Tuesday November 19 2017, Daily News Digest

Moody's wage growth

News Comments Today’s main news: Clarity Services integrates with Experian. Octopus Choice passes 100M GBP AUM. Funding Circle hits 100M Euro in German lending. Younited Credit tops 100K loans. Square Peg invests $8M in Airwallex. Silver Bullion hits $50M in loans. Today’s main analysis: The deteriorating auto loan quality. Today’s thought-provoking articles: China’s startup investors are a bunch of “cashed-up […]

Moody's wage growth

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News Summary

United States

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

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

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

Source: Clarity Services

PayPal Co-Founder Max Levchin Gave a Remarkably Honest Response to Accusations About His New Startup (Inc.), Rated: AAA

To its critics, though, Affirm, which recently raised $200 million in a growth round, is engaged in something sinister, luring people into a financial trap by enticing them to buy things they can’t afford. CEO Max Levchindoesn’t agree with that interpretation at all, but he does accept some of the blame for not creating a more accurate perception.

Here’s how Affirm works: You can borrow money to make a purchase at any store that integrates with Affirm (or any store at all if you use the mobile “virtual card”). If Affirm’s proprietary credit model judges that you’ll be able to pay back the sum, then you’re offered a loan. During the next several months — up to a year — you’re expected to make monthly payments, which include interest. The APRs range from 10 to 30 percent.

The key things that differentiate Affirm from other credit options are that you get all of the information up front, stated plainly, and the interest charged by the startup is simple rather than compounding. When you make the initial purchasing decision, you know exactly how much extra you will end up paying to buy the product right now, instead of saving up over several months. There are no additional fees.

Moodys Warns Of Deteriorating Auto Loan Quality (ValueWalk), Rated: AAA

The economy is expected to expand in 2018, with projections for stock market performance clocking in at 8% basis Goldman Sachs. But not all is well –  a Moody’s report notes that specific asset sectors are struggling, particularly when it comes to  car loan quality worsening.

ValueWalk

Moody’s anticipates that US GDP growth will strengthen slightly to 2.3% in 2018 from 2.2% in 2017, with unemployment also continuing to move lower to 4.0% from 4.4%.

Auto loan quality is worst, but pockets of “challenged” loans exist across the board

Auto loan ABS issuers will likely securitize pools with attributes broadly similar overall to those in the pools backing their 2017 securitizations, even as a further decline in US auto sales pressures lenders to loosen underwriting to support volumes. We project sales will slip another 0.6% after an estimated 3.6% drop in 2017, following eight consecutive years of annual increases.

Auto loans appear to be on the front-lines of credit issues. Household debt, for instance, has increased to $13 trillion, with a significant part of that increase in auto loans. Sub-prime auto loans, in particular, are showing signs of weakness.

When looking at investment in asset-backed securities, the originator makes a difference. ABS backed by loans from online lenders such as SoFi, Lending Club Corporation, Prosper Marketplace Inc. and Marlette Funding have correlated with “prime credit quality.” But that is not the case across the board.

Source: ValueWalk

Square to small banks: Don’t lump us in with Amazon and Facebook (American Banker), Rated: A

Square, the Silicon Valley payment processor that is at the center of the fight over the tech industry’s ambitions in banking, is firing back at its small-bank critics, while also taking steps to placate community activists.

Advocacy groups that once expressed concern about the adequacy of Square’s plan to satisfy its obligations to low- and middle-income customers are now sounding more supportive of the fintech’s bid to open a bank.

Levi King of Nav (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • Levi’s background that led to the founding of Nav.
  • The products that Nav offers today.
  • How their business model works.
  • How they get small business owners interested in finance.
  • How Nav saves their customers money.
  • Why Levi thinks that small business owners may not need to be educated on finances in the future.
  • Their approach to producing content on their site.
  • The marketing channels they use to attract small business owners.
  • Levi’s thoughts on the entry on Amazon, PayPal and Square into small business lending.
  • Why proprietary data sets are going to be so important going forward.
  • The story behind the Nav brand and why they rebranded a couple of years ago.
  • The big name equity investors they have and how they closed their funding rounds.
  • What the future holds for Nav.

Traditional FAs Shouldn’t Fear AI (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: A

Traditional wealth managers are convinced the advent of robo-advisors and artificial intelligence threatens the jobs of financial services professionals, Wendy Spires writes on WealthBriefing. But the reality is that the high-touch business of financial advice stands to benefit from AI, as do its traditional practitioners, she writes.

For example, while 71% of wealth managers believe financial advice clients are prepared to accept advice from robo-advisors, the reality is different, she writes. Self-directed investing, for example, dropped from 45% in 2010 to 38% in 2016 — during a time when the number of robos and the services they offer expanded significantly, according to Spires.

 

Working in America’s gig economy (Multibriefs), Rated: A

“The gig economy … is now estimated to be about 34 percent of the workforce and is expected to be 43 percent by the year 2020,” notes Intuit CEO Brad Smith. “We think this points to a lot of growth as we look ahead.”

Based on the most recent demographic data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it appears the gig workforce is fairly evenly distributed across the age spectrum, but the highest percentages are seen at opposite ends of the scale. Individuals 65 years and older had the highest level of self-employment at 24.1 percent, while those under 35 (the so-called millennial generation) made up 18 percent.

BLS data reveals a few more interesting statistics concerning the gig workforce:

  • Men are almost twice as likely as women to be self-employed.
  • More than 30 percent of gig workers possess professional or advanced degrees.
  • Whites and Asians are marginally more engaged in gig work than are other racial or ethic groups.

In fact, data crunched by online lender Earnest and reported by Priceonomics indicates that about 85 percent of gig workers make less than $500 per month.

Consumer board seeks $ 287 million in restitution over CashCall case (Northern California Record), Rated: A

A Nov. 20 hearing featured the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau calling CashCall a purveyor of “financial snake oil” and arguing the online lender should pay as much as $287 million because they deceived customers.

How To Build The Best B2B Customer Experience (Forbes), Rated: A

In order to build the best B2B customer experience, companies should focus their effort on four principles:

  1. Invest in digital systems. Financial technology start-up Kabbage leverages new technology to approve small business loans in just seven minutes—a huge improvement over the 20 days it takes a typical bank. By simplifying the loan application process for web and mobile, Kabbage allows customers to apply for loans within minutes from anywhere in the world, which relieves a huge pain point for small businesses.
  2. Leverage data.
  3. Customize the experience.
  4. Use omnichannel to see the big picture. In fact, the average B2B customer uses six different channels as they make a decision. Customer experience happens in many places, which means companies need to create a consistent omnichannel experience.

Interesting Investments: Peer-to-Peer Lending (Equities.com), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, also known as peer lending, crowdlending, or social lending, is essentially what it says on the tin: lending money to another in an unsecured loan.

Prosper, one of the bigger companies managing P2P lending, has seen a fairly consistent return of about 9 percent through 2014, with a dip to 6.6 percent in 2012. Lending Club has seen a rise from 4.9 percent in 2009 to about 8 percent in 2014. All told, not bad ROIs.

First, you must be at least 18 years old, with a Social Security number, and live in an eligible state to even consider investing. Then, some states require that you have a minimum $70,000 gross income ($85,000 for California), and a minimum net worth of $70,000. You may not be able to invest more than 10 percent of your net worth. However, if your net worth is at least $250,000, there is no minimum income requirement.

Prosper, for example, has an annual default rate 3 to 4 percent higher across all grades. Lending Club has a 6 to 7 percent default rate.

Boston Fintech Company Cayan Is Getting Acquired for $ 1.05B (Bostinno), Rated: B

Cayan, a payment processing company that has been around the Boston fintech scene for the last 19 years, is in the process of getting acquired by Total System Services in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $1.05 billion. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2018.

United Kingdom

Octopus Choice passes £100m AUM (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Octopus Choice has passed £100m of assets under management, following on from the launch of its Innovative Finance ISA in the summer.

Assetz Capital Makes Changes to the Great British Business & Green Energy Accounts (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On Monday, online lending platform Assetz Capital announced it is doing away with the Great British Business Account (GBBA) and the Green Energy Account (GEA).

Ranger Direct Lending makes further $ 9.1m provision for Argon Credit (AltFi), Rated: A

The £232m Ranger Direct Lending fund has made a further $9.1m provision against its indirect investment in the collapsed Argon Credit lending platform.

ThinCats Reveals New Branding, Launches Updated Website (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

SME peer to peer lender ThinCats has launched a new website and branding designed to position itself for its next phase of growth in 2018.

Goji – Empowering Direct Lending (LinkedIn), Rated: B

Paul McMahon, former group marketing director of Aegon and UK CEO of FNZ, and Vincent Bordes, Founding Partner of Vestigo, the credit risk consultancy, will comprise the advisory board. Elizabeth McCallum joins as Goji’s Head of Marketing,  David Beacham as our Head of Distribution, and Rehan Islam as Head of Investments.

China

China’s Wild Bunch: Startup Investors Are Cashed-Up Cowboys (WSJ), Rated: AAA

In the first 11 months of this year, 3,418 new venture-capital and private-equity funds in China raised 1.6 trillion yuan ($241.76 billion), more than double the amount of 2015 and more than 10 times that of 2006, according to consultancy Zero2IPO Group. It estimates about 12,000 investment firms manage 8.5 trillion yuan in capital, an increase from 8,000 firms managing 5 trillion yuan in 2015.

Out of 221 unicorns in the world, 59 are in China, according to CB Insights. While that may lag behind the 127 from the U.S., it’s ahead of the U.K.’s 12 and India’s nine. Many Chinese investors want to invest in Silicon Valley because they think the valuations there are more reasonable.

Government agencies and local governments have announced 1,040 venture funds since 2015 aiming to raise about 8 trillion yuan, according to Zero2IPO. Much of the money is used to lure businesses to set up local offices, to help boost employment and tax revenues. The Hubei Province’s 200 billion yuan fund is believed to the largest of its kind.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Borrowing From Multiple Online Lenders Remains Prevalent (Caixin), Rated: AAA

In China, online lenders or peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms that only facilitate lending do not have full access to borrowers’ credit information as there is no such centralized platform that shares the data.

Some borrowers take advantage of this information asymmetry to apply for loans from multiple lenders so they can roll over previous debts elsewhere, or to take out cheaper loans to repay the ones that charge higher interest rates and profit from the difference, or even become lenders on other P2P platforms themselves, according to a study by the Beijing Internet Finance Industry Association.

The association’s recent report found that among the 61 online lenders surveyed, 44% of their customers on average had borrowed from multiple sources.

The survey found that nearly 500,000 borrowers tried to profit from arbitrage by taking advantage of the different interest rates charged by different online lenders. On average, each of them borrowed from 2.36 online lenders, the survey said.

China’s war on risk hands US$ 121b loan market to big firms (The Malay Mail Online), Rated: AAA

China’s whac-a-mole approach to risk — hit it everywhere it pops up — is set to hand control of the surging US$121 billion technology-driven lending market to a small group of leaders such as Lufax Holding and the finance affiliate of Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

Macquarie estimates credit extended by China’s fintech firms will jump more than seven-fold by 2022 to 6.2 trillion yuan (RM3.8 trillion) to pay for things like luxury and household goods or training and education. About half that market is micro-lending — typically small, short-term loans with high interest rates, Macquarie says.

China’s 10 biggest fintech companies account for 36 percent of all loans, said Dexter Hsu, a Taipeh-based Macquarie analyst. Tighter regulation could erode China’s more than 2,000 online micro-lenders and so-called P2P platforms, which directly match borrowers with investors, to less than 200, he said.

Chinese FinTech IPOs Don’t Dazzle Wall Street (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Newly listed Chinese FinTech companies in the U.S. are struggling on Wall Street, leaving investors with unexpected losses and posing as a setback to other Chinese firms hoping to go public.

“The quality of the businesses were either too early [to go public], untested or just poor,” said Anh Lu, an equities portfolio manager at T. Rowe Price in Hong Kong. “And they were asking for very high valuations on top of that.”

European Union

Funding Circle hits €100m lending milestone in Germany (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle has hit the €100m (£88.2m) loans milestone in Germany just two years after launch in the country.

The business lending platform says 3,000 investors have backed 1,100 German businesses and created more than 2,000 jobs since 2015.

The platform entered the European market following its acquisition of German platform Zencap in 2015. It now has operations in the UK, US, Germany and the Netherlands.

Earlier this month it said it had passed £3bn of lending in the UK and $5bn globally across all its platforms.

C’est Génial! Younited CREDIT Tops 100,000 Loans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Younited Credit has just surpassed 100,000 in loans since platform inception. The Paris based online lender (formerly named Pret d’Union) reported an accelerating rate of loan originations as the number has doubled since September 2016 when total loans stood at 50,000. The platform provides loans from €1000 to € 40,000. To date, Younited Credit has originated over € 650 million in loans.

BorsadelCredito.it Raises €1.6M in Funding (FinsSMEs), Rated: A

BorsadelCredito.it, a Milan, Italy-based fintech startup, raised €1.6m in funding.

The round was led by P101 Ventures, with participation from Azimut Enterprises Holding, GC Holding, Banca Popolare di Fondi and private investors.

DreamQuark wins the 2017 Fintech of the Year (Digital Journal), Rated: B

A startup company called DreamQuark, which produces Artificial Intelligence applications for financial services, has been awarded the Finance Innovation ‘Fintech of the Year’ prize.

National Personal Credit Platform Appoints Chairman (Caixin), Rated: B

The chairman of a wholly-owned central bank subsidiary, Zhu Huanqi, has been appointed chairman of a planned national personal credit-information platform, Caixin has learned from sources familiar with the matter.

International

Online Banking and Payments: Innovative Solutions on the Horizon (FinsSMEs), Rated: AAA

In the near future, online banking and payments will go through some fascinating changes beyond what has already happened over the past several years.

Advanced Mobile Payments

Today, there is increasing demand for biometric authentication apps. To ensure that consumers get what they want, MasterCard is going a step further by developing facial identification, voice recognition, and even cardiac rhythm programs. These innovative solutions will enhance the mobile payment experience for customers and retailers alike.

Growing Opportunities for Mobile Wallets

Back in 2014, Apple was the only real contender for mobile wallets. Within just one year, others followed their lead, including Samsung and Google. Then, in just a short amount of time, more big-name players joined in, such as Chase, Amazon, and Walmart. However, that was not the end. Even social media platforms started offering online payment options. With sites like Facebook that have mobile wallet solutions, people can send money and make payments.

Another prediction is that by 2025, 75 percent of all transactions will be made using mobile wallets rather than actual cash.

Greater Demand for Digital Remittances

For instance, a San Francisco-based company founded in 2001 called Xoom has experienced amazing growth because of digital remittances. In fact, it passed up MoneyGram, which speaks volumes.

Growth Potential with Peer-to-Peer Lending

For instance, having originated loans over $20 million since being founded, Lending Club ranks as one of the fiercest competitors in this arena.

How Banks Are Leveraging Chatbots for Customer Service (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Bank of America: Erica

In October of 2016, Bank of America unveiled Erica, their new AI chatbot. Available in the bank’s mobile app, Erica can work with voice and text commands.

Erica uses machine learning and specially-designed algorithms to provide Bank of America services that were typically reserved for the bank’s top-tier customers. As an example, it could recommend a way to pay down more on your credit card debt to save on interest payments. Or if your checking account is close to being overdrawn, it could contact you to recommend a transfer from your savings account.

Swedbank: Nina

Customers can access Nina from the bank’s website, and it can understand a wide range of text requests using specially designed Natural Language Understanding technology.

In the first three months after Nina’s release, the software was handling an average of 30,000 customer interactions per month.  Of those early interactions, Nina was able to provide a resolution rate of 78%.

Capital One: Eno

Eno from Capital One is a chatbot program that works through SMS messaging.

You can use this AI chatbot to check the balance on your accounts, see your available credit, track recent transactions, pay bills, and more.

Wells Fargo

The Wells Fargo virtual assistant is a chatbot that the bank recently released for use with Facebook Messenger. Once a customer enrolls their account, they can then use Messenger to contact the virtual assistant for basic tasks like tracking recent transactions, balance inquiries, and finding the nearest ATM.

Digital investments: Modern ways to invest in the digital age (Bankless Times), Rated: A

The internet has brought about all kinds of new ways to invest one’s money.

  • Bitcoin
  • Peer-to-peer lending – You’re best off using a well-established site such as Ratesetter.
  • Micro-investment apps – Some apps round up all of your expenses to the nearest dollar and then put the leftover change into an account (for example, if a cup of coffee costs $3.14, this will be rounded up to $4 and the $0.86 extra change will be put into the account).
  • Social media shares
Australia/New Zealand

Australian Fintech Airwallex Secures $ 8 Million Investment From Square Peg (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Less than one year after securing $13 million during its Series A funding round, Aussie fintech startup Airwallex announced it has received an $8 million investment from Paul Bassat’s Square Peg.

Testing a chatbot’s home loan advice gives a range of outcomes (Stuff), Rated: A

A mortgage broking firm is offering an AI chatbot to help first-home buyers understand some of the basics – but an experiment shows you shouldn’t put too much faith in any online calculators’ estimates of how much you might be able to borrow.

Squirrel has launched Alan, an online tool that answers questions like “how much deposit do I need”, “what’s an auction” and “how much can I borrow?”

Regulatory Pathway for Challenger Banks Just OK, Could be Improved (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

FinTech Australia has provided a comment onthe consultation paper published in August regarding authorising new entrants into the banking industry. The creation of digital challenger banks in Australia is a welcomed move but, according to FinTech Australia, needs some improvement.

India

5 Consumer Lending Trends To Look Forward To In 2018 (Inc42), Rated: AAA

This amendment to the Prevention of Money Laundering (Maintenance of Records) Rules, 2005 is a step towards standardisation and providing a visible digital identity, thereby promoting transparency in financial transactions. Another factor that is pushing financial transparency is the rise of Fintech and the subsequent new-age companies that are offering digital avenues for finance such as payment platforms, blockchain companies, alternative financers like P2P lenders and so on.

Consumer Lending Trends To Look Forward To In 2018

Alternative Lending Boom

New service providers will serve the underserved and unserved, meeting the unmet demand. We will continue to see the rise of direct lending as well as P2P lending, marketplaces, crowdfunding platforms etc.

Ease Of Access To Credit

Credit will continue to grow, thanks to the alternative lending boom. One such burgeoning space is the Line of Credit. It has gained momentum in 2017 with the metros being early adopters and is expected to expand into tier 2 & tier 3 cities in 2018.

The Rise Of InsurTech

Investment In Emerging Technologies

Blockchain will expand in putting together smart contracts, and digital identification. Already, FinTech investments in Asia increased to $5.4 billion in 2016, up 12.5% from $4.8 billion in 2015, driven mainly by China and India.

Government And Regulatory Push For Fintech

Asia

Unique Secured P2P Lender Silver Bullion Reaches $ 50 Million in Loans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Silver Bullion, a peer to peer lending platform based in Singapore, has reached $50 million in loan originations. The unique platform that provides secured lending based off of bullion saw more than double the lending volume in 2017 versus year prior.

Amartha Powers Micro Peer to Peer Lending in Indonesia, Focuses on Women Entrepreneurs (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Amartha Founder & CEO, Garuda Typhoon Andi Putra recently commented;

“Since its establishment, Amartha has been committed to connecting the unbanked micro entrepreneurs, and investors who want to add this asset investment in a sector that is more profitable and socially valuable. The uniqueness lies in the micro-entrepreneurs or Amartha Partners, all of which are women. Today, more than 72,000 women micro entrepreneurs throughout Indonesia have enjoyed our services, with a total fund distributed more than 200 billion rupiah (US $ 15 million). “

Affin Islamic Bank lists latest sponsored venture on IAP (New Straits Times), Rated: A

KUALA LUMPUR: Affin Bank Bhd’s wholly owned subsidiary, Affin Islamic Bank Bhd, has today listed its latest sponsored venture with Segi Seri Sdn Bhd on Investment Account Platform (IAP), a shariah-compliant platform similar to crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending platforms.

Affin Islamic said the venture plans to raise RM3.3 million on IAP to part-finance contract awarded to them recently, which is related to preparation and serving of dietetic food to an established government hospital in Malaysia for a duration of three years.

 

Canada

Another challenge is the new technology. Instant Financial Inc., a Vancouver-based startup, released an app this year that lets workers paid by the hour get their day’s earnings after a shift. It’s free for employees. Employers pay a fee. The focus so far is the hospitality industry, and includes companies such as McDonald’s and Outback Steakhouse in the United States. Instant has about 175,000 people on the service in the United States and about 5,000 in Canada. Wal-Mart has a similar product, which it sourced from another company.

Africa

A mobile banking service is transforming how the poor transfer money — here’s how it works (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

In 11 countries around the world, some 30 million people use a mobile money service that is transforming how people handle their finances.

It’s called M-Pesa, and it has lifted hundreds of thousands of people out of poverty in Kenya.

Krispo, 40, is enrolled in GiveDirectly’s experiment in basic income, a system of wealth distribution in which people receive a standard salary just for being alive.

The money comes with no strings attached. Krispo and the other villagers have received $22 a month since October 2016, and they’ll continue getting it until October 2028.

Scattered around town are M-Pesa stands, outfitted with live agents who can dispense money — essentially an ATM with a human teller.

There is a small fee for each transaction. For the amount given to GiveDirectly recipients, this fee is 30 shillings. (GiveDirectly actually wires 2,280 shillings each month — 30 shillings above the 2,250 recipients can spend — to cover the cost.)

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday September 1st 2016, Daily News Digest

Thursday September 1st 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s interesting reads: Moody’s pointing out Prosper Marketplace successfully avoiding Madden vs Midland risk and new laws perhaps coming ; Amazon and Wells Fargo split up. In the UK : IFISA will open to bonds in Nov 2016. And more internationally: India will most likely get p2p regulation before Sunday; and interesting market overviews […]

Thursday September 1st 2016, Daily News Digest

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United States

Amazon and Wells Fargo part ways on private student loan deal, (Washington Post), Rated: AAA

(Amazon chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

Barely a month after teaming up, Wells Fargo has stopped offering Amazon.com customers discounted interest rates on private student loans.

Neither company would explain the abrupt end of the program, only confirming that it has been discontinued. The Wells Fargo Web page that once heralded the union now redirects to the bank’s run-down of its student loan products.

Until this week, Amazon Prime Student subscribers who applied for any of the bank’s education loans were eligible to have their interest rate lowered by half a percentage point. The deal was a bit unusual. Though it’s not uncommon for banks to partner with retailers to offer credit card customers discounts on shopping or travel, loans are another thing.

“We congratulate Amazon for deciding to stop promoting Wells Fargo’s costly private education loans,” said Pauline Abernathy, executive vice president of the Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS). “Private loans are one of the riskiest ways to pay for college, with none of the flexible repayment options and consumer protections that come with federal student loans. Students should consider other schools if a school requires them to take out a private loan.”

Moody’s: New efforts to bolster lender protections won’t eliminate legal risks for marketplace lenders, (Moody’s), Rated: AAA

Two recent developments in the marketplace lending space will be credit positive for some asset-backed securities (ABS) backed by marketplace loans, Moody’s Investors Service says in a new report. The moves, which reflect efforts to strengthen protections for holders of marketplace loans against legal actions by consumers, won’t eliminate this risk entirely, however.

“Some marketplace lenders have recently changed their origination model to address legal risks that could impair consumer loans whose interest rates exceed state usury limits,” says Moody’s analyst, Jody Shenn. “Meanwhile, newly proposed legislation, if passed, would create more explicit protections from state usury laws for bank-originated loans that are sold.”

Prosper Marketplace Inc. is the latest marketplace lender to adjust its origination model in the wake of the Madden v. Midland Funding LLC decision and other rulings, Shenn says. The changes strengthen loan holders’ ability to protect themselves against legal actions by consumers whose loans have high-interest rates but don’t completely remove this risk. Madden-like challenges, for example, could be heard by judges who are sympathetic to plaintiffs’ arguments.

Separately, US Representative Patrick McHenry has introduced a bill in Congress that would more explicitly protect bank-originated loans from state usury laws. If passed, the legislation would state that if a loan is valid when made due to the federal preemption of state usury laws, it would remain valid if it is then sold, assigned, or otherwise transferred.

“Such legislation would be credit positive for marketplace lending ABS because it directly addresses the Madden ruling and would prevent legal challenges based on the same theory,” Shenn says. “The bill is very narrow, however. It doesn’t resolve the issue of whether the bank or marketplace lender is the true lender of a loan, for example, which therefore is a separate legal risk for securitization transactions.”

Yirendai to defend against legal suits, (Shanghai Daily), Rated: A

Fifteen Chinese firms were sued in securities class action lawsuits in the US in 2015, taking up over 40 percent of all shareholder suits filed against US-listed foreign firms, research by Stanford Law School and Cornerstone Research showed.

On Tuesday, both New York and New Jersey-based law firm Bronstein, Gewirtz & Grossman filed a lawsuit accusing Yirendai of making “materially false misleading statements.”  On the same day Rigrodsky & Long PA filed a legal suit for the Central District of California against the P2P lender’s failure to disclose “rising fraud related to customer applications for its loan products,” and the negative impact that “the implementation of new anti-fraud regulations could have on Yirendai’s performance.”

Yirendai, the consumer finance arm of Chinese P2P lender CreditEase, yesterday rejected the complaints as “without merit” and the company intends to defend its interest.

Moody’s: Marketplace Lending is Good for Small Business Even as Pitfalls Remain, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Moody’s report in full can be found here.

Moody’s has published a report on the marketplace lending industry stating that platforms are “steadily expanding credit to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – but challenges remain. The authors are of the opinion that partnerships with traditional banks may ease the path forward for this segment of online lending.

Moody’s believes the new lending technology can help provide credit to SMEs while banks will benefit from access to the technology – including faster loan review – while expanding their relationships with customers.

The caveat to all of this is the looming risks of online lending and the list is challenging. Moody’s highlights model risk, regulatory risk, loan performance uncertainty and, yes, the risk from banks that are going it alone. With Goldman Sachs poised to enter the market in weeks, existing MPLs will have additional competition.

United Kingdom

Crowdfunded bonds: an income solution for ISA savers?, (City Wire), Rated: AAA

From November, the type of crowdfunded loans that will be authorized to sit within the new ISA will expand to include crowdfunded bonds. Unlike P2P lending, where investors’ money is spread among a large number of smaller loans typically made to small businesses and individuals, crowdfunded bonds see all of an investor’s money lent to larger, more established company.

The newest addition to the ISA stable, the ‘Innovative Finance ISA’, has been available since April. Currently, it allows peer-to-peer (P2P) lending investments to be held tax-free, such as loans made through lending platforms like Zopa, RateSetter and Funding Circle.

Julia Groves, head of crowdfunding at Downing and founder of the Crowdfunding Association, argued crowdfunded bonds were cutting out the fund manager middle-men and their high fees, meaning there were greater returns for investors.

Downing offered its first crowdfunded bond – investing in solar energy – at the beginning of the year at a fixed interest rate of 6.25%. It has launched eight bonds to date and is looking at launches next year that will enable investors to lend to care homes and nursery schools. Alongside solar investments, there is also a Pub Bond that offered 5.75% over 12 months plus a 20% discount card for investors in a chain of Home Counties pubs that is hoping to expand from its current four.

Downing is also seeing a boost from pension freedom, which has given over-55s the ability to be more flexible with their retirement savings.

Zopa doubles lending but reports £8.9m annual loss, (Financial Reporter), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lending platform Zopa doubled lending to £532 million in 2015 but announced a 45% increase in annual losses from £6.1 million in 2014 to £8.9 million.

Zopa says the loss is due to “significant internal investments” throughout 2015. Headcount more than doubled, from 70 people in December 2014 to 157 in December 2015, and a focus on technology innovation combined with increased marketing activities stimulated the growth in disbursals and revenue.

India

RBI likely to agree on nodal agency, (Business Standard), Rated: A

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is expected to issue the final guidelines for peer to peer (P2P) lending in the next few days.

It is expected to concede to lending firms’ suggestion for a nodal agency.

Comment: I had to look up what a nodal agency means. Nodal means: at a place where lines, systems, or paths meet. I assume a nodal agency would mean an agency that reports to multiple government stakeholders. 

People familiar with the development say the final guidelines are expected to come out before he demits office on Sunday.

The entities also suggested they should be given access to credit bureau data, which could get approval. They say this will help improve the quality of borrowers.  Apart from structural guidelines, the rest would be more suggestive in nature. “This is because the sector is still evolving and they don’t want to clamp on it,” said one player.

Some had asked the minimum capital requirement of Rs 2 crore be relaxed.  While bigger entities wanted the amount to remain, smaller ones had reservations, saying they were not lending or accepting deposits, and it shouldn’t apply to them. Now the players are also expecting a clarification on this.

European Union

Marketplace Lending in Italy Still in Infancy but Long Term Potential is Promising, (Lend Academy), Rated: A

As of the latest available figures Italy accounts for a minuscule 0.27% share of the volumes originated by the industry since inception. True, the UK accounts for the lion’s share of the European pie at 84.80%, suggesting that marketplace lending in Europe is currently a tale of two markets: the UK, and “all the others”. But Italy’s share looks extremely low even in comparison with France’s 3.33% and Germany’s 5.55%. It is approximately one-third the size of Finland, a country whose population is over 10 times smaller than Italy’s.

Two new platforms have joined the segment of loans to individuals: Soisy and Younited Credit, the latter having clearly taken the lead in new monthly originations after only four months since launch thanks to the strong support of its French mother company (the former Pret d’Union).

Four more platforms have been established to provide financing for businesses. Two of these are already operating: Borsa del Credito (which focuses on medium-term (36 to 60 months) financing for micro-businesses and SMEs) and Work invoice, which as the name suggests is a marketplace for companies aiming at financing their business via the sale of some of their receivables.

Before the end of 2016, they will be joined by Instapartners, an initiative backed by an impressive team of former top consultants and well-known entrepreneurs and CashMe. Both newcomers will be focusing at least initially on offering short-term financing solutions to SMEs.

Data collected from sources such as Milan’s Polytechnic (publisher of an annual report on Crowdfunding which from this year also included “Crowdfunding Lending”) or our own site P2Plendingitalia.com (a specialist blog/site in Italian which collects monthly figures from all the platforms) are still very modest in absolute terms.

Italy is a market only marginally smaller than the UK, in terms of population (60 mn people vs the UK’s 65 mn) or measured by the size of its GDP. It is also home to over 6 mn businesses, of which 4 mil classified as “micro-businesses”. Finally, the pool of savings held by Italian households is huge. According to Bank of Italy’s data, total financial assets held by Italian households at the end of 2014 amounted to €3.9 tn (approximately $4.3 trillion) and total net wealth was estimated at €8.7 tn ($9.5 trillion USD).

China

Fosun chairman calls China’s P2P market a ‘scam’, (FT), Rated: A

China’s self-styled “Warren Buffett” and billionaire businessman Guo Guangchang on Wednesday called the country’s Rmb440bn ($65.9bn) peer-to-peer lending market “basically a scam”, becoming the latest high-profile executive to attack an industry that has been plagued by scandal.

The sector has been lauded for providing an alternative to low-interest deposits but has more recently gained a reputation for hosting some of the biggest scams involving retail investor cash in China’s recent financial history, incurring the wrath of some of the country’s top business people as well as the regulators.

Mr. Guo made the remarks at a press conference in Hong Kong following the release of the company’s interim results. Another Fosun executive emphasized that the company, known for using insurance premiums to make investments abroad, had never dabbled in the P2P business.

Earlier this month, the president of Ping An Insurance, China’s second-largest insurer, told the Financial Times that most P2P lenders were “fakes” and that the vast majority of China’s P2P lenders would not be able to continue their business in the future.

The president of Ant Financial Services, a subsidiary of Alibaba that houses the group’s payments and credit scoring platforms, has also tried to distance the company from China’s broader P2P lending market.

Mr. Guo has been no stranger to controversy himself. The Fosun chairman disappeared for several days in December, only to re-emerge claiming he had been assisting an investigation in China. The group subsequently walked away from a deal to buy an Israeli insurance company.

Indonesia

Indonesia’s Fintech investment to reach $ 8 b in two years: KADIN, (Deal Street Asia) ,Rated: A

The Indonesian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (KADIN) has said that the country’s fintech industry is expected to receive up to $8 billion (Rp 105 trillion) of investments by 2018.

“In 2008, fintech investment stood at roughly $ 900 million. It had increased to three billion in 2013, and is projected to reach $ 8 billion by 2018,” Roeslani said at the Indonesia Fintech Festival and Conference (IFFC).“

Southeast Asia’s largest market Indonesia has been witnessing an emergence of a number of fintech companies such as peer to peer lending company Modalku, mobile recharge platform Sepulsa, e-commerce financing company Kredivo, online micro-lending company UangTeman and many others.

Not long before that, Indonesian P2P marketplace Investree said it had secured a series A funding commitment from a local venture capital firm, Kejora. Details of the amount, however, were not disclosed.

Transactions through fintech in Indonesia are estimated to be Rp 40 trillion in the past two years, a rapid escalation alongside growth in internet usage in the country, with a third of its 250-million population going online. A fifth of that number, however, still have no bank accounts.

Around the globe, KADIN recorded that customers in the fintech sector in Africa have risen almost two times to 101.3 million users, from 57.8 million reported in 2012. North America has 90.7 million users, while Europe acquires 64 million. Latin America saw a growth of 162 per cent of users, while in the Middle East the number of users has increased more than 300 per cent. In the Asia-Pacific region, investment in fintech rose fivefold to $ 2.7 billion in the first three months of this year from the same period a year ago.

Karaniya Dharmasaputra, Secretary General of Indonesian Fintech Association said, boosting cooperation and increase connections among fintech companies in Indonesia are one of the strategic objectives of the association, as it can help improve public access to technology-oriented financial services.

Author:

George Popescu