers than those who arrive via Facebook.

Lending Club Grows Auto Refinance Gradually (Auto Finance News), Rated: A

Lending Club continues to grow its newly-launched auto refinance product and is investing $5 to $10 million in its expansion, Chief Financial Officer Tom Casey said during the company’s fourth quarter earnings call yesterday.

Early customer feedback has been positive, and refinancing is saving consumers an average of 2.5% off of their rate, or $1,200 in savings over the life of the loan, Sanborn added.

United Kingdom

NatWest unveils online lending platform for SMEs (Finextra), Rated: AAA

UK bank NatWest has launched a digital platform that lets small and medium sized businesses quickly apply for and obtain unsecured loans of up to £150,000.

The platform, dubbed Esme Loans, has been developed by the bank at is innovation unit with fintech firm Ezbob as a direct response to the emergence of specialist direct and P2P lending platforms, says NatWest.

LendInvest completes its first official auction finance loan in five days (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: AAA

It is the first loan that has been completed since the online mortgage lender launched its auction finance proposition in December last year after a significant proportion of the deals that brokers brought to LendInvest were for purchases agreed at auction.

LendInvest’s loan is based on 75% gross LTV and lasts for nine months with an interest rate of 0.94% per month.

Five Steps To Manage Business Borrowing (Minute Hack), Rated: B

Our advice at Hudson Weir is:

  1. Releasing equity – Selling a stake in your business is an effective, yet often overlooked, method of raising cash.
  2. Alternative methods of finance – Asset-based lending or invoice factoring can be helpful ways to release funds and gain a cash injection. Peer-to-peer lending has also gained momentum and popularity and gives business owners a way of raising funds on their own terms. Platforms like Funding Circle also allow SMEs access to loans and funding from a marketplace of investors – and the process is quick and simple.
  3. Talking to your suppliers – Even if the price your supplier charges looks competitive, never be afraid to ask if they can do better.
  4. Looking into your lease – Do not be afraid to negotiate with your landlord as they’re unlikely to want a vacant property – they may accept a reduced offer on the rent.
  5. Keeping on top of your payments – As obvious as it sounds, this is the difference between successfully financing your business in order to see it grow and becoming entrenched in a level of borrowing you can no longer afford to honour. Once you have found ways to keep your outgoings to a minimum during lean times, you must make sure that your monthly repayments are a priority.
European Union

RBS offers fast lending (Herald Scotland), Rated: AAA

ROYAL Bank of Scotland is set to launch a digital platform that it said would allow small and medium sized businesses to quickly obtain unsecured loans of up to £150,000.

Market response to RBS direct lending launch (BondMason), Rated: AAA

by Stephen Findlay, BondMason CEO

It is encouraging to see that banks are rolling out direct lending services to their customers, whether it be via an in-house offering or through a collaboration with an established P2P platform. This is especially good news for borrowers, particularly SMEs as it enables them to access much-needed investment more easily.

We’ve seen the direct lending market grow in leaps and bounds since its inception, as volatile stock markets and declining returns on ‘go-to’ investment products has led to an influx of investors looking for the middle ground between high risk and low returns.

Banks are responding to this investor demand and evolving their traditional models so they can take advantage of the direct lending space. We see this as the continuation of a trend towards the blurring of boundaries across the direct lending landscape – encompassing both traditional financial companies and more recent start-ups.

At BondMason, we don’t view this as negative competition to the P2P platforms already in this space, or vice versa. Rather, we think these different offerings will complement the industry and encourage improved standards and better self-regulation as more participants enter the market – a ‘flight to quality’ which we certainly welcome.

The move by the banks also supports the growth of what is becoming a mainstream asset class, demonstrating that P2P lending is now recognised and being embraced by the traditional banking and finance sector.

As this move by the banks comes some 10 years after the commencement of P2P lending, it is a great example of how innovation in established industries, such as banking, is often best done by smaller, new entrants. This further supports the requirement of the regulator to ensure, through its programmes such as the Innovation Hub and Regulatory sandbox, that SMEs and innovative companies are supported and fostered, and that barriers to entry are kept low for new, emerging business models.

Interview with Frédéric Dujeux, Co-Founder of Mozzeno (P2P-Banking), Rated: A

mozzeno is a Belgian fintech founded in December 2015. We have just launched the first digital platform to enable private individuals to participate indirectly in the funding of loans to other private individuals. Loans are granted by mozzeno, acting as a regulated lender. mozzeno then finances or refinances these loans thanks to the issuance of Notes (financial instruments).

The company has been initially founded and funded by my partner, Xavier Laoureux, and me.

Some fintech business angels and W.IN.G (a Belgian seed fund) have taken part to a seed round in Q2 2016. A further funding round should take place in the course of 2017.

Well, actually p2p lending as such is forbidden by law in Belgium. On one hand, the European prospectus law has been adapted locally very strictly, preventing individuals to raise funds publicly, even through an intermediary platform. This means that a borrower candidate cannot invite other people publicly to lend him money. On the other hand, one needs to be a regulated lender to grant loans and to get access to the Central Individual Credit Register. There is a new regulation as from November 2015, this regulated lender status now being supervised by FSMA.

Our regulatory model is then two-sided. We were the first Belgian regulated lender approved by the FSMA as per the new regulation, and this allows us to grant loans for Belgian residents. We also published a base prospectus, also approved by the regulator, allowing us to issue Notes on a continuous basis. These Notes are the financial instruments subscribed by the investors, similar to bonds, and mimicking the repayment behaviour of the underlying loan.

Crowdlending, a trend among large companies (Impulsando Pymes Digital), Rated: A

The profile of companies that rely on crowdlending to obtain financing has been changing considerably since this alternative financing method landed in Spain in 2013. The companies financed by Arboribus are solvent companies that could be financed with other banking entities, on average have about 20 years of life and most have experienced sales growth in recent years. We are talking about the segment of audited companies that resort to crowdlending to finance and that has grown 160% in 2016.

Not only is the profile of companies looking for financing alternatives changing, but there is also a growth in the volume of companies financed and their volume of loans requested. This is indicated by data provided by Arboribus, a crowdlending platform pioneering companies in Spain, which has financed 90 companies with more than 130 loans in 2016, reaching a total of 5.8 million euros funded in a year, 65% More than in 2015.

However, the most relevant data linked to these figures is the increase in audited companies with invoices in excess of 10 million euros, a figure that reaches 15 percentage points of the total portfolio of the platform, including some invoicing more than 20 Million and have a team of more than 200 workers.

Australia

Auswide Bank Takes Over Controlling Majority of P2P Lending Service MoneyPlace in Australia (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

Auswide Bank Ltd (ASX:ABA) is increasing its equity stake in peer-to-peer lender MoneyPlace Holdings Pty Ltd (MoneyPlace). Auswide Bank will have a controlling interest of at least 51% in MoneyPlace with the prospect of increasing that interest up to 75% dependent on the final take up of other MoneyPlace shareholders in a capital raising initiative being undertaken by MoneyPlace.

Business lender narrows in on brokers (TheAdviser), Rated: A

The appointment of Michael Burke as national sales manager this week coincides with OnDeck announcing a partnership with the Commercial Asset Finance Brokers Association of Australia (CAFBA).

Mr Burke joins OnDeck with over 20 years of sales and leadership experience in the banking and financial services industry. Most recently, he held the position of general manager – consumer and commercial finance at Flexigroup.

Asia

Indonesia authority to allow on-balance-sheet lending for fintech startups (e27), Rated: AAA

Senior officials at the Indonesian financial services authority (OJK) announced on Tuesday that the agency is preparing a regulation that would allow local fintech companies to lend money directly to their customers, a practice known as on-balance-sheet model.

Fintech companies offering on-balance-sheet model are required by regulation to convert into the P2P lending scheme.

M360 Advisors Registers Fund with South Korea Financial-Industry Regulator (Benzinga), Rated: AAA

A commercial real estate debt fund managed by Money360-affiliate, M360 Advisors, successfully registered with the South Korea Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), Money360 announced today.

FSS registration allows South Korean hedge funds, corporations, pension funds, insurance companies and other institutional investors to participate in the fund. Since becoming registered, the fund has received more than $65 million to date from one of South Korea’s oldest and largest financial institutions, and M360 anticipates receiving more than $250 million in aggregate throughout the first half of 2017.

“FSS registration opens M360 Advisors to an entirely new country of institutional investors, which will allow us to substantially increase our assets under management,” said Evan Gentry, M360 Advisors CEO. “This gives us a considerable competitive advantage that has been heightened significantly with an anticipated $250 million investment in our fund from one of South Korea’s most reputable financial institutions.”

M360 Advisors currently works with foreign investors from South Korea, China, Singapore, South Africa, Europe, Canada, the Netherlands and Kuwait, with further expansion underway.

South Korea is the latest in the company’s strategic business plan to bolster its global reach, with an intensified push into South Africa and China planned in the near future.

The fund provides investors with a short-duration, high-yield fixed-income alternative to traditional fixed-income investments. The fund invests in bridge loans collateralized by U.S. commercial real estate property secured with a first-priority lien at conservative loan-to-value ratios.

Gentry said the level of scrutiny going into the application process for FSS registration is high, and Money360 is one of the only marketplace lending platforms with an affiliated private debt fund to be sanctioned by the FSS.

“The registration of the fund with the FSS speaks to its institutional caliber,” Gentry added.

“The fund was designed for universal appeal to various types of investors throughout the world with significant consideration given to international tax efficiency,” added Money360 COO and M360 Advisors President Dan Vetter.

Vetter cited the extended period of low interest rates throughout the world caused by unprecedented central bank intervention as an impetus for launching the fund.

“Equity markets are overvalued and traditional fixed income investments offer minimal yield, making this type of private debt fund attractive relative to more traditional asset classes,” he added.

P2P LENDING: PEAKS TO PITFALLS (BFM), Rated: A

P2P lending has emerged as a new source of financing and may soon emerge as its own asset class. We speak to Kristine Ng, CEO of Fundaztic, about the pitfalls of the P2P system and how Securities Commission-approved lenders could help you enhance your short-term returns.

 

Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, Monash Business School & Tsinghua University Partner On Asia Pacific Alt Finance Study (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance at University of Cambridge Judge Business School, Australian Centre for Financial Studies at Monash University and Tsinghua University Graduate School at Shenzhen have teamed up to launch the 2016-2017 Asia-Pacific Region Alternative Finance Industry Survey.  The consortium has gained the support of more than 20 major industry organizations across the region. The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) says this is the largest regional study to date focused on crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending & other forms of alternative finance.

This benchmarking survey, opening today (February 15, 2017) aims to capture the key trends including the development, size, transaction volume and growth of alternative finance. The study will also gauge the impact of changing regulations on innovative finance in markets across Asia in 2016 – building on last year’s inaugural study.

The research will be made publicly available in Q2 of this year.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday February 9 2017, Daily News Digest

south korea p2p

News Comments Today’s main news: Huge spike in deposits after Lending Works launches IFISA. Public-private partnership forms Online Lending Policy Institute. Today’s main analysis: How private debt/alternative credit boosts income, risk-adjusted returns. Today’s thought-provoking articles: What roll-back of Dodd-Frank means for MPL. An end to P2P wholesale lending. BondMason calls for end to provision funds. United States Private-public […]

south korea p2p

News Comments

United States

  • Private-public partnership forms OLPI. AT: “This is an interesting approach to dialogue concerning MPL innovation, regulation, and growth. Where the Marketplace Lending Association exists primarily for the benefit of lenders, the OLPI seems to have its focus on consumers. Both attempt to influence public policy, but they different paths.”
  • What rollback of Dodd-Frank means for MPL. AT: “I completely agree that regulation legitimizes the industry, but I am concerned that over-regulation can kill innovation. On the other hand, there is a real danger that protectionist policies can lead to banks reverting back to risky lending practices, hurting consumers, and making it difficult for marketplace lenders to compete. I hope we can strike a fine balance that encourages innovation, fosters competition, and provides more options for consumers.”
  • Zoot Enterprises XOR Data Exchange partner on risk mitigation.

United Kingdom

European Union

China

Asia

News Summary

United States

Unique Public and Private Partnership Forms Online Lending Policy Institute (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

The Online Lending Policy Institute (OLPI) today announced its formation and the appointment of its first Executive Director, Professor Cornelius Hurley. OLPI will provide a one-stop resource for those interested in Fintech generally and marketplace lending specifically. The OLPI will provide research and education to ensure informed policy and best practices.

The OLPI provides policy analysis, in-depth research, broad educational initiatives (like the successful MPL Policy Summit), and relevant and engaged thought leadership to foster responsible growth of online lending (providing a strong bridge between established financial services and technology knowledge). To that end, the OLPI convenes various stakeholders, facilitates industry consensus, and encourages the development of a regulatory framework that protects borrowers while promoting innovation.

Key activities of the OLPI will include:

  • Substantive research that affects the online lending industry
  • Publishing white papers, studies, and reports
  • Engaging policy makers and industry stakeholders in the creation of forward-thinking public policy
  • Commissioning studies to ensure policymakers and those studying the industry have accurate data to rely on
  • Hosting the annual MPL Policy Summit to share, educate, and exchange ideas
  • Acting as the one-stop solution for all who seek to understand legal and regulatory landscape of online lending
  • Providing the tools necessary to ensure responsible innovation in Fintech– OLPI will be a valuable research resource for the various associations that have already formed to advocate for Fintech

To reach its goals, the OLPI knew it was important to be led by an expert in financial services thought leadership that has built a reputation of integrity and innovation with the banking community at large. The OLPI is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Cornelius Hurley as the first Executive Director of the Institute. Professor Hurley brings more than 35 years of diversified legal, entrepreneurial, and academic experience in the financial sector.

OLPI’s growing roster of members includes founding members Cross River Bank, Boston University’s Center for Finance, Law & Policy, and RocketLoans, among others. OLPI will announce its broader membership, including many leading industry players at LendIt 2017, where OLPI will host a day of legal and regulatory panels.

What Trump’s Rollback of Dodd-Frank Means for Marketplace Lending (Forbes), Rated: AAA

For marketplace lenders, the industry has matured despite a relative lack of federal regulation and uniformity. While it has thrived due to reduced oversight from lending authorities, a wave of deregulation in Washington could be a curse rather than a blessing as it can further erode the legitimacy fintech pioneers have started to garner since the great recession.

While reactionary regulations can hinder economic recovery, Dodd-Frank was structured in a way that made enacting new rules a heavily vetted process.

Bank lending has increased at a rate of 6 percent a year since 2013, reaching a record high of $9.1 trillion in commercial loans in 2016 and JPMorgan increased core loans more than 10 percent across all categories. If the banking sector has struggled under Dodd-Frank, it hasn’t curtailed profits.

Dodd-Frank has made it much more difficult for consumers to gain access to mortgages and other loan products and raised some costs, in turn affecting profitability, particularly among smaller community banks.

Regulation For Marketplace Lenders Creates Legitimacy

Without smart regulation, fintech companies will continue to be at a disadvantage when compared to brick and mortar counterparts, making it more difficult for a still-developing industry to establish itself as a legitimate entity.

Disruptive innovation can often flourish in this vacuum, but there’s a cost. Without the legitimacy that regulation offers, marketplace lending could struggle to be taken seriously as a direct competitor of the established banking system.

The danger lies in overregulation, but we are a long way from that.

Zoot Enterprises, XOR Data Exchange Partner For Risk Mitigation (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Zoot Enterprises has announced that it has formalized an agreement with XOR Data Exchange to provide Zoot clients access to multi-industry data predictive of identity theft and fraud risk. With the rise in online fraud, clients rely on Zoot to identify new ways to support their business strategy and quickly react to new fraud trends.

The partnership will bring a wider variety of predictive data sets and analytics to institutions that rely on Zoot for their platform needs across a wide variety of industries including financial services, merchant services, telecom, insurance, and healthcare. By sharing data through XOR, businesses are reducing credit and fraud losses, while providing additional insight into fraud rings that may target several different industries and establishing the creditworthiness of businesses that may not be identified using traditional providers.

United Kingdom

Huge Spike in Deposits Reported After Lending Works IFISA Launched (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

Lending Works CEO Matthew Powells reported an influx of more than 500K GBP deposits within 3 hours after launching the Lending Works Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA). Lending Works’ IFISA product offers 4% (up to 3 years) or 4.7% (up to 5 years term) tax-free for investments on the p2p lending marketplace.

A recent survey of Lending Works’ existing investors found that 88% plan to open an IFISA, with around a third expecting to invest between 10,000 GBP and the maximum threshold of 15,240 GBP of their annual ISA allowance into the IFISA before the end of the tax year in April.

First major peer-to-peer Isa becomes available, offering up to 4.7pc tax-free (The Telegraph), Rated: AAA

Lending Works has become the first large peer-to-peer company to offer an “innovative finance Isa”, beating several better-known rival lenders to the launch.

The new Isas will offer the same rates and terms as Lending Works’ existing accounts. Investors can lend over a three or five-year period. Three-year loans attract interest of 4pc and five-year loans earn 4.7pc. 

Of these only three have launched an Isa. The companies, Abundance, CrowdStacker and Crowd2Fund have lent out less than £100m between them in total.

An end to the nascent P2P wholesale lending market (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Last weekend, the Mail on Sunday reported that lending money to businesses that in turn lend that money on — aka wholesale lending — is something the regulator reckons doesn’t count as P2P lending. According to the Mail, the FCA thinks P2P lenders doing this “would mimic banking – but without the same protection for individuals or regulations for the firms involved”.

Good news for fans of clarity. Less good news for fans of Ratesetter, a leading P2P lender with a boundary blurring business model and a wholesale lending operation that has historically made up around 15 per cent of its loan originations, as we showed in March last year.

The FCA’s views on wholesale lending in the P2P sector are not entirely clear. One advisor to P2P lenders said “different platforms have been getting different messages”, but suggested the practice might raise the question of whether deposit taking was going on. As they explained it, a lending business borrowing from a P2P lender would, in effect, be borrowing money from ordinary people for the purposes of lending it on, which is not a million miles away from what a bank does. In short, the P2P lender might be viewed as a channel for attracting deposits.

P2P investing firm calls for end to provision funds (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

PEER-TO-PEER lenders should not use provision funds, a P2P investment manager has argued in a new report.

BondMason claims the funds, used by platforms such as Zopa and RateSetter, are just a tool to attract lenders.

The investment firm, which aims to get clients a seven per cent return by selecting P2P loans across approved platforms on their behalf, argues that provision funds “do little (nothing) to improve returns for well-diversified investors.”

Looking at the wider market, the BondMason report found lending in the P2P market grew by 39 per cent in 2016 to £3.2bn but warned that this was down from the annual growth of 91 per cent between 2014 and 2015.

19 laptops containing customer information have been stolen from fintech company GoCardless (Business Insider), Rated: A

Fintech business GoCardless is offering some customers free credit monitoring for a year after admitting 19 laptops containing personal information were stolen from its offices.

The stolen laptops contained personal data on an unspecified number of customers, such as email addresses, passport numbers, dates of birth, and names, according to The Register, which first reported the theft. Importantly, no financial data was held on the laptops.

LendInvest unveils refurbishment product (Mortgage Introducer), Rated: A

LendInvest has launched a refurbishment product with interest between 0.92% and 1.1% per month which is rolled up and paid at the end of the term.

The loan is based on gross development value, not loan-to-value – and is available up to 70% GDV.

Customers can take out loans between £100,000 and £2m for terms up to 18 months.

Peer to Peer Lending on “Right Path” as Wealth Managers Seek Quality Investments (Crowdfund Insider), Rate: A

BondMason has published its Market Report 2017 reviewing the trends in the UK peer to peer lending market.  BondMason is a platform that provides investors a method to diversify their investments across many P2P lending platforms.

According to BondMason’s research, P2P lending is beginning to see a flight to quality as the industry matures and weaker platforms exit the market. BondMason’s numbers indicate that the UK direct lending market totaled £3.2 billion of lending in 2016. This is an increase of 39% versus 2015 but a drop in growth as the industry grew by 91% from 2014 to 2015.

BondMason believes there is significant room for growth of the online lending sector. While P2P lending accounted for £3.2 billion during 2016, the total addressable market is between £100 to £120 billion in the UK.

NatWest to offer online investment fund service and ‘robo-advice’ (Financial Times), Rated: B

NatWest is unveiling a service for customers to access investment funds online through the bank for the first time, ahead of plans to launch a “robo-advice” service later this year.

The service, called NatWest Invest launches later this month and will allow bank customers who do not wish to pay for financial advice to choose their own funds and invest with a minimum of £500.

Other banks in the UK are planning to follow suit by offering robo-advice. Santander is among the lenders in the process of developing an automated advice service and has invested in robo-adviser provider SigFig.

FinTech Monthly (Tech City News), Rated: B

Monese, an online banking app, raised a $10m Series A round. The app enables non-native citizens to open a UK bank account.

Seedcamp sold part of its stake in money transfer startup TransferWise. This news came shortly after it was reported that US giant Andreessen Horowitz increased its investment in the London-based startup.

And finally, Mastercard has launched a mobile marketplace for East Africa’s agricultural sector. The digital platform, called 2KUZE, meaning ‘let’s grow together’ in Swahili, will enable farmers to buy, sell and receive payments for agricultural goods via their phones.

European Union

How Private Debt/Alternative Credit Boosts Income and Risk-Adjusted Returns (LinkedIn), Rated: AAA

Quantitative easing has caused a significant distortion of asset prices and market dynamics. It has had an enormous impact on the price of most publicly-traded liquid assets, causing yields to drop below a level any return can historically justify. In this context, investors are looking for alternative solutions and private markets offer significant investment opportunities and value enhancement.

Alternative Investments and Alternative Credit have asset solutions that are very different from each other with very dissimilar drivers. Understanding these asset classes requires specialization and expertise. For example, in banks, sub-asset classes such as shipping, trade and commodity finance, infrastructure finance, leverage loans, and leasing are executed by specialized departments and treated as asset classes on their own merits.

Firstly, the active asset managers and institutional investors are providing the alternative sources of credit either directly or through their clients. This began the growth of a credit market along with the traditional bank lending in some sectors. The shrinking balance sheets of banks presented a tremendous opportunity for investors who were jolted by traditional fixed-income securities and needed options for diversification and higher yields.

Secondly, many new so-called Fintech companies in Alternative Lending have entered the market and established business models which are challenging the traditional status quo. They are still small in size in comparison with incumbent players; however, their business model is addressing many current challenges in the financial sector (inefficiency, information asymmetry, maturity transformation).

The increasing participation of the institutional investor market and new platforms are likely to bring more transparency regarding the actual return contribution of different asset classes in the future.

How Does Alternative Credit Enhance Risk-Adjusted Return and Income?

Currently, most liquid fully “institutionalized” asset classes do not offer the appropriate balance between risk and return. Monetary interventions themselves over the past few years have caused a positive return  on the most liquid public assets solely as a result of artificial demand pressure.

Contrary to public traditional fixed-income markets, Alternative Credit offers a private pricing differential (PPD) of 0.5% to 5% over the fixed income market, which is an attractive level.

In these uncertain times, Alternative Credit offers a plausible answer: “Going for the safest part in the capital structure and going for shorter tenors.”

  • Credit investments currently the highest safety in capital structure.
  • Alternative Credit can enable exposure for shorter tenors to self-liquidating assets (trade finance, factoring, supply chain finance).
  • Alternative Credit offers a floating rate exposure.

The best feature of Alternative Credit is its due diligence.

Alternative Credit offers portfolio construction opportunities to diversify other asset classes traditionally owned by banks (not mark to market) and segments that are not yet on the public market’s radar.

As equities became too volatile after the financial crisis of 2008, Private Debt became a surrogate for high-yield bonds. In addition, there was a contraction of more than 70% in the AAA-rated bonds and many of them lost their triple-A status (Preqin, 2014). This provided the cornerstone for the development of Alternative Credit, which enhanced the return of the portfolios by offering a combination of higher rates of return and lower risk.

Alternative Credit has already become the cornerstone of investments in many institutional portfolios and has become a regular source of income. It can be concluded that Alternative Credit is the new form of asset class that is expanding quite rapidly, in part due to the shortage of credit created by the credit crisis.

What drives the success of crowdfunding campaigns? (Invesdor), Rated: A

The first article, titled “Success drivers of online equity crowdfunding campaigns” addresses the research question that Andrea so aptly formulated. The question is highly relevant, as a large part of crowdfunding campaigns – both on Invesdor and on other platforms – have not reached their funding targets. Could something be done to increase the probability of a campaign succeeding?

Based on sixty campaigns that had been conducted via Invesdor, we found the following:

1.  Campaign characteristics that are pre-determined by the target company – with assistance from Invesdor – are relevant in determining the campaign’s success:

  • The lower the minimum investment requirement, the more investors and funds a campaign can be expected to attract.
  • Campaign duration is negatively associated with the number of investors.
  • Higher funding targets seem to attract larger numbers of investors.
  • The availability of financials in the pitch is positively associated with the number of investors.

2. The use of the entrepreneur’s (and Invesdor’s) networks is important for campaign success.

  • The more money the target company can raise through its and Invesdor’s private networks during the hidden phase, the more investors and more funds it is likely to attract in total.
  • Posting the campaign on social media is a strong predictor of success.

3. The understandability of the target company’s products may play a role in success

  • The results indicate that companies that offer consumer products, rather than products targeted to other businesses, may be more likely to conduct successful campaigns.

The results presented here are based on an aggregate assessment of campaigns and investments.

Fellow Finance Group 1 January – 31 December 2016 (Fellow Finance), Rated: B

2016 was a year of rapid growth for Fellow Finance. The number of platform users grew 220% and the total amount of intermediated consumer and business loans in Finland and Poland was above 50 million euros. This growth resulted in the overall loan volume exceeding 90 million euros which strengthened Fellow Finance’s position as the leader of the crowdfunding platforms in the Nordic countries and with 4,3% market share in continental Europe (source: Liberum Altfi Index). In Finland, Fellow Finance’s market share was over 30% of the whole crowdfunding market (source: Ministry of Finance of Finland). The average of annual yield for investors was 11%.

China

Hong Kong government dismisses report ranking city 5th for fintech (South China Morning Post), Rated: AAA

The government has dismissed a research report ranking Hong Kong only fifth last year among leading fintech hubs, saying the study did not directly compare financial technology development but rather financial and business environments as a whole.

During a Legislative Council meeting on Wednesday, finance sector legislator Chan Chun-ying asked the government why Hong Kong ranked three spots behind rival Singapore – which ranked second – in the report by global accounting firm Deloitte.

Banks should embrace fintech boom (The Straits Times), Rated: A

Fintech complements rather than threatens banking institutions. In my experience, banking has always been about technology, so today’s fintech innovation boom represents evolution rather than revolution for traditional banking. It is supplementing and diversifying the existing financial system – not replacing or disrupting it.

If we look closely, fintech is currently only focusing on a mere fraction of the financial services spectrum. To date, much of the focus of fintech has been on retail banking services – lending and financing along with payments-related products and services, where mobile and e-commerce has led to real demand from consumers.

Similarly, peer-to-peer lenders appear to be more focused on small businesses and higher-credit-risk borrowers than on mainstream banked clients.

Asia

Korean government to tighten watch over P2P lending (Pulse), Rated: AAA

From the second quarter, the government plans to toughen watch and scrutiny on peer-to-peer (P2P) lending service in burgeoning demand in South Korea.

Currently, moneylenders with assets worth at least 12 billion won ($10 million) fall under the broad state regulation. Smaller lenders can run money business upon registering with local governments.

Under a new act that would go into effect in the second quarter, small lenders also would have to comply with state regulation and watch.

Kelvin Teo erases borders with an online lending platform (Asian Review), Rated: A

In January last year, Riza Fansuri was in a quandary. The 37-year-old, who runs a small food supplier in a Jakarta suburb, wanted to develop new products, but that would take money. He tried applying for loans at banks, but they all turned him down because he could not provide sufficient collateral.

Desperate for help, he turned to a website for peer-to-peer lending, a method of debt financing that allows individuals to lend and borrow money directly from each other online instead of borrowing from banks. Half in doubt, he applied for a loan, and a week later, he managed to secure the 100 million rupiah ($7,485) needed to carry out his plan. His company successfully created two new products — instant ice cream and pudding mixes — that now account for 40% of its sales.

The website Fansuri used is run by Funding Societies, a fintech startup that operates in Indonesia, Singapore and soon in Malaysia. The company was founded by Kelvin Teo, a graduate from Harvard Business School, and Reynold Wijaya, an Indonesian classmate from the school. In less than two years, the company has arranged more than 360 loans worth a total of $19 million.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor