Friday May 11 2018, Daily News Digest

Volume of homes flipped with loans

News Comments Today’s main news: Robinhood raises $363M. Americans on pace to amass $4T in consumer debt by end of year. Zopa to boost regulatory clout. Reserve Bank of India regulations create P2P lending road blocks. How China struggles to create a credit scoring system. Today’s main analysis: LendingClub earnings overreaction. LendingTree Personal Loan Offers Report for April 2018. Today’s […]

Volume of homes flipped with loans

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United States

United Kingdom

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News Summary

United States

Robinhood Aims to Rival Coinbase in Crypto With $ 363 Million Funding Round (Fortune) Rated: AAA

Robinhood, the free stock trading app, has raised $363 million in a new investment round valuing the company at $5.6 billion.

The Series D round, announced Thursday, makes Robinhood the second most valuable private fintech startup in the U.S. after Stripe, the online payments company.

Inside SoFi’s (expensive) customer acquisition push (Tear Sheet) Rated: AAA

SoFi, which recently confirmed it had 500,000 members, is on a customer acquisition push.

The company, which initially offered student loan refinancing for high-earning top-tier graduates and has since expanded its offerings, differentiates with VIP-style “member” benefits.

It’s a customer-for-life strategy other digital banking upstarts are pursuing. Luvleen Sidhu, CEO of BankMobile, recently told Tearsheet that a “customer for life” strategy is underpinned by the reality that “every customer is a potential customer,” with product offerings tailored for different life stages. SoFi has been known to pay a high price to gain customers; last year, it reportedly acquired customers at $756 apiece. The non-financial member services are valued at $795 per customer, according to the company.

Hey Future SoFi Money Member (SoFo Money Email), Rated: A

Higher interest (1.09% for May—21x the national checking account average of 0.05%!)

  • Reimbursed ATM fees worldwide (up to 6 per month)
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No overdraft fees or account fees whatsoever!
  • Easy-to-use mobile app
  • SoFi Money Visa Debit Card
  • Mobile check deposit
  • Free checks
  • Top notch customer support
  • Send money to friends and family with easy P2P at no cost
  • Bill pay
  • Direct deposit
  • PLUS access to SoFi membership including complimentary career coaching and member events when you set up direct deposit

Did we mention that if you sign up for an account and set up direct deposit you’ll get $200?

LendingClub: Earnings Overreaction (Seeking Alpha) Rated: AAA

Such a strong reaction to LendingClub hasn’t happened in years. The company is still down 20% year to date, and more than 40% in the last twelve months. LendingClub has struggled to find its footing ever since the ouster of its CEO, Renaud Laplanche, after controversy over the parking of LendingClub notes in a related third-party firm. More recently, in the wake of Wells Fargo’s (WFC) fake-account scandal, the FTC has also charged LendingClub with charging improper fees to borrowers, sending the stock to new all-time lows of $2.57.

Source: Seeking Alpha

But with this earnings quarter – the first time in a long time that LendingClub has rallied to earnings news (in Q4, LendingClub dropped 9% after missing revenue estimates; the quarter before that, it tanked 17% for doing the same). What’s interesting is that even in this quarter, LendingClub continued a three-quarter streak of missing analysts’ revenue expectations.

How Wall Street, Silicon Valley institutionalized home flipping (Curbed) Rated: AAA

As the housing market has gone from recovering to roaring over the last five years, home flipping has also increased.

Source: Curbed

According to data provided by ATTOM Data Solutions, a real estate data provider, some 138,410 flippers invested $56 billion in home flipping in 2017, 34.8 percent of which was financed as opposed to executed in all cash. Prior to the housing bust, the same type of easy credit that infected the traditional mortgage market was also present in home flipping. At the peak of the housing bubble in 2005, more than $100 billion worth of homes were flipped by 287,929 investors, and 66 percent of those home flips were financed with loans.

Source: Curbed

Turn the Post Office Into a Bank? First Check Japan (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

Koizumi won his fight, his party crushing all opposition in a landslide, and his plan was set in motion, though the process has taken more than a decade. The company’s initial public offering in 2015 was the world’s biggest in that year. The government still owns most of Japan Post Holdings Co., and periodically sells off shares, with the goal of eventually reducing its stake to only a third from more than half now. But privatization hasn’t shrunk Japan’s postal bank itself, which remains one of the largest and most important in the world:

Source: Bloomberg

The problem was that Japan’s postal bank didn’t just take deposits — it also lent money, including to so-called zombie companies, or inefficient enterprises that survive due to below-market-rate loans.

Bond Fund Inflows, Dollar Rally and Buyback Surge (INTL FCStone Email), Rated: AAA

Source: INTL FCStone

U.S. equity ETFs have lost $35 billion since the Nasdaq index peaked in mid-March. This is the longest stretch of ETF outflows I can remember since the end of the great financial crisis. Inflows into bond funds accelerated to $16 billion over the same time. Jumping from stock to bond funds at the first sign of volatility was a logical reaction when bond yields were falling to record lows amidst the deflationary fears of the beginning of 2016.

It makes a lot less sense when corporate earnings are soaring, when deficit-related treasury issuance is exploding, and when the New York Fed underlying inflation gauge is clocking above 3%. Last but not least, the equity selloff was in large part driven by a bond market rout that pushed 10-year yields above the economically meaningless but psychologically symbolic 3% level.

Read the full report here.

The Real Estate Lending Merger That Shook Mt. Olympus (Digital Journal) Rated: A

Zeus CrowdFunding, Zeus Hard Money and Zeus Mortgage Bank—made the switch to monotheism. The three successful businesses are now united under a single brand: ZeusLending.com.

Zeus Founder and Chief Acceleration Officer Steven Kaufman claims to have consolidated all three financing businesses into a single organization to better serve the community of real estate buyers and investors who rely upon fast, no-hassle loans to conduct timely transactions.

Federal student loans are about to get more expensive. What you need to know (CNBC) Rated: A

Although the Department of Education hasn’t formally announced the new rates, this year’s bump is likely to be higher than expected, said Mark Kantrowitz, a student loan expert.

Americans On Pace to Amass a Collective $ 4 Trillion in Consumer Debt by the End of 2018 (Benzinga) Rated: AAA

LendingTree today released its first Consumer Debt Outlook for May 2018. Americans are on pace to amass a collective $4 trillion in consumer debt by the end of 2018. Collectively, Americans owe more than 26 percent of their income on consumer debt, up from 22 percent in 2010.

Incomes growing, but consumer borrowing growing faster
Overall, the percentage of total non-housing debt, at 26 percent of Disposable Personal Income, is now even higher than during the credit boom in the mid-2000s.

Source: Lending Tree

 

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

Excellent credit (760+ score): Offered APRs to consumers with a credit score of 760+ averaged 7.35% in April.

  • The average best APR offered to all borrowers with credit scores of 760 or above was 7.35%, a decrease of 7 basis points from the prior month and 2 basis points from the same period one year ago.
  • At $22,774, the average loan amounts offered with the best APRs to all borrowers with a score of 760, up 0.57% ($130) from last month, and over 17.86% ($4,067) from the same period one year ago.
  • The top 10% of offers, presented to borrowers with the best profiles within this group, had offered APRs of 4.87% on average, and loan amounts of $33,931. A borrower with this APR and loan amount would save $2,877 by consolidating debt with a 10% APR over a three-year term.
Source: Lending Tree

Real Estate Crowdfunding: MG Capital Migrates Investment Opportunity Online (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Recently, CI had a chance to catch up with Eric Malley, founder & CEO of MG Capital Management during the Crypto Invest Summit in Los Angeles. While not quite there yet, Malley is interested in the potential of blockchain.  He is looking at the options of how crypto and property can make sense for both investor and issuer.

RealtyMogul’s MogulREIT I Closes $ 4.9 Million Investments in Two Retail Shopping Centers (Citizen Tribune) Rated: B

MogulREIT I, as part of its diversified income strategy, recently completed two preferred equity investments in community-based retail centers. Community-based retail centers are centrally located within their respective population centers and focus on durable tenancy that serves the needs of the working community, thereby being less susceptible to internet retailing. The transactions include a $3 million preferred equity investment in a retail center in Waterbury, CT, consisting of three multi-tenant strips with 17 suites across 50.5 acres and a $1.9 million preferred equity investment in a retail center comprised of two lots with over 27,000 square feet located in Orange County, CA. CoStar reports that within a one-mile radius of the property, average household income is over $116,000.

Goldman Sachs, Apple Team Up on New Credit Card (Wall Street Journal) Rated: A

Apple Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. are preparing to launch a new joint credit card, a move that would deepen the technology giant’s push into its customers’ wallets and mark the Wall Street firm’s first foray into plastic.

The planned card would carry the Apple Pay brand and could launch early next year, people familiar with the matter said. Apple will replace its longstanding rewards-card partnership with Barclays PLC, the people said.

Guaranteed Rate Continues Record-Breaking Streak through April (Blobe Newswire) Rated: A

Guaranteed Rate, one of the nation’s largest retail mortgage lenders, reached $3 billion in total locked loan volume for the month of April and eclipsed records previously broken in March. In a highly-competitive housing market, the retail mortgage lender showed it’s the home purchase expert by achieving the following records: 9,387 in total locked units, $2.5 billion in locked purchase volume and 8,041 in locked purchase units.

 

Why Nationwide is ditching retail banking (Tear Sheet) Rated: A

Nationwide is shutting down its retail bank, returning to its historical core business lines including insurance and retirement; part of this plan is to invest more resources in reaching the fee-only adviser community.

The move to wind down banking operations was a strategic decision to focus on trust operations that support  retirement plans, a company spokesman said. Gaining scale and becoming competitive in retail banking would have required a “significant investment.”

Digital Lending 2.0 — A New Era (LinkedIn) Rated: A

We are now seeing an evolution of the online lending model: version 2.0. This version looks in many ways like a traditional bank, albeit a much lighter and digital one, with multi-product platforms and a variety of custom offerings for consumers. With non-traditional models like Barclays and Goldman Sachs entering the market, online lenders are either partnering up or learning from the players they sought to disrupt. In digital lending 2.0, it will be important to take an open collaborative approach, broaden offerings and deepen customer relationships through more customized solutions.

Marketplace Lending Update #3: Kabbage Heads to Court (The National Law Review) Rated: A

A recently filed California lawsuit raises the stakes in the ongoing challenge to the “bank origination model.” The lawsuit, Barnabas Clothing, Inc. v. Kabbage, Inc., was filed on March 22, 2018 in Superior Court in Los Angeles and recently removed to the federal court.1 Barnabas alleges violations of state usury, false advertising, and unfair competition laws, and asserts two federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (“RICO”) Act claims. Barnabas seeks to certify a class on behalf of all California-based Kabbage borrowers and requests various relief, including that the court void the Kabbage loans.

You can do more than you think with bad credit (Inquirer Business) Rated: B

CreditCards.com, the average FICO credit score was 699 in 2016, which is just a step above fair credit. About 30 percent of Americans have poor credit, making it difficult for them to function in the financial world.

Get Creative with Loans

  • Peer to Peer LendingSince 2005, peer to peer (P2) lending has been a staple for those seeking funding with bad credit. Rather than going through an institution, you apply for and receive funds over a member-funded platform.

 

United Kingdom

Zopa to boost regulatory clout ahead of Brexit (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

ZOPA is recruiting staff to bolster its regulatory expertise and influence ahead of industry changes and developments such as Brexit.

The peer-to-peer lender is advertising for a public and regulatory affairs officer who will be responsible for building relationships with key regulatory and political stakeholders and industry bodies.

 

Nearly Half of Aspiring Property Developers Say Economic Growth Will Have the Greatest Effect on House Prices in the Next Five Years (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

According to LendInvest, when asked what will have the biggest effect on house prices in the next five years, nearly half (40%) of those surveyed viewed national economic growth as having the greatest impact. Only a quarter of respondents (24%) reportedly believe political developments, such as further elections and impending Brexit, will affect house price growth the most. And a shortage in supply of housing is the biggest concern affecting house prices for only a fifth (20%) of those surveyed, while 16% of aspiring developers cited the construction of new infrastructure such as the new HS2 and Crossrail lines as the key influencing factor.

 

Goldman Sachs has invested in a UK startup that tells you when to switch mortgages (Business Insider) Rated: A

Goldman Sachs has led a £13.6 million funding round into UK startup Trussle, a company that helps people get mortgages online and tells them when to switch to better deals.

Goldman Sachs Principal Strategic Investments and Propel Venture Partners led the Series B investment into Trussle, which was announced on Wednesday.

Virgin Money offer highlights testing times for challenger banks (Financial Times) Rated: A

CYBG recently made a takeover approach of rival Virgin Money as challenger banks look for solutions in what has become a tough market; challenger banks are dealing with increased competition by digital entrants, not to mention the big four UK banks, rising funding costs and bigger rivals in the mortgage market; M&A activity among challengers is increasing as companies look to consolidate and digitize to compete.

 

 

Credit Kudos a bureau hero in open banking roll-out race (Fintech Futures) Rated: B

Credit Kudos has got connected with banks in the UK, becoming the “first credit bureau to offer open banking services to lenders and individuals”.

According to the credit bureau, borrowers can now use its services to verify income and demonstrate creditworthiness using their financial history data.

The company has now launched connections with Lloyds, Halifax, Bank of Scotland, Royal Bank of Scotland, NatWest, Ulster Bank, Allied Irish Bank, Danske Bank, and HSBC.

Mortgages shine in Castlight Financial’s open banking pilot (Fintech Futures) Rated: B

Glasgow-based Castlight Financial is partnering with Paradigm Mortgage Services and Foundation Home Loans to launch a pilot of its affordability tool powered by open banking technology.

Called Affordability Passport, Castlight says it allows brokers to process mortgages in under ten minutes.

China

China Struggles to Establish Credit Scoring System (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

China’s government has tried for many years to establish a credit system that rivals the U.S. and Europe, but has found it a struggle to get there.

In 2015 China’s Central Bank contracted eight companies, including affiliates of TencentPing Anand Alibaba, to help build a credit system that could rival what other developed economies use. The experiment up until today has not fared well as lenders and e-commerce firms continue to use their own proprietary systems to determine risk of the borrower.

One of the main drivers behind the failure is companies were reluctant to share the data they collected. Also, conflicts of interest arose as users could be rewarded by using certain companies to drive their score up.

International

Splitit is financing purchases for debit cardholders (Tear Sheet) Rated: AAA

Splitit, a competitor to lending companies like Affirm and Klarna, is bringing its point-of-sale financing product to debit card users in the U.S. and Europe, targeting fashion and jewelry websites in particular, like Vestiaire Collective and Philip Stein.

Unlike its competitors, however, the company is focused on making the retail industry better for everyone involved — banks, processors, consumers and merchants — rather than displacing credit cards, said Gil Don, CEO of Splitit.

It might be decades before credit cards disappear, but different industries are already seeking ways to sidestep the fees that come with today’s credit card payments.

Getline ICO (GET Token): Blockchain Credit Scoring & Lending? (Bitcoin Exchange Guide) Rated: A

The GetLine network is a peer-to-peer lending platform that is built on the Ethereum blockchain. By leveraging distributed ledger technology, the objective of this project is to disrupt the lending sector, which is currently valued at a whopping $1 trillion. Therefore, transactions will be processed instantly thanks to the direct connection between lenders and borrowers. Moreover, the platform will rely on an advanced credit risk prediction mechanism, making the entire lending process safer and accessible to lenders and borrowers respectively.

 

India

RBI regulations create roadblocks for peer-to-peer lending companies (Business Standard) Rated: AAA

Is non-bank lending a form of access to credit for those in need or an investment asset class for the well-to-do? That is the question that India’s central bank perhaps grappled with while framing the regulations for the nascent peer-to-peer (P2P) lending companies.

While the regulations were put up only in November last year, a handful of companies have exited business and many others have changed tack after looking at the guidelines.

Asia

DBS Bank rolls out Singapore’s first in-app digital financial advisor that’s called ‘Your Financial GPS’ – (Business Insider) Rated: A

DBS Bank recently announced a new in-app holistic digital financial advisor which it called “Your Financial GPS”  – said to be the first of its kind in Singapore.

If you’re a DBS/POSB Bank member and have recently used your iBanking or digibank app, you might have noticed the new feature already available on the app’s main page.

Indonesia: Skystar-backed P2P lender Julo raises $ 5m Series A round (Deal Street Asia) Rated: A

Indonesian peer-to-peer (P2P) lending startup Julo has raised $5 million in a Series A funding round led by Skystar Capital and East Ventures.

Other investors that joined the round include Gobi Partners, Convergence Ventures, Provident Capital, Central Capital Ventura, Heyokha Brothers and other strategic investors, Julo announced on Thursday.

The new round of funding comes only a year after Julo raised an undisclosed amount in a seed round, also led by Skystar Capital.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday March 29 2018, Daily News Digest

Thursday March 29 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi changes wealth portfolios. Silver Lake buys $500M of Credit Karma stock. Half of Zopa deposits are into IFISA accounts. Landbay considers IPO, opens Seedrs campaign. Wonga South Africa enters personal lending. Today’s main analysis: 7 reasons to hate the long bond (A GREAT READ). Today’s thought-provoking articles: The benefits of additional data from […]

Thursday March 29 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Asia

Africa

News Summary

United States

SoFi Announces Changes to Wealth Portfolios (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Tuesday, online lending platform SoFi announced it was making changes to wealth portfolios. SoFi made changes in all five risk strategies – Conservative, Moderately Conservative, Moderate, Moderately Aggressive, and Aggressive.

Conservative:

“Our lowest risk portfolio invests heavily in bonds, which may be appropriate for someone investing with a lower tolerance for risk or a shorter time horizon, like under three years. With bonds, there are three options: Short-term bonds are considered lower-risk/lower-reward, intermediate-term bonds are considered moderate-risk/moderate-reward, and long-term bonds are considered higher-risk/higher-reward.

Source Crowdfund Insider

Moderately Conservative

“The Moderately Conservative strategy is also weighted toward short-term bonds, so it’s a fairly cautious approach. Historically, we’ve selected both investment-grade bonds (lower risk, lower interest rate) and high-yield bonds (higher risk, higher interest rate). Now, we’re reducing some of that high-yield exposure and increasing the amount of investment-grade bonds to lower the overall risk of this portfolio. This strategy also invests a bit in the stock market. Our approach here (and in other strategies) is to balance our investments across the globe. We’re putting a little less in Emerging Markets, less in U.S. Markets, and more in Developed Markets outside the U.S. (like Japan, parts of Europe, and Canada). We believe that these new allocations will give this portfolio a relatively better chance to grow.”

Source Crowdfund Insider

Silver Lake Buys $ 500 Million Stake in Credit Karma (Fintech Collective), Rated: AAA

San Francisco based Credit Karma has received $500m in a secondary offering from Silver Lake, valuing the company at $4b.

Credit Karma isn’t receiving any proceeds or issuing any new shares as part of the transaction, Chief Executive Kenneth Lin said in an interview. Rather, Silver Lake is amassing common shares from earlier investors and employees in a so-called secondary sale that values the 11-year-old company at roughly $4 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter.

How You May Benefit from Additional Data When Reviewing Subprime Applicants (Lendit), Rated: AAA

Nearly 80 million adults have what is considered subprime credit, according to Experian data.

The takeaway: while Darrell has a higher biweekly income than Nancy, he is much less stable in his borrowing history. And, while Nancy has been late on a few payments, she has a proven track record of ultimately satisfying her debts.

These examples illustrate why lenders hoping to help consumers in the growing nonprime and subprime markets stand to benefit from alternative credit data.

Sophisticated Investors May Be Harming Fintech Lending Platforms (Harvard Business School), Rated: AAA

But lending platforms, also called peer-to-peer lending, must address a major design problem: Sophisticated investors have been gaming the system by applying specialized screening tools to scoop up the choicest loans with the lowest default rates, leaving less experienced investors with less attractive loans to choose from. After these lower-grade loans perform poorly—that is, the borrowers fall into arrears with payments or default altogether—these less savvy investors may flee the platform.

Can lending platforms make their systems more equitable for all investors?

In their new working paper Marketplace Lending: A New Banking Paradigm? Vallée and Yao Zeng, an assistant professor of finance at the University of Washington, address these issues from the perspective of what platforms can do to level the investing playing field.

The key variable to control, Vallée and Zeng found, is the amount of information available about loan applicants. When platforms share a lot of information about applicants with potential investors—data such as income, debt level, and credit history, and even whether the loan is financing a wedding, for instance—experienced investors can precisely pin down the safest loans to back.

The researchers looked at all transactions executed by LendingRobot users for a three-year period between January 2014 and February 2017, including more than $120 million invested on the two major lending platforms, LendingClub and Prosper. They found that using the LendingRobot screening model paid off by reducing the average loan default rate by more than 20 percent compared to the average level on the platforms.

Bond Investors Should Double Down On Due Diligence As Yields Rise (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

Appealing to this new financial demographic is the idea behind such companies as Upstart and Social Finance Inc. (commonly known as SoFi). Since 2013, SoFi has securitized about $9.5 billion in loans, while Upstart last year packaged $338 million of personal loans into two deals.

SoFi targets top college graduates – Harvard lawyers, Yale doctors, Wharton bankers – people whose outstanding student-loan balances match their outstanding career potential. For SoFi, this cohort is a good bet to provide lower-cost loans that allow the buyers to de-lever faster and hopefully return for car loans, mortgages and wealth management services such as college and retirement savings plans. Upstart took the idea a stage further by widening the customer base beyond the Ivy League.

Kabbage Data Shows Mobile is the Future for Small Business Lending (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Mobile devices have changed consumer expectations. People now expect that you can have access to anything you might need right from your mobile device. While this has historically been the case for consumer financial apps, Kabbage released data today on small businesses which shows they too are leveraging mobile to better manage their business.

They analyzed behavior of almost 150,000 small business and found that between April 2014 and February 2018 loans accessed through mobile increased by more than 360 percent. Dollars accessed through mobile increased over 1,220 percent.

Petal, WebBank to launch card for ‘credit invisibles’ (American Banker), Rated: A

The fintech startup Petal announced a partnership Wednesday with WebBank to officially launch a credit card for the estimated 65 million people who have insufficient credit history to qualify for a traditional credit card.

The CFPB has identified 45 million people who have no credit score,” Gross said. “Experian and others have indicated that there are 50 million more people that are thin file people and have a have a credit score that’s not accurate because of limited data at the credit bureau. Andreessen Horwitz has estimated 90 million people are misscored — that’s a third of the U.S. population.

Property Coin ICO: A Securities Token for a Real Estate Portfolio (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Aperture is a new platform that is focusing on the real estate marketplace putting a new spin on property crowdfunding. While not the first blockchain based real estate startup, Property Coin (PCX) is in the midst of a security token offering that is claiming first when it comes to crypto denominated securitization / structured real estate portfolio using distributed ledger technology.

Operating in the fix and flip space, Aperture says they have delivered over “50% un-levered IRRs so far – a claim that is pretty impressive.

In aggregate, their team claims they have been involved in the closing of over $150 billion of real estate financing transactions and have originated over $10 billion in mortgage loans, having worked for some of the largest investment banks in the world.

A mortgage in 30 minutes? Fintech says it’s coming (American Banker), Rated: A

Lenda claims to make the fastest mortgages out there — currently two weeks start to finish, with an eventual goal of 30 minutes in a nearly all-digital process.

Launched in 2014, Lenda has made $200 million worth of mortgages, is licensed in 12 states and plans to expand to 12 more later this year. Jason van den Brand, its co-founder and CEO, said that despite other big players, the mortgage arena is ripe for further disruption.

How Lenda works

Lenda lets the consumer log in to their bank account from its portal to retrieve the necessary three months of bank statements. (They could also download the statements from their Dropbox, Box or Google Drive account and then upload them to Lenda.)

Income verification and employment verification are automated where possible. To be sure, some employers don’t share employment data with databases used by lenders. In such cases employment verification needs to be manual.

Consumers ready for a digital mortgage

Consumers, meanwhile, seem to be increasingly ready for digital mortgages. According to a Harris poll commissioned by Fiserv, 69% of consumers already research loan options online and 68% said they review loan documents online. Among millennials, 48% said they would be comfortable researching loan options on their smartphone.

New small businesses have a tough time in these 10 cities, report says (Fast Company), Rated: A

Specifically, it looked at businesses that earn an annual revenue of less than $7,500,000, have been in business for at least six months and no longer than 60 months, and submitted a loan query to LendingTree between Jan. 1, 2016, and Jan. 23, 2018. The self-reported data was then limited to the 50 most populous metropolitan areas, and with that, a list was born.

Here are the 10 worst cities, per LendingTree:

  1. Cincinnati
  2. Rochester, N.Y.
  3. Philadelphia
  4. Louisville, Ky.
  5. Birmingham, Ala.
  6. Detroit
  7. Harrisburg, Pa.
  8. New Orleans
  9. Virginia Beach, Va.
  10. Chicago

Here are the 10 best cities, per LendingTree:

  1. Sacramento, Calif.
  2. Grand Rapids, Mich.
  3. Portland, Ore.
  4. Knoxville, Tenn.
  5. Denver
  6. Seattle
  7. Tulsa, Okla.
  8. Albuquerque, N.M.
  9. Fresno, Calif.
  10. Los Angeles

With No Movement On Lending Reforms, Catholic Group Starts Microloan Program (WOSU), Rated: A

Faced with watching some parishioners struggle to pay back high-interest loans, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Diocese of Columbus launched its own microloan program in Licking County in late 2016. Since then, it’s expanded to four other counties.

The non-profit organization has partnered with a local credit union to offer loans of up to $500. Borrowers then make monthly payments for 12 to 15 months to pay off loans that carry an interest rate of 3 percent.

That’s a fraction of the rate for loans from payday lending businesses, where interest can exceed 600 percent.

The Catholic microloan program is open to people of all faiths, and Zabloudil says about 75 percent of loan recipients have made good on their payments. Part of the reason for that, Zabloudil says, is they work to ensure borrowers don’t get in over their head.

The program currently offers loan to people from Franklin, Delaware, Fairfield, Knox, Licking and Ross Counties. Zabloudil hopes to eventually take the program to the 17 other counties served by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus.

 

 

LENNAR TO INTRODUCE ONLINE, MOBILE MORTGAGE APPS (Builder), Rated: B

Lennar Corp. plans to start using mortgage-application technology from San Francisco, Calif.-based startup Blend in an effort to attract younger buyers. By applying for a mortgage online or on a phone, consumers can shave 10 days off the process, executives say. The Wall Street Journal’s Laura Kusisto reports:

Making it easier for those buyers to get mortgages could help Lennar with attracting millennials, a critical group of home buyers that have been put off from buying new homes by the high prices and long commute times to many communities. An additional obstacle on the margins for younger home buyers is the complicated process of applying for a mortgage.

GoKapital Launches Its Nationwide Business Loans Affiliate Program (PR News), Rated: B

GoKapital, an online lender from Miami Florida, has launched an affiliate program that will allow bloggers, webmasters, and digital marketers to earn commissions when they refer new customers to one of their business loan programs.

GoKapital’s Affiliate program highlights:

  • Business loans ranging from $10,000 to $1,000,000 for every industry. Servicing businesses in all 50 states, Canada, and Puerto Rico
  • 24-hour funding with 95% approval rate
  • Dedicated support and integration manager

Marshall Lux Joins Marlette Funding as an Advisor (Business Wire), Rated: B

Marlette Funding, LLC, owner of the Best Egg personal loan platform, today announced the addition of Marshall Lux as an Advisor to the Board and Company.

Marshall Lux has been a Financial Services consultant and practitioner for 30 years. He began his career at McKinsey where he served all manner of financial service firms across a variety of subsectors and functional areas. Marshall led McKinsey’s and BCG’s private equity practice. He has extensive relationships across PE Firms.

Seven banks in seven months select Jack Henry’s Core Director platform (Fintech Futures), Rated: B

Jack Henry & Associates’ banking division is in seventh heaven with the revelation that seven US community banks within the last seven months have selected to implement its Core Director processing platform.

The platform can be installed in-house or implemented through JHA OutLink Processing Services, Jack Henry Banking’s outsourced offering.

The firm names two of the banks – California International Bank and the State Bank of Bottineau, located in North Dakota. FinTech Futures has contacted Jack Henry for the other five names but they won’t be revealed yet.

United Kingdom

Accounts promising rates up to 15% are drawing in savers – with 12,000 at Zopa alone (This Is Money), Rated: AAA

Half of all customer deposits at peer-to-peer lender Zopa since the start of the year have come via its Innovative Finance Isa, despite only launching the tax-free accounts in June 2017, This is Money can reveal.

Zopa, which was the first to offer the new style Isa product, said 12,000 customers have opened one of its two Isas, which offer up to 4.6 per cent interest.

For savers with a cash Isa, the FSCS offers protection of up to £85,000 per banking licence. This means that if something goes wrong with the bank or building society where you have deposited your money, you will never lose the first £85,000.

Meanwhile for those with a stocks and shares Isa, the first £50,000 is protected, as long as the provider belongs to the scheme.

Landbay opens Seedrs round to new investors as chief eyes IPO (Peer2Peer Finance), Rated: AAA

LANDBAY has announced that it is opening its latest equity funding round to new investors on Seedrs, as its chief executive unveils the company’s flotation ambitions.

The peer-to-peer lender, which specialises in buy-to-let mortgages, has already raised its target of £1.25m from this funding round but it has been opened up again to new investors.

Landbay recently hit the £100m cumulative lending milestone, with over 25 per cent of that amount having been originated in the last three months.

LendingCrowd raises $ 2.8 mln (PE Hub), Rated: A

LendingCrowd said March 28 that it secured another 2 million pounds ($2.8 million) in funding led by Equity Gap. Also participating were a number of private investors from Scotland’s entrepreneurial and finance scene and the Scottish Investment Bank. LendingCrowd, of Edinburgh, Scotland provides a peer to peer lending platform.

Credit unions and the tech revolution: Lessons from the Abcul conference (Coop News), Rated: A

But technology also presents opportunities to reach new markets – making it vital that credit unions keep up with new developments, delegates at this year’s conference of the Association of British Credit Unions (Abcul) were told.

Pitching his fintech to the conference, he said it could offer new possibilities to the sector, such as partnering with the Post Office to offer branch facilities where members can deposit and withdraw money.

“Mobile use is continuing to shoot up. 78% of the UK population is using a smartphone two-four hours a day – and fastest growth is the over -55s. In the South Manchester Credit Union 65% of traffic comes from mobile devices. It’s something we’ve got to accept.”

Colchester is top area for buy-to-let (Mortgage Introducer), Rated: A

Colchester in Essex is the top area to invest in buy-to-let based on capital growth, transaction volumes, rental yield and rental price growth, LendInvest research shows.

In Colchester prices are rising by 9.98% per year, rental growth is increasing by 3.41%, transaction volumes are rising by 2.79% and yields stand at 3.71%.

Despite topping LendInvest’s list Colchester is far from the best in terms of yield, with Manchester offering returns of 5.42%.

The worst area to invest is in East Central London, where capital gains are falling by 3.76%, rental price growth is sliding by 1.1% and transaction volume growth is down 1.73% year-on-year. Despite all of these factors landlords in that area still make a yield of 2.9%.

Scott Wright: Will RBS fund lead to better deal for SMEs? (Herald Scotland), Rated: A

In a growing economy there is a balance to be struck between ensuring banks are well-capitalised and providing the credit private companies need to expand. That much is recognised by leading business figures such as Mike Welch and Jim McColl, with the latter planning to launch his own bank to help address the funding issues.

In that context, the £425 million Royal Bank of Scotland has set aside to boost competition in the banking sector for SMEs is to be welcomed.

And it is encouraging that Nationwide said it would direct that funding to the UK’s 5.7 million smaller and micro businesses rather than the big corporates, given that is arguably firms of this size which have suffered most from the tightening of bank lending. It is also SMEs, broadly speaking, which have been caught up in the shocking mistreatment scandals that have to occurred at certain banks since the financial crisis.

Cryptocurrencies yet to convince the savvy investor – Assetz Capital (Finextra), Rated: B

Investors in the Assetz Capital platform are yet to be convinced by cryptocurrencies, with just 16% seeing them as worthwhile investments.

The peer-to-peer lending platform canvassed the views of its investors in the Q1 Assetz Capital Investor Barometer. 43% believe the entire market is on the brink of collapse, while 40% feel cryptocurrencies are still too immature at present with significant risks attached. 14% feel it is a worthwhile investment but only in moderation, with just 2% thinking it is the future of investments.

The doors are open to MBAs in finance, including fintech, wealth management and venture capital (Find MBA), Rated: B

One route into the fintech sector is the Spotcap Fellowship, which provides up to £8,000 towards the cost of an MBA and a path to working at the Berlin-based online lender.

Niels Turfboer, UK managing director of Spotcap and an IE Business School MBA graduate, says he created the scholarship to address a talent shortage. A survey by recruitment website Indeed found that 20 percent of top fintech job vacancies were left unfilled after 60 days.

 

 

China

CreditEase FinTech Investment Fund Invests in Branch International (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

CreditEase, a Beijing-based leading FinTech conglomerate in China, announced that its venture fund, CreditEase FinTech Investment Fund (“CEFIF”), recently joined a group of prestigious investors to participate in the Series B investment round of $70 million in Branch International. Other strategic investors in this round of financing include International Finance Corporation (IFC), Andreessen Horowitz, Trinity Ventures and Victory Park.

According to the report recently published by CreditEase, jointly with IFC and Stanford Business School, there are over two billion adults globally in the emerging markets who do not have access to basic financial services (click here to download the Financial Inclusion Report). On a daily basis, Branch processes tens of thousands of loans, in amounts ranging from $2.50 to $500, and expects its total loan origination to exceed $250 million in 2018. Recently entered into the Nigerian market, Branch is currently growing 50 percent month-over-month within that country and 20% month-over-month overall.

European Union

How Fintech is Fixing Broken Credit (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

For millions of people, a lack of access to credit is just another part of life. Yet, without this access, it can be incredibly difficult for businesses and customers to connect with each other. In fact, according to The World Bank, despite a 20% increase between 2011 and 2014 in the number of adults with access to formal financial services worldwide, an expected 2 billion adults worldwide are unbanked. In addition, some 200 million businesses are excluded from the formal financial system.

The problem is particularly prolific in high growth markets; with a 2015 PwC report putting India’s unbanked population at 233 million (that’s nearly every 1 in 6 people). In South East Asia, a further 264 million people are without access to credit (including a staggering 80% of Cambodians). And even beyond the individuals affected, some 200 million businesses are excluded from the formal financial system.

A key way that we are achieving this at PayU is through our €110 million investment in German fintech company Kreditech, a leading technology group for digital consumer credit using machine-learning based underwriting. With traditional credit models simply not catering to large sections of the population, collaborative partnership can be instrumental in finding new ways to offer innovative solutions to the huge problem at hand.

International

Seven reasons to hate the long bond (INTL FCStone Email), Rated: AAA

The price of long-term treasuries will fall because:
1 – The global savings glut is turning into a global savings squeeze
2 – Just look at a chart of Treasury yields
3 – Speculative traders have a massive one-way bet on curve-flattening
4 – China could (should?) sell long-term Treasuries to teach Trump a lesson
5 – The Federal Reserve is reducing the size and duration of its holdings: it still has $526 bn of long bonds to sell!
6 – U.S. public debt is abnormally short: deficit-driven issuance will hit the long end disproportionately
7 – Forward guidance artificially compressed term premia: economic uncertainty will make them rise again

Source: INTL FCStone
Source: INTL FCStone

Chinese savings are unlikely to support anymore U.S. bonds for at least five reasons:
• The disappearance of China’s trade surpluses: China’s trade surplus has fallen from 10% of GDP in 2007 to 1% last year. China may become a deficit country next year.
• The Belt and Road initiative: China has found much better uses for its savings than financing the U.S. military and boomers’ Social Security claims. Going forward, China’s mountains of savings will build the infrastructure of Central Asia, the horn of Africa, Russia, Iran, Southeast Asia, and Eastern Europe, rather than flood the U.S. Treasury market.
• American protectionism: In the unlikely event that Trump’s bid to reduce the U.S.-China trade deficit by $100 billion next year is successful, China will have $100 billion less to invest in the U.S. Treasury market.
• China’s retaliation against American protectionism: Despite Trump’s claim that “trade wars are easy to win”, other countries have national interests too. China also has industries to protect, jobs to defend, and face to maintain. China is sitting on $3.1 trillion in currency reserves: according to the U.S. Treasury, China holds about $1.2 trillion in U.S. national debt (that just includes official accounts).

Source: INTL FCStone

 

Fintech and Property: What You Need to Know (The Urban Developer), Rated: A

Fintech is disrupting the global finance industry, to the benefit of both businesses and consumers.

Advancements in communication and information technology has enabled the rapid growth of technology platforms that provide transactional services. Online payment systems, debt platforms and online exchanges allow companies to better manage their clients and use the data collected to provide the best possible service.

What Fintech products will the property industry gain the most benefit from?

Data Analytics: Using information and data from Fintech platforms will help advisors and agents to make informed decisions for their clients. They will be able to get a better understanding of the client’s overall position, while also increasing the level of personalisation for the client.

 

Raising Capital: There are a number of avenues available for raising capital and the digitalisation of fundraising will open up new opportunities. Using Fintech products will not only speed up the process, but it will also open the door for reaching new investors through a number of online platforms.

India

Nuo Bank, India’s First Decentralized Cryptocurrency Bank, Raises $ 250,000 from Directors of PayU India (Crypto News), Rated: AAA

Despite government’s discouraging stance towards cryptocurrencies India’s crypto startups are getting their deserved thumbs-up from the industry and investors. One such promising startup known as Nuo Bank just raised about Rs. 1.6 crore ($250,000) from the CEO and MD of PayU India within a week of its launch, which shows the kind of trust that both PayU directors have in its growth potential.

Next, like other major cryptocurrency companies Nuo bank will also have its own coin. It’s going to issue 200 million Nuo tokens to customers, which represent 20% of its 1 billion token supply. The value of these tokens will be determined from smart contracts, and the smart contracts stipulate that 25% of Nuo Bank’s revenue should be kept reserved for these tokens.

P2Ps are in a race to build 1st blockchain platform here (The Economic Times), Rated: A

From established players like Faircent to early stage companies like India Money Mart, Paisadukaan and OML P2P, all are trying to develop the industry’s first blockchain platform and also share data about lending transactions between them in order to mitigate frauds.

All these companies have applied and are waiting for the NBFC P2P licence from the Reserve Bank of India.

Faircent, the country’s largest P2P platform has committed upwards of $1 million for this kind of a solution which they feel will help them reap huge benefits when traction on these platforms gains.

 

Asia

Fintech startup takes receivables platform to blockchain (Global Trade Review), Rated: A

The Singapore-based firm forecasts a US$2tn market opportunity in its use of blockchain to provide a secure invoice factoring solution using its customised cryptocurrency. With its token pre-sale set to end on April 8, the group’s initial coin offering will launch on April 9.

Acudeen Technologies brands its platform as “an inclusive environment for small businesses who are having a hard time getting financing using traditional means”.

Africa

Wonga South Africa Enters the Personal Loans Market (The African Exponent), Rated: AAA

Fintech craze changing face of lending (Business Daily), Rated: A

The numbers are in and the jury is out. The world over the fintech craze that underpins lending outside the traditional banking ecosystem continues unabated.

Whether the channel of consumption is online, mobile or the services packaged differently such as payday lending and layaway financing, investments continue to pour in chasing opportunities in a vertical that is quickly getting overcrowded with little to no service differentiation and a continued insistence on insight wizardry riding off copious amounts of personal data ingested.

Will technology save independent financial advice? (Money Web), Rated: B

Essentially technology can do two things for the advisor. It can significantly reduce the costs of administration and record keeping, while also making these processes simpler and more efficient.

“The whole market place is talking about digital – the rewiring of the investor and the investment advisor,” Wilson says.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday March 2 2018, Daily News Digest

Seed

News Comments Today’s main news: How Funding Circle wants to fix the financial system. VPC Specialty Lending, Ranger Direct see dividends move up. Klarna triples net profit, mainly in Nordic countries. Today’s main analysis: International P2P lending volumes. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Can Seed solve banks’ digital onboarding issues? How banking institutions can decentralize (The best read of the day). Institutional […]

Seed

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News Summary

United States

This neobank believes it can solve banks’ digital onboarding problem (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Since 2014 the neobank Seed has been reimagining one of the sleepier areas of banking: deposit accounts for small businesses.

Rather than walk into a branch — Seed, of course, has none — yoga instructors, food truck owners and other would-be customers can apply for accounts in less than five minutes on the startup’s web or mobile app. If approved, they receive a business debit card in the mail.

Now Seed, led by veterans of the fintech Simple, is selling banks software to help them solve one of their most pressing problems: finding a way to open accounts online as branch transactions continue to decline.

Source: American Banker

Lendio Franchise Announced in Clemson Region (Lendio), Rated: A

Lendio, the marketplace for small business loans, today announced the opening of a new Lendio franchise in the Clemson, South Carolina Region. Through the Lendio franchise program, Andy Ronemus will help local businesses in the community apply for loans, review their options and secure funding, easing the financial hurdles for small business owners.

In A Time of Need, A Woman Rises To Disrupt Fintech In Puerto Rico (Forbes), Rated: A

One notable leader in this endeavor is 

Fintech Startup Magilla Wants to Be the Match.com of Loans (Big Law Business), Rated: A

Since its launch in January 2016, Sacramento-based startup Magilla Loans says it’s originated more than $5 billion in loans and is changing the way lenders connect with borrowers. The platform can shrink into a few days what can often be a weeks- or months-long process of loan applications, data submissions and waiting just to get a loan term sheet.

Crowdlending helped Shorewood business woman’s dreams come true (tmj4), Rated: A

One Shorewood businesswoman did this all on a website called Kiva.

Shelia Long’s business is a workspace that helps ladies who work from home come together to get inspired.

“It was so great as the loans were coming in you can see like Switzerland, Boston, Carlsbad, Texas,” said Shelia Long.

One-hundred-thirty-seven people in total used PayPal to help her get to a goal of raising $8,000 at zero-percent interest.

Validus Specialty Launches Package Policy for Fintech Companies (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Validus Specialty Underwriting Services, Inc. (Validus Specialty) announced on Thursday a comprehensive package policy specifically designed for private U.S. fintech companies. According to the company, the solution is designed to address Fintech’s complex risk management needs, which are traditionally underserved by incompatible and inadequate policy forms.

What’s next for marketplace ABS? Revolvers, ETFs & IOs (Asset Securitization Report), 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.

INSTITUTIONAL INVESTORS WARY OF PASSIVITY (All About Alpha), Rated: AAA

Geopolitical events are the most worrisome prospect on the minds of the decision makers at institutions looking ahead to 2018. The percentage of respondents who believe such events will have a negative impact this year is at 74%. The second most worrisome? Asset bubbles (65%).

More than three fifths (63%) of those surveyed said that the growth of passive investing has increased systemic valuation risk: 59% believe that flows into passive strategies artificially suppress volatility.

In 2015, Natixis found that 64% of institutions said they were upping their investments with active managers. In 2016, that number rose to 67%. In the latest survey it rose again, to 68%.

Be cautious when seeking income (Money Week), Rated: A

But Square Pie had sold bonds on the Crowdcube platform, offering lenders 8% a year. It illustrates why so many people are suspicious of mini-bonds (debt issued by small, retail-orientated firms). Anyone thinking of lending to just the one relatively new business has to be aware of the risks – and then ask: is 8% enough?

A more diversified option

The latest offering in this category comes from a platform called Goji, which aggregates a variety of direct-lending and peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms. It has just brought out a Renewables Lending Bond, which pays out anything from 5.5% for a three-year term (with regular income) to 7.6% over five years, where the interest is rolled up at repayment. The underlying assets are provided by a direct lender called Prestige Group, which lends to clean-energy projects.

The book of loans – around 39 – has an average duration of four years, with a typical loan-to-value ratio of between 70% and 80%.

2018 LightStream Home Improvement Survey (PR Newswire), Rated: A

More than half (58 percent) of homeowners are planning to spend money on home improvement projects in 2018, according to the fifth annual LightStream Home Improvement Survey. LightStream is the national online lending division of SunTrust Banks, Inc. (NYSE: STI). Budgets for renovations are on the rise: among homeowners planning renovations, 45 percent will spend $5,000 or more — an all-time survey high. Those planning to spend $35,000 or more doubled from 2017.

The survey shows robust enthusiasm for renovation, as well as a thoughtful desire to balance a home’s needs and the homeowners’ budget, so they have the financial confidence to move forward. Specifically, the survey revealed the following trends:

    • Home “Sweat” Home
      The majority of homeowners plan to invest sweat equity, as 65 percent say they’ll do at least some of the work themselves. The 18-34 group is particularly fond of do-it-yourself projects, with 70 percent planning to work on at least a portion of their renovation.
    • Staying — and Aging — in Place
      Only seven percent of homeowners are renovating to prepare their homes to be sold, the lowest percentage since 2015. Instead, 14 percent of homeowners across all age groups — not just baby boomers — are citing “aging in place” as a reason for making a home improvement. Even respondents aged 18 to 34 (11 percent) and 35 to 44 (10 percent) say they’re renovating “to prepare my home so I can stay in it as I get older.”
    • Tax Reform Boosting Budgets
      With recent passage of tax reform, homeowners have already begun calculating how the changes might affect what they spend on home improvements. One in four homeowners who have set a budget for renovation projects stated that tax reform has had an impact, with 18 percent increasing their budget and seven percent decreasing it.
    • Paying for Projects
      The majority of homeowners (62 percent) plan to pay for projects, at least in part, by using savings. Additional payment strategies were further revealed. Intent to fund through home equity lines of credit (HELOC) jumped from 10 to 13 percent. “U.S. economic growth and limited housing inventory have contributed to healthy home equity gains,” said Ellen Koebler, SunTrust head of consumer solutions. “HELOCs can offer a financial solution for many homeowners, as accrued value may be available to tap for renovations.”

At the same time, the percentage of people intending to use a home improvement loan has grown 29 percent from 2017 with 54 percent more 18- to 34-year-olds planning to fund projects through home improvement financing.

Crowdfunding your way to homeownership (Mic), Rated: A

According to recent research from the National Association of Realtors®, 24% of buyers under age 36 saved for their down payment for more than two years.

NAR research also found that 25% of homebuyers ages 36 and younger used a gift from relatives or friends for some or all of their down payment.

Platforms have popped up that simplify this process: HomeFundMe, which launched last year, and Feather the Nest.

An estimated 1,500 “nesters” have used Feather the Nest to crowdfund a down payment since 2014, according to company president Beth Butler, with an average goal of $10,000 to $15,000.

JPMC’s FinLab Launches $ 3M Contest For FinTech Startups (PYMNTS), Rated: B

To help identify FinTech products that may improve the financial health of underserved populations in the U.S., the Financial Solutions Lab (FinLab) launched its fourth annual $3 million challenge. The lab focuses on products that meet the financial needs of overlooked populations, JPMorgan Chase said in an announcement.

Accounts in Transit (O’Dwyer PR), Rated: B

Kwittken signs up Laurel Road, online lender of student loans, personal loans and mortgages. Aaron Kwittken’s firm will be responsible for raising awareness of the company’s products through content marketing, brand activations, thought leadership and traditional media relations. Laurel Road, which is part of Darien Rowayton Bank, recently surpassed $3 billion in student loan originations.

United Kingdom

Keeping the little guys in the loop: How Funding Circle hopes to fix the financial system (City A.M.), Rated: AAA

“When we think about the people we hire, it’s all about energy,” says Funding Circle co-founder James Meekings. “We want staff to share their excitement about what they do with others in the office – even if they’re talking about tax.”

“Even though we now have 800 employees, we still feel like a small business. We still push for opportunity and for people to be creative.”

VPC and Ranger funds see dividends tick up, but remain below target (AltFi), Rated: AAA

The £219m Ranger Direct Lending and £337m VPC Specialty Lending investment trusts have announced their latest quarterly dividends with both portfolios showing an uptick since their last pay-outs.

Leeds offers business loans through peer-to-peer platform (Room151), Rated: A

Leeds City Council is to use a peer-to-peer lending platform to lend money to local businesses.

The authority has decided to use the rebuildingsociety.com platform — based in the city — to provide money for small and medium sized businesses with an LS postcode.

Isas 2018: Innovative Finance Isas hit stumbling blocks (Financial Times), Rated: A

Innovative finance Isas (IF Isas) offer the promise of a good return, sheltered from tax, to investors willing to take on the higher risks of the peer to peer (P2P) finance market.

The market has taken longer than expected to ignite, however, as providers struggle to match growing demand with limited supply. Many new investors will find the door shut, at least for now.

Growing consumer indebtedness in the UK combined with the prospect of rising interest rates could push up default rates on loans, sharpening the dangers for those invested in the highest-risk P2P products.

How does the Isa allowance actually work? (Which?), Rated: B

For the tax year 2017-18, the maximum amount you can pay into one – or a combination – of Isas held in your name, is £20,000.

Once the new tax year for 2018-19 begins on 6 April, your allowance resets – once again to £20,000.

There are five main types of Isas. The current annual limits are as follows:

  • Help to Buy Isa: Money can only be used to buy your first home, and savings receive a government bonus of 25%. You can save £1,200 in the first month, then £200 per month thereafter. Therefore, in the first year you will have a limit of £3,400. In the following years the limit will be £2,400.
  • Lifetime Isa: Expressly for first-time buyers or to be used in retirement once the account holder has reached the age of 60. There’s a 25% government bonus on savings up until the account holder is 50 years old. You can pay in up to £4,000 per year.
  • Cash Isa: A traditional savings account – money you pay in grows with the provider’s interest rate. You can pay in up to £20,000.
  • Stocks & shares Isa: Money you deposit is invested in stocks & shares by the provider. Returns can be higher, but so is the risk that you may end up with less money than you paid in. There will also usually be fees involved for managing your investments. You can pay in up to £20,000.
  • Innovative finance Isa: Money paid in is invested in Peer-to-Peer (P2P) lending platforms, and you receive the interest when this loan is repaid. There is also some risk involved. You can pay in up to £20,000.
European Union

Klarna’s profits driven by growth in Nordics and Germany (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

The Swedish group posted a 27 per cent increase in revenues to SKr4.53bn ($546m) while net profit more than tripled to SKr346m. Klarna processed about €18bn in online transactions last year, an increase of 42 per cent.

Klarna reports double-digit sales growth (Finextra), Rated: A

As a result, 89,000 retailers globally now use Klarna products, this represents a 20% growth compared to the previous year. Available in 14 countries, retailers are increasingly adopting Klarna solutions which makes the payment processes as smooth as possible for consumers. As a result of the surge in retailer adoption, Klarna now handles 10% of all online payments in Northern Europe.

International

How Banking Institutions Can be Decentralized (CoinTelegraph), Rated: AAA

Decentralized banking is a term that has been construed in the wake of the cryptocurrency boom.

Cryptobanks are decentralized platforms that provide the usual services that centralized banks provide, primarily lending services and credit scoring, but essentially cuts out all of the middlemen that a centralized bank uses. The people needed in a bank to approve loans and structure financial data are replaced in a crypto banking ecosystem by smart contracts and p2p, peer-to-peer, services.

What kind of technologies do crypto banks use?

P2P, Blockchain, cryptocurrencies, Machine Learning, Big Data and smart contracts are used in crypto banking.

All transactions are recorded on the Blockchain.

Machine Learning Big Data.These technologies help to automate the lending process and cut through bureaucracy. AI can work 24/7 and match lenders with borrowers.

Do crypto banks have their own native currency?

Yes. Native cryptocurrencies help make the bank global.

Datarius, the first social p2p crypto bank, for instance, uses their own native token DTRC for all transactions. This helps create a standard for a global payment system within the p2p lending process.

What is social lending?

Thanks to Big Data and AI, crypto banks can see beyond a borrower’s credit score to identify their level of trust. Listings can include Trust Limit, Trust Management and User Ratings which helps AI decide if the participant is justified in borrowing from a specific lender.

Crowdlending: Anatomy of a successful strategy (EurekAlert!), Rated: A

The entrepreneur’s strategy for achieving this can be summarized in three stages. The first consisted of bypassing the banking monopoly on his platform using “cash vouchers,” a tool dating from 1937 that had long been forgotten. They allow personal loans to be made without a bank as intermediary. Secondly, by collaborating with future competitors, the public authorities and the sector’s regulators(2), the entrepreneur contributed to the development of a long-term crowdlending regulation in France. This collaboration relies on the creation of a meta-organization(3) called “Financement Participatif France” (FPF), which worked to define the status of “Intermédiaire en Financement Participatif” (IFP, equivalent to “crowdlending financing intermediary” in English), which regulates this new market.

Asia

Smartag International Signs Agreement to Provide Fintech Solutions to Rural Indonesia (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Smartag International, Inc. entered into a joint venture agreement with PT. Supratama Makmur Sejahtera (“PTSMS”), an Indonesian Fintech company to form a Joint Venture Indonesian PMA company in which Smartag will own 51% equity and PTSMS will own 49%. This follows an earlier MOU signed on October 12, 2017 between PTSMS and PT Rijan Dinamis Selaras (“RDS”) representing Pondok Pesantren Riyadhul Jannah Pacer Mojokerjo, founder of Consultative Assembly of Indonesian Boarding Schools which has a network of 28,000 boarding schools to undertake a Fintech project (the “Indonesian Project”).

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday December 22 2017, Daily News Digest

LendingClub charge offs

News Comments Today’s main news: DV01 finishes year with $7.9B in consumer unsecured bonds. PayPal invests in Raisin. Affirm CEO affirms its product is a personal loan. LexinFintech share price surges. The state of P2P lending in New Zealand. InvestUp considers cryptocurrency investing. Today’s main analysis: Why bitcoin is a threat to LendingClub. Today’s thought-provoking articles: High-tech lenders go after […]

LendingClub charge offs

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United States

High-tech lenders target the decades-old store credit card (Reuters), Rated: AAA

The once-hot online lending industry has been battered by scandal and losses since last year, but one of the oldest forms of lending – store credit – is increasingly attracting tech companies aiming to supplant a retailer’s credit card.

One such lender, San Francisco startup Affirm, is attracting investment and large customers by using a new approach to underwriting that allows it to approve more borrowers than traditional store credit cards.

Max Levchin, Affirm’s founder who also co-founded one of the earliest digital payments companies, PayPal, boasts that Affirm approves 126 percent more borrowers than Synchrony Financial, the largest issuer of private-label credit cards.

Startup Affirm CEO Clarifies that Product Is a Personal Loan – Not a Credit Card (LendEDU), Rated: AAA

Consumers looking for a personal loan option have another one to consider in Affirm, which is a startup from PayPal co-founder Max Levchin. With Affirm, consumers can access a loan, a form of credit, to buy items at a store, which was originally interpreted to be similar to how a credit card works.

But Levchin has pointed out there are important differences between an Affirm loan and credit cards.

Who Uses Affirm?

Generation X and Millennials are the customers who most frequently use Affirm. Younger consumers have seen how carrying high credit card balances affected their older relatives, and they are less likely to want to have much credit card debt.

The annual percentage rate can be steep, going from as low as 10 percent to as high as 30 percent. But, unlike credit cards, the interest isn’t compounded.

Why Bitcoin Frenzy Is Terrible News For LendingClub (SeekingAlpha), Rated: AAA

LendingClub (LC) has had plenty of troubles over the years. Back in 2015, you could throw a dart at a list of financial stocks and hit a double if you held it through today. LC stock, by contrast, has destroyed shareholder value since its IPO. Even the recent Trump financials rally did next to nothing for LC stock, and now shares are back to near new all-time lows after a downbeat earnings report:

Source: SeekingAlpha

In a booming economy, the G-rated loans did so badly that they jacked up interest rates almost 3% on consumers while also reducing expected returns by more than 3%. This suggests that the G-rated loans were fully 6% short of expectations. This speaks to massive problems with the company’s underwriting, and leaves you to wonder just how badly internet-originated subprime loans will fare when a recession hits and the unemployment rate goes up again.

Source: SeekingAlpha

Bitcoin Losses Ahead?

If you are someone with a low income and a challenging financial position, you have an almost no-lose proposition (if ethics don’t get in the way). You borrow money on a credit card or from LendingClub, “invest” it in Bitcoin or Ethereum, and then hope it keeps going to the moon. If it does, you make many multiples of your interest expense, and have hit the lottery.

Now if the trade goes bad, and Bitcoin plummets, what is your debtor going to do? Since there is little consequence to defaulting on unsecured debt (and LendingClub has a reputation for being a lax debt collector), you simply stop paying on the note. The borrower has a win/win situation – essentially the lender is financing purchase of lottery tickets. I don’t know about you, but I’d need a much higher interest rate than even the 15 or 20% you might get off a low-end LendingClub note to justify that risk.

Source: SeekingAlpha

DV01 to Finish 2017 With $ 7.9 Billion in Consumer Unsecured Bonds (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

dv01, the data management, reporting, and analytics platform that offers institutional investors transparency and insight into lending markets, announced on Thursday it is set to close 2017 with $7.9 billion of consumer unsecured bonds. This news comes just a few months after the company launched its Cashflows for Securitizations feature.

The company revealed that it has launched a redesigned Securitizations homepage to celebrate the $7.9 billion of consumer unsecured bonds.

SoFi Vs. Earnest Student Loan Product Comparison (StudentLoans.net), Rated: AAA

SoFi offers their clients an option. You can choose variable refinancing rates which currently range 2.75 to 6.84 percent if you enroll in the company’s autopay option. Fixed rates range from 3.25 to 7.24 percent.

Earnest offers their clients both variable and fixed rate options. For the variable option, the rates currently start at 2.57 percent APR while fixed rates start at 3.35 percent APR with their autopay options.

Both SoFi and Earnest do not have a maximum within their loan amounts, but the amount a client owes will affect the interest rates that are offered.

Repayment Options

SoFi offers a number of repayment options for their refinancing product. This includes flexible rates, terms, and an ability to set automatic payments that drop your rate by 0.25 percent. Repayment terms range from 5 to 20 years.

Earnest refinance loans offers the flexibility in the way of terms that range from 5 to 20 years. With their loans, you will be able to increase payments, pay lump sums, provide bi-weekly payments, skip a payment to pay later, and offers an interest break for those who set up automated payments.

American Financial Exchange (AFX) Announces Two-Year Anniversary Highlights (PR Newswire), Rated: A

American Financial Exchange (AFX), an electronic interbank lending market focused on U.S. small and mid-sized banks, announced today the second anniversary of its electronic trading platform. AFX facilitates the determination of Ameribor®, a transaction-based interest rate benchmark for small- to mid-sized banks via its electronic trading platform.

Since opening, more than $100 billion cumulative has been successful transacted. Recently, daily volumes have averaged approximately $350 million with several days of volume highs over $500 million principal traded.

Is Peer to Peer Lending the Best Option for Small Company Financing? (Newswire), Rated: A

If your small company needs a borrowing arrangement but does not have a credit rating that benefits instant endorsement from the banking institutions, you need to sign up for an alternative solution of capital such as peer to peer lending.

Rather than signing up to a recognized traditional bank for a financial loan, you create a proposal to be lent from people who, (if they are interested in your offer), sign up for the loan request in amounts as low as $25.

Unsecured business loans and where to get the best ones if you have bad credit (Las Vegas Informer), Rated: A

Kabbage

Kabbage offers loans that go between $2000 and $150,000, and the APR goes between 24% and 99%. They ask for no minimum credit score but you need to have been in business for at least one year in order to qualify, and have annual revenue of over $50,000.

Fundbox

With Funbox you’re looking at a loan amount of $1000 that can go all the way up to $100,000. The APR goes between 15% and 59%, and they also cater to the needs of people with bad personal credit.

OnDeck

With OnDeck you’re looking at loans that go up to $100,000 and an APR that can go from 14% to 40%. Unlike the other two, here you need good personal credit and also you need to be good at managing your cash flow. You will need a personal credit score of at least 600, not to mention an annual revenue of at least $100,000.

LendingClub

At LendingClub you can get a loan of up to $100,000, from a minimum of $5,000, with an APR that goes between 9.8% and 35.7%.

New Real Estate Investing Resource Platform is Changing the Landscape (Benzinga), Rated: A

Think Realty is a membership-based resource platform developed exclusively for real estate investors. Since launching in 2016, investors across the nation and around the globe have signed up at ThinkRealty.com to become Think Realty Members, with an 81 percent increase in membership in the past six months.

Think Realty’s reach continues to expand with its national talk radio show, Think Realty Radio, which will begin airing January 1, 2018 on Wall Street Radio. Think Realty is presenting four national conferences for investors in 2018, beginning with the Think Realty Conference & Expo in Dallas, Texas, February 24 and 25. The other locations are Baltimore, Maryland, April 14 and 15; Irvine, California, July 14 and 15; and Atlanta, Georgia, September 22 and 23.

The 10 biggest real estate tech deals of 2017 (The Real Deal), Rated: A

WeWork is now worth $20 billion. Compass is valued at $2.2 billion following a December funding round. Have you heard of Placester? Well, investors think it’s worth $202 million. The Jared Kushner-backed real estate crowdfunding startup Cadre now has a $800 million price tag.

  • 1) WeWork, $4.4 billion fundraising round
  • 2 & 3) Compass, $100M and $450M fundraising rounds
  • 4) Cadre, $65 million fundraising round
  • 5) Placester, $50 million fundraising round
  • 6) Common, $40 million fundraising round
  • 7) HomeLight, $40 million fundraising round
  • 8) Roofstock, $35 million fundraising round
  • 9) Knock, $32.5 million fundraising round
  • 10) Opcity, $28.77 million fundraising round

Congress: Hands off new rule protecting families from payday lenders (Herald Sun), Rated: A

Ignoring the voices of families and communities who have worked for many years for relief from the harms of predatory payday lending, a handful of members of Congress have introduced legislation that would nullify the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s national rule to rein in payday-lending abuses. Their legislation uses Congressional Review Act authority to repeal the rule and prevent the Consumer Bureau from issuing a similar rule in the future, giving predatory payday and car title lenders a free pass.

Why Amazon won’t buy a bank in 2018 (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Forget the speculation about Amazon buying a bank next year. But don’t count it out from adding banking to its near endless line of offerings.

For Amazon, providing financial services is just a means to an end: making more money by selling more things. Other retailers are still its main competition — not banks.

Why banks want to collaborate now on open banking standards (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Every U.S. banker is watching their European counterparts react to the looming Payment Services Directive, or PSD2, which will come into effect in 2018. When that happens, banks will lose their monopoly on customer data as merchants and retailers like Amazon will be allowed to retrieve customer account data from the banks (with customers’ permission).

Now, U.S. banks want to get ahead of their own regulators when it comes to creating data exchange standards. It can take 18 to 36 months to get a framework in place, Courbe said, but banks know they need to start exchanging data with other companies today.

LendingTree Adopts the RevJet Marketing Creative Platform (Sys-Con Media), Rated: A

RevJet, the first smart marketing creative platform, today announced that LendingTree has adopted RevJet’s system for producing, approving, personalizing, serving and automatically optimizing all formats of digital ad creative. Using RevJet to take a methodical approach to experimentation, LendingTree is able to deliver a higher volume of leads to their business partners while optimizing for revenue.

 

United Kingdom

December’s Lending Impact and Borrower Stories (Funding Circle), Rated: AAA

Whatever the season, small businesses work harder on any given day than Mr Claus on Christmas Eve. To celebrate their hard work and determination, we’ve created our very own Christmas Carol, looking at the past, present and future of small businesses. We begin with the small business past, looking at the history of small businesses, and how they adapted during the industrial revolution. Next up, dive into the small business present and learn about the impact they have on today’s world and the trends that have helped them along the way. Finally, discover what the landscape might look like for businesses in years to come in our small business future.

In our latest case study video, meet David, founder of The Creative Whisky Company.

Peer to Peer Robo-Lending Platform InvestUp Sizes Up Cryptocurrency Investing (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

FCA authorised crowdfunding aggregation platform InvestUp may be going crypto. The UK based Fintech has so far focused on the peer to peer lending space but management is currently looking at adding algorithm driven cryptocurrency investing.

InvestUp shares that 2017 has been another good year for P2P lending having delivered, on average, 10.74% to investors.

Protecting the future of peer-to-peer lending (Gov.uk), Rated: A

Today the peer-to-peer lending industry was given a boost of confidence as the government began legislating to clarify that no business borrowing through a peer-to-peer platform needs to be regulated as a ‘deposit taker’ (often referred to as a ‘banking licence’) unless that is their core business. The legislation will ensure that the industry can continue to thrive and innovate while still benefiting from the UK’s high quality regulatory standards.

The Committee on Exiting Europe Publishes Sector Reports Including Document on Fintech (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The Exiting the European Union Committee, appointed by the House of Commons to examine the process of the Department for Exiting the European Union , released a grouping of documents from the Department today. As one may expect, the slew of reports addressed certain aspects regarding ramifications of the UK’s departure from Europe.

The Fintech Sector Report highlights the current regulatory regime in the EU and how cross border transactions take place between continental Europe and the UK. The document describes Fintech as covering four different categories:

  • Investment, advice (including Robo-Advisors) and  neo or challenger banks
  • Regtech for compaliance
  • Payments including digital currencies such as Bitcoin
  • Alternative finance including crowdfunding and peer to peer lending

Read the full UK Fintech Report here.

Bank of England approves Tandem’s Harrods Bank takeover (AltFi), Rated: A

Tandem can now end the year on a high note after the Bank of England today gave regulatory approval for the challenger’s purchase of Harrods Bank.

The deal will now give Tandem access to a full banking license and the 10,000 customers attached to Harrods Bank, as well as the bank’s mortgage and savings books. According to Tandem, the purchase will also come with a “significant capital injection”.

UBS and EPAM Win Best Use of IT Private Banking/Wealth Management for SmartWealth App at Banking Technology Awards (NASDAQ), Rated: B

EPAM Systems (NYSE:EPAM), a global provider of digital platform engineering and software development services, and UBS AG, the world’s largest wealth manager, have been awarded for Best Use of IT Private Banking/Wealth Management at the Banking Technology Awards held on December 13, 2017 in London.

China

Chinese online lender LexinFintech surges in U.S. market debut (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Chinese online lender LexinFintech Holdings Ltd’s (LX.O) shares surged in their U.S. market debut on Thursday, brushing aside worries related to Beijing’s recent crackdown on the booming micro-credit industry.

LexinFintech’s shares touched a session high of $14.88, a 53 percent jump from its IPO price that valued the Shenzhen-based company at $4.51 billion.

China online lending IPO meets tepid demand as fintech zeal wanes (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

LexinFintech, the latest Chinese online consumer lender to complete a US initial public offering, has met with muted investor demand amid concerns over Beijing’s regulatory clampdown on dubious lending practices.

Lexin scaled back its planned $500m IPO on Nasdaq to $109m, and final pricing was at the bottom end of the price range initially marketed to investors.

Qudian, which is backed by Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial, raised $900m on the New York Stock Exchange in October — the largest US IPO by a Chinese fintech group. After hitting that high point investor interest quickly slid: last month PPDAI raised $221m in a deal that priced below the initial price range.

Since their IPOs, both Qudian and PPDAI have faced allegations of issuing misleading financial disclosures. Qudian closed at 48 per cent below its IPO price on Thursday, while PPDAI was down 44 per cent.

Source: Financial Times

Is Qudian A Bargain Or A Falling Knife? (SeekingAlpha), Rated: A

QD’s stock price has taken a nosedive, plummeting from its $24 IPO price to $12.9 as of 12/19/2017. Given QD’s strong earnings and fast growth rates in the past, the current price may appear to be a great bargain. Is that true?

QD’s strong past operating performance is mainly driven by its online cash-loan business, which brings in 83.3% of its total revenue.

The regulations can be distilled into three key rules: (1) cap the interest rates at 36% (2) limit the leverage of cash-loan companies at 3 or lower, and (3) forbid commercial banks, insurance companies, P2P, etc from investing in cash loans. These rules will put QD’s extraordinary profits to an end, as discussed below.

  • Rule #1: The interest rate caps may turn QD’s strong profits into negative. While QD may have already compiled to the 36% interest cap by the time of its IPO, QD’s revenue will still take a nearly 1/3 cut, holding all else equal.
  • Rule #2: The leverage limit will bring QD’s entire cash-loan business to a halt. According to QD’s 3Q report (Qudian Inc. Reports Third Quarter 2017 Unaudited Financial Results), as of 09/30/2017, its capital structure consists of Liability: 11.18 billion; Mezzanine equity/convertible preferred shares: 5.94 billion;Total Shareholders’ deficit: 1.78 billion. However, the national regulation limits the maximum leverage at 3, or even at 1 according to some regional regulations (21jingji news). It is clear that with 1.78 billion shareholders’ deficit, QD has to raise literally billions of additional funds to satisfy this rule, which is “mission impossible” given the third rule as discussed below.
  • Rule #3: restricting the financing sources will shut the door for QD to raise additional capital.
QD PPDF
Market Cap 4,243 2,175
Total Transactions 3,938 3,231
Revenue 223 192
Net Income 100 83

Brett Diment: 2018 Will be China Fintech’s Breakout Year (FiNews), Rated: A

Fintech will increasingly be associated with Beijing, Shenzhen and Hangzhou in 2018 instead of Silicon Valley, Aberdeen Standard’s Brett Diment details in a contribution for finews.asia.

The Chinese online-payment industry already accounts for around half of global transactions. Alipay, operated by Alibaba’s financial arm, is the market leader.

But Tencent’s Tenpay has been catching up fast. Tenpay’s stroke of genius was to allow its users to send electronic hongbao – the red envelopes of money traditionally given as a Chinese New Year gift. Some 16 million online hongbao were sent in 2014 – rising to a billion in 2015. This helped Tenpay’s share of the online-payment market to reach around 40 percent in just three years.

The University of Hong Kong Online Fintech Course Now Open for Registration (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

The Fintech MOOC is a six-week online course on innovations in finance and is designed to provide a foundational understanding of the global changes impacting all financial services.

European Union

Mayo businesses raise almost €800,000 through Linked Finance (The Connaught Telegraph), Rated: A

LINKED Finance, Ireland’s leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending company, has raised almost €800,000 for Mayo-based businesses.

Eighteen Mayo businesses, including Doherty for Men, Main Street, Castlebar, and Electric Escapes, based in Westport, have raised funds through Linked Finance’s online lending platform (www.linkedfinance.com) to facilitate business growth.

Electric Escapes has raised €50,000 over two separate funding rounds, facilitated through the platform.

PayPal backs fintech deposit marketplace Raisin (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Raisin has secured an undisclosed sum of investment from digital payments platform PayPal. The money will be used to accelerate the growth of Raisin across its core European geographies.

International

Blockchain is “no longer in proof of concept” phase (Global Trade Review), Rated: AAA

Sin has just helped launch the world’s first cross-border bancassurance distributed ledger technology (DLT) platform, working with China Life Insurance and Guangfa Bank in Macau.

In another sign that the technology may be fit for commercial purpose, SME lending platform ModulTrade has settled its first blockchain-based export transaction out of China.

This transaction was small –  just over US$1,000 – but again shows that the technology is beginning to be used outside of the laboratory.

The company teamed up with Rabobank to complete an inventory financing transaction on the blockchain that resulted in a real-time payment for farmers.

All payments were made in real time, using a Rabobank-backed digital dollar, pegged to the Aussie dollar. The digital dollar was issued and cleared by a central issuing and settlement institution.

BENCHMARKING DISTRIBUTED LEDGER TECHNOLOGY (All About Alpha), Rated: A

Two scholars affiliated with the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, in Great Britain, have prepared a fascinating overview of the present state of blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT).

  • The protocol layer of this ecosystem is only slowly maturing, and the limit of this maturation is one of the key challenges for the broader adoption of DLT;
  • Most users experiment with only small-scale, isolated layers, with live applications allowed only as “permissioned” layers;
  • There is an increasing focus on creating common standards of enterprise DLT frameworks that will allow for interoperability, but this effort to overcome fragmentation is itself fragmented into “a variety of consortia”;
  • Ethereum in particular has been tested at 57% of central banks, either via the public network or a permissioned version.

Nearly half of the surveyed DLT start-ups are in North America (47%). The second largest group by continent is that which hails from Europe (28%), then 19% (Asia Pacific).

But employment isn’t precisely aligned with the number of enterprises on each continent. A full 61% of employees working in this field are in North America, and only 13% are in Europe.

RCN ANNOUNCES DECENTRALAND PARTNERSHIP (Bitcoinist), Rated: A

Earlier this week, RCNannounced their new partnership with Decentraland, the blockchain-based virtual reality platform where users can acquire virtual land to create and monetize their content.

Under the new partnership, RCN will be able to integrate its credit protocol with the Decentraland platform. This will enable users who own plots of land, content, or businesses created in the 3D world to issue and receive loans.

The Top FinTech Trends of 2017 … were they? (The Finanser), Rated: B

Rise of InsurTech

True. I’ve seen a lot of InsurTech movement this year with a number of standout start-ups like BackmeupBrollyBuzzmoveCuvvaInmybagLuther and Neos.

Rise of RegTech

Yep, I’ve heard more about RegTech this year than ever before, although that’s unsurprising when most banks have at least two staff checking the work of each employee (Citibank has 40,000 compliance people!). Consultancy picks out 100 of the most innovative firms in this space.

Platforms, APIs and Open Banking are the key

I feel like I’ve been talking platforms all year and, with PSD2 and Open Banking coming into play in January 2018, it is certainly true that platforms, APIs and Open Banking have definitely been the theme of 2017.

China and emerging markets focus

Ah yes, I definitely think this year has been a big year for financial inclusion and discussions of Ant Financial and Tencent.

Australia/New Zealand

Banking without the banks: the state of peer-to-peer lending three years on (The Spinoff), Rated: AAA

In 2014, New Zealand was one of the first countries to legalise peer-to-peer lending.

For the latter, Snowball Effect and PledgeMe led the way with the FMA awarding its first equity crowdfunding licences to the two firms. For the former, the first licence for P2P lending was granted to Auckland-based platform Harmoney, which was founded by Neil Roberts that very same year.

To date, there are eight licensed P2P lending services currently operating in New Zealand with more than 20,000 investors currently registered with P2P lending intermediaries. When it comes to borrowers, there are more than 200,000 individuals currently registered with P2P services.

Source: The Spinoff

Since launching in September 2014, it’s lent more than $655 million via 37,000+ loans and paid more than $87 million interest in total. In the most recent financial year, Harmoney saw over more than 830,000 investments made in loans by almost 5,400 unique investors.

Source: The Spinoff
India

Want Good Financial Advice? Ask a Digital Lending Platform (BW Disrupt), Rated: A

The need for credit can come for a variety of reasons, and can be catered to by a vast plethora of different loan products.

Clearly, if you had to get good financial advice, AI-leveraging algorithms are a better bet than humans. So why not use the same technology to help individuals and SMEs find the right credit options for their needs?

Asia

NewsBTC Interviews the Crowd-genie Team (NewsBTC), Rated: A

NewsBTC: Why is licensing so important? How difficult is it to get in Singapore? 

Crowd-genie: Being registered and licensed are two different stories. As peer to peer lending platform involves enormous monetary transactions, a securities license is crucial for regulated lending activities.

NewsBTC: Can you please explanation of how reputations coin work?

Crowd-genie: For each repayment, from the borrower to lenders, we will incentivise on-time payment by adding CGCOIN “Credits” to the borrowers’ wallets. This will be a spendable asset that will be tracked separately in the Digital Passport. The more CGCOIN Credits earned, the higher their reputation, and that in turn, will increase their chances of getting higher investments from more lenders and/or a lower interest rate.

 

Source: NewsBTC
Cayman Islands

Robot to speak at Cayman Alternative Investment Summit (Cayman Compass), Rated: B

Sophia, the world’s first robot to be granted citizenship of a country, will be one of the speakers at the Cayman Alternative Investment Summit on Feb. 8 to 9, 2018, organizers announced Thursday.

At the Cayman Alternative Investment Summit, Sophia will be interviewed on stage by a representative from event sponsor KPMG.

Organizers say the robot’s appearance complements the theme of the investment conference, “Wired: the rise of alternative investments in a digital age,” which targets opportunities at the intersection of alternative investing and technology.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday December 4 2017, Daily News Digest

mortgage delinquencies by credit score band

News Comments Today’s main news: Lending Club closes first-of-kind MPL transaction. Zopa the first P2P lender to lend 100M GBP in one month. Marcus’s personal loan hits the mark. China issues new rules for cash loan market. Lexinfintech delays IPO. China Rapid Finance posts quarterly earnings. Today’s main analysis: Mortgage delinquency case study. International P2P lending volumes. Today’s thought-provoking articles: China […]

mortgage delinquencies by credit score band

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Canada

Africa

News Summary

United States

LendingClub Closes First-of-Its-Kind Transaction in Marketplace Lending (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

LendingClub (NYSE: LC), America’s largest online marketplace connecting borrowers and investors, today announced that it has closed a first-of-its-kind transaction in marketplace lending — a whole loan transaction structured as a tradeable, pass-through security called a CLUB Certificate*. This first milestone transaction totaled $25 million with an institutional investor seeking a liquid vehicle with which to access the consumer credit asset class.

The CLUB Certificate transaction consisted of whole loans structured as a pass-through security. The instrument trades in the over-the-counter market with a CUSIP and is efficiently cleared through the Depository Trust and Clearing Company (DTCC).

Lending Club diversifies with pass through deal (Global Capital), Rated: A

The $25m transaction was purchased by an institutional investor seeking “a liquid vehicle with which to access the consumer credit asset class”, chief capital officer Patrick Dunne told GlobalCapital, though he declined to reveal pricing information or the buyer’s identity.

The inaugural CLUB certificate consists of whole loans structured as a pass-through security, and trades in the over-the-counter market with a CUSIP number, and cleared through the Depository Trust and Clearing Company (DTCC).

Unlike a securitization, the certificate only pools three year and five year loans of a particular grade that the investor is looking for.

Goldman Sachs’ Marcus Personal Loan Hits the Mark as Other Lenders Struggle (LendEDU), Rated: AAA

When Goldman Sachs launched Marcus, a personal loans product, a little over a year ago, it set an aggressive goal: lend $2 billion by the end of 2017. And while competing online lenders have reported a series of losses since then, Goldman announced this month that Marcus has hit that milestone.

Marcus offers loans from $3,500 to $30,000 on an unsecured basis, meaning they don’t require collateral such as a car or house. Borrowers must make monthly fixed payments, and interest rates range from 6.99 percent to 23.99 percent. On the Marcus website, a sample loan of $15,000 at 13 percent APR is estimated to cost a borrower $19,312 at the end of a 48-month term.

While Marcus has been soaring, other online lenders have been struggling. Lending Club, Prosper, and OnDeck all reported losses over the past 18 months.

Donuts at the CFPB, LC’s Pass-Through Security, Mortgage Delinquency Case Study (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

On Friday, Lending Club completed a first-of-its-kind transaction in marketplace lending by selling a whole loan pass through security. The transaction size was for $25 Mn and was sold to a single institutional investor. LendingClub held 5% to comply with risk retention rules. The transaction is notable for the following reasons:

  • Expands the market. The pass-through security reflects the same risk and return characteristics of a whole loan pool.
  • Lower Financing Costs. Additionally, as market liquidity grows, the CUSIPs may enjoy lower-cost repo financing as an alternative to higher-cost credit facilities.
  • Secondary Markets. The product addresses certain investors’ demand for secondary market liquidity.
  • Valuation. The price discovery generated from markets in CUSIPs will enable valuation agents such as PeerIQ and Duff & Phelps to calibrate pricing to observed trades in the market.

Mortgage Delinquencies and the 2008 Crisis

Following the integration of TransUnion’s deep datasets on the PeerIQ platform, we examine the historical delinquencies for mortgages over the last 15 years. As seen below, we find that Mortgage delinquencies increased meaningfully, across all credit scores, one-year before the financial crisis.

Source: PeerIQ, TransUnion

We also show that the rise in delinquency levels above corresponds to the rise in Debt-to-Income levels (and other underwriting statistics – not shown) leading up to the crisis.

Source: PeerIQ, TransUnion

There’s a gift for student lenders in the education bill (American Banker), Rated: A

After the 2016 elections, there were high hopes that student lenders (and servicers) would benefit from a more favorable environment regulatory environment and expanded lending opportunities.

Until recently, however, there was not much to show in either respect. While the industry cheered the Department of Education’s decision in August to stop sharing servicing data with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, higher education did not appear to be a high priority for the Trump administration.

Ethan Senturia of Dealstruck (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Our latest guest is Ethan Senturia. He was the CEO and Co-Founder of Dealstruck, an online small business lender that was founded in 2013 and shut down in late 2016. Ethan talks about his journey as the CEO of Dealstruck and what led to its demise. He does not sugar coat anything and he takes a great deal of personal responsibility for everything that happened.

His has written a book about this journey called Unwound: Real-time Reflections from a Stumbling Entrepreneur and it is being released on Amazon today.

Beware Those Sketchy Loans Advertised on Instagram (Lifehacker), Rated: A

We’ve warned readers before about new, slick credit companies like Affirm, which want to replace credit cards with on-the-spot loans integrated right into online purchase pages. For all their talk of helping consumers, these companies aren’t much more than friendly loan sharks, re-branded to offer a “premium experience,” but still dangerous and even predatory.

But as Cagle points out, Affirm’s median interest rate of 19 percent is above the median credit card rate, and retailers use the company to build, and then aggressively advertise, the model of buying expensive products on credit. For all of Affirm’s talk of responsibility and helping consumers make better choices, their third most-popular buying category is fashion.

Affirm seems to be making the problem worse. As Cagle puts it: “Affirm is not just meeting a demand, but creating one, encouraging shoppers to buy and spend more. Affirm claims an average 75 percent boost in order values across all its merchant partners.”

MiaDonna Lifts AOV 36%, Repeat Purchases 17% With Financing Option (Retail TouchPoints), Rated: A

With a young, tech-savvy consumer base, MiaDonna, an online jewelry retailer specializing in ethically sourced lab-grown diamonds, wanted to be up-to-the-minute with its payment options as well. The retailer selected financing company Affirm, enabling shoppers to pay in three-, six- and 12-month increments.

MiaDonna, which now makes approximately 20% of its sales through Affirm, noted that shoppers using the service are both spending more and coming back. Affirm users make 17% more repeat purchases, with average order values (AOV) that are 36% higher compared to non-users.

The company’s target consumer is females aged 18 to 34 who are in a relationship and are close to getting engaged or married (within six to 12 months).

Marketplace Lenders Should Remember Experience Can Be Replicated, Experts Say (Bank Innovation), Rated: A

“The borrower experience at a marketplace lender is better than [the experience] at a bank, and that’s why it’s here to stay,” Don Davis, portfolio manager for Prime Meridian Capital Management, said today. during a panel discussion at the 3rd Annual Investors conference for Marketplace Lending, pointing to the ease of the online lending experience for borrowers.

Coinsource Adds 18 Bitcoin ATMs in Atlanta, Among Ten Most Unbanked US Cities (Bitcoin.com), Rated: A

The Texas-based bitcoin ATM network, Coinsource has deployed 20 new machines in the state of Georgia, marking its single largest installation to date. 18 bitcoin ATMs have been installed in the city of Atlanta, and 2 machines in the nearby college town of Athens.

survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) found that 7% of households (9 million) in the US are unbanked and an additional 19.9% of households (24.5 million) are underbanked.

“Atlanta, Georgia is in the top ten of most unbanked cities in the country, and more than one in ten households have no involvement with traditional banks. Around 30% of residents are underbanked, meaning they might have to check accounts, but have to rely on other kinds of services like pawn shops, check-cashing and payday loan companies to get cash and credit,” Clark said.

To maximize exposure to potential clients, the ATMs were set up near high traffic areas, as well as close to the Georgia State University and Emory University in Atlanta, and the University of Georgia in Athens. 16 of the new machines are for buying bitcoin only, while 4 have both buy and sell functionality.

The state of Georgia now has a total of 101 bitcoin ATM kiosks, making it the third largest US market for bitcoin ATMs behind the cities of Chicago and New York.

Data Science is Becoming the Most Important Skill in Fintech (Lend Academy), Rated: A

The world generates some 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day.

Chris Skinner penned this interesting piece last week claiming the critical importance of data in banking:

Data is the new air, and the banks that breathe the best will win. In other words, banks that really get data analytics, and can apply machine learning to gain deep customer insights are the ones that will survive.

Data scientists are going to be needed in many areas of fintech businesses such as customer acquisition, cybersecurity, customer service – even compliance. For online lending businesses the other two critical areas are underwriting and collections.

Glassdoor releases an annual 50 Best Jobs in America report and for the second year in a row Data Scientist had the top spot.

Elevate Credit, Inc. to Present at KeyBanc Capital Markets Consumer Conference and Jefferies Consumer Finance Summit (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Elevate Credit, Inc. (NYSE:ELVT), today announced that it’s CEO Ken Rees and CFO Chris Lutes will present at the following upcoming conferences:

CU urges lawmakers to oppose repeal of CFPB’s payday loan protections for consumers (ConsumersUnion), Rated: A

Consumers Union, the policy and mobilization division of Consumer Reports, today urged Congress to not repeal a rule adopted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in October that would protect consumers who take out high-cost payday, installment and auto title loans. Under a Congressional Review Act resolution introduced today in the House of Representatives, the CFPB’s new rule could be repealed by lawmakers before it goes into effect in mid-2019.

New House bill would kill consumer watchdog payday loan rule (CNBC), Rated: B

A congressional resolution introduced Friday in the House would kill the CFPB’s new rule aimed at making sure borrowers of so-called payday loans can afford to repay their debt.

Consulting for regulatory approvals to open a peer to peer lending platform in USA (Upwork), Rated: B

I need an expert who can help with regulatory approvals to open a peer to peer lending platform in USA. You can be a lawyer or financial consultant who have experience in the domain and knows what’s involved. You must have experience related to lending industry.

United Kingdom

Zopa zooms ahead to become the first peer-to-peer group to lend out £100m in a month (City A.M.), Rated: AAA

The financial services firm lent £100m to low-risk borrowers in the UK last month, a 48 per cent increase on November 2016.

Zopa said it has lent more than £900m in 2017 to the end of November, with the increase in lending volumes being driven in part by its integration with price comparison websites.

It expects to have lent out £3bn in total by January 2018.

P2P platforms rush to launch innovative finance Isas (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lenders including Funding Circle and RateSetter have set dates for the launch of their innovative finance Isas, but high demand and a clampdown from providers on the highest risk borrowers will slow the process for new investors.

This week, Funding Circle became the latest to launch an IF Isa.

Yet the platform, which facilitates lending to small businesses, will not be rolling out its IF Isa to new investors immediately to make sure it can match new loans to borrowers. Instead, it is opening access to its 74,000 existing lenders in batches. Those who have used the platform for the longest and who lend most frequently will be offered first chance to apply.

RateSetter also confirmed this week that it had set a February launch date for its IF Isa after receiving authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in October. The platform, which facilitates loans to businesses and consumers, says it expects to raise £500m in the first full tax year after opening, but would only offer the IF Isa to existing investors in the short term. The platform said it had made that choice to reward loyal customers.

No Christmas cheer for P2P sector as Brexit pushes FCA review into 2018 (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

PEER-TO-PEER lending platforms will need to wait until at least the new year for the outcome of the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) post-implementation review as Brexit and other market issues have taken priority at the City watchdog, Peer2Peer Finance News has learned.

However, it can also be revealed that a snippet of the industry data compiled by the Cambridge Judge Business School’s Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) for use in the FCA report will be unveiled before Christmas.

Crowd For Angels Launches £50 Million Bond Investment Opportunity (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On Thursday, peer-to-peer lending platform Crowd For Angels reportedly announced the launch of its £50 million bond investment opportunity. This news comes less than a year after Crowd for Angels launched its first crowd bonds, which are described as specially created secured, high-interest products act are eligible for the platform’s IFISA.

According to P2P Finance Newsthe online lending portal is looking to raise the funds for a Liquid Crypto Bond, which will pay investors 3% over five years. The investors will then receive cryptocurrency tokens through an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) that may be traded on external exchanges or used for project investments on the Crowd For Angels peer-to-peer lending platform.

Brits to spend £1bn worth of work hours planning for Christmas (London Loves Business), Rated: A

With less than a month to go for Christmas, a new research from online lender Sunny has found that the number of hours Brits spend planning for Christmas and buying gifts online while at work are worth £1bn, with over 15m Brits admitting to planning for Christmas during work hours.

Whether at work or at home, Sunny’s research demonstrates a clear gender divide, with women most likely to take on the task of planning for Christmas. Almost a third (31%) of men admit they don’t spend any time planning meals and a quarter (24%) say they don’t do any cooking or preparing of meals, compared to only one in seven (15%) women. Men also don’t make time for Christmas cards, with a fifth (20%) not giving any time to writing them versus fewer than one in ten (9%) women.

Money saver Men who have tried this Women who have tried this
Shopped around online for gifts to make sure I’m getting the best deal 35% 51%
Started next year’s shopping in the January sales 12% 22%
Re-gifted presents 9% 26%
Used coupons/vouchers to buy food and drink for the Christmas period 24% 36%
Participated in secret Santa rather than gifting everyone 7% 16%


P2P platform appoints ex-Barclays manager
(Bridging&Commercial), Rated: B

RateSetter Business Finance has appointed Richard Steele as its regional manager for the Midlands.
The peer-to-peer lending platform said Richard brought experience to its team having previously served at Barclays as a relationship manager and BCRS Business Loans as a business development manager.

Revealed – the 25 people doing the most to spread the PropTech word (EstateAgentToday), Rated: B

This year the list was compiled in association with the UK PropTech Association, the trade body set up in February; in addition to property investment platform LendInvest, two UKPA figures – chairman Eddie Holmes and Estate Agent Today contributor and PropTech consultant James Dearsley – were on the judging panel.

Dan Hughes, director of data and information product management for RICS, has been named the top PropTech Influencer of the Year.

Professor Andrew Baum of Oxford University took second place, after authoring PropTech 3.0, a much-discussed document in the field of PropTech.

Third was digital strategist Antony Slumbers, while fourth was Gary Chimwa, the organiser behind Future:PropTech events.

You can see the full list of 25 here and the top 10 International Influencers here.

RICS director tops proptech influencer list (Development Finance Today), Rated: B

Dan Hughes of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) (pictured above, right) has topped LendInvest’s PropTech Influencer List for 2017.
In fourth place was Gary Chima, the organiser behind Future:PropTech events, and in fifth was Dominic Wilson, managing partner of proptech start-up incubator Pi Labs.
China

China issues new rules to clean up runaway cash loan market (SCMP), Rated: AAA

China on Friday issued new rules to clean up its controversial cash loan and online micro lending market, including prohibiting lending to people without an income and putting a curb on the total charges on runaway credit, according to an official notice seen by the South China Morning Post.

It ordered therefore, that with immediate effect, all organisations and individuals must obtain a licence to conduct lending business. All lending institutions must also state clearly a comprehensive charge, which includes interest rates and various fees charged for different categories of offerings for the loan.

The tightened controls attempt to curb a common practice where online lending platforms bypass the maximum legal interest rate charge of 36 per cent with additional add-on fees.

Lenders are also banned from rolling over the credit more than twice and must put a cap on the cost of each loan.

Funds from online micro loans are also banned from being used to speculate in stocks and pay for property down payment. In addition, asset management products offered by financial institutions and banks are disallowed to invest in products securitised by cash loans, campus loans – loans granted to students with no regular incomes – or property down payment loans.

Online micro lenders expanded by 23 per cent in two years to 452.4 billion yuan (US$68.4 billion) by the end of 2016.

China’s debt crackdown hits cash loan providers (Reuters), Rated: A

On Friday, China’s financial regulators introduced new measures aimed at restricting the industry, which is estimated to be worth 1 trillion yuan ($151.5 billion).

The number of repeat borrowers is rising, which could signal financial stress on borrowers, analysts say. The companies, however, say the repeat lending is just a sign of the attractiveness of their platforms.

Online consumer lending in China, of which cash loans are a significant portion, dwarfs similar activity in the rest of the world combined, accounting for over 85 percent of all such activity globally last year, according to a recent report by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance.

The boom in micro-lending comes as lenders seek to cash in on rising incomes in a country where credit card penetration remains at about one-third of the population, according to data from the central bank, which says about half a billion consumers don’t have a credit score.

And the online cash loan sector is projected to reach 2.3 trillion yuan by 2020, according to the research firm iResearch.

Outstanding household debt in China equalled 45.5 percent of gross domestic product at the end of the first quarter, according to the Bank of International Settlements, compared to 27.9 percent five years ago.

Lexinfintech delays U.S. IPO pricing as China reins in micro-loan sector (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Chinese consumer lending firm Lexinfintech will delay the pricing of its planned Nasdaq IPO to conduct more due diligence, a source with direct knowledge of the situation said – a move that comes after Beijing issued new rules to tighten control of the micro-loan sector.

The source, who was not authorized to speak to the media and declined to be identified, did not say how long the IPO was likely to be delayed.

China Continues Its Quest For A Credit Ranking System (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

China is on the hunt for a homegrown alternative to the U.S.-based FICO score credit ranking system as it attempts to keep up with the rapid expansion in consumer loans being offered through mobile.

Lacking such a single system, online lenders instead use a patchwork of methods to assess consumer credit worthiness, including things like online questionnaires and analysis of consumer data such as individuals’ eCommerce purchases.

The National Internet Finance Association of China — a two-year-old agency closely aligned with China’s central bank — is tasked with the job, but has offered little in the way of specific detail about how the three-year-old search for a system is progressing — past noting in a brief report late Monday that “this would complete an important rung in procedural order.”

China’s “Social Credit System” Will Rate How Valuable You Are as a Human (Futurism), Rated: AAA

In a contentious world first, China plans to implement a social credit system  (officially referred to as a Social Credit Score or SCS) by 2020.

Every citizen in China, which now has numbers swelling to well over 1.3 billion, would be given a score that, as a matter of public record, is available for all to see. This citizen score comes from monitoring an individual’s social behavior — from their spending habits and how regularly they pay bills, to their social interactions — and it’ll become the basis of that person’s trustworthiness, which would also be publicly ranked.

The companies that are implementing SCS include China Rapid Finance, which is a partner of social network giant Tencent, and Sesame Credit, a subsidiary of Alibaba affiliate company Ant Financial Services Group (AFSG). Both Rapid Finance and Sesame Credit have access to intimidating quantities of data, the former through its WeChat messaging app (at present with 850 million active users) and the latter through its AliPay payment service.

According to local media, Tencent’s SCS comes with its QQ chat app, where an individual’s score comes in a range between 300 and 850 and is broken down into five sub-categories: social connections, consumption behavior, security, wealth, and compliance.

THE CHINA RAPID FINANCE LTD – (XRF) POSTS QUARTERLY EARNINGS RESULTS (Bangalore Weekly), Rated: AAA

China Rapid Finance Ltd – (NYSE:XRF) announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday. The company reported ($1.01) EPS for the quarter. The company had revenue of $10.46 million during the quarter.

Alibaba launches $ 7bn bond issue (Capital.com), Rated: A

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has launched a bond issue aimed at raising $7bn just three years after selling $8bn of debt.

The bonds are being offered in five tranches – 5.5-year, 10-year, 20-year, 30-year and 40-year.

Proceeds from the sale will be used to invest in long-term growth.

Private equity funds found to be investing in banned digital currencies offerings (SCMP), Rated: A

Beijing’s municipal financial regulator has warned private equity (PE) funds not to continue investing in initial coin offerings (ICOs), a practice banned by the mainland’s central bank three months ago.

Huo Xuewen, chief of the Beijing Bureau of Financial Work, said in a report published on Sunday that some of the funds had been found taking part in ICOs – fund-railings by the issuers of digital currencies such as bitcoin – outside the regulatory framework and he pointed out it was a wrongdoing that the regulator would seek to weed them out.

He added the authorities now plan to set up a strict monitoring system to track operations and investments by PE funds.

P2P Lender Hexindai: A Discussion with CFO Johnson Zhang Regarding the Recent IPO (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Hexindai (NASDAQ:HX), a China based peer to peer lender, became the most recent Chinese online lender to trade on a US exchange early last month. The company will report fiscal year results this coming Tuesday before markets open. Last month, Hexidai become another Chinese online lender to list their shares on the US markets in a successful IPO that raised approximately $50 million with each ADS priced at $10/each. The market cap of Hexindai stands at over $550 million today with shares in the company having traded between $10.90 and $17 since the IPO.

We asked Zhang why his company decided to list on the NASDAQ.  Zhang explained that in comparison to Hong Kong the US capital markets is wider and has more comparitive companies. Zhang noted that Yirendai and other online lenders now trade on US exchanges.  NASDAQ was selected because Hexindai is more tech focused. 

Zhang said a key component of their competitive advantage is their sophisticated risk management. Their application pass through rate is equal to just 25% of submitted applications and their default rates are very low.

Their second competitive advantage is their extended off line channels. For example, if a customer goes to a travel agency and wants to book a trip, the agency may say they have a financing solution and will provide the application to Hexindai and then they will determine whether or not they should provide a loan to the borrower.

“For our last fiscal year there were 200,000 borrowers and 110,000 active investors. An average loan size is 80,000 RMB. The typical use of the loans are for personal use like overseas traveling, continuing education or housing renovation. We believe loan proceeds are for self investment. Their life. For their job to become better. We help the emerging middle class.”

International

International P2P Lending Volumes November 2017 (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle reaches the milestone of 3 billion GBP loans originated since launch.

I removed Comunitae, because of the stop due the fraud case.

Source: P2P-Banking

The Market Maker’s Guide to Decentralized Exchange (Airswap), Rated: AAA

Market making is generally an ongoing process that includes ingesting data, generating a price, and placing an order on an exchange.

Source: Airswap

Decentralized exchange promises two major benefits:

  • Security and control
  • Global marketplace

Unlocking the ability to transact globally, through a decentralized exchange, will affect society in profound ways. Global information transfer birthed the term “globalization”. Global asset transfer will birth some new term that we all haven’t yet thought of, and in the end the borders that blockchain break down will be greater than the borders we saw the internet break down.

Decentralized exchanges will succeed, likewise, when there is liquidity and usability, both of which do not exist yet on any solution.

Source: Airswap

Micro-finance: do good and turn a profit (MoneyWeek), Rated: A

The ultimate example of this is the “micro-finance” movement. The idea is that you lend money to a micro-finance institution that in turn lends the money to ordinary folk (frequently women) in the developing world for practical projects that generate returns for investors. Investors hope to get back all of their money plus a return – net returns of around 2% a year aren’t uncommon.

The only trouble is that while micro-finance does score highly in terms of “impact”, it is often not so much crowd-based as “command-and-control” in style. In other words, it’s usually a credit institution making the actual lending decisions and you invest via their pool of funds.

Now, however, we have the crowd revolution and the rise of alternative finance and peer-to-peer (P2P) lending. In the Netherlands, this has given rise to companies such as Lendahand, which provide a marketplace for investing in individual projects for a defined return, usually via some form of bond. Over here in the UK, Ethex provides a similar marketplace for investors to back individual projects with real impact.

So, why not marry micro-finance, the crowd, and renewable energy into one product? That’s the idea behind a relatively new website called Lendahand, a joint venture between the Dutch platform and Ethex. The platform is working with local providers such as SolarNow in Uganda as part of its Energise Africa initiative to provide finance for solar panels. This is done via unsecured bonds that pay out 5%-6% a year for a period of between one and three years, with interest usually paid every six months (along with some of the debt, which is amortised as it is repaid).

Top 100 fintech companies revealed (Banks.am), Rated: A

First, second and third place, on this year’s Fintech100, are occupied by Chinese fintech firms: Ant Financial, which owns Alipay payments platform; ZhongAn, which uses big data to automate online property insurance; Qudian, an online electronics retailer offering monthly instalment re-payments.

The fourth and fifth places are occupied by Oscar, which seeks to radically transform health insurance through technology and Avant, the fastest-growing marketplace lending platform for short-term consumer credit.

The sectorial breakup of the Fintech100 is as follows: 32 lending companies, 21 payments companies, 15 transaction and capital markets, 12 insurance companies, 7 wealth companies, 6 regtech (regulatory technology-Banks.am) & cyber security companies, 4 blockchain and digital currencies companies, and 3 data and analytics companies.

Fintech100 includes a broad range of fintech companies from 29 different countries.

SelfKey Will Greatly Aid the Expansion of the FinTech Sector (Cryptocoins News), Rated: B

One blockchain based startup, SelfKey, is creating a blockchain-driven decentralized digital identity system that gives users full control over their personal information. The platform allows individuals to create their own secure personal identity wallet that stores important identity documents. This wallet also stores KEY tokens, which can be used to purchase services on the SelfKey marketplace. These services, which range from passport applications to opening bank accounts, don’t control users’ data–users do.

Users have the key, so to speak, that releases their own data.

Australia/New Zealand

CollinStar Holdings to Acquire BiWang Group in a 100 Million US Dollars Buyout (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

On December 2, 2017, CollinStar Holdings paid $ 100 million US dollars to acquire the entire BiWang Group, including BW.COM.

AUSTRALIAN FINTECH LAUNCHES ALTERNATIVE FUND (Money Management), Rated: A

Australian fintech and fully licensed marketplace lender, Zagga has launched its Alternative Growth Fund aimed at wholesale investors, including self-managed super funds (SMSFs), which will target net returns of 6.5 per cent per annum.

The fund, which would have the minimum investment for wholesale investors of $50,000, was designed to add scale to the Zagga business model which uses a bespoke algorithm to match wholesale investors with borrowers, the firm said.

Banking gap widens as tech-savvy consumers look to new products (News.com.au), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lender RateSetter has examined big bank profit margins and found that while they are paying record low rates on deposits their lending rates for personal loans and credit cards continue to climb.

“You can drive a bus through the spread between bank deposits and consumer lending rates,” said RateSetter CEO Dan Foggo.

“Publicity stunts such as dropping fees on ATMs are little more than a smokescreen for the poor value,” he said.

  • Online savings account rates have dropped from 6.55 per cent to 1.6 per cent;
  • Bonus saver account interest rates have fallen from 4.8 per cent to 1.85 per cent, but;
  • Credit card interest rates have climbed from 18.6 per cent to 19.75 per cent, and;
  • Unsecured personal loan rates rose from 13.8 per cent to 14.5 per cent.

FMA statistics show the fledgling NZ P2P lending sector is serving banks and fund managers well (Interest), Rated: A

But the Financial Markets Authority’s first statistical report on P2P lending, issued this week, highlights just how little actual P2P lending there has been in NZ to date.

The useful and informative FMA report details that there are 20,744 investors registered with licensed P2P services. At 207,230, there are about 10 times as many borrowers registered with P2P services. The volume of investors, or savers, versus borrowers sounds unbalanced and it is. But the bulk of money being lent through P2P platforms is coming from banks and institutional, or wholesale, investors.

Far and away the biggest NZ P2P lender is Harmoney. According to the FMA report, as of June 30 the total value of Harmoney loans outstanding was just under $239 million. The five other active P2P lenders had a shade under $50 million worth of outstanding loans between them.

India

Customers without credit scores can take the digital journey to get loans (livemint), Rated: AAA

Mumbai-based CreditVidya, a fintech start-up, uses alternative data sources to assess fraud and risk. It has recently raised $5 million Matrix Partners and had previously raised $2 million from Kalaari Capital. The money is being used for product development and hiring manpower. A lot of the investments are going into research and development and setting up the team right, which will include data scientists from the US. The plan is to have a total of 146 employees by end of 2018, said the founders of the company.

Currently you work with over 20 banks and non-banking financial (NBFCs) who are looking to assess customers of small unsecured credit. What is the quality of these banks and NBFCs?

Rajiv Raj: We have a mix of small and big banks and NBFCs. We have big banks such as State Bank of India, ICICI Bank Ltd and Axis Bank Ltd. There are many micro services that these companies use.

Abhishek Agarwal: We are also in talks with an MNC (multinational corporation) banks. Right now, 10 relationships are with large banks and NBFCs, out of the 27, and remaining are in mid- and small-sized banks. Every bank is focused on retail loans and in that pie on unsecured lendings. Personal loans, consumer durables and two-wheeler loans are the segment where there has been a tremendous rise.

Recently, P2P regulations came out. These companies will have to start reporting to credit bureaus. Has any P2P platform approached you to use alternate data?

Agarwal: We are currently working with three P2P lenders. Here again, it is for risk assessment of first-time borrowers. People who are digital savvy and want to access this facility, are first-time borrowers and under 35 years. Cibil’s (a credit bureau in India) penetration in the 25-35 age group is poor. Hence, 75-80% of the cases will have a no Cibil score.

Raj: These are thin-file customers who don’t qualify for loans.

Why are the traditional credit bureaus not using alternative or digital data to assess customers?

Raj: One, there is a regulatory issue. Two, they have never done this before.

Agarwal: Experian (a credit bureau) in the US has been around for the last 40 years. Digital lending in the US exists for the last 12 years. Experian never used alternative data in the US. It is not in their DNA. All the traditional bureaus in India are heavily influenced by their parent companies in the US. There is no product that the bureaus have launched in India that is only for the Indian market. They haven’t done anything that is new and specific to India.

While analysing customers, what parameters do you use to evaluate credit worthiness?

Agarwal: You look at five types of fingerprints—social finger print (anything you put on social media), device fingerprint (such as SMS), browser fingerprint (anything that identifies your device), click stream fingerprint (how fast you type) and biometric fingerprint (the physical fingerprint).

Fintech Trends to Watch Out for in 2018 (Entrepreneur), Rated: A

With a continuation to the credit line onboarding the digital trend, the next year will see more and more people borrowing using data, believes Vikram Sud, former APAC operations and technology head of Citibank and also ex-group COO of Kotak Mahindra Group.

Algorithm-based investments will see a hike, interactive brokers too will grow in numbers, while the cost of availing them will keep dropping.

While the majority of fintech users today rely on wallets and prepaid investments for transactions, many in the industry believe that that is set to change.

Citing a 360 degree financial inclusion and a future of uniform payments globally, Himaghna Dey Sarkar, Chief Expansion Officer, ToneTag spoke about how they are enabling sound-based payments. The app listens to the frequency of tones in the existing EVC machines, and enables transactions directly to the merchant’s bank account.

Sud believes that we are moving closer to a stage where the cards business is at a risk. With more and more retail lending options like buy now and pay later, Sud said that the line of credit will become more prominent.

A little bit of data can go a long way! (ETCIO), Rated: A

Imagine there being minimal record of your existence – your credit history and identification papers being almost non-existent. Unfortunately, this is not a movie plot but a reality that millions across the world have to grapple with. Both developing and under-developed economies have their fair share of people who have no formal credit footprint. These are people who have never borrowed from or interacted with formal banking channels in their lives. This lack of interaction with banking channels is one of the primary reasons that these people do not possess sufficient format documentation, a primary requirement of banks. The repercussion of this is that there is minimum information available about their credit history and when they do approach a lender for capital; more often than not they are deemed ineligible and are turned away.

Over the last few years, digital lending platforms have emerged as viable sources of credit for such borrowers.

By 2022, over 70% of India’s population is expected to own a smart phone. With a current smart phone user base of 300 million, smart phone penetration in rural India is growing at a much faster pace as compared to the urban India. This means that each one of us is generating reams of digital data giving online lenders a glimpse into our habits and preferences.

Asia

Integrated finance services in e-commerce (TelecomAsia.net), Rated: A

Again there is speculation in the US over whether companies like Amazon, Facebook, Apple or Wal-Mart could acquire a banking license.

If you go to buy items online, you might need finance for your purchase. The easiest solution nowadays is probably to use a credit card to make the payment. Then, depending on your card, you have more time and flexibility to make the payment. The problem is the actual annual interest rate of the card is easily 30% to 40%. You could get a loan with much lower interest rates, but it is complex to get a loan quickly when you are buying something.

Now we see a situation FinTech that integrated finance solutions are easily available for all kinds of retail services and they offer also a smooth customer experience. This is part of a much bigger development in the finance industry. Finance services are no longer their own isolated islands, but they can be components in any service.

Fintech competitiveness depends on AI technology (The Korea Times), Rated: A

Limiting individual investment in peer-to-peer (P2P) financing at 10 million won ($9,220) is a typical one. The ban on non face-to-face contracts on discretionary investments in the asset management field also limits the domain of fintech startups online. It is necessary to change perspectives in modifying regulations to something that will help new fintech companies.

Fintech can be classified into three areas: well-known money transfer and payment; P2P finance represented by cloud funding; and asset management represented by robo-advisors. The common technology necessary for all three is artificial intelligence (AI).

In P2P lending, supervised learning can be used in P2P for credit scoring and anticipation of expected returns. For asset management firms, reinforcement learning can be used for automated portfolio building.

Canada

National Bank of Canada capped off a better fiscal year with strong fourth-quarter profit as the Montreal-based lender enters a new phase of an aggressive plan to redefine itself.

And chief executive officer Louis Vachon said the bank is now shifting from a phase of heavy cost-cutting and job losses to one that reduces costs by using technology to automate more of its processes.

The bank is spending a total of $750-million a year on technology, about $350-million of which goes to new projects.

Profit from the core personal and commercial banking segment was $239-million in the fourth quarter, compared with $191-million a year earlier, as loans and deposits grew and deposit margins improved. The wealth-management arm also posted a 29-per-cent increase in profit to $110-million.

Provisions for credit losses – the money set aside to cover bad loans – rose to $70-million in the fourth quarter, from $59-million a year ago. But the increase effectively belonged to Credigy Ltd., a U.S. subsidiary that specializes on buying distressed loans at discounted prices.

The bank expects Credigy will continue to grow, but is tapering its appetite for unsecured consumer debt as it winds down an agreement that saw the firm buy $1.3-billion in prime loans from Lending Club, a U.S.-based online lending firm. Credigy will instead look at doing more deals for secured loans with lower spreads but also lower losses.

Africa

Kenyan, Nigerian startups make global Fintech 100 (Disrupt Africa), Rated: AAA

They include two Nigerian startups, namely payments company Flutterwave and financial management app Riby. Kenyan insurtech startup GrassRoots Bima also makes the list.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday November 16 2017, Daily News Digest

securitization

News Comments Today’s main news: Marcus surpasses 2017 goal. LendInvest gets into buy-to-let. Top 3 spots on KPMG Fintech 100 list are all Chinese. Lendix launches SME bridge loans in France, Spain, and Italy. Mauritia issues draft P2P lending rules. Marlette closes fourth securitization in a year. Today’s main analysis: Rising challenges unlikely to deter U.S. securitizations. Today’s thought-provoking articles: […]

securitization

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United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

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India

Asia

Africa

Canada

Russia

News Summary

United States

Marcus from Goldman Sachs Surpasses 2017 Goal (Bank Innovation), Rated: AAA

Martin Chavez, chief financial officer for Goldman Sachs, showed in a slideshow at a Bank of America Merrill Lynch event yesterday that Marcus had already surpassed $1.96 billion in originations as of Nov. 9.

What that means is that from Nov. 9 to Nov. 14, over a span of five days, Marcus originated more than $40 million in loans.

Rising challenges unlikely to deter U.S. securitization in 2018 (Asset Securitization Report), Rated: AAA

As a result, Fitch’s outlook for U.S. structured finance ratings is predominately stable for 2018. That said, given where we are in the credit cycle, Fitch is keeping a close watch on select asset types that could run into some issues over the next 12 months.

Entering 2018, Fitch has either Positive or Stable Outlook on over 90% of its rated securitized bonds.

Perhaps the most notable change that has manifested from risk retention is the shrinking universe of originators bringing new securitizations to market. This is particularly notable in the universe of CMBS originators, which has shrunk from a high of roughly 40 to now less than 20 due to a combination of risk retention and Reg A/B.

Competitive pressures, long in place for subprime autos, are escalating in a marketplace ABS environment that is struggling to find its footing by testing recent underwriting models, asset quality and, in some cases, business models. Delinquencies and chargeoffs of existing assets continue to increase as marginal borrowers increase their leverage. Not likely to help is the drive for growth among large marketplace lenders coupled with rising market pressure from competing banks like Goldman Sachs (Marcus), Discover, and Suntrust. And unless originators tighten their credit policies with discipline, the strain will intensify.

Source: Asset Securitization Report

Online lenders should heed criticism of their effect on borrowers (American Banker), Rated: AAA

The consumer lending industry is abuzz about the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland’s recent report on debt consolidation and online lending. This excellent piece of research concludes that, on average, online installment loan borrowers fall into more debt after taking out a loan, experience hits to their credit score and history as a result, and take out online loans despite having access to traditional banking and credit channels.

The first two conclusions are damning, especially as these loans are often marketed as a way to help consumers consolidate credit card debt and improve their finances. At the end of the day, a lender’s duty is not merely to avoid losses. Any loan must be suitable for the customer — which means it should be made only if the lender believes it is improving the customer’s financial health. A lender not guided by that principle should be prepared for severe criticism as well as elevated losses down the road.

But it would be nonsensical to discredit or ignore the study because it includes online lenders beyond well-known fintech names.

The Best of Both Worlds with Prosper for Borrowers and Lenders (DoughRoller), Rated: AAA

Founded in 2005, and generally recognized as the first peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform in the US, Prosper has funded more than $10 billion in loans since.

While borrowers can get personal loans ranging in size between $2,000 and $35,000, investors can put as little as $25 toward funding those loans.

There is one exception, however. You cannot use loan proceeds for post-secondary educational expenses. That’s because some of the rules in federal law aren’t compatible with P2P lending. More specifically, with education loans, the borrower must have at least 30 days to accept or reject a loan offer.

Medical procedures available for financing under the PHL program include:

  • Cosmetic dentistry
  • Bariatric surgery
  • Cosmetic and plastic surgery
  • Fertility and reproductive procedures

All Prosper loans have a term of either three or five years.

The minimum requirements are:

  • A minimum FICO score of 640, based on a TransUnion FICO 08 score
  • Debt-to-Income (DTI) ratio below 50%
  • Stated income greater than $0 (you must have an income)
  • No bankruptcies filed within the previous 12 months
  • Fewer than seven credit bureau inquiries within the last six months
  • A minimum of three open trades reported on your credit report

Interest rates are between a minimum of 3.00% for the best AA rated borrowers to a maximum of 36.00% for the lowest rated HR borrower grades.

Source: DoughRoller

Prosper for Investors

Prosper advertises that the average rate of return by investors on the platform is 7.41% per year.

Loans rated HR have a much higher average return, at 11.73%.

You can open either a General Investment Account or an IRA. Available IRAs include traditional, Roth, SIMPLE, SEP and rollover IRAs (IRA accounts are held with Millennium Trust Company). At this time, Prosper has made only individual accounts available. You cannot hold an account jointly with someone else.

For regular investment accounts, the minimum is $25. For IRA accounts, the minimum is $5,000.

Similar to other P2P platforms, when you invest with Prosper, you don’t actually invest in whole loans. Instead, you invest in small slivers of those loans, referred to as “notes.” The notes are in denominations of $25. This means that you can spread an investment of $1,000 across as many as 40 different loans.

The servicing fee is 1% of the outstanding balance of a loan. That means that if the loan pays 8%, your net return will be 7%.

Source: DoughRoller

Marlette Funding Closes Fourth Personal Loan Securitization Within Past Year (LendEDU), Rated: A

Last week, marketplace lender Marlette Funding announced the closing of its fourth proprietary securitization. The transaction was worth an estimated $312 million, and it is the fourth securitization announcement since August of 2016 from Marlette Funding.

eOriginal Named as One of Fastest Growing Companies in North America on Deloitte’s 2017 Technology Fast 500 (eOriginal), Rated: A

eOriginal, Inc., today announced it has been named to Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 list as one of North America’s fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences, and energy companies. eOriginal earned the rank of 294 by more than doubling revenues during the evaluation period of FY 2013 through FY 2016.

Betterment, the investing startup with $ 11 billion in assets, is rolling out a new service to make charitable giving easier (Business Insider), Rated: A

Betterment, the New York-based roboadviser, announced Wednesday a charitable giving feature that’ll let users donate shares of their account to partnered charities.

The firm, which manages $11 billion for over 300,000 customers, partnered with 11 charities for Betterment Charitable Giving, including Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC, UNICEF, and World Wildlife Fund, according to a news release. The new feature is set to go live November 28.

Subprime car loans souring faster at nonbank lenders (American Banker), Rated: A

Despite signs of trouble in subprime auto lending, U.S. banks and credit unions are well positioned to ride out any market turbulence, a new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York suggests.

More than $435 billion in auto loans to borrowers with credit scores below 660 were outstanding during the third quarter of this year, the report found. That total has been climbing steadily since bottoming out at $249 billion in early 2011. Delinquency rates have also been rising as it has become easier to qualify for an auto loan.

Fidelity latest financial firm to facilitate data sharing with fintechs (American Banker), Rated: A

Fidelity Investments is joining the ranks of financial firms sharing customer account data with others through an application programming interface.

The new service, called Fidelity Access, will give third parties access to Fidelity customers’ account data for use in apps and services like tax preparation, budgeting, financial planning, spending analysis and portfolio advice — provided the Fidelity customers give their OK. Customer data to be shared includes Fidelity account balances, securities holdings, and transactions.

These are the most valuable fintech companies in America (MarketWatch), Rated: A

Stripe Inc., whose software is used by businesses to accept and track digital payments, leads the way as the most valuable fintech startup in the U.S., with a $9.2 billion valuation.

And just to be clear, fintech startups are nowhere near close to catching up to the big banks. Wells Fargo & Co. has a market cap of more than $266 billion, and Bank of America Corp. has a market cap of more than $273 billion.

RealtyProfits Offers Accredited Investors an Innovative Platform to Invest in the Real Estate Sector (Digital Journal), Rated: A

RealtyProfits (www.RealtyProfits.com) announces today an exciting and innovative investment opportunity, RealtyProfits IV, with a Preferred Return of 12 percent per annum, available exclusively to accredited high net-worth individuals and institutional investors. The private preferred equity securities, available for purchase at www.RealtyProfits.com, are being offered through WealthForge Securities, LLC, a registered broker/dealer and member of FINRA/SIPC.

The geographically diversified portfolio includes properties in 700 cities coast to coast, with a current estimated value of $1.73 billion and more than $700 million of equity in more than 5,900 portfolio properties. The properties include primarily single-family homes and condominiums ranging in value from $100,000 to more than $2,500,000.

Accredited investors can start investing with as little as $20,000. RealtyProfits IV offers monthly cash distributions. Preferred equity investors receive all distributions made by RealtyProfits IV until fully repaid. The Preferred Return is 12 percent per annum, with initial monthly Base Preferred Return payments at 6 percent per annum anticipated depending on cash flow during each of the first 24 months.

Reality Shares Teams up with Nasdaq to Launch Blockchain Tech Index (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Reality Shares and Nasdaq announce the creation of the Reality Shares Nasdaq Blockchain Economy Index, a smart-beta index that tracks the growth and development of leading global companies creating and implementing blockchain solutions.

An ETF that will track the Index is already in the works, with Reality Shares filing for it on November 2, 2017.

Reality Shares and Nasdaq compiled the index by utilizing internal and external research and their proprietary Blockchain ScoreTM ranking system. The Index is comprised of global companies that seek to capitalize upon transformational blockchain technology that may potentially disrupt the markets in which they operate.

How to Choose Between a Peer-To-Peer Lending or Traditional Loan (Experian), Rated: A

Shopping for a loan at a P2P provider is a two-step process. First, based on a credit score (or credit scores) and your answers to a few basic questions—your full name, address, date of birth and annual income—the lender determines which loan offer(s) to extend to you. (It’s possible at this juncture that the lender will decide not to extend any loan offers; if they do, they’ll explain why.)

Once you choose the loan you want, the lender does a more detailed credit check and may ask you to verify your income and to provide additional background information.  Each P2P site has its own lending criteria, including minimum credit scores, and additional information requirements vary accordingly. Some P2P lenders want information on your educational background; others want work history or details about your financial assets. In most cases, you can submit the necessary documents electronically.

The first step in the P2P loan-approval process gets one or more of your credit scores by a method known as a soft inquiry—the same process you use when you check your own credit scores. Soft inquiries have no impact on your credit scores. However, the hard inquiries traditional lenders make when you apply for a credit cards or bank loans are reported to the national credit bureaus. They appear on your credit reports, and typically cause temporary credit-score drops of several points.

In the second step of P2P loan approval, the lender performs a hard inquiry to confirm your credit score and, likely, to review your full credit report.

Before you apply for a P2P loan

  • Take a look at the fine print on the bottom of each provider’s homepage, to get an overview of the loan amounts they offer and the rates and fees they charge.
  • Make sure the lender operates in your state.
  • Check your FICO Score and review your credit reports for any major negative entries. Accounts in collection, liens and civil judgments are among the items that could torpedo your loan application, even if you meet the credit-score requirements.
  • Determine the amount of money you need and watch out for tempting upsells.
  • Consider using the Experian loan-referral tool to explore offers from multiple P2P lenders (and possibly traditional lenders as well).

Resignation of CFPB head gives Trump opportunity to erase Elizabeth Warren’s legacy (Legal Insurrection), Rated: A

Richard Cordray, an Obama appointee and head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced to staff in an email Wednesday his plans to resign. While he’s yet to confirm his plans, there’s speculation Cordray will return home to run for Ohio’s governorship.

Seven Signs That the Bond Bull Market is Over (INTL FCStone), Rated: A

  • The bond bear market is already here: short and medium-term treasuries have lost value in the past 5 years
  • Buybacks have fallen to a five-year low, and big repurchasers have underperformed
  • Oil prices are at a 30-month high, and the futures curve is in backwardation
  • The long and the short ends of the yield curve are moving together again
  • The Chinese trade surplus has shrunk from 10% of GDP to almost zero in the past ten years
  • The U.S. deficit is growing again, an unprecedented phenomenon in times of expansion and peace
  • Small bubbles are popping out: Auckland houses, Ethereum crypto coins, and collectible cars
Source: Global Macro Report, INTL FCStone

Read the full report here.

Spring Framework Creator Launches Atomist for Development Automation With $ 22 Million in Series A Funding (Marketwired), Rated: A

Today on stage at Structure 2017, Atomist is formally launching and unveiling its Development Automation Platform with an Open Source client and API. As part of today’s launch, Atomist is announcing $22 million in Series A funding from Accel and Matrix Partners.

Bestow Gives Texas Residents First Access to On-Demand Life Insurance (PRWeb), Rated: A

Bestow Inc., the company behind a revolutionary new approach to life insurance, today announced the early access roll out of its comprehensive, full-stack, digital life insurance solution in Texas. For the first time Bestow’s solution is available to the public, giving Texas residents primary access to apply for the only on-demand life insurance solution, instantly and without a medical exam.

Leveraging applied intelligence and algorithmic underwriting, Bestow redefines the way consumers research, buy and manage life insurance. Using data to calculate risk, Bestow removes the need for a medical exam and streamlines the entire process into a matter of minutes. The Texas launch gives consumers access to choice term life insurance plans, including a unique two year term policy never before available for life insurance. Additionally, customers can choose between ten or twenty year term life insurance.

The Zebra Raises $ 40 Million, Taps New CEO To Expand Beyond Car Insurance (Forbes), Rated: A

The Zebra, which has always described itself as the Kayak of car insurance, has hired a longtime Kayak executive as its new CEO.

The Austin-based company, which allows drivers to compare prices for car insurance online, said on Tuesday that it has tapped Kayak’s former president Keith Melnick to run the company.

The Zebra also said it has raised $40 million in a Series B funding round, led by Accel Partners. That brings its total funding to $61.5 million.

MarketScout in Dallas Creates $ 25M Insurtech Venture Fund (Insurance Journal), Rated: B

Dallas-based insurance exchange and MGA MarketScout announced it has launched MarketScout InsurTech (MIT), which will make investments in tech-enabled insurance distribution. The initial funding of $25 million will come exclusively from MarketScout Corp., parent of MIT, according to the firm.

House Financial Services Committee Approves Legislation to Help Keep Lending Partnerships Between Banks and Online Lenders (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The House Financial Services Committee has approved HR 3299 or the “Protecting Consumers’ Access to Credit Act of 2017.” The bill “restores consistency” in lending laws across state boundaries. HR 3299 impacts the case of Midland Funding, LLC v. Madden – an ongoing law suit that has the potential to undermine online lenders. Sponsored by Congressman Patrick McHenry, includes an important statement that clarifies allowable interest rates on loans potentially ending the issue associated with the law suit.

How Do You Beat a Robo-Advisor? Trust (Think Advisor), Rated: A

“Technology by itself cannot create trust,” Robert C. Merton, a Nobel laureate in economics now teaching at MIT, recently told ThinkAdvisor. “The successful advisor must have the trust of their clients.”

Given the importance of trust in the advisor-client relationship, Merton recommends financial advisors (the breathing kind) should:

  • Check what they are doing to retain and enhance trust with their clients.
  • Make sure the business model being used supports the creation of trust.
  • Take advantage of technology to improve/enhance what the advisor does.
  • Do not view technology as a “competitor or substitute” for the advisor.
  • Understand and assess the financial technology they employ to certify trusting its use in client solutions.

HFLA launches initiative to help underserved reach financial stability (Cleveland Jewish News), Rated: A

The Hebrew Free Loan Association has launched its Looking to the Future Initiative with support from the St. Luke’s Foundation and the PNC Foundation. The initiative accounts for $73,000.

The initiative enables HFLA to increase its lending of interest-free loans to Cleveland’s underserved neighborhoods and grows the organization by expanding its reach, according to a news release. HFLA received a $63,000 grant from the St. Luke’s Foundation and a $10,000 grant from the PNC Foundation to launch the effort.

Fundation Purchases Select Assets from Able Lending to Enhance Partnership Strategy (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Fundation Group LLC, a digitally-enabled lender and credit solutions provider, today announced that it has acquired a variety of assets from online small business lender, Able Lending of Austin, Texas.

Former Capital One Executive Troy Jamison Joins Victory Park Capital as Chief Risk Officer (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Victory Park Capital (VPC), an investment firm focused on middle-market debt and equity investments, announced today that Troy Jamison joins as chief risk officer for the firm’s nonbank financial services portfolio. Jamison is based in Chicago and reports directly to CEO and Co-Founder Richard Levy.

CFPB updates website to officially address end of arbitration rule (Housingwire), Rated: B

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau finally updated its website to acknowledge President Donald Trump revoking the controversial arbitration rule.

blog post from Ballard Spahr previously stressed the importance of the CFPB updating its website to note the rule’s override since the rule was killed nearly two weeks ago.

The webpage for “Arbitration agreements” now has an update on the top that states:

On Nov. 1, 2017, the President signed a joint resolution passed by Congress disapproving the Arbitration Agreements Rule under the Congressional Review Act (CRA). Pursuant to the joint resolution, the Arbitration Agreements Rule has no force or effect. The materials relating to the Arbitration Agreements Rule on the Bureau’s website are for reference only.

HOUSE FINANCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE PASSES SMALL BUSINESS CREDIT ACT (Coalition for Small Business Growth Email), Rated: B

The 

United Kingdom

LendInvest launches into buy-to-let (Mortgage Strategy), Rated: AAA

LendInvest is launching a range of buy-to-let loans aimed at professional landlords and investors.

Rates start at 3.69 per cent for a two-year fix at 60 per cent LTV.

The firm will offer loans of between £50,000 and £5m, up to a maximum LTV of 80 per cent.

Citigroup joins the AI bandwagon (Business Insider), Rated: A

Citigroup 

Source: Business Insider

SyndicateRoom Alum Squirrel Launches Crowdcube Funding Round (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Squirrel, a personal finance app designed to help users have more control over their money, has launched an equity crowdfunding round on Crowdcube. This initiative debut comes less than one year after the company completed its SyndicateRoom funding round with £585,000 in funds. Squrriel is now seeking £400,000.

Government unveils financial package to support tech (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE GOVERNMENT has given a £21m boost to a technology programme that has supported firms such as Zopa and Funding Circle as part of a range of measures to boost the tech sector.

The funding will make Tech City UK and Tech North one national organisation called Tech Nation and help grow government-backed startup support programmes such as Founders Network, Northern Stars, Future Fifty and Upscale.

Cash Converters International Ltd reports security breach and ransom demand (The Motley Fool), Rated: A

Payday lending and pawnbroking business Cash Converters International Ltd (ASX:CCV) announced a cybersecurity breach in its UK operations last night.

Sadly, computer system integrity is becoming an increasingly relevant – and often overlooked – concern for investors, with a vast majority of companies relying in one way or another on computer systems.

Valorem Foundation Launches All-New Cryptocurrency Platform (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Valorem Foundation, a Blockchain startup specializing in stabilized value-based exchange and transactions, has announced the launch of its new cryptocurrency platform. The company has developed a multi-layered platform to disrupt and expand the following services globally: microloans, car loans, student loans, rent payment, P2P networks, buying and selling of goods & services, business investing, real estate crowdfunding, and insurance.

Empowering the world: How you can make money through improving lives (City A.M.), Rated: A

This sea change should explain why investment firm Ethex has managed to scoop up so much support in its short history – raising more than £50m since 2013.

Its business model has a peer-to-peer lending feel – that is, it uses a digital platform to allow retail investors to lend to individuals and entrepreneurs.

But it comes with a twist, because Ethex is a not-for-profit organisation which lets you invest in companies that have a positive impact – socially and environmentally.

If you want to get involved, the platform has a minimum investment of £50, which arguably makes it more accessible to younger generations.

Trussle hires VP engineering from Funding Circle (Mortgage Introducer), Rated: B

Trussle has appointed Matthew Gretton as vice president of engineering from peer-to-peer lending platform Funding Circle.

China

Alibaba affiliates sweep top 3 spots in global fintech ranking (Asian Review), Rated: AAA

Financial technology companies linked to China’s Alibaba Group Holding took over the podium in KPMG’s latest Fintech 100 list, announced on Wednesday.

Ant Financial, which runs Alibaba’s massive Alipay e-payments network, took the No. 1 spot on the list, which was compiled with fintech accelerator H2 Ventures. Online property insurer ZhongAn Insurance and microloan provider Qudian placed second and third; both have received investments from Ant.

See the full list here.

One of China’s hottest companies rebuffs criticism about transparency (CNBC), Rated: A

Despite public criticism about a lack of transparency in some practices, Ant Financial is doing things the right way, a senior executive at the company said Wednesday.

“The demand for these securities is very healthy and continuing to expand,” Douglas Feagin, senior vice president and head of global business at Ant Financial, told CNBC’s “Street Signs.” “That, at the end of the day, is the ultimate barometer of whether you’re giving enough information to investors to invest.”

Ant Financial will use local partners in Southeast Asia: executive from CNBC.

Earnings at Some U.S.-Listed Chinese Microlenders Taper (Caixin), Rated: A

In the three months ending Sept. 30, Yirendai’s net income was down 12% to 303 million yuan ($45.7 million) from 344.3 million yuan a year ago, the company said Wednesday. Another Chinese microlender, China Rapid Finance Ltd., earlier reported a wider net loss of $4.4 million in the third quarter. Although Qudian Inc., a larger player that listed in New York last month, recently posted a four-fold increase in its third-quarter net profit from a year ago, citing better operational efficiency and its growing borrower base.

Cinda International Leads Massive Round In Chinese Fintech Company 9f Group (China Money Network), Rated: A

Beijing-based fintech company 9f Group has raised a massive new funding round from Cinda International Holding Ltd, a subsidiary of state-owned China Cinda Asset Management Co., Ltd., Focus Media Information Technology’s Chairman Jiang Nanchun, video game developer Youzu Interactive’s chairman Lin Qi and an unnamed Chinese industry fund.

The company did not disclose financial details except to say that it raised “hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars” in the latest financing deal, according to a company announcement. It is also unclear how the company is valued in the round, but 9f Group is listed on China Money Network’s China Unicorn List with a US$1 billion valuation when it last raised a US$110 million series B round in 2015.

European Union

For Spain’s banks, survival means digital (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Santander’s Openbank has changed a great deal since it was founded as Spain’s first telephone banking service in 1995. Now a fully digital operation, its mobile app allows users to temporarily disarm a lost credit card, as well as to check whether fellow Openbank customers are buying or selling a given stock at any moment. Currently, it has some 1.2m customers in Spain and more than €8bn ($9.3bn) in assets under management.

In recent years, Spain’s two biggest banks — Santander and BBVA — have increased their financial and managerial investment in fintech, digital banking and big data. Like their peers, they are convinced that the days of branch-based lending are drawing to a close.

Spanish banks average about €15m assets under management per employee, says Daragh Quinn, banks analyst at investment bank Keefe, Bruyette & Woods. At a digital operator like Openbank, that number is close to €60m.

The digital push is on two fronts: first, a mobile app that allows customers to access almost all of the bank’s products without going into a branch. Second, a venture capital approach whereby banks invest in or partner with fintech start-ups to add products.

Online Lender Lendix Launches Flexible SME Bridge Loans in France, Spain & Italy (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Lendix, online lender for SMEs in continental Europe, has announced the launch of a new financing product: the Flexible Bridge Loan. This product is designed to will allow a greater number of French, Spanish and Italian SMEs to benefit from the speed of execution of Lendix’s lending platform while leaving them the possibility of setting up an overall refinancing solution with other financial institutions.

The Lendix Flexible Bridge Loan is a 5-year amortizable loan with a standard commitment for the first 9 months and the possibility of early repayment at no cost for the remainder of the loan term, even in the event of refinancing by other financial institutions.

Swedish $ 370 Billion Home-Loan Market Gets New Mortgage Fund (Bloomberg Quint), Rated: A

As investors wonder whether Sweden’s housing market is headed for a correction, the country’s first mortgage fund is about to enter the $370 billion Swedish home-loan industry.

Stabelo plans to pool capital from Swedish institutional investors in exchange for fixed-income securities. That money will then be lent to home buyers. The fund starts offering its products this week and will work with Avanza Bank AB, Sweden’s largest online lender. Avanza, which owns just below 20 percent of Stabelo, will handle distribution and marketing.

International

Has P2P marketplace lending become B2P? (Cuffelinks), Rated: AAA

Due to this issue, the original incarnation of peer-to-peer lending has not lasted. As the CEO of Zopa, a UK-based P2P lender said,

“As bad debts soared, the approach was abandoned and Zopa was moulded into a ‘big sausage machine’. Its technology now links lenders with a pool of borrowers without any direct contact or the need for investors to make credit decisions.”

Australia’s major peer-to-peer lender is SocietyOne. It currently has $350 million borrowed through its platform, and is growing rapidly. In fact, loan volumes in the first three quarters of this year have totalled $141 million so far, surpassing the $139 million in loans facilitated over the entire course of 2016, as shown below.

Source: Cuffelinks
Australia/New Zealand

Exemption for personalised digital (robo) advice (Scoop), Rated: A

Following the FMA’s release of its second consultation paper on personalised robo-advice (now called digital advice), the leading law firm has published its tips for providers looking to develop digital advice platforms.

Head of Russell McVeagh’s Corporate Advisory group, Dan Jones, says the exemption is a necessary first step in putting the New Zealand financial advice regime on equal footing with overseas regimes, and may provide particular assistance to New Zealanders in KiwiSaver.

India

How P2P lending can be a route to creating financial inclusion (Daily News & Analysis), Rated: A

For years, banks have had a monopoly in lending money to businesses and individuals. However, the 2007-08 financial crisis created a havoc, rapidly-expanding the funding gap. This led to the advent of a niche fintech vertical, peer-to-peer (P2P) lending.

The geographical reach of a P2P lending platform is far superior, with the major differentiator being its online interface. Such digital financial services play an important role in supporting the objective of financial inclusion. Anybody, from the remotest areas, having access to internet, can be eligible to get/give a loan.

In the age of digitisation where almost everyone has access to internet, such platforms have the potential to change the financial graph of a country.

Are P2P platforms safe for lending and borrowing? (India Times), Rated: B

While banks and non-banking finance companies (NBFC) are the readily available sources for loans, who does the P2P platform cater to? “Unfortunately, banks in India follow mediocre credit assessment policies which are suited only for borrowers who can offer collateral or have an impeccable credit history. In practice, majority of the borrowers lie in between these extremes. Therefore, majority of Indians can borrow on P2P platforms,” says Raghavendra Pratap Singh, co-founder, i2ifunding, an online P2P lending marketplace.

RBI has put a cap on the amount that can be borrowed and lent. The aggregate exposure of a lender or the maximum that one may borrow at any point of time, across all P2Ps, shall be capped at Rs 10 lakh. Even the exposure of a single lender to the same borrower, across all P2Ps, shall not exceed Rs 50,000 and the maturity of the loans shall not exceed 36 months. “More clarity from RBI is expected on how the regulator intends to monitor the compliance of this aspect and how it will fix the responsibility,” says Singh.

Risks for a lender
Since this is an unsecured loan where there is no face-to-face interaction, a P2P lender needs to be aware of the risks involved. Bubna says, “All investments involve risk. However, in comparison to equity or commodity market investments or real estate, P2P lending has lower risk as it is addressed by on-boarding high quality borrowers. Further, lenders are suggested to create a diversified portfolio of loans.”

Asia

Introducing ACE, Crowdo’s New Artificial Intelligence Due Diligence System (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Crowdo, a South East Asian online marketplace for P2P lending and crowdfunding unveiled today its proprietary Artificial Intelligence driven due diligence system, Crowdo ACE, aimed at benefiting both their borrowers and investors. Crowdo ACE takes into account a few thousand unconventional and alternative attributes and represents a new way to perform due diligence versus traditional means used by conventional financial institutions. It has already been applied to process more than 3,000 loans.

In a largely-unbanked Indonesia, Amartha uplifts women micro-entrepreneurs (YourStory), Rated: A

Twenty-six people, four nationalities, 10 days. Travelling across Southeast Asia as a Startup AsiaBerlin Roadshow delegate to explore startup ecosystems was an experience unto itself.

Amartha has so far disbursed over $13 million to 60,000 women micro-entrepreneurs and aims to improve their income, and ultimately quality of life.

Aria: Amartha is an Indonesian financial technology startup that focuses on providing affordable financial access, and mentorship to the unbanked population living below the poverty line. Amartha operates much like a peer-to-peer lending platform, and so far, has disbursed more than $13 million to 60,000 borrowers. The borrowers are mostly women micro-entrepreneurs and Amartha aims to improve their income, and ultimately alleviate their status through financial inclusion.

Aria: When we started operations in April 2016, we disbursed $40,000 a month. By the end of 2016, we were disbursing $800,000. Today, on average, we disburse $2.5 million per month. So far, we have disbursed more than $13 million, across more than 60,000 borrowers. The average ticket size of a loan now is around $300.

We charge a fee based on the profit sharing principle. Of the 22-30 percent annual interest rate paid by borrowers, we collect 11-13 percent for our revenue.

Africa

The Mauritian Financial Services Commission Issues Draft Peer-To-Peer lending Rules (Mondaq), Rated: AAA

Following the announcement of the Government on peer-to-peer lending and funding in the 2017-2018 Budget, the Mauritian Financial Services Commission (“Commission”) has issued draft rules on 10 November 2017 to regulate the peer-to-peer lending sector – as sector which has grown rapidly in other countries.

In the region, Kenya and Africa are leading in the peer-to-peer business lending market. According to a study conducted by the University of Cambridge, within Africa, South Africa had the largest number online alternative finance platforms, with $15 million raised in 2015 (The Africa and Middle East Alternative Finance Benchmarking Report, February, 2017).

Borrower and lender – a borrower must be a resident in Mauritius; however, there is no residency requirement for the lender.

Restrictions on amounts  Hence, a lender, who is a legal person, cannot lend more than MUR 500,000 (approx. GBP 11,000) in any 12 months’ period. A lender, who is a natural person, cannot lend an amount in excess of 10 per cent of his income or a maximum of MUR 300,000 (approx. GBP 6,600), whichever is lower, in any 12 months’ period.

Obligations of a P2P operator – the Peer-to-Peer operator must publish the following information on its website:

  • details of how the P2P lending will operate
  • measures to prevent money laundering and combatting terrorist financing
  • security measures to ensure data protection
  • dispute resolution mechanism.
Canada

Borrowell wins Deloitte Fast50 award (Borrowell Email), Rated: A

Borrowell has won a Companies to Watch award as part of the Deloitte Fast50 program. We are one of only eleven companies across Canada to win that award this year, and the only company from Toronto. Fast50 winners in the category for established companies include well-known names like Shopify, SkipTheDishes, Wave and Influitive. The list was announced an hour ago. 

Russia

Moscow Is On Its Way To Becoming A Smart City And Fintech Powerhouse (Forbes), Rated: A

Its citizens and businesses are also quick to adopt the latest disruptive technologies such as fintech and cryptocurrencies. Moscow has a 35 percent fintech adoption rate, higher than New York’s 33.1 percent.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday November 14 2017, Daily News Digest

Fed rates

News Comments Today’s main news: Prosper loses $26M with spike in lending. Prosper’s Q3 growth with $1.5B in securitizations for 2017. LexinFintech files for $500M U.S. IPO. Finastra named best in class. The first securities lending platform launched. Compass raises $100M for expansion. Today’s main analysis: The U.S. yield curve flattening. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Have we reached the end of […]

Fed rates

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

Prosper reports $ 26M loss despite spike in lending (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Prosper Marketplace recorded a big jump in loan originations during the third quarter, but the San Francisco-based online lender still racked up $26.9 million in losses.

The privately held firm has lost $210 million since the start of 2016, in spite of various cost-cutting measures. In July, Prosper announced plans to discontinue a personal finance app that it acquired in 2015.

Prosper Reports Third Quarter Growth; Closes $ 1.5 Billion of Securitizations in 2017 (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Prosper, a peer-to-peer lending platform for consumer loans, today reported growth in both transaction revenue and loan originations for the third quarter of 2017. Continued demand for Prosper’s personal loan product resulted in $822 million in loan originations through its platform, up 6% quarter-over-quarter and 164% year-over-year. The company also grew transaction fee revenue 5% quarter-over-quarter and 164% year-over-year.

The following table summarizes the financial highlights from the quarter:

Key Operating and Financial Metrics (Unaudited)
(in thousands)
Three Months Ended September 30,
2017 2016
Loan Originations $ 821,841 $ 311,776
Transaction Fees, Net 37,250 14,086
Servicing Fees, Net 6,976 7,079
Net Loss (26,940) (17,417)
Adjusted EBITDA(1) 7,271 (8,804)
Net Cash Provided by (Used in) Operating Activities 9,881 (4,237)

Summary of Key Financial Highlights:

  • Prosper facilitated $822 million in loan originations through its platform, up 6% quarter-over-quarter and 164% year-over-year, driven by strong demand for its personal loan product.
  • Transaction fee revenue rose to $37.2 million, up 5% quarter-over-quarter and 164% year-over-year.
  • The company reported a Net Loss of $26.9 million in the third quarter of 2017, which included $28.1 million in non-cash charges related to warrants to purchase preferred stock that were issued to a consortium of investors and a third party in connection with a settlement agreement.
  • Prosper generated $9.9 million of Net Cash from Operating Activities and Adjusted EBITDA(1) of $7.3 million in the third quarter of 2017.

The U.S. Yield Curve Is Flattening and Here’s Why It Matters (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

To put it simply, the Treasury yield curve measures the spread between short- and long-term debt issued by the U.S. government. It’s the extra compensation that investors demand to lock away their money for an extended period.

To get a sense of just how dramatic this trend has been, here’s a look at a handful of curve measures now versus the start of 2017. In trading Monday, they were all close to the flattest levels in a decade.

  • From two years to 10 years: 72 basis points, down from 125
  • From two years to 30 years: 119 basis points, down from 187
  • From five years to 10 years: 33 basis points, down from 52
  • From five years to 30 years: 80 basis points, down from 114

The two-year Treasury yield is at the highest level since 2008 as investors prepare for a rate hike in December, and begin to build up expectations for further increases next year.

Source: Bloomberg

Asset-liability managers like insurance companies and pension funds are always seeking duration, and 30-year Treasuries are among the best ways to get it. Combine that appetite with increased demand from passive mutual fund giantslike Vanguard and BlackRock, and you’ve got a recipe for a sustained bid on the long end of the Treasury curve.

Source: Bloomberg

If one does take history at face value though, the $14.3 trillion Treasuries market is sending a warning about the economic outlook. Yield curves are the flattest in a decade, and it’s no coincidence that about 10 years ago marked the start of an 18-month recession.

Source: Bloomberg

While banks’ lending margins have increased slightly from their 2015 lows, they remain below the average of the past 30 years, according to the Fed.

Real estate tech company Compass raises $ 100 million, plans massive expansion (Housingwire), Rated: AAA

That capital raise placed the company’s valuation at more than $1 billion.

Now, one year later, the company’s valuation is nearly double that, thanks to another significant capital raise.

Compass announced this week that it raised $100 million in its Series E investment round, which placed the company’s valuation at $1.8 billion.

All total, the company has now raised $325 million.

PeerStreet Continues to Expand Resources and Technology Services to Lenders (BusinessWire), Rated: A

PeerStreet, an award-winning platform for investing in real estate backed loans, is excited to announce that it is aggressively expanding available resources and tools for private real estate lenders on its platform.

PeerStreet lenders can now access detailed Property Valuation Reports which allow lenders to analyze property data and adjust property details to generate highly accurate valuations that reflect current or future market conditions. The data that makes this possible is licensed by PeerStreet from HouseCanary, a leading provider of real estate valuation data and analytics. PeerStreet is providing this service to our lenders free of charge through our Lender Platform.

“Currently, our platform is a robust secondary marketplace for lenders. We’ve purchased over half a billion in loans from local lenders, but we see great value in developing practical tools to grow lenders’ businesses beyond providing capital to them,” said Brew Johnson, Co-Founder and CEO of PeerStreet.

Hornets, LendingTree Announce New Multi-Year Founding Level Partnership Highlighted (NBA), Rated: A

The Charlotte Hornets and LendingTree today announced a multi-year partnership in which the Charlotte-based online loan marketplace’s logo will appear on the team’s jerseys, effective immediately.  LendingTree also becomes a Founding Level Partner of the organization and the Official Loan Shopping Partner of the Charlotte Hornets.  The Hornets will wear the LendingTree logo on their jerseys for the first time on Wednesday, November 15, when the team debuts its new Classic Edition uniform in an 8 p.m. contest against the Cleveland Cavaliers that will be televised nationally on ESPN.

Along with placement on all team uniforms, LendingTree will have fixed signage on the Spectrum Center concourse and on the venue’s mobile entry scanners, as well as digital signage on the scorer’s table, basket stanchion, center-hung scoreboard and 360 LED boards.  LendingTree also receives entitlement of the new Hornets app, the team roster page on hornets.com and score updates on the team’s social media outlets.  Additional advertising elements include banner ads and pre-roll video ads on hornets.com and spots on Hornets television broadcasts on FOX Sports Southeast and radio broadcasts on WFNZ.

Miles Reidy of QED Investors on Regtech (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • Miles varied background in finance and how he landed at QED Investors.
  • His areas of focus at QED.
  • How Miles defines regtech.
  • Why regtech has its origins in the changes brought on by the financial crisis.
  • The comparison of regtech to the changes that happened in consumer credit in the 1980s and ’90s.
  • How automation is making a difference today in KYC.
  • Why consumers should be in control of who has access to their personal information.
  • The most profound change that regtech is going to bring to financial services.
  • The single hardest job at a large bank today.
  • Why integration is the key for any successful regtech project at a large bank.
  • Why the real regulatory innovation will be driven by the UK.
  • Why QED decided to create their own regtech conference in Washington DC.
  • What they will be covering at this event.
  • What Miles thinks are the most interesting areas of regtech today.

Two Startup Acquisitions Within 30 Hours For Plug and Play FinTech (Business Insider), Rated: A

Within 30 hours, two of Plug and Play FinTech’s batch startups were acquired: Vault by Acorns and Qumram by Dynatrace.

The Guarantors Raises €10.07M in Series A Funding (FINSMES), Rated: A

The Guarantors, a NYC-based insurtech startup focused on the real estate industry, raised €10.07M (approx. $11.7M) in Series A funding.

The round was led by White Star Capital and Alven Capital with participation from SilverTech Ventures, Global Founders Capital, Rocket Internet Capital Partners, Partech Ventures, and other investors.

The company will use the funds to continue to develop the product and launch beyond NY in 2018.

The internet name many banks are afraid to use (American Banker), Rated: A

After Farmers & Merchants State Bank in Archbold, Ohio, switched its internet domain from dot-com to dot-bank, it got a handful of calls from customers wondering where its website had gone.

The $1 billion-asset bank also noted some assumed when a sentence ended “.bank.” in its promotional materials, the last period was part of the web address, instead of perfect punctuation.

Farmers & Merchants is one of only a few hundred institutions that have made the switch to the generic top-level domain that became widely available in mid-2015. While the extension is supposed to signal a bank is, in fact, a bank, the domain is still not available to most bank customers.

SEC Says Companies Can Expect New Guidelines on Reporting Cybersecurity Breaches (WSJ), Rated: A

A senior Securities and Exchange Commission regulator said Thursday that public companies will soon face new guidelines for how they report cybersecurity breaches to investors.

The agency will probably update directions that it gave to companies over six years ago, before the spate of high-profile breaches, including at the SEC itself and Equifax , EFX 0.05% Inc., the credit-reporting firm with access to sensitive financial details for millions of consumers.

How to Become an Investor: Startup Capital (Investor Ideas), Rated: A

While it is not encouraged to apply for loans from major financial institutions like big banks (owing to interest rates of 15% – 23%), there are other options such as Lending Club that offer interest rates at just 5.32% for preferred clients. With interest rates that low, it is viable to consider nonconventional options to get your investments up and running. Lending Club is one example of a highly reputable service comprising a community of lenders that can help investors achieve their objectives.

Survey Shows Payday Borrowers Have No Regrets (Credit Union Times), Rated: A

According to the CFPB, payday loan companies collectively raked in roughly $3.6 billion in fee revenue in 2015. The CFPB also estimated that there are 15,766 payday loan stores throughout the U.S., slightly more than the country’s 14,350 McDonalds.

This lending product is commonly targeted at low-income consumers who use payday loans as plugs gaps in expenses in order to keep them afloat. Some credit unions see this an opportunity to help the underserved/underbanked market.

The Hoboken, N.J.-based LendEDU polled 1,000 consumers who have used a payday loan in the last year with some surprising results:

  • The average payday loan borrower used a payday loan 3.80 times in the last year.
  • Eighty-two percent said they looked at the interest rate and fees before borrowing.
  • The average amount borrowed was $442.16.
  • Fifty-one percent said they did not regret using a payday loan.
  • Two-thirds of respondents said they explored other borrowing options (ex. installment loans, credit cards) before using a payday loan.

However, some 75% of respondents indicated they were well informed throughout the application process; and when asked “Did payday loans make your financial situation better or worse off?” more borrowers stated that payday loans made their situations better, (44.2%) than worse, (30.3%).

FinTech Fast Tracks Mortgages (The MReport), Rated: B

According to a report by Sarah Strochak of the Urban Institute, the outpouring of financial technology (fintech) in the mortgage space has brought with it all sorts of innovation, including new ways to capture data, reaching more people and expanding access to credit. The Urban institute also states that in having the ability to reach more people, fintech firms also have the potential to disrupt the inequality status quo in the economy.

For example, the Urban Institute draws on the case of Down Payment Resource, a company that has created a database that matches customers with down payment assistance programs.

United Kingdom

Weekend press review: “…of a return to normality in markets that are still climbing a wall of worry about valuations…” (IFA Magazine), Rated: AAA

The Telegraph asks a question which will evoke a sigh from many readers. Have we seen the end of the peer-to-peer lending boom? Last year’s record £3.2 billion lending total – of which two thirds went to Zopa, Funding Circle or RateSetter – has been impacted by a succession of unrelated bad news stories.

First there’s been the falling rate of returns, which run at barely 3.7% for Zopa Core 4.5% at Zopa Plus – down by a good 1.5% since the good times. Not to mention a deteriorating risk situation: nowadays, the Telegraph says, fully 20% of applicants get Zopa approval compared with barely 0.5% in the old days. That puts Zopa’s approval rate on a par with the mainstream banks.

P2P sector urges chancellor to set bold housing agenda in Autumn Budget (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE PEER-TO-PEER lending sector has called on the chancellor to introduce a more ambitious housing programme in this month’s Budget.

There have been several rumours about the content of Philip Hammond’s first Autumn Budget, set for 22 November 2017, including the scrapping of stamp duty for first-time buyers.

Supporters of the policy claim it could help to bridge the UK’s generational divide, but P2P lenders think a more transformative housing policy is required.

Fintech startup Flux partners with Barclays for itemised receipts (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Flux, the London fintech startup founded by former early employees at Revolut, has announced a partnership with Barclays in the U.K. that will see it trial its itemised receipt technology with 10,000 of the bank’s customers.

The young company has built a software platform that bridges the gap between the itemised receipt data captured by a merchant’s point-of-sale (POS) system and what little information typically shows up on your bank statement or mobile banking app.

ThinCats Appoints Alison Whistance to Cover South-West Region (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Alison Whistance, described as a finance expert, joins ThinCats as Origination Manager, South-West, as the peer to peer lender gears up for its next period of growth. Recently, ThinCats announced a £200 million funding program in conjunction with its parent company ESF Capital.

FinTech firms, banks and insurers give evidence to Committee (Parliament.uk), Rated: B

The EU Financial Affairs Sub-Committee continues its inquiry on financial regulation and supervision by taking evidence from banks, insurers and FinTech specialists.

Witnesses

Wednesday 15 November 2017 in Committee Room 4A, Palace of Westminster.

At 10.15am

  • Sally Dewar, International Head of Regulatory Affairs, JP Morgan
  • Julian Adams, Group Regulatory & Government Relations Director, Prudential

At 11.15am

  • Flora Coleman, Head of Government Relations, Transferwise
  • Charlotte Crosswell, Chief Executive Officer, Innovate Finance
China

LexinFintech files for $ 500m IPO in US (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

LexinFintech Holdings, a Chinese online consumer lending company, has filed for a $500m initial public offering in the US and in the process revealed that funding costs have spiked this year – just as Beijing has signalled its intent to crack down on the sector in a drive to rein in financial risk.

LexinFintech said in a Securities Exchange Commission filing that it was seeking to raise as much as $500m from its listing on the Nasdaq equities exchange under the ticker symbol “LX”.

The company said total operating revenue for the nine months to the end of September rose 35.3 per cent year on year to Rmb3.99bn ($600.6m), while operating costs rose 19.9 per cent to Rmb3.1bn, shaking out to a net profit of Rmb5.8m for the period, compared to a loss of Rmb193.7m a year prior.

‘Proptech’ follows fintech’s footsteps (China Daily), Rated: A

In the past few years, technology has revolutionized the financial sector, and as fintech continues to swell into more sectors, the real estate industry will welcome its own version, known as proptech, according to a senior executive from international real estate consultancy company Jones Lang LaSalle.

Perhaps the most prominent example of fintech on life in China is the ubiquity of mobile payment. The Better Than Cash Alliance reported earlier this year that Alipay and WeChat Pay enabled $2.9 trillion in Chinese digital payments in 2016, a 20-fold increase in the past four years.

A recent HSBC study finds that 70 percent of Chinese millennials have their own property, with 91 percent planning to buy a house in the next five years, a greater percentage than their counterparts in countries including Canada, France, the US and the UK.

European Union

Orange Bank goes live with Backbase banking platform (Banking Technology), Rated: A

France’s latest mobile-only bank, Orange Bank, has gone live on Backbase’sOmnichannel Banking Platform.

Backbase says Orange is the only French bank to offer for free a service that provides real-time balances, mobile payments and a virtual adviser that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

European Commission to Assess Potential of EU-Wide Blockchain Infrastructure (Coindesk), Rated: B

The European Commission (EC), the economic bloc’s legislative body, is launching a study aimed to assess the feasibility and potential of an EU-wide blockchain infrastructure.

The study, which is set to cost €250,000, will focus on whether blockchain can assist the EC’s objective of creating the conditions for a reliable, transparent and EU law compliant “data and transactional environment.”

International

FINASTRA SOLUTIONS NAMED BEST-IN-CLASS (Finastra), Rated: AAA

Aite Group has awarded Finastra “Best-in-Class” status for its commercial loan origination solutions, including Total Lending powered by LaserPro and FusionBanking Credit Management Enterprise (CME). The standing reinforces Finastra’s position as the industry leader in end-to-end commercial lending.

Aite Group’s bi-annual report, Commercial Loan Origination: Scoping the Market and Comparing the Vendors, is a comprehensive review and ranking of the 10 leading global commercial loan origination vendors. It uses a highly governed and quantitative vendor evaluation methodology known as the Aite Impact Matrix (AIM), which provides an in-depth market assessment of financial technology vendors.

Total Lending, powered by LaserPro (the installed base of which was evaluated based on the long-standing D+H commercial loan origination capabilities that comprise this new “good-better-best” tiered offering) was recognized by Aite Group as having the highest client strength score.

FusionBanking Credit Management Enterprise obtained the highest score for product features, delivering on the largest number of required commercial loan origination functionalities with the least amount of required configuration or custom code.

Finastra also received the “All Things to Everyone” award for its breadth of offerings from a single vendor.

SBL Network Ltd launches peer-to-peer securities lending platform (FTSE Global Markets), Rated: AAA

SBL Network Ltd, the new financial technology company created to provide transaction and information services to the global capital markets industry, is to launch the industry’s first peer-to-peer securities lending platform.

Aquila Network provides the first market place allowing major institutional owners of equities such as Pension Funds, Insurance Companies and Sovereign Wealth Funds, to negotiate and lend directly to Hedge Funds.

SBL has raised approximately £1m this year via two EIS-qualifying funding rounds and now announces the launch of its Aquila Network, the first peer-to-peer securities lending platform, established in response to what the firm says is growing demand for greater transparency in the securities lending marketplace.

What to Expect When Participating in a Token Launch (Consensys), Rated: AAA

When you initially learn about a token launch you’d like to participate in, gather all the information you can. Not every token launch is structured in the same way.

Make sure you do a few things before the token launch begins:

  • Research, research, research
  • Understand the value proposition of the project
  • Know the prerequisites you need in order to be a valid investor
  • Find out how you will pay for the token, and how tokens will be distributed

Watch out for Red Flags

The Ethereum space is exciting and full of opportunities, but there are scammers and phishers of all sorts looking to take advantage of people’s trust.

  • Never share your private key
  • Always do a deep read of the whitepaper, check out the source code
  • Listen to the community

KPMG: In Q3 Global Fintech Investment Hit $ 8.2 Billion (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Overall, global Fintech investment remains solid with$8.2 billion invested across 274 deals.

Some of the larger investments  during the quarter include:

  • Intacct – $850 million
  • Concardis – $806 million
  • CardConnect – $ 750 million
  • Xactly – $564 million
  • Merchants’ Choice Payments solutions – $470 million
  • Access Point Financial $350 million
  • Service Finance Company – $304 million
  • Prodigy Finance – $204 million
  • TIO Networks – $238.9 million
  • Dianrong – $220 million

Insurtech is on course for a record breaking year with VC investments standing at $1.53 billion by the end of Q3 for 179 deals. For the entire year of 2016, Insurtech saw $1.79 billion invested in 203 deals.

Regionally, Fintech deals break down as follows:

  • Americas – $5.35 billion for 158 deals
    • the US claimed $5 billion and 142 deals
  • Europe – $1.66 billion for 73 deals
    • The UK dominated
  • Asia – $1.2 billion fro 41 deals
    • China continued to dominate but deals in Hong Kong, India and Korea were in the top 10
India

How to take a bank loan while working for a blacklisted employer (Financial Express), Rated: A

What happens when a company gets blacklisted? Will the employees have access to credit or will they get declined despite having good credit scores and salaries?

If one lands in such a situation, the logical thing to do is to change the employer. More because it would not only have an impact on one’s credit life, but more importantly, continued employment with a blacklisted employer can lead to financial disruptions sooner or later.

If the need for funding arises while being employed with a such company, one could take the following steps:

# The first lending institution to be contacted has to be the bank with your salary account.

# Each lending institution has its own methodology of categorizing companies and the current employer may not be part of the list with all lenders. So, “there may be some lenders willing to give loans unless one is employed with prominent companies that go bankrupt (as we have seen over past few years). However, one has to be very careful and in the endeavor to procure credit one must not apply with various lenders at the same time since this can have adverse impact on the credit profile. A better option would be to connect with a credit advisor with established repute and seek assistance,” informs Ramamurthy.

# Peer to peer lending is another new age option that can be explored by such individuals.

Asia

Kazakh fintech start-up holds its first global ICO (Astana Times), Rated: A

LendEx financial-tech (fintech) start-up plans to initiate an ICO (Initial Coin Offering) using the Ethereum platform based on block chain technology. The investments will be used to launch the LendEx P2P (peer to peer) lending platform, which will focus on online lending to clients in Central and Southeast Asia.

“The LendEx online platform, built with the help of block chain technologies, will provide crypto investors with access to the platform and will allow issuing microcredits for borrowers checked in national currencies,” said fintech entrepreneur and start-up author Alexey Sidorov.

The LendEx release will be held in two stages: the actual ICO and pre-ICO, which will begin Dec. 1.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday May 25 2017, Daily News Digest

P2P global investments

News Comments Today’s main news: Investors pressure OnDeck to make bigger expense cuts. LendingClub celebrates 10 years in business. Zopa launches ISA. Earnest is not for sale, after all. Orca to launch new P2P rating service. Moody’ downgrades China on debt risk. The first ETF for ABS. Today’s main analysis: Orchard Platform reports Q1 results. Today’s thought-provoking articles: 10 years of excellence […]

P2P global investments

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

  • Moody’s downgrades China on debt risk. GP:”Unclear if this will have a real effect on the capital markets but it will certainly anger the Chinese government. If I were the Chinese government I would setup my own rating agency and build it into a real credible agency and not a government puppet so that the day when I need my own rating agency to maybe skew a little bit the ratings it will be credible enough.”
  • Chinese investors among majority of EB-5 visa recipients. AT: “It’s not surprising. One reason cited in this story is the harsh treatment offered to Christians by the Chinese government, so many of these families are using financial concerns as a cover up for religious oppression concerns. Both are legitimate.”

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Middle East

News Summary

United States

OnDeck under pressure to make bigger cuts to cost base (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Activist investors are turning up the heat on OnDeck, the online lender, which said this month it would curb originations and cut costs in an attempt to turn a profit by the end of the year.

The company still needed to think bigger, according to Mario Cibelli, managing partner at Marathon Partners Equity Management, who wrote to board members in April urging them to take an axe to the $194m annual cost base and explore a sale of the business. Net revenues, after loan-loss provisions and funding costs, came to $109m last year.

Pressure on OnDeck is likely to come from other quarters too. EJF Capital, an activist investor, has built a stake equivalent to about 9 per cent of the shares outstanding since the turn of the year, according to disclosures tallied by Bloomberg. In February the Arlington, Virginia-based group, which ranks as OnDeck’s second-largest shareholder with more than 9 per cent, said it may seek talks with management.

LendingClub Celebrates Ten Years of Online Lending (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

LendingClub (NYSE:LC), the largest marketplace lender in the US, is celebrating its tenth anniversary. It is pretty hard to believe that LendingClub is now ten years old.

To paraphrase the LendingClub history:

  • Within the first 100 days of its existence, LendingClub originated its first $1 million in loan. The average interest rate, at that time, stood at 12.6%. By the end of 2007,  LendingClub had originated about 500 loans for a total of $3.5 million.
  • In 2010, LendingClub originated $10 million in a single month.
  • By 2012, LendingClub has originated $1 billion loans as institutional money becomes more interested in the Fintech platform. The following year, the first banks start investing on the LendingClub platform.
  • In 2014 Lending Club launched its IPO – the second largest for the year.
  • By 2017, LendingClub has originated more than $26 billion in loans as it enters the next decade of financial innovation.

10 Years of Excellence & Innovation (LendingClub), Rated: AAA

  • 2007 By August, the LendingClub website launches. By year’s end, approximately 500 loans worth over $3.5 million are made. 
  • 2008 The subprime mortgage crisis spreads; global markets sell off and the Great Recession takes hold. Despite the chaos and potential risk of halting its burgeoning business, LendingClub demonstrates its commitment to working with regulators, entering a six-month quiet period to register with the SEC and prepare to issue a security (the Note) that can be offered and sold to investors through its website.
  • 2009 LendingClub continues to stay focused on the opportunity to deliver investment alternatives to investors and introduces LendingClub IRAs to allow investors to use the platform to work toward their retirement goals.
  • 2010 Propelled by its SEC registered Notes and a robust investor base, LendingClub crosses $100 million in loans and 10,000 borrowers in the first quarter. By March, the company captures 79% of the U.S. marketplace lending market after facilitating $8,664,750 in monthly loan originations.
  • 2011 LendingClub continues to innovate on its borrower and investor offerings, surpassing $200 million in loans for borrowers at the beginning of the year. 
  • 2012 In 2012 alone, U.S. banks close 2,267 branches and approve a record-low 14.8% of small business loan requests. LendingClub is named to the World Economic Forum’s Technology Pioneers 2012 list and originations top $1 billion.
  • 2013 LendingClub welcomes its first bank investor partners to the platform – Titan Bank and Congressional Bank.
  • 2014 A big year for tech IPOs, LendingClub is one of the biggest of the year, coming in second to Alibaba and listed on the NYSE alongside others, including Virgin America and GoPro.
  • 2015 Big banks continue to cut back on loans to small businesses, making it difficult for them to get access to credit. LendingClub becomes a founding member of the Small Business Borrower’s Bill of Rights and expands small business products to include a small business line of credit. 
  • 2016 LendingClub launches its auto refinance product, delivering a lower-cost alternative to car owners. 
  • 2017 LendingClub looks toward a new decade of financial innovation, leveraging the power of its marketplace model to deliver more value to both borrowers and investors. An investor mobile application is launched, making it easier than ever for retail investors to track their progress.

Thank you for 10 years (LendingClub Email), Rated: AAA

From the LendingClub newsletter:

Over the past 10 years, you have helped power the loans facilitated by LendingClub’s platform for borrowers looking to finance their financial lives. Together, we have helped nearly 2 million borrowers access affordable credit. That means we’ve helped finance debt consolidation, home improvement projects, medical expenses and weddings for millions of people in the United States.

  • More than 160,000 retail investors have gotten unprecedented access to invest in consumer credit through LendingClub’s platform
  • Nearly 2 million borrowers have gotten access to affordable credit through LendingClub’s marketplace
  • 98% of investors who invest in 100+ Notes of relatively equal size have seen positive returns
  • 1,700 loans are reviewed per day, and more than 50,800 loans per month
  • Loans receive full commitment in 3-4 days on average
  • Auto refinance customers saved an average of $1,500
  • Borrowers pay 24% lower in interest than they were paying on their outstanding debt or credit cards
  • 73% of borrowers experience a FICO score increase three months after obtaining their loan–with an average score increase of 28 points!

Consumer Unsecured Q1 2017 (Orchard Platform), Rated: AAA

Key Insights

  • Origination volume increased in Q1, continuing the trend that began last quarter. Q1 origination volume was up 4.6% from Q4, though still down 44% from Q4 2015, when the market reached its highest originations. Early indications in 2017 are that investor sentiment is improving, and we believe we’re likely to see increased investment over the next quarter.
  • 2014 and 2015 vintage charge-offs have increased more steeply than in prior years. We believe there are two main sources driving this increase. First, individual platforms have shown increasing charge-offs during these years. We do not have strong evidence of the reasons for this deterioration, but in recent months, some of the larger platforms have reworked their credit models which they believe should address the increases they have seen. Second, and also important to note, is that 2014 and 2015 vintages experienced substantial growth in subprime originations, which tend to charge-off at higher rates. The increase in subprime loans as a percentage of the overall market skews the results for recent years upward when compared with the originations from previous years that had a smaller percentage of subprime loans.
  • Borrower rates rose slightly in Q1, increasing 24bps from Q4 levels. The long-term trend over the last three years has been decreasing interest rates, in part driven by the decline of subprime originations in the past year. This will be an interesting statistic to monitor in the coming year as the Fed continues to raise interest rates in line with their tightening policy.
Source: Orchard Platform Quarterly Industry Report
Source: Orchard Platform Quarterly Industry Report
Source: Orchard Platform Quarterly Industry Report

With an Asset-Backed Debt ETF, the Bet Is If You Can Pay What You Owe (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

BlackRock Inc.’s planned iShares Consumer Asset-Backed Securities ETF will invest in notes supported by consumer loans, such as student debt and credit cards, according to a regulatory filing on Friday. If approved, it will be the first ETF to target the ABS market.

Consumer debt has ballooned in recent years as Americans ramp up borrowing and capitalize on historically low interest rates. Household debt topped $12.7 trillion in the first quarter, up 1.2 percent from the end of 2016. Signs of trouble are however brewing, with suspicions of fraud in some auto loan applications, a decline in credit-card recovery rates and an increase in late payments on private student loans.

The iShares MBS ETF has $10.6 billion under management while the iShares CMBS ETF oversees $240 million, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Futuristic Fintech, With a Female Focus (WSJ), Rated: A

SCOTT SAUNDERS, CEO of the online lending company Payoff, did not set out to build a personalized financial coaching app for women. In 2014, he began assembling a team that eventually included a cognitive neuroscientist, a marketer, an advertising executive and the data scientist behind eHarmony’s match algorithm. The goal: to build an app that used psychological testing to match users of both genders with artificially intelligent financial coaches. By focusing on the intersection of money and psychology, Saunders hoped to minimize financial stress and maximize the pleasure users get from spending and saving.

Earnest Not for Sale. Securitization is Moving Forward (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Last week, Crowdfund Insider referenced a report in Bloomberg that Earnest was looking for buyers as it struggled to raise new funds. A company representative has now stated that Earnest is not looking to sell the company.

Zibby Announces $ 13.5 Million Investment led by CURO Financial Technologies Corp. and MissionOG (LendIt), Rated: A

Zibby, the omnichannel lease‐to‐own payment option for online and in‐store shopping, today announced a $13.5 million investment led by CURO and MissionOG, with participation from Blumberg Capital, Tribeca Venture Partners and other institutional investors. This brings Zibby’stotal capital raised to more than $150 million. With the investment, Zibby will further expand its presence among retailers to offer non‐prime and near‐prime customers a monthly payment option for furniture, appliances, electronics and other consumer durables.

Baltimore fintech startup Blispay raises $ 12 million (Baltimore Sun), Rated: A

Blispay, a Baltimore-based financial technology company, has raised $12 million to accelerate the marketing and sales outreach for its financing platform.

The Series A round was led by FirstMark, Accomplice and NEA. New investors included Camden Partners and F-Prime Capital. The round brings the company’s total funding to just under $25 million.

Frost & Sullivan Commends AutoGravity for Transforming Automotive Financing Industry (Frost & Sullivan), Rated: A

Based on its recent analysis of the automotive financing industry, Frost & Sullivan recognizes AutoGravity with the 2017 North American Frost & Sullivan Entrepreneurial Company of the Year Award. AutoGravity’s first-of-its-kind FinTech platform empowers car buyers to browse any new or used car, get multiple binding financing offers in minutes and select the deal and lender that’s right for them. Just months after launching its native mobile app in the summer of 2016, AutoGravity introduced new car leasing and used car loan features with the aim of transforming the auto financing industry.

While simplifying the financing process for customers, AutoGravity’s app also saves dealers the effort of educating customers on various models and financing options. Additionally, it saves time by eliminating the need to apply for financing at the dealership and process pages of paperwork. Most significantly, it supports dealers by providing them with qualified, enthusiastic car buyers.

Currently, AutoGravity has 60+ employees, and has recorded 350,000 app downloads in just one year. It has expanded to 48 states in the United States and has on-boarded many of the nation’s top-20 automotive lenders, as well as 1,500+ dealers. Due to these successes and its ability to break new ground in the auto financing industry, Frost & Sullivan is pleased to present AutoGravity with the 2017 North American Entrepreneurial Company of the Year Award.

Fintech Tools That Can Change The World Of Finance (Forbes), Rated: A

According to an EY study last year, fintech is growing in popularity, with roughly 15.5% of digitally active consumers using financial tech products — a figure that was likely to double within 12 months. The United States had the second-highest adoption rate of fintech tools (16.5%), following Hong Kong with 29.1%.

  • 1. Artificial Intelligence – Fenergo deploys A.I. to analyze unstructured data, including social media, intracompany communication and linguistics in order to more effectively satisfy Know-Your-Customer and Anti-Money-Laundering requirements. – Jason LeeDailyPay
  • 2. Peer-To-Peer And Apple Pay 
  • 5. Riskalyze, RetireUp and Asset-Map – Riskalyze provides a user-friendly and client-facing software that allows us to tell the story of risk, which we believe is crucial for an investor to understand in order to have success. RetireUp, a user-friendly income planning tool, and Asset-Map offer very visual understandings to clients on where they stand when it comes to their finances. – Lance ScottBay Harbor Wealth Management
  • 7. PeerStreet And WorldRemit – Services like WorldRemit are empowering immigrants with better choice, security and transparency in sending money back home to their loved ones. – Binna KimVested
  • 8. Faster Payment Rails – Our old ACH network is improving. Instead of settling payments once per day, as it has for decades, it will start to settle multiple times per day. This will improve settlement success rates and prevent e-check kiting. Coming right behind this improvement are a number of real-time payment initiatives. – Charlie YouakimSezzle
  • 9. Decision Logic – I’m excited about Decision Logic because it provides lenders the ability to verify a borrower’s sensitive information and understand their borrower’s financial history. – Chad OtarExcel Capital Management, Inc.
  • 10. Peer-To-Peer Lending
  • 11. Robo-Advisers
  • 12. Greenlight – I just got my ten-year-old daughter a Greenlight card. It allows me to automate her allowance and potentially control the spaces where she spends money. – Matthew MayAcuity 

Fintech reinvents lottery bonds (Financial Times), Rated: A

Silicon Valley entrepreneurs have a knack for taking old things and making them look new. The latest example of which is Long Game, which TechCrunch tells us is “a bank account, with a twist”:

The personal finance app allows users to play games and win cash prizes up to $1 million. It may sound like a gimmick, but these are FDIC-insured accounts backed by Blue Ridge Bank in Virginia.

[…]

In addition to the possibilities of cash rewards, users accrue .1 percent interest. She hopes that participants will take saving seriously and view the games as a bonus.

While Long Game touts the $1 million prize possibility, so far the largest check they’ve written is $1,000. Like the actual lottery, it’s an odds-based game and the chances of the app making you a millionaire are 1 in 227 million.

Here is the GAO Report on Fintech that was Delivered to Congress (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

This one falls under recently discovered. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report on Financial Technology, or Fintech, for Congress this past April.

The GAO explained;

“You asked us to provide information on the fintech industry, including the marketplace lending subsector, such as its structure and development over the last several years, as well as how federal regulators supervise fintech firms. This report, the first in a series of planned reports on fintech, describes four commonly referenced subsectors of fintech: marketplace lending; mobile payments; digital wealth management; and distributed ledger technology and their regulatory oversight.”

Ann Fulmer Joins FormFree as Chief Strategy and Industry Relations Officer (PR Newswire), Rated: A

FormFree today announced that it has hired mortgage loan quality subject matter expert and analyst Ann Fulmer as its chief strategy and industry relations officer. FormFree’s flagship product, AccountChek, is an asset verification app that streamlines the loan underwriting process for both borrowers and lenders, resulting in higher borrower satisfaction and shaving more than a week off the time it takes to close a loan.

In her role, Fulmer will drive FormFree’s strategic planning and implementation, manage the firm’s institutional relationships and interactions with federal and state regulators and oversee outreach to industry associations and advocacy groups. In addition, she will spearhead the firm’s long-term development of a comprehensive mortgage compliance solution.

New fiduciary rule for financial advisers expected to go into effect in June (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette), Rated: B

Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta on Tuesday made it clear that the U.S. Department of Labor would not delay the implementation of the rule,  announcing the agency’s intentions in a Wall Street Journal opinion column.

Tuesday’s announcement that the rule is going forward may not be the end of the discussion.

How Small Businesses Can Benefit from Loyalty Programs (Kabbage), Rated: B

Almost all companies find that they have to spend less money to keep customers than they have to spend to attract new people through the door or to their shopping website. Some companies may access small business loans for their initial investment. They understand that they can benefit from this investment because it provides them with an efficient way to market. The extra profits will allow them to pay the loan back and keep more for themselves.

United Kingdom

Zopa announces ISA launch (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Zopa, the pioneering financial services company, announces today that it will launch its Innovative Finance ISAs in June (pending HMRC approval). With demand expected to be high, existing customers will be given priority access ahead of new customers.

In preparation for the Innovative Finance ISA, Zopa is also revamping its investor products by introducing Zopa Core and announcing the retirement of Zopa Access and Classic. Investors in Zopa Core will lend in the same risk markets as Access and Classic (A*-C) but will not be covered by the Safeguard fund. Zopa Core will offer a higher target return of 3.9% after fees and expected credit losses, as compared to 3.7% and 2.9% for Classic and Access.

The Innovative Finance ISA will be launched in four phases:
1. The first stage (from 15th June) will be focused on existing customers who want to open a new IFISA (limit of £20,000) and lend through Core and Plus.
2. The second stage (1st July 2017 to 31st July 2017) will enable existing customers to sell their current loans and re-purchase similar loans in an IFISA wrapper. This will allow investors to retain Safeguarded loans in the IFISA. Any investing through new lending, or relending as capital is returned, will be onto Plus or Core only.
3. The third stage (from August 2017, but dependent on meeting demand for new IFISAs) will allow existing customers to transfer existing ISA investments with other providers to Zopa.
4. And finally, once we have met demands of existing customers, we will welcome investments from new customers.

UK P2P Lending Market Researcher Orca Dives into P2P Provider Rating Services (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Orca, an independent data, research and analysis providers on the UK P2P lending market has announced its plans to launch its own four-factor rating service for individual P2P providers, the Orca Rating. The rating will be designed in partnership with Dublin City University’s Irish Centre for Cloud Computing and Commerce research team, to respond to the growth of the asset class and the demand for more independent analysis and information on P2P lending.

The Orca rating will individually analyze four factors — performance, liquidity, operator health and security — aiming to go beyond existing single platform ratings and enable advisers and investors to assess all fundamental criteria at once when comparing and choosing P2P lending platforms.

According to Orca data, the P2P market has now surpassed £9B cumulative total lent with 2016 alone seeing a 40% increase in investment in the asset class.

P2P lender ArchOver granted full FCA authorisation (Finextra), Rated: A

ArchOver, the peer-to-peer (P2P) business lending platform, has secured full authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to operate as a P2P lending platform (Article 36H).

Since launching in September 2014, ArchOver has facilitated over £35 million of investment over its platform, operating under interim permissions granted by the FCA. Full authorisation will support ArchOver in attracting new lenders to the platform and allow it to continue working with businesses to make access to funding as easy and simple as possible.

M&A hits Alternative Credit: MW Eaglewood to merge with Pollen Street Capital (AltFi), Rated: A

The respective managers of the £822m P2P Global Investments and the £200m HoneyComb investment trusts will merge, creating one of the largest specialist asset management  firms focused on non-bank lending.

MW Eaglewood and Pollen Street Capital, the respective two parties, are under discussion as to adjustments to their mandates but Lindsey McMurray, managing partner of Pollen Street, will become head of the new firm which will be called Pollen Street Capital.

P2P Global Investments is the largest closed-ended fund investing in non-bank lending in the UK, having launched three years ago. While, as its name suggests, it originally was a vehicle for exposure to the P2P and marketplace lending market it has moved more into niches within the alternative Credit spectrum in recent months.

Should more bridging lenders launch mobile apps? (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

Moving to an app-based approach is something that many players in the bridging industry would like to do sooner rather than later, according to LendInvest.

The comments follow the news that bridging lender Henley Finance will be releasing its first app on 1st June in order to make applying for finance easier.

Are FinTech brands a real alternative to traditional banking? (The River Group), Rated: A

Now, mobile banking has been a ‘thing’ for more than a decade and, according to research by ING, 55 per cent of us in the UK are managing our finances this way, with a further rise of 12 per cent expected this year.

Atom pitches itself as so customer-centric that you can personalise the app and actually choose the colours of the logo and how the name of your bank appears on your phone. Its tone is highly conversational, quirky without seeming unprofessional.

Atom pitches itself as so customer-centric that you can personalise the app and actually choose the colours of the logo and how the name of your bank appears on your phone. Its tone is highly conversational, quirky without seeming unprofessional.

Whereas traditional banks are still perceived as slow, Monzo demonstrates the speed of its technology.

Both businesses are inviting collaboration to help develop their services – Monzo through sharing its API so customers can build apps using their own data, and Atom through inviting members to join its community.

China

China Hit by First Moody’s Downgrade Since 1989 on Debt Risk (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Moody’s Investors Service cut its rating on China’s debt for the first time since 1989, challenging the view that the nation’s leadership will be able to rein in leverage while maintaining the pace of economic growth.

Stocks and the yuan slipped in early trading after Moody’s reduced the rating to A1 from Aa3 on Wednesday, with markets paring losses in the afternoon. Moody’s cited the likelihood of a “material rise” in economy-wide debt and the burden that will place on the state’s finances, while also changing the outlook to stable from negative.

Total outstanding credit climbed to about 260 percent of GDP by the end of 2016, up from 160 percent in 2008, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. At the same time, China’s external debt is low by international standards, at around 12 percent of gross domestic product, according to the International Monetary Fund, meaning that a downgrade isn’t likely to be as disruptive as it would be for nations more reliant on international funding.

While China’s debt risks have been swelling for years, the cut by Moody’s comes as some of those pressures ease. Nominal economic growth in the first quarter rose at the fastest pace since 2012 — 11.8 percent in current-price terms — making the problem of excess leverage a little more manageable, while the return of factory price inflation is beefing up profits for indebted state-owned industries, helping them service and repay loans.

Moody’s lowered China’s credit-rating outlook to negative from stable in March 2016, citing rising debt, falling currency reserves and uncertainty over authorities’ ability to carry out reforms. About a month later, S&P Global Ratings also warned that rising local debt was pressuring the nation’s rating.

S&P currently rates China’s foreign and local-currency long-term debt at AA- with a negative outlook, and Fitch places an A+ rating on both foreign and local currency long-term debt with a stable outlook.

Chinese Investors Among Majority Of EB-5 Visa Recipients (NPR), Rated: A

The EB-5 visa grants permanent U.S. residence to anyone investing a half million dollars in a U.S.-based development project. Eighty percent of EB-5 recipients are Chinese.

WANG: (Through interpreter) Actually, everyone I know has applied for EB-5s. We’re just ordinary people. We’re not wealthy.

WANG: (Through interpreter) I’m only doing this for my son’s education. He is in a good local school, but all they do is study for tests. The Chinese education system turns everyone into the same type of person.

European Union

Narrow Escape for German RECF, Green Crowdinvesting Now in Legislator’s Crosshairs (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The Financial Committee therefore rejected the proposal to extend the prospectus exemption of crowdinvesting ‒which currently applies only to the suboptimal shareholder loans, to all securities, including equity shares. The committee also concluded against raising the threshold of fundraising requiring a prospectus from €2.5 million to €5 million, and in favor of keeping the crowdinvesting ceiling per project per retail investor at €1,000 (€10,000, if qualified investor).

On one issue, however, the German crowdfunding sector breathed a sigh of relief: the proposal made by credit institutions to exclude real estate crowdfunding from the KASG has been taken off the table.

The opponents to real estate crowdfunding had alleged that real estate should be excluded from the crowdfunding exemptions because real estate projects did not foster innovation, as projects in crowdfunding should, and because crowdfunding them could trigger to a real estate bubble. These arguments were successfully rebuffed.

Next to real estate, green Crowdinvesting is also a very successful branch of German crowdinvesting. Its most common form is the refinancing of existing renewable energy (photovoltaic, wind and bioenergy) plants through platforms such as fairzinsung, Greenvesting, GreenXmoney LeihDeinerUmweltGeld und Wiwin. The yield is guaranteed by feed-in tariffs. Other platforms, such as Bettervest, specialize in energy-efficiency projects. Several, such as ecoligo facilitate investments in renewable energy in developing countries. Many of the platforms are not only financial brokers between issuers and investors, they are also expert advisors, shareholders, or service operators for the issuers.

In the eyes of the legislator, human or capital ties between issuers and platforms pose a risk of conflict of interest and should be forbidden. According to the committee, a platform tied to an issuer would not be able to vet its projects with the necessary objectivity, hence would not properly defend the interests of the investors.

International

Ant Financial close to buying MoneyGram (New York Post), Rated: AAA

Chinese billionaire Jack Ma’s Ant Financial is moving closer to getting regulatory approval to buy MoneyGram, The Post has learned — despite concerns in Washington about money laundering.

“Ant and its advisers are working very constructively with [federal regulators]” to close the $1.2 billion MoneyGram acquisition, a source close to the situation said, referring to the Congressional Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, which must approve the transaction as it involves a major foreign investment in a company in a key business sector.

Shareholders of Dallas-based MoneyGram, a money-transfer company, approved the sale to Ant for $18 a share on May 16.

How to Make it as a Woman in FinTech: “Don’t Wait to Become a Leader” (Finovate), Rated: A

Adding to our stellar line up of leading women in FinTech, we speak to Alex Foster about how she has become Head of Insurance & Finance Sector & Post Trade Services at BT, and what she would suggest if you were just starting out as a woman in tech.

What was your light bulb moment?

My light bulb moment came about four to five years ago, when I began working with bankers, some who were friends, leaving their traditional roles on the trading floor to create new and exciting FinTech, RegTech, and InsurTech companies. As we know, these start-ups are a growing source of innovation in the financial markets industry.  But their small size can create challenges around market adoption, delivery and meeting the stringent contractual or compliance expectations of large financial institutions. We started to work with these companies to help them scale-up to obtain a global reach. I realised the monumental impact that these technologies and FinTech firms could achieve when the right partnerships are in place.

Peter Leonidou Parts Ways with Leverate to Head Early-Stage Fintech Firm (Finance Magnates), Rated: B

Leverate, a technology provider specializing in brokerage solutions for the financial services industry, has parted ways with its Head of B2B Sales Peter Leonidou, who ends a two-year tenure with the technology provider, Finance Magnates has learned.

Peter leaves Leverate to join PROTECHFX LTD, a fintech startup, which according to its website is just starting out on its journey, or at best still operating in its early stages.

Australia

FinTechs Afterpay, Ratesetter and Society One pick up Finnie awards (Mozo), Rated: AAA

The winners of FinTech Australia’s inaugural Finnie Awards have been announced, with familiar names Afterpay, Ratesetter and SocietyOne among them.

The awards were handed out across 17 categories, including workplace diversity, insurtech and peer-to-peer lending, to recognise innovation and excellence in the FinTech space.

Online lender RateSetter was a finalist for the FinTech of the Year award, and also successfully took out two spots, for Excellence in both consumer and business lending. These awards were both focused on “outstanding B2B lending results through innovative yet stable, sustainable operations.”

SocietyOne, another online challenger to the big banks, won for Excellence in Peer-to-peer Lending. The award recognised a peer-to-peer platform that showed stringent security measures, a strong market reputation, ease of application and competitive interest rates and loan terms.

India

Startup Insurance Company Acko General Insurance Raises $ 30M (IndianWeb2), Rated: A

Set-up by Varun Dua, previously founder of Coverfox, Acko General Insurance  has received it’s in principle regulatory clearance to launch a General Insurance business in India.

In a regulated business, Acko has raised $30mn, which in effect makes it one of the largest seed rounds for a startup in India.

Asia

The first Internet life insurance company and Thai life opened (STCN), Rated: AAA

Recently, the first domestic Internet life insurance company and Thai life officially opened. It is understood that the original vice president of insurance and property insurance Li Yuquan in the life of the ceremony was held. In August 2016 the Insurance Regulatory Commission to the peace and life of the preparation and approval, the general manager is the former deputy general manager of the sea life Wang Hao.

In January this year, Hetai Life Insurance was approved by the China Insurance Regulatory Commission. Registered capital of 1.5 billion yuan, registered in Jinan City, Shandong Province. The legal representative of the company Liu Xin.

Middle East

Dubai Regulator Launches Special Testing Licensing for Fintech Startups (Finance Magnates), Rated: A

The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) today released the details of its Innovation Testing Licence (ITL) which allows fintech firms to go through a special testing stage prior to their approval as fully operational firms.

Fintech operators will be able to use the ITL licence to test their products for a period of 6 to 12 months, which could be extended upon DFSA’s discretion.

Successful applicants will then be required to obtain a full financial services licence to continue formally operating. By contrast, fintech firms that fail to meet the outcomes detailed in the regulatory test plan will have to cease activities.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday April 28 2017, Daily News Digest

10-year Treasury yields

News Comments Today’s main news: U.S. VC fintech investment rises to $1.2B. P2P Global Investments sees NAV bounce. Kuflink receives FCA authorization. Robo-advisor launches in Luxembourg. OnDeck Canada partners with Lightspeed. Ant Financial plans expansion into Japan. Today’s main analysis: Behind the 2017 bond-market rally. Today’s thought-provoking articles: China P2P industry news. Xero: Best overall fintech. Brazilians embrace robo. Who leads Africa’s fintech, […]

10-year Treasury yields

News Comments

United States

  • U.S. VC fintech investment rises to $1.2B. GP:”Total raise if you include non-VC sources is $1.5bil. New record since Q1 2016. Focs continues on lending and robo. “AT: “What I find interesting is in the report itself: The biggest deals of the quarter – SoFi’s Series G round, UniRush M&A, Zenbanx M&A, ProducePay early-stage, and Kensho Series C2 are the top 5 in the U.S. Also in top 10 are CommonBond and Upstart. Get the report here.”
  • Behind the 2017 bond-market rally. GP:”A very interesting piece worth reading to understand market reactions to the world and in fact cost of capital.”
  • Banks loosening up internally to work with startups. GP:”There is always a risk in relaxing control which translates into a cost, usually fines. To be practical, if the cost of the fines is significantly lower than the return from the business perhaps the fines become just the cost of doing business. On the other side, a regulator regularly fining a financing institution usually has a major impact on the institution reputation which has nonnegligible effects on the business. It is a very difficult to quantify where to relax by how much and the cost of doing so, especially the indirect costs. “AT: “What’s interesting are smaller banks are now starting to see the light.”
  • Mark Cuban backs an app that saves people overdraft fees. GP:”I don’t know anybody who never paid an overdraft fee. There shouldn’t be any overdraft fees, transactions should just be rejected by the bank. Or there should be a real product to compensate for it that has a reasonable cost, in line with the cost of a loan or or a credit card.”AT: “Overdraft fees are a huge frustration for a lot of young people learning how to manage their finances as an adult. It’s a part of growing up. The best solution is to learn how to balance a checkbook, but an app that does it for you on the fly isn’t a bad idea because most young people aren’t that great at balancing checkbooks.”
  • OCC: Fintech charter not a ‘ticket to light-touch supervision’. GP:”The OCC has always been very clear that the fintech charter is not light-touch; if anything it is the same-touch as for a bank while enabling them to offer a smaller amount of services. “AT: “When you’re being sued, the best course of action is to offer some sort of consolation. But you can’t say too much or it will be used against you.”
  • Chatting with PeerStreet’s founders. AT: “Expecting every type of real estate loan to go through a marketplace platform is a tall order, but I like the way BJ thinks.”
  • Debt is a deal-breaker for millennials considering marriage.
  • Quovo raises $10M in Series B. GP:”Quovo offers a series of finance APIs to enable innovation. Worth a look for sure.”
  • Robinhood hits 2 million users, raises $110M in Series C. GP:”RobinHood offers free stock trading. The consolidation that happened in the stock-brokers market from charging a large commission to free is an interesting lesson. The main driver of this cost cutting has been electronic and online trading which pushed brokers to seek an alternative business model, which happens to be in many cases selling order book data or ancillary services and products. “
  • Bitcoin values increases as SEC reconsiders ETF decision. GP:”I continue to believe that cryptocurrencies are a good remittance system. There is also a slew of new ICOs happening. And last but not least Ethereum and the smart contract world are also seeing a very large increase in demand. The main barriers to cryptos seem to be unclear regulation, unclear business model, and security risks.”AT: “It will be interesting to see if the SEC overturns its own decision to turn down the Bitcoin ETF.”
  • Easy Solutions launches AI anti-fraud service. GP:”Detection abnormal behavior on a credit card has been in place for sometimes. Government agencies have also been using abnormal behavior detection on large data for sometimes. Perhaps there is still space for improvement. “

United Kingdom

China

  • Top 5 P2P lending ratings. GP:”In China a lot of websites are trying to rate online lenders. And there is a rating of raters. Here people take a position of the top raters. Most lenders pay money to the rating websites to be rated in a process which can not always be impartial. Caution is advised and perhaps an index of the average rating per lender accross many rating websites is needed. “
  • MaizinJinfu raises Series B. GP:”Congratulations!”

European Union

Australia

India

Canada

South America

Africa

Asia

  • Ant Financial looks to expand into Japan. GP:”Japan is a mature financial system where the mentality is very conservative. I hope Ant has a Japan-adapted plan for the expansion which takes into account Japanese mentalities. In my experience this means at the minimum having Japanese employees, in Japan, and having everything done the Japanese way from the way the contracts are bound to the way you treat your customers. Japan is open to foreign products, but only if they have been well tested and are mature. In fact they seek them. I have brought multiple companies to Japan succesfully.”

News Summary

 

United States

VC Investment in Fintech Rises to $ 1.2 Billion in US: KPMG (Think Advisor), Rated: AAA

U.S. venture capital investment in fintech companies rose to $1.2 billion in the first quarter, the highest activity since last year’s first quarter, according to KPMG International’s Pulse of Fintech report, released Thursday.

Non-VC fintech investment in the U.S. reached $300 million, resulting in a total of $1.5 billion in fintech investment in the U.S. for the quarter.

“Payments and lending continue to attract the most funding globally, although we’re seeing increasing interest in a variety of technologies,” Brian Hughes, national co-lead partner in KPMG U.S. venture capital practice, said in the statement.

“In addition to continued growth in regtech and insurtech, areas such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and Internet of Things are gaining increasing investor attention.”

Next quarter, it said, robo-advisory, artificial intelligence and data analytics look to be “hot investment areas.”

KPMG reported that private equity firms in the U.S., including not-technology-focused ones, are proving robust actors in the late-stage fintech arena, with $1.2 billion in total deal value across 11 deals in the first quarter.

During the same period, however, U.S. fintech M&A got off to a slow start at just $200 million across 24 deals.

The West Coast continued to account for the largest concentration of U.S. fintech investment, with 67.6% of total value of deals in the first quarter and 39% of the total number of deals.

Get the report here.

Behind the 2017 Bond-Market Rally (WSJ), Rated: AAA

When the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note fell to a record low in July, many investors agreed that the developed world was stuck in a “new normal” of ultralow growth, inflation and interest rates. Stronger U.S. economic data in subsequent months helped chip away at that view, lifting yields. They got another boost from Mr. Trump’s victory, as investors bet on a turn to expansionary fiscal policies–including an overhaul of the tax code–that would boost growth and inflation and allow the Federal Reserve to raise rates at a faster pace.

While the yield on the 10-year note is still well above its level on Election Day, that is partly because the Fed has raised short-term interest rates twice since then.

Banks are loosening up internally so they can work with startups (Tearsheet), Rated: A

With public confidence in them in the U.S. below 50 percent across the political spectrum, banks have a branding problem — one that gets even more problematic when they have to work with those outside the industry.

Wells Fargo is one of the banks that has taken active interest in facilitating dialogues with startups. While most most major banks have accelerator programs, Wells Fargo said one of the focuses of its startup program is helping banks understand startup culture and vice versa. Wells Fargo’s accelerator program mentors companies for six months and provides up to $500,000 of equity investments for selected companies. The companies may also work on proof of concepts across different business lines within the bank after the completing of the program.

For smaller banks, a focused approach ensures that the relationship will be productive. Boston-based branchless virtual bank, Radius Bank, has a staff member dedicated to partnerships with startups who carefully vets each startup for compatibility.

Mark Cuban is backing an app that’s trying to help people avoid overdraft fees (Business Insider), Rated: A

The billionaire has invested in a new app called Dave that aims to predict coming expenses for users to help prevent them from overdrafting on their bank accounts.

Once Dave connects with a user’s checking account it forecasts the account’s lowest possible balance in seven days based off the person’s spending habits.

Users are notified when their seven-day forecast is negative. That way they can be proactive and potentially avoid overdrafting and being burdened with bank fees.

According to a report by CNN Money, the top big banks – Chase, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America – raked in over $5 billion in ATM and overdraft fees in 2016. In total, overdrafts cost customers $36 billion a year.

OCC: Fintech Charter Not a ‘Ticket to Light-Touch Supervision’ (ABA Banking Journal), Rated: A

Gardineer emphasized that fintech firms granted a national bank charter would undergo the same supervision process and be held to the same capital, liquidity and consumer protection standards as OCC-supervised banks. She added that state laws on fair lending, debt collection and other things would still apply, just as they do for nationally chartered banks. Her comments came after a lawsuit filed earlier this week by the Conference of State Bank Supervisors, which said that in moving forward with the limited-purpose charter, the OCC overstepped its authority under the National Bank Act.

Chatting with Brew & Brett, Co-Founders of PeerStreet (Simple Innovative Change), Rated: A

Brew Johnson was in real estate law by chance back in the mid-2000’s, which is when he happened upon the dismal reality that our housing market was built on a house of cards through his deep research and desire to figure out what was going on. He knew something needed to change, and he had a plan for how to do it.

When the time was right he brought in Brett Crosby, Co-Founder and COO of PeerStreet to take his tech background from building Google Analytics to help revolutionize the housing market with a new approach to financing the mortgage markets.

BJ: A lot of what we’re doing at PeerStreet is informed by what I learned during that time as a real estate attorney within the securitization market.

Fast forward to 2013, and all the barriers to entry that existed in 2008 had been significantly reduced. After the market crash, government regulation started to favor the startup community, and with the advancements in technology, I felt that it would be a lot easier to create a company like this.

BJ: For me, it was about seeing the movement in marketplace lending, and the growing comfort in investing in this asset class through a new type of platform. This sudden shift in comfort coinciding with easing regulation led to a huge boom for private lending.

The reason we believe it’s so important to build a tech-enabled platform like this is because there are more independent lenders now than ever, and they’re scattered around the country, leading to a significant amount of fragmentation in the market.

What PeerStreet does is use technology to make sense of this fragmentation, and then layer a whole level of positives onto it.

BC: In other spaces like consumer credit, auto loans, and student loans, the location of the lender is not important so it’s possible to lend from a central position. In the mortgage and real estate development space, however, having local knowledge matters a great deal.

BJ: Since we partner with and provide capital to local lenders who lend to small businesses, who in turn lend to other small businesses or real estate entrepreneurs in their communities, we’re enabling our investors to support the value chain of local economies. Essentially, we are investing in communities and helping to promote the up-cycling of housing stock in those areas.

BC: The reality is many of the new business models may go out of business because they are simply taking too much risk on their loans. We’re positioning PeerStreet for the ups and downs of the American economy.

BJ: We think every type of real estate loan will go through a platform like ours eventually, so we are taking a very measured approach to how we decide to move into each of those asset classes.

Deal Breaker?! Dating and Debt (CBN News), Rated: A

According to a new study from online personal finance company, SoFi, debt is a big deal breaker to 20 percent of Millennials (ages 25-35).

“It depends on what they are paying for with their debt. If she has 10-15k in cc debt for B.S. that’s obviously a red flag. If it’s student loans, I can’t complain. If she’s not paying on any of it, run,” said another.

SoFi also looked into how much Millennials cared about a person’s future earnings when deciding whether to date them or not.

According to SoFi, Millennials don’t think debt needs to come up right away. 58 percent say it only needs to be talked about when the relationship gets serious.

Finally, SoFi asked Millennials if they would dump someone over debt. A majority, 55 percent, said no. (Still, 24 percent said they may not consider marrying someone with more than $100,000 in debt.)

Quovo Raises $ 10 Million in Series B Funding to Fuel Fintech Platform Expansion (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Quovo, a Fintech company that leverages data to provide insights alongside connectivity for financial accounts, has raised $10 million in Series B funding.  Existing investors FinTech Collective and Long Light Capital were joined by F-Prime Capital and Napier Park Financial Partners to provide the capital. As one would expect, the cash will be used to fuel platform growth and build out the suite of data analytics offers which include the newly launched bank authentication API and Quovo Connect module.

Robinhood Hits Two Million Users & Raises $ 110 Million During Series C (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

California-based fintech company Robinhood announced on Wednesday it not only has reached two million users, but it also secured $110 million during its recent Series C funding round, which was led by DST Global, with participation from NEA, Index Ventures, Ribbit Capital, Thrive Capital and Greenoaks Capital. This brought the company’s total funding to $176 million.

Bitcoin’s value increases as the SEC reconsiders its ETF decision (The Merkle), Rated: A

Not long ago, the three-year effort put in by the Winklevoss twins to bring the Bitcoin ETF to the market was blocked by the SEC, after the agency ruled against them. What followed was a major crash bringing along a 15% decrease in Bitcoin value.

The initial Winklevoss proposal was to list the Bitcoin ETF on the Bats BZX exchange, which is one of the largest equities market operators in the United States. The exchange then decided to file a petition with the SEC, kindly asking the exchange commission to review last month’s decision. Luckily, the petition was accepted, therefore the SEC will proceed to reconsider their decision.

Optimism in the market has appeared all over again, and the price of Bitcoin again the U.S. dollar is further increasing due to these new speculations. Precisely, it has managed to increase to $1,294, from $1,251 in a single day.

Easy Solutions Launches Artificial Intelligence Anti-Fraud Service (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

Easy Solutions, the Total Fraud Protection company, today unveiled its new Detect TAArtificial Intelligence (AI) Fraud Assessment Service for banks and other financial institutions. Artificial Intelligence delivers a competitive edge to any business that leverages it effectively, and it is already being applied by leading financial institutions to improve fighting fraud.

United Kingdom

P2P Global Investments sees NAV bounce, expands into alternative credit (AltFi), Rated: AAA

The £833m P2P Global Investments fund saw its net asset value [NAV] rise 0.55 per cent in March, including a 0.16 per cent uplift from its share buybacks, prompting a boost to its latest quarterly returns.

Its latest numbers, however, show a boost in returns with total NAV return for Q1 2017 of 1.18 per cent, while its discount has narrowed to 15 per cent.

Kuflink’s P2P Lending Platform Receives FCA Authorization (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Thursday, Kuflink received full authorization from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for its peer-to-peer lending platform. According to the registration, Kuflink has been given permission to provide regulated products and services, which includes accepting deposits, provide credit to consumers, offer investment advice, and arrange deals with investments.

B&C Awards 2017 shortlist announced (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

The top brokers, lenders and individuals in the bridging, commercial, development finance, peer-to-peer and specialist banking markets have been shortlisted and are now in the running to win one of the industry’s most prestigious awards.

The shortlist includes new categories ‘Best Use of Fintech’, ‘Specialist Product of the Year’ and ‘Best Bridging Lender Newcomer’.

Last year’s Bridging Lender of the Year, Octopus Property, has been shortlisted again in 2017 for the coveted title and will be up against fellow nominees Precise Mortgages, Together, Amicus, Funding 365, Masthaven, MTF and LendInvest.

The brand new category ‘Alternative Lender of the Year’ brought in scores of votes, with Assetz Capital, Funding Circle, LendInvest, RateSetter, Lendy and Kuflink making the shortlist.

Pariti adds second online lending partner (AltFi), Rated: A

Pariti, the personal finance management app which helps users to manage their debts, has teamed up with Lendable to broaden its range of loan options. Pariti made leading marketplace lender Zopa its first lending partner in September of last year. Pariti users looking to consolidate their debts will now receive offers from both lenders.

China

P2P Industry News (Xing Ping She Email), Rated: AAA

Top Five P2P Lending Ratings in China
Rating is an important reference for investors. A senior industry player taking the following as the top five P2P lending rating agencies in China: Online Lending House Rating, Xeenho Rating, Net Credit Eye Rating, Rong 360 Rating and Dailuopan Rating.

Online Lending House Rating
Online Lending House is one of the biggest P2P lending portal sites in China. It has been engaged in platforms’ rating since August 2013. Up to now, Online Lending House has issued 44 rating reports maintaining over 100 rated objects.

Xeenho Rating
Xeenho Rating is the first rating agency from the buyer’s perspective, and it was launched by the P2P lending funds Xeenho in October 2016. Yet it has issued its fifth report, with a selection of around 45 P2P lending platforms. The rating is neutral for it stand on the investors’ side, so its rating could be more reliable. Actually, Xeenho’s risk-control management keeping the Zero Bad Debt in the industry.

Net Credit Eye Rating
Net Credit Eye Rating is similar to Online Lending House Rating in terms of contents’ provision. It was launched in September 2015 and has issued 18 periods of reports with over 70 P2P lending platforms.

Rong 360 Rating
Rong 360 Rating is quarterly issued, so far it has 8 periods of rating reports on 70 platforms. Rong 360 includes a wider range of content compared by other agencies, therefore some low rating results may exists.

Dailuopan Rating
Dailuopan launched its own ratings services mainly based on big data method. It started from May 2016, and has issued 10 periods of reports on over 500 P2P lending platforms.

Jack Ma: We need a reliable credit system on P2P lending industry
On April 23rd, the 2017 Annual Summit of China Green Companies was held in Zhengzhou. Jack Ma attended the occasion and said, “Only when a reliable credit system has been built, the real P2P business could be exist.” He also pointed out that new finance is to create a share-benefited and fair environment for residents, which should reach the effect that “an old woman has the same rights with a bank CEO .”

In fact, Jack Ma has previously said that the P2P lending should based on three elements: data, credit system and risk control system with big data. Unlike the negative view on P2P lending five years ago, this time Jack Ma show an optimistic attitude to the industry.

MaiziJinfu Raises Series B Funding (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

UniFi ‘s parent company Shanghai Wheat Asset Management Co., Ltd. (“MaiziJinfu”, “Maizi” or “the Company”), a China -based Internet-based financial information service provider, today announced that it has received Series B funding,  at the Internet Finance Development and Innovative Application Forum (IFDIA), which was co-hosted by Money Weekly in Shanghai .

European Union

FINANCIAL ADVICE FROM A ROBOT LAUNCHES IN LUX. (Delano), Rated: AAA

From about $19bn under management by robo advisors in the US in 2014, this figure has since quadrupled. However, this is still small compared with traditional financial services. For example, the Luxembourg wealth management industry alone had four times these assets under management in 2015. Nevertheless, these are early days.

The grand duchy is now part of this trend with the launch of the KeyPrivate service by Keytrade Bank Luxembourg. Residents and non-residents alike can use the service. You tap in how much you want to invest, for how long, and with what risk profile, and then there’s a questionnaire to check that you have the necessary financial means.

The site will then design a portfolio based on 12 funds invested principally in shares and bonds in different international markets.

After investment, each portfolio is reviewed automatically by the robot to take the latest market developments into account. KeyPrivate chose exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to power this system. Not only is it easier and cheaper to move in and out only of ETFs than with standard funds, but these “tracker” products seek to mirror industry benchmark indexes that tend to give average returns.

The minimum investment is €15,000, and the service is provided at “a fee that is two or three times cheaper than a traditional wealth manager,” said Thibault de Barsy, CEO of Keytrade Bank Luxembourg. It is a flat fee on total assets of 0.75% plus VAT per year. There is no up-front fee, nor is there an extra charge even if the client rebalances their portfolio.

Australia

Xero wins Best Overall Fintech award (Xero), Rated: AAA

We feel humbled to be awarded the Best Overall Fintech platform by the Fintech Breakthrough Awards. It also provides validation that we’re truly changing the lives of our more than one million subscribers.

Award organizers report $36 trillion in digital payments will be processed by the end of 2017. In the past 12 months, Xero alone transacted $1.2 trillion worth of economic activity.

The very foundation of a small business owner’s financial web is secure bank integrations. These enable banking, accounting and business management to come together. Xero is building a strong, global financial web, working with 110 financial institutions and 500 ecosystem partners around the world.

Millennials fast losing interest in low-rate accounts (LendIt), Rated: A

  • Poor rates on savings accounts, pricey property and stock market volatility is leading to an influx of millennial money to P2P lending
  • The number of millennial investors has increased by >250% over the last 12 months as young savers join older investors in seeking out alternatives to traditional saving and investment products
  • Surge in millennial money has helped RateSetter reach $100m of loans funded in record time for an Australian lending platform
  • 80% of all lenders expect to increase the amount invested within the next 12 months
Source: RateSetter

RateSetter: Millennials are driving P2P growth in Australia(P2P Finance News), Rated: A

The London-headquartered P2P platform, which launched its Australian division to the public in 2014, argues that poor rates on savings accounts, high property prices and stock market volatility have pushed people aged 18-35 towards P2P lending.

RateSetter Australia said that its number of millennial investors had grown by 250 per cent over the last 12 months and now accounts for 58 per cent of total active investors.

India

Here’s all you want to know about alternative asset class – P2P lending (Financial Express), Rated: A

What P2P lending offers investors
– P2P lending in India currently gives a net return of 18-22%
– Borrowers repay principal & interest every month so there is a steady cash flow
– Investors can pursue legal recourse against the borrower in case of defaults
– By diversifying your investment across different borrowers, you will begin to mirror the overall default rate of the platform

P2P lending is like investing in debt; the capital risk is lower, and there exist ways to mitigate it. In case a borrower defaults, investors can pursue legal recourse against the borrower.

Cash in on P2P lending (Telengana Today), Rated: B

A good percentage of people in the world are involved in digitally enabled peer-to-peer exchange. This form of exchange has expanded dramatically in recent years, moving beyond simple retailing and free file exchange to personal, human-intensive services such as hosted accommodation, urban and city-to-city transportation, and peer-to-peer lending.

Here is the basic premise of P2P lending: People sign up on a P2P lending platform like PeerLend as a borrower or as a Lender. A borrower submits an application for a loan by providing his details, and KYC documents. The platform back office team performs a credit assessment of the profile and determines his credit worthiness.

From a lender’s perspective, peer to peer lending allows them to directly lend to other people by having them register on the platform by providing their ID and address proof. They also provide the bank account details that they will use to transact on the platform.

Interest rates – Various P2P platforms in India are charging a one-time registration fee ranging between Rs.500/- to Rs.1,500/-, and a loan servicing fee ranging from 3.5% to 6% of the loan amount.

Canada

OnDeck Canada Partners With Lightspeed (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

OnDeck Canada, a leading online lender to small businesses in Canada , and Lightspeed, a cloud-based point-of-sale platform for independent retailers and restaurants, have announced a partnership that will allow Lightspeed users to secure OnDeck loans. The new offering will be available to Lightspeed customers in Canada and the US providing up to $500,000 (US) term loans and $100,000 (US) lines of credit.

This strategic partnership between OnDeck and Lightspeed, who each share a focus on assisting small businesses, is a major step forward for Canadian businesses, especially those retail, restaurant, and e-commerce companies that can now acquire OnDeck financing to support their investment in the Lightspeed point of sale (POS) solution.

OnDeck loans will also enable Lightspeed clients to take advantage of growth opportunities such as buying inventory, purchasing equipment, and boosting their customer experience.

OnDeck’s advanced lending technology and staunch dedication to customer service has enabled it to deliver more than $6 billion dollars in capital to over 60,000 businesses across the United States , Canada , and Australia.

South America

Magnetis sees more Brazil investors embracing robo-advisory (NASDAQ), Rated: AAA

Magnetis Gestora de Recursos Ltda, Brazil’s first fintech asset manager, expects demand for affordable access to automated investment advice to surge in coming years as interest rates decline and economic uncertainty persists.

As the central bank undertakes the most aggressive rate cutting cycle in eight years, demand for cheap financial advice has fueled a surge in trials for robo-advisers, an automated form of passive money management that identifies a client’s risk-taking preference.

Since March 2015, Magnetis has conducted 30,000 trials for clients eager to understand a platform providing access to 15,000 different domestic tradable assets.

Growing scale has helped Magnetis cut management fees to 0.4 percent, well below the 0.8 percent to 1 percent that banks and brokerages typically charge customers.

Africa

Banks vs startups: Who leads Africa’s fintech innovation? (This is Africa), Rated: AAA

Only an estimated 34 percent of Africa’s adult population has any form of formal bank account. This is an improvement from a decade ago. Much of this progress can be credited to the growth of mobile and agent network-based banking solutions.

To scale up the trend, banks need to figure out how to effectively join Africa’s fintech innovation ecosystem.

A number of banks have launched bespoke accelerator programmes in a bid to reach out to African entrepreneurs and startups. Barclays, Standard Bank, Citi, and DBS Bank are just a few.  Others seek to partner directly with startups to develop new products and services.

In Cape Town, for example, Barclays has launched a business accelerator programme called Rise in a bid to encourage mutually beneficial collaboration between banks and startups.

Others agree. In east Africa, KCB Bank has partnered with more than 10 startups on projects and is involved with multiple projects supporting entrepreneurship in the region. This is bearing fruit: the bank’s mobile banking app was built by a startup.

Peach Payments took part in the Barclays accelerator in 2016. Upon completion, it signed a proof of concept with the bank to explore further collaboration.

However Keith Jones, co-founder at Sw7, believes that despite their efforts banks have so far failed to develop a mechanism to effectively engage with startups.

While the intent is there, he says, the strict corporate mindset of financial institutions has meant they are slow to adapt to new solutions and models. They can also have a tendency to “smother” small businesses rather than help them to thrive.

6 artificial intelligence startups in Africa to look out for (VentureBurn), Rated: A

South African startup DataProphet last year received a significant investment of an undisclosed amount from Yellowwoods Capital Holdings to expand its international offering. As part of the deal, DataProphet will act as the advanced analytics partner for the group.

The startup, based in Cape Town, has developed various machine-learning interventions, mainly for the finance and insurance sector.

Nigerian startup Kudi.ai has developed a chatbot which allows users to make payments and send money to friends and family in Nigeria via messaging. The company is a graduate of the YCombinator Winter 2017 batch.

The company uses AI to understand user requests, drive conversations, understand user spending habits and prevent fraud.

The startup has put together a business-to-business solution too, which it is piloting with banks and telecommunication companies.

Founded by former equity-derivatives specialist Annabel Dallamore (pictured here) together with Julian Dallamore and Mark Karimov in 2013, Johannesburg startup Stockshop.co.za offers a number of artificial intelligence solutions to financial institutions such as banks and insurance companies.

The startup has also developed a bot interface that completes real-time identity verification checks on behalf of banks and financial institutions in line with requirements under the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA).

The startup has also developed a solution that uses an algorithm that pairs financial behaviour, spending and other data along with emotional cues and provides clients with assistance around financial matters such as payments, administration, rewards, education, analytics and tracking.

It’s also launched a micro-insurance platform in April that is unique to the African market.

Asia

Ant Financial Eyes Japan (Finews), Rated: AAA

China’s Ant Financial Services Group has said it wants to increase operations in Japan and is actively seeking a partner there.

With a deal in Korea already in the bag after a $200 million investment in South Korea’s mobile platform company Kakao Talk, the focus has turned to the world’s thrid-largest economy Japan.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor 

Thursday March 23 2017, Daily News Digest

insurtech

News Comments Today’s main news: Kabbage to raise money for acquisitions, possibly OnDeck. Fundbox partners with Zoho. Goji launches diversified P2P lending bond. HNW Lending launches IFISA. Property Crowd launches IFISA. Today’s main analysis: Ron Suber on Fintech & fraud. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Podcast: Dominic Venturo on creating a model for innovation. Alternative finance for SMEs is even more urgent. Jail […]

insurtech

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

Australia

Canada

China

India

Asia

Latin America

News Summary

United States

Kabbage looks to raise money for acquisitions (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Small U.S. business online lender Kabbage Inc is in talks to raise a new round of equity funding that could be used for potential acquisitions at a time when many of its peers face funding challenges, people familiar with the matter said.

One of the acquisition targets under consideration by Kabbage is rival On Deck Capital Inc, which has market capitalization of $321 million, according to one of the sources.

Ron Suber on Fintech & Fraud: A Global Challenge (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

How fraud occurs is a never-ending, shape-shifting challenge for individuals, companies and public authorities. There will always be another Ponzi or Madoff looking to separate hard-earned money from honest people via duplicitous actions. As all types of business shift online, fraudster’s will inevitably adapt to pursue their malevolent objectives.

Some of the challenges that impact online lenders include:

  • “Shotgunning” – taking out multiple loans from multiple platforms in under ten days
  • Loan stacking – multiple unsecured loans over several months

Download Ron Suber’s special report “Fintech & Fraud” here.

FUNDBOX PARTNERS WITH ZOHO TO SOLVE CASH FLOW GAPS (Fundbox Email), Rated: AAA

Fundbox, the cash flow optimization platform for small businesses (SMBs), and Zoho, the cloud-based business operating system, today announced a partnership in which Zoho will offer Fundbox to its user base of over 25M. Under the partnership, Zoho will provide access to Fundbox’s technology to streamline and automate the business borrowing experience within the Zoho ecosystem.

Fundbox addresses one of the biggest pain points for small businesses and freelancers: cash flow.  A recent Fundbox study revealed that 64 percent of small businesses are adversely affected by late payments. Over 80 percent of small business invoices are over 30 days due. This integration will allow Zoho customers approved for Fundbox Credit to advance funds tied up in their receivables so they can focus on business growth.

U.S. Bank’s Dominic Venturo on creating a model for innovation (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Every institution innovates differently. Our approach is to work with the businesses to understand their objectives and strategies. We want to keep a long-term eye on emerging technology and how consumers and businesses interact with technology. We’ll blend that into the product development roadmaps for the businesses. In some cases, emerging technology will look like it has a lot of potential but then you really have to see how it applies to a business, whether it solves a customer problem or pain point, and whether it can scale to a company our size. I don’t know if this is different than others, but it’s definitely our approach.

Ondeck announces extension, upsize of revolving credit facility with Deutsche Bank (Reuters), Rated: A

On Deck Capital Inc – amended its asset-backed revolving credit facility with Deutsche bank to extend facility’s maturity date to march 2019

On Deck Capital Inc – amended credit facility to increase facility’s borrowing capacity by about $52 million to a total of up to approximately $214 million

Online small-business lending recovering (Biz Journals), Rated: A

For online business lenders, 2016 was a rough year.

Two prominent fintech companies saw their market valuations drop. One small-business lender abruptly stopped issuing loans temporarily due to performance issues, while another was forced to shut down.

Lifshitz offers his view on the subject:

1. Fintech loan originations will surge in 2017.

It’s clear to me that the fintech space’s long-term themes are unchanged. The credit gap remains, and fintech companies still provide a much-needed service. Plus, they’re doing so in a far easier and seamless way than has been available to customers in the past.

Those who reacted to the negativity of 2016 are going to be surprised. Fintech companies will recover from the sector’s downbeat view. Demand and originations will continue to grow. I predict that market sentiment will come back as confidence returns.

2. Fintech companies will adapt by diversifying products and target markets.

Fintech also will get a boost from a secular trend. More millennials are joining the workforce and consuming more services online, including financial services. The generational change favors fintech companies.

3. Fintech companies could form partnerships with banks.

4. Fintech will dominate the user experience.

How one startup aims to help ‘credit invisible’ foreign workers in the U.S. (Tearsheet), Rated: A

For millions of immigrants and temporary foreign residents in the U.S., establishing a financial identity here can be complicated and expensive. Since credit reports don’t cross borders, an immigrant with an exceptional credit score in his home country may arrive in the U.S. as ‘credit invisible’ — a status that may render him ineligible for loans or long-term housing.

Nova Credit is an alternative score to assess foreign residents’ creditworthiness based on their home country credit data. It can also be used for Americans returning to the country after years working abroad. The company obtains the data through agreements with major foreign credit bureaus, a process that can only be initiated with the customer’s consent, Esipov said. Though Nova Credit is initially focusing on India and Mexico, it’s entered into arrangements with credit bureaus in Europe, Canada, Australia and the Philippines. Its revenue model is based on fees to lenders who request the reports.

BP Podcast 219: Private Lending, Turnkey Investing, and Crowdfunding Real Estate with Dr. Kenyon Meadows (Bigger Pockets), Rated: A

If you are looking to make your real estate more passive, this is one show you can’t afford to miss!

Humans to Robos: You Can’t Touch This (Think Advisor), Rated: A

Over the past five years, robo-advisors that provide algorithm-based financial advice and online portfolio management have skyrocketed in popularity. Once the robots take over, the argument goes, humans will be no more.

A commoditized approach to investing cannot incorporate potentially high-impact life events in the same way a knowledgeable human advisor can. Humans offer expertise throughout the life cycle of a client’s investments, while a robo-advisor often reduces a client to a formula. Moreover, the human advisor offers another invaluable service that the robo-advisor can’t replicate – emotional intelligence.

Industry research supports our view. The Financial Planning Association and Investopedia found that investors want a low cost, automated platform combined with personal advice from a human adviseor. Moreover, they noted that 40% of the investors surveyed revealed they are very uncomfortable with automated investing during periods of extreme market volatility.

MyPrivateBanking estimates that hybrid human/automated solutions will accumulate AUM of nearly $3.7 trillion by 2020, and $16.3 trillion (slightly more than 10% of all investable wealth) by 2025. They estimate that pure robo-advisors will have a market share of only 1.6% of total investable wealth by 2025.

New US insurtech Fabric targets parents (Business Insider), Rated: A

The number of insurtechs in the life insurance space has been in two minutes online; and Fabric Premium, a more comprehensive 20-year term policy. As of Tuesday, Fabric is live in 32 US states, with license applications in the remainder pending approval. Fabric recently raised a $2.5 million Seed round led by VC firm

Evolve Capital Partners Advises on Acquisition of LeaseDimensions (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Evolve Capital Partners Inc., a specialized investment bank, today announced its client, LeaseDimensions, has been successfully acquired by GenPact (NYSE: G), a global professional services firm focused on delivering digital transformation for clients.

Founded in 1995, LeaseDimensions is a technology-enabled business processing management and information technology services company that specializes in providing finance process and technology domain expertise to equipment, vehicle finance and renewable energy companies. By acquiring LeaseDimensions, GenPact will unlock synergies across its core equipment financing businesses, offering enhanced growth and scalability opportunities while effectively providing onshore servicing capabilities.

Financial Stress Suggests Consumers are Making Impulsive Decisions in the Home Buying Process (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Owners.com, an innovative online brokerage, recently commissioned a survey of more than 1,200 consumers considering a home purchase this year. The theme of this year’s spring real estate season? Stress. In fact, according to the study, 72 percent of potential home buyers stated that they expect stress in the home buying process, with many citing financial aspects as the most concerning. Additional key findings are included below.

When asked about concerns and issues when buying a home, leading financial aspects included:

  • Fear of losing earnest money deposit (64 percent)
  • Becoming “house poor” (61 percent)
  • Bidding wars driving up the price (59 percent)

Despite these financial stressors, when potential home buyers were questioned about their willingness to go over budget in a competitive bid to get into a dream home:

  • More than half (55 percent) said they were willing to go beyond their budget
  • For those willing to stretch their dollars, on average, consumers stated they were willing to go $37,809 over budget

Given these monetary pressures, savvy consumers are considering real estate models that offer opportunities to cut costs in the transaction. When asked about their propensity to handle the home buying or selling process themselves if they would be charged a lower commission, 85 percent said they were likely to consider this opportunity if it meant they had access to some of the more complicated transaction services like the appraisal or legal documents. Nearly one-quarter (23 percent) indicated that they would be motivated to work with a real estate agent or broker who would reward them financially for the work they do on their own. These consumers should look for opportunities to work with a brokerage that offers a buyer rebate or sellers an opportunity to save on traditionally high agent commissions.

Detroit Fintech Startup Autobooks Closes $ 5.5M Series A Round (Xconomy), Rated: A

Autobooks, the Detroit-based startup spun out of Billhighway in 2015, has closed on a $5.5 million Series A funding round. The investment was led by Pittsburgh-based Draper Triangle, with participation from CU Solutions Group, Baird Capital, Detroit Venture Partners, and Invest Michigan.

Autobooks, he explains, has created a set of digital tools to automatically handle a range of accounting tasks, including collecting payments owed to a business and disbursing money a business owes to others. The company licenses its software to banks and credit unions, and they in turn make the technology available to their small-business customers.

Autobooks sprang from Troy, MI-based Billhighway, a financial technology company serving large enterprise customers.

Banks are Back in the Game (Forbes), Rated: A

The introduction of online and small business lending has forced banks to rethink their strategies, but banks are now starting to play ball and shift the industry again.

In the lending industry, there’s a perception that extreme competitiveness has developed between banks and non-bank lending, but I don’t believe that’s the case. By working together, they can help small businesses – the backbone of the American Dream.

JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America took two different approaches to building out online small business lending. They were able to learn from non-bank lenders and emulate the customer experience, or partner with a non-bank lender, to improve their own offerings. Non-bank lenders like OnDeck have reinvented the customer journey. Combine that with the advantages banks have with cost of capital, customer base, underwriting credit cycles and access to data, and you have a good recipe for the future of small business lending.

But as Tufail pointed out, the migration from baby boomers to millennials will further emphasize digital channels. Tech savvy folks will want even quicker lending decisions, and that starts online.

5 ways banks are using Snapchat (Tearsheet), Rated: A

American banks have also amped up their Snapchat recruiting efforts. Not long after their launch of Snapchat Spectacles, Citibank employees began shooting videos with them to offer insights of life as a Citibank worker.

Dutch bank ABN Amro launched a Snapchat customer service capability (Snapchat “webcare”), a feature that’s yielded them 2000 followers since its launch a year ago. The bank posts stories to engage users who can ask questions using photos, videos, emojis and filters.

Through Snapchat, banks are affiliating themselves with causes close to customers’ hearts. For example, CIBC, Canada’s fifth-largest bank, launched a Snapchat pride filter to mark LGBTQ pride festivities last summer.

The Bank of Ireland pulled in celebrity influencers who use the Snapchat offer financial tips and advice to younger customers — a part of the bank’s FeelFree student reward program.

Bank of America’s Llama was used as a Snapchat lens was released last summer in conjunction with the MLB All Star Game to promote the bank’s mobile app.

Small Change Announces First Los Angeles-Based Real Estate Offering (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Real estate crowdfunding platform Small Change announced on Wednesday the launch of its first Los Angeles-based offering.

Small Change describes Rosewood as a urban-minded development of four single-family units that are designed to achieve net-zero energy usage and further vitalize the area. Each of the units is designed with energy efficiency and resource conservation in mind and will also be pre-wired for solar panels with sufficient roof space to achieve net-zero energy living.

Small Change added a 10% return is projected on this investment.

Conference of State Bank Supervisors Releases Statement to Congress on OCC FinTech Charters (Buckley Sander), Rated: B

Ryan stated that the OCC’s Proposal “sets a dangerous precedent [by demonstrating that] the OCC has acted beyond the legal limits of its authority [and has] bypassed and ignored bipartisan objections from Congress, [thereby] creat[ing] new risks to consumers.” He asserted that the proposed charter would “preempt existing state consumer protections without a comparable mechanism to replace them. It also exposes taxpayers to the risk of inevitable [F]inTech failures.”

United Kingdom

Goji launches P2P lending bond (FT Adviser), Rated: AAA

Goji’s Diversified Peer-to-peer Lending Bond claims to be the UK’s first diversified peer-to-peer lending proposition with a portfolio of loans from a variety of lenders.

It is targeting returns in excess of 5 per cent over a one or three-year term.

The bond is eligible for inclusion within the Innovative Finance Isa.

HNW Lending unveils Innovative Finance ISA targeting 7% – 15% (AltFi), Rated: AAA

HNW Lending has received full approval from the Financial Conduct Authority approval to offer Innovative Finance ISAs (IFISA), with minimum investments of £5,000 per loan.

It will target returns of between 7 per cent per annum and 15 per cent per annum depending on the risk of the loans in which the investors choose to invest.

Property Crowd launches IFISA with target returns of 7-10% (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Property Crowd, the real estate crowdfunder that’s owned by global secondary market platform Global Alternatives, has launched its Innovative Finance ISA offering just days prior to the April 5th tax cut-off. The product offers investors returns of up to 10 per cent.

The minimum invest amount for the IFISA offering is £5k.

Pollen Street Capital-backed alternative lender Capitalflow has secured a new round of funding valued at £50m to finance its loans to Irish SMEs.

P2P platform Landbay is turning to crowdfunding for capital. The buy-to-let mortgage lending platform, is hosting a £1.5m equity crowdfunding round on SeedrsLandbay is already overfunded, with more than £1.7m invested so far.

Innovative Finance ISA offers sweet deal for investors – if they know it exists (The Investment Observer), Rated: A

The survey, which focused on understanding investors’ intentions for the year ahead, found priorities for savers included a fixed income (17%), the opportunity to self-select how and where their money is invested (18%) and tax efficiency (24%) were top of their list of investment priorities.

Whilst the IFISA aims to meet all of these needs, half of investors questioned said they had never heard of it. 29 percent said they do know the name but don’t know what it is and only one in 20 said they know enough about what an IFISA is to be able to explain it clearly to other people.

However, the survey also found that those that do know about IFISAs and have invested in them have invested more on averagethan in traditional Cash ISAs.  The average amount of £7,013 per person has been invested in Crowdstacker’s IFISA to date; this is compared to £5,810 in cash ISAs between 2015 and 2016.

Master Investor Show: Setting the Standard for Investment Events (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

The Master Investor Show brings together private investors of all portfolio sizes to hear keynote talks from celebrity investors and gain access to new investment opportunities.

Ordinary investors will get the opportunity to speak to the CEOs and founders of 100 companies from multiple investment sectors, including equity funds and retirement saving, crowdfunding, life sciences and FinTech, and alternative finance such as film funding and peer-to-peer lending.

This year’s main-stage celebrity line-up:

  • Gonçalo de Vasconcelos, CEO of SyndicateRoom, the innovative online investment platform
European Union

Alternative finance for SMEs is even more urgent (Irish Examiner), Rated: AAA

While recent Central Bank figures found that perception by Irish SMEs of the willingness of banks to provide them with credit have improved considerably in the past three years, other surveys show access to finance is still a high concern for about one-third of Irish small businesses.

This is why SMEs are looking beyond their banks for alternative sources of funding.

Among these options is peer-to-peer lending. The largest platform Linked Finance launched in 2013 and rival Grid Finance arriving the following year.

Ms Kenneally was getting frustrated with the 10-week wait for a decision on an application for a bank overdraft when a friend pointed her towards Microfinance Ireland, a government initiative to provide loans to small businesses. She received a loan of €25,000 and was impressed with the fast turnaround.

Another source is crowdfunding. The idea behind crowdfunding is to pair donors with small businesses, charities or arts events who want to raise funds for a project or campaign. Platforms include Fundit, iDonate, and Seedups.

Warburg Pincus buys stake in Swiss fintech group Avaloq (Financial Times), Rated: A

Warburg Pincus has agreed to pay close to SFr300m for a minority stake in Avaloq, Switzerland’s largest software provider to banks.

The acquisition of a 35 per cent stake by the private equity group values the company, which already serves key financial centres, in excess of SFr1bn ($1bn), the private equity group said.

Avaloq has more than 2,000 employees and serves 155 banks and wealth managers in financial centres, including London, Frankfurt and Paris. It generated revenues of SFr533m in 2016, which represented a 10 per cent increase from a year earlier.

The private equity group has recruited several leading banking figures to sit on the Swiss company’s advisory board. Among them are Javier Marín, the former chief executive of Santander, Stefan Krause, former chief financial officer at Deutsche Bank and Jacques Aigrain, former chief executive officer at Swiss Re.

Here’s why fintech will make banks stronger (City A.M.), Rated: A

Brian McCabe, who chairs the fintech working group at the Fintech and Payments Association of Ireland, says existing banks and financial players won’t get weaker at the expense of new entrants.

Collaboration will be a feature of fintech’s next phase as traditional banks, financial institutions and insurance companies in Europe seem to recognise the importance of becoming smarter, more efficient and customer-focused.

Now is the chance for banks to take what fintech pioneers have to offer, and use it to make themselves more competitive.

Australia

Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Austrade sign fintech collaboration agreement (Finextra), Rated: A

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) and Austrade have signed a new collaboration agreement to support the flow of fintech innovation between Australia and the UK.

The agreement will be used to target and attract fintech investment to Australia, and assist Australian fintech companies to access the UK market.

Canada

Investing in the Fintech Revolution: How Glance Technologies is innovating mobile payments (OTC Markets), Rated: A

Now, the creator of PayByPhone parking app has set his eyes on the restaurant industry, creating the Glance Pay Mobile Payment App under Glance Technologies Inc. (CSE:GET) (OTCQB:GLNNF) to revolutionize a C$650 Billion restaurant bill payment industry. Glance Pay allows diners to pay their restaurant bill in seconds using their mobile phone while automatically receiving exclusive restaurant rewards. Gone are the days of waiting for the server to bring around the card machine. Restaurant owners benefit from automatic bill collection, built-in loyalty programs, turn-key in-app marketing and valuable customer experience feedback.

China

Jail sentences for P2P lending scam (Shangai Daily), Rated: AAA

FORTY-ONE people in the city’s first and high-profile P2P fraud case involving nearly 700 million yuan (US$10.2 million) have been jailed, according to Yangpu District prosecutors.

The 41 were staff members from five outlets of Baiyin Wealth Co, including one in downtown Xintiandi area. Sentences ranged from six to eight months in prison, with some granted a reprieve.

Other suspects are either being investigated or are waiting to be tried.

India

Peer to Peer Lending Advantages and Disadvantages [Case Study] (Scalar), Rated: A

Peer to Peer lending advantages and disadvantages – lenders perspective

Advantages

  1. Higher interest

For example, a 5 year bond with a fixed rate interest of an Indian bank offers 3% AER, while the same amount has the potential to earn 6.32% to 30% p.a. through a peer to peer website, on the same tenure.

  1. Diversification
  2. Freedom to commit

Disadvantages

  1. Waiting period
  2. No legal laws
Asia

How transparency is driving Asian asset managers to technology (The Asset), Rated: A

The need for improved transparency is pushing Asian asset managers to use more sophisticated technology than they’ve ever used before in the management of their portfolios and to boost the overall efficiency of their businesses.

Another trend among Asian asset managers is using technology as a way to drive transparency between what their internal stakeholders and investment teams are actually reading and what is driving their investment decision.

Asset managers are also using this technology to look at broker performance which involves having all their data, primarily data on trading positions and transactions, on one buyside platform.

Latin America

Latin American Venture Capital Firms Invest in MPOWER Financing (NBC12), Rated: AAA

VARIV Capital, a Latin American venture capital firm, and Chilango Ventures, an investment firm with offices in San Francisco and Mexico City, have invested in MPOWER Financing () to help the innovative fintech firm expand its presence in Latin America and attract a greater number of high-potential students to America’s best colleges and universities.

Latin American students already represent 25 percent of MPOWER’s outstanding loan portfolio, with Mexico representing the third-largest student population currently studying in the U.S. through MPOWER’s financial support.

With the addition of these two new equity investors, MPOWER Financing has assembled a diverse global investor base that is enabling the firm to fulfill its mission to provide educational loan support to high-potential, international students who do not fit within traditional credit assessment models. Currently, MPOWER Financing, founded in 2014, has a pipeline of more than $120 million in loan applications from students in Asia, Europe, Latin America and Africa which it expects to fill in 2017. The recent investments are part of the closing of MPOWER Financing’s Series A funding.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor