Monday June 18 2018, Daily News Digest

funding circle

News Comments Today’s main news: Opendoor secures $325M in financing. RateSetter IFISA tops 100M GBP. China Rapid Finance’s earnings call slides. Alior Bank, solarisBank, Raisin, Mastercard partner on European digital bank. Harmoney to lend through its own platform. Amazon launches lending platform in India. Today’s main analysis: Rising interest rates and inflation. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Is P2P lending dying? The economic […]

funding circle

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United States

United Kingdom

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Other

News Summary

United States

Opendoor now has $ 325 million more. SoftBank could come next. (Recode) Rated: AAA

Opendoor has already taken out $1.5 billion in loans for home buying. And the company now says it has accepted another $325 million in new financing that values it at more than $2 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Opendoor will expand to 50 cities with the $325 million round. But SoftBank, with its huge $100 billion checkbook, could help Opendoor expand to even more as soon as later this year. The Japanese investor typically invests hundreds of millions of dollars into private companies, and that sort of check would be expected here, though some of the money tends to buy out existing investors.

Rising Rates and Inflation (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

The Fed raised interest rates for the 2nd time in 2018 and the target Federal Funds Rate now stands at 1.75% – 2%. The committee indicated that it would raise rates twice more in 2018, a departure from the previous stance of 3 rate hikes in 2018.

The Fed summarizes member views using the “dot-plot”. The dot plot consolidates every committee member’s estimates of rates at the end of 2018, 2019, 2020 and the for long-term. The green line shows the median estimate indicating that most Fed members expect rates to be between 2.25% – 2.5% at the end of 2018, and between 3% – 3.25% at the end of 2019.

Source: Federal Reserve, Bloomberg
Source: Bloomberg, PeerIQ

Forward Rates – Where do we go from here?

Source: Bloomberg, PeerIQ

Braviant Holdings Announces $ 50 Million Credit Facility with Keystone National Group (PR Newswire) Rated: A

Braviant Holdings, a provider of tech-enabled credit solutions for underserved Americans, has entered into a $50 million senior secured credit facility with institutional investment firm Keystone National Group.

The Keystone debt facility allows Braviant to expand its newly launched near prime lending platform, Chorus Credit. Chorus is Braviant’s latest offering in support of the company’s mission to promote financial inclusion for 51 million adults considered underbanked by the FDIC. While the FDIC estimates that these adults make up 19.9% of U.S. households, data from the Fair Isaac Corporation, better known as FICO, suggests that 43% of U.S. consumers have below 700 credit scores. In the traditional banking sector, a lower than average FICO score severely limits access to credit for almost half of the nation’s population. Chorus aims to close the credit gap for middle America by offering $2,500 to $10,000 personal loans that are repaid in small, affordable installments.

Is P2PLending Dying? (P2P Lending Expert) Rated: AAA

Seriously. I’m asking. Is p2plending dying? Returns have sucked the last couple of years for all investors, but especially us retail investors since the 2015 and 2016 vintages have performed so poorly. My own returns are 400-500 basis points lower than my returns on my 2013 and 2014 vintage loans were and I know some colleagues and friends who have lost money on these investments.

But can the industry survive?

Source: P2P Lending Expert

How Will the Fed’s Interest Rate Hike Impact the Average Joe? (Dough Roller) Rated: A

On Wednesday, The Federal Reserve decided it was going to increase the federal funds rate by 25 basis points, from 1.75% to 2%. This is the second rate increase already this year. In March, new chairman Jerome Powell and the Fed increased the federal funds rate from 1.5% to 1.75%. The Fed also indicated that they’d be targeting two more increases this year alone.

As I said before, when the Fed increases rates, it usually means something is going well for the economy. And all signs are pointing to that being the case. Unemployment is currently at 3.8%. In the last 50 years, unemployment has only been this low two times. That’s significant, and it means that more people are finding jobs. It may also signify a strengthening job market for you. The Fed projects unemployment will drop to 3.6 percent by the end of the year, too.

Zelle is on track to be more popular than Venmo in 2018 (Business Insider) Rated: A

Zelle is a year-old service that lets you instantly transfer money to someone else, much like Venmo or Square Cash.

But Zelle differs from either service in a major way: because it was built by seven of the largest US banks, it’s often able to integrate more seamlessly with your bank’s mobile app. While other services make you wait a few days for the money you received from friends to show up in your bank account, Zelle can transfer the money almost instantly.

For those reasons, analysts at eMarketer expect Zelle to “leapfrog” other payments services before the end of the year.

Credit Union SMB Loan Approvals Hit Record Lows (PYMNTS) Rated: A

The latest data from the monthly Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index suggests a slump in small business lending among U.S. credit unions.

press release issued on Wednesday (June 13) detailed the May Index’s latest findings, which found that large banks with more than $10 billion in assets are approving of nearly 30 percent of small business loan applications, a two-tenths of a percent increase from April levels. That figure is also a new high for post-recession big bank lending to small businesses.

Digital-only banks grapple with integrating ‘human’ interaction into their products (Tearsheet) Rated: A

Digital-only banks cater to younger customers who don’t want to talk to bankers at brick-and-mortar branches — or bother visiting a branch at all. Or so they think.

Recent customer surveys indicate otherwise, according to research findings released this month from Celent, commissioned by Samsung. It revealed that customers want some kind of human interaction for complex issues. The study found that about half of U.S. banking customers aged 18 to 44 said they banked digitally, but prefer to resolve some matters in-person. Overall, most customers surveyed preferred dealing with humans on matters like setting up financial goals or getting investment advice. To respond to fraud, a lost or stolen card, or identity theft, a majority of those surveyed across age categories preferred to phone the contact center or address it in a physical branch.

Source: Tearsheet

Real Estate Finance Is Changing, Thanks to ‘Fintech’ Startups (The Bridge) Rated: A

If your student loan debt is larger than your salary, investing in real estate might sound like a joke. But it’s doable, said Dave Conroy of the startup Meridio, a website in beta testing that lets users invest amounts of money that you might have in your wallet right now–even $20–into specific properties. Using blockchain technology keeps each transaction cost low, said Conroy, whose company is an offshoot of Bushwick-based ConsenSys, which is building myriad applications based on the Ethereum platform.

For investors, the service would reduce transactions costs and make a real-estate portfolio more liquid. For owners, it would unlock more capital and streamline transactions. While Meridio won’t provide market intelligence about properties to invest in, prospective investors can call on their own experience, says Conroy, who previously worked for the National Association of Realtors.

Why digital banking and robo advice are pairing up (Financial Planning) Rated: A

Banks and digital wealth startups are headed toward the same goal from different starting points.

Each side is increasingly seeking to package automated investment advice with checking because customers are expressing an interest in getting both services from one provider.

Fifth Third Bancorp’s securities unit teamed up with Fidelity recently to offer automated advice, while the microinvesting app Acorns rolled out a debit card called Spend and opened up 50,000 checking accounts in two days.

Wells Fargo simplifies payments pricing to compete with Square (Payments Source) Rated: A

Wells Fargo will simplify the prices it charges small businesses to accept credit and debit card transactions as the bank responds to pressure from startups such as Jack Dorsey’s Square Inc.

The changes, which are tailored for small businesses that process $100,000 a year or less, eliminate many of the complicated pricing policies that varied from client to client, according to Danny Peltz, who leads treasury management and merchant services at the company. Business customers will also be able to apply online for payment processing capabilities with Wells Fargo, Peltz said.

New Technologies and New Customer Experiences Drive Banking Today (Lend Academy) Rated: A

American Banker’s Penny Crosman sat with Cathy Bessant, Chief Operations and Technology Officer, Bank of America to discuss the bank’s use of AI.  She described how the bank has inventors all over the world in their distributed innovation model.

Peer to Peer Micro-Credit Site Puddle Shuts Down (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Puddle, an online lender that provided micro-credit in a peer to peer platform, is shutting down.

In an email circulated by the company, Puddle founders stated that after five years of operation the businesses model was “unsustainable.”

RealtyMogul, Comunidad Realty Partners Sell Dallas Area Investment Property (Herald Courier) Rated: B

RealtyMogul, a pioneer in providing private real estate to discerning investors, announced that it has sold an investment property in partnership with Comunidad Realty Partners at greater than 1.5 times its purchase price.

The property, Lodge at Main, a 208-unit multifamily apartment complex in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas area was acquired in 2015.

California may force online business lenders to disclose rates (American Banker) Rated: AAA

A bill pending in California aims to tame the disorderly, confusing and largely unregulated world of online small-business lending by mandating that borrowers receive standard price disclosures.

The bill, which passed the Senate without a vote to spare and has failed to garner much support from either the online lending industry or its critics, still faces a tough fight in the state Assembly. But if the measure does get enacted in California, it could serve as a blueprint for other states.

The legislation tackles the question of whether commercial lenders should be required to disclose the price of financing in a way that enables borrowers to compare multiple offers. Just as nettlesome is the question of how any such comparison metric should be calculated.

Source: American Banker

The bill would apply to small businesses that borrow $500,000 or less.

United Kingdom

RateSetter Reports IFISA Tops £100 Million in Record Time (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

UK based peer-to-peer lender RateSetter is reporting that subscriptions to its IFISA have surpassed £100 million. This milestone took four months to reach and, according to RateSetter, faster than any other P2P lender. To date, RateSetter has originated over £2.5 billion in online loans to both businesses and individuals.  RateSetter states that more than 10,000 IFISA accounts have now been opened.  The average annual return received by investors stands at 4.4% with more than £100 million in interest having been paid.

Peer-to-peer lender Ratesetter to raise £30m as London float looms (City A.M.) Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lending business Ratesetter is working on a £30m fundraising which is expected to be a prelude to a London float.

According to Sky News Ra

tesetter is working with investment bank Lazard and broker Peel Hunt to raise £30m from investors.

The funding round would value Ratesetter at about £280m.

The fundraising is expected to be a precursor to a stock market flotation which could take place as early as next year.

THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF LENDING THROUGH FUNDING CIRCLE (Funding Circle) Rated: AAA

In the UK, where Funding Circle has been established the longest, the platform is now competing directly with banks in the small business lending market – with net lending through the platform exceeding that of the entire UK banking system for two successive quarters at the end of 2017. A survey of Funding Circle’s customers undertaken for the study suggests 89 percent of the platform’s UK small business customers would approach
Funding Circle first again in future, rather than going to a bank.

Source: Funding Circle

Read the full report here.

Funding Circle CEO on the Fintech Frenzy in Europe (Yahoo Finance) Rated: A

How the big three shaped P2P (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

ALTHOUGH we still tend to think of peer-to-peer lending as a young sector, it is now 13 years since Zopa became the first lender in the market. It was joined five years later by Funding Circle and RateSetter and since then the big three have dominated the P2P market.

Here are some of the key moments in their journeys.

London Block Exchange To Strike Deal With UK Bank (Crypto Daily) Rated: A

London Block Exchange, a UK based crypto provider is alleged to be pairing up with a new UK based bank, ClearBank.

If this news is indeed true, this will mark the first time a lender has struck a deal with a cryptocurrency-based entity.

The UK proves its tech chops, Google’s massive diversity gap and Brexit cause business tensions (Elite Business) Rated: A

Out of Europe’s 34 unicorns, the UK has produced 13. These have a combined value of $23bn, equal to 38% of the European total. This puts the UK ahead of Germany  and France, which have six and three scaleups valued over $1bn respectively. Given the nation has already spawned success stories like Deliveroo and Funding Circle, it’s hardly surprising that VC investment is also booming in the UK. Last year British startups raised $7.9bn compared to Germany’s $3.2bn and France‘s $2.8bn.

Brexit has made UK SMEs worry about talent

Having polled companies in 11 countries, researchers revealed that UK entrepreneurs were much less confident about the conscious uncoupling than those in the EU. Overall, 57% of respondents felt that their biggest challenge was that they had too little time and that they were doing everything themselves. This was double the 24% who thought hiring the right people were their biggest worry.

Alternative finance funds see mixed success (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

Over the past year, P2P Global Investments (P2PGI), VPC Specialty Lending Investments and Ranger Direct Lending (RDL) have moved away from pure P2P to boost returns and narrow their discounts, while the Funding Circle SME Income Fund (FCIF) has remained true to its roots, all with varying outcomes.

The FCIF investment trust solely backs loans originated via the Funding Circle platform and saw its net asset value (NAV) return 6.9 per cent last year, while trading on a healthy premium.

In comparison, RDL – which has recently announced its intention to close – returned 5.4 per cent, VPC – which has shifted from P2P towards balance sheet lenders – saw its NAV total return grow by 3.07 per cent, while P2PGI – which last year merged its manager MW Eaglewood with Pollen Street Capital and is focusing more on asset-backed alternative lenders – reported a NAV return of 3.03 per cent during 2017. RDL and P2PGI are both trading at double-digit discounts to NAV.

Updated Crowd2Fund app includes IFISA management tools (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: B

PEER-TO-PEER platform Crowd2Fund has relaunched its app to include Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) management features via their smartphones.

Digital Challenger Redwood Bank Raises £9.8 Million (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Redwood is targeting the SME market. Products include mortgages for business owners and professional landlords, as well as a range of savings accounts. Redwood seeks to offer British businesses fast, simple, transparent loans and savings accounts, coupled with superlative service. They also promise that money is being invested back into British business and into the communities they are a part of. Warrington Borough Council has a 33% stake in the firm that was pegged at £30 million.

BIS wants tighter rules for funds offering credit, fintech (Reuters) Rated: A

Regulations introduced after the financial crisis a decade ago to smooth out banking booms and busts should be extended to funds that provide credit, or shadow banks, and fintech firms, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) said on Sunday.

The introduction of “macroprudential” policy requiring banks to build up separate “countercyclical” buffers of capital if credit markets become frothy was a core crisis-era innovation.

The buffers can be released if loans begin turning sour and maintain resilience of the financial system to shocks – a departure from the traditional “microprudential” focus on the stability of individual banks.

China

China Rapid Finance 2018 Q1 – Results – Earnings Call Slides (Seeking Alpha) Rated: AAA

Source: Seeking Alpha
Source: Seeking Alpha

Chinese P2P giant Lufax dodges valuation bullet (Nasdaq) Rated: A

Lufax is wisely trying to grow up in private. The Chinese financial technology giant, which focuses on peer-to-peer lending and wealth management, plans to raise more than $1 billion at a $40 billion valuation ahead of a delayed Hong Kong flotation, says Reuters. That makes sense. Listing now could upset Beijing, and might only be achievable at a discounted price. Abundant venture capital allows the Ping An-backed startup to keep growing without a distracting market debut.

European Union

Alior Bank, solarisBank, Raisin and Mastercard to unveil European digital bank (Fintech Futures) Rated: AAA

Poland’s Alior Bank has teamed with solarisBankRaisin and Mastercard to unleash a pan-European digital bank.

The new offering, which is planned to be launched in the fourth quarter of 2018, will be built on the “strengths of all partners”.

Alior Bank will deliver multicurrency accounts with international transfers and deposits.

solarisBank will add the banking infrastructure with its technological, compliance and regulatory framework.

Raisin through its network of partner banks, is adding various savings and investment possibilities to the offering.

N26 launches a revised metal card (Tech Crunch) Rated: A

Fintech startup N26 is updating its N26  Metal product and launching it tomorrow. You might remember that the company first announced its premium card at TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin in December 2017. Shortly after the conference, the card was available in early access for existing N26 Black customers.

But the company had to go back to the drawing board and update the card design. N26 Metal customers had some complaints about the design of the card in particular.

International

Fintechs are staring down the future of banking (Financial Post) Rated: A

For instance, U.S.-based Lending Club, which has been around since 2007 and which is public, has arranged US$35 billion in consumer loans for its two million borrowers. The average loan — and it originates about US$2.4 billion a quarter — is about US$14,000.

Those themes were on full display this week in Toronto at an event organized by the KiWi Private Credit Fund, which raises capital from investors and purchases unsecured consumer loans and secured small business loans originated by established U.S.-based lending marketplaces.

“But they are not good at pricing a 9 per cent or 12 per cent risk,” he added, all of which allows entities such as his, to meet that need. It has US$27 million in assets; an average loan of almost US$14,000 and targets a return in the six- to eight-per-cent range.

Australia/New Zealand

Harmoney is to begin lending money through its own online platform (Interest) Rated: AAA

Peer to peer lending facilitator Harmoney Corp is making a number of tweaks to its operation, which will include the ability to lend its own money through its own platform.

The company has also renamed its ‘platform fee’ – recently the subject of Commerce Commission court action – as an ‘establishment fee’ and dropped the fee by $50 to $450. The company has also tweaked some of its interest rates higher (see below tables).

Harmoney will now be operating two different markets within its platform; the existing P2P facility and a new ‘wholesale market’ operated through a new subsidiary Harmoney Nominee.

Australian regulator sues Westpac for staffer’s poor financial advice (Reuters) Rated: A

An Australian regulator filed a lawsuit against No. 2 lender Westpac Banking Corp (WBC.AX) over a financial planner it alleges gave poor advice for years, upping its scrutiny of a sector already under fire amid an embarrassing public inquiry.

Australia’s A$5 billion ($3.7 billion) financial planning sector has provided some of the most damning evidence at an inquiry into finance sector misconduct, ordered by the government after a string of banking scandals including fraud.

P2P lender cuts rates (Good Returns) Rated: A

Peer to peer lender Lending Crowd has cut its borrower interest rates for all new business and personal loan applications including vehicle purchases and debt consolidations.

A1 grade personal borrowers will have a market leading rate of 6.89% pa and SME businesses will have rates available from 7.98%. Interest rates across all loan grades will range from a low of 6.89%
to a high of 18.96% (previously 7.90% to 19.75%).

Parents giving $ 10k towards kid’s first car (Finder) Rated: A

Survey shows 60% of parents are giving kids $10,594 to buy their first car.

According to research conducted by RateSetter, parents are stumping up $10k to get their child their first set of wheels.

RateSetter found that among parents who bought their child a car, 15% chose a new model, 71% opted for a used one and 14% donated their own vehicle. The majority of families could afford a car under $10,000, while 26% spent between $10,000 and $20,000. A lucky 12% of kids were gifted over $20,000 towards their ride. Parents in Victoria spend the most on their child, up to $13,386. In NSW, the average outlay was $10,404.

India

P2P lending companies change tack in bid to become NBFCs (Business Standard) Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending companies are changing their business model as they migrate to becoming (NBFCs).

RBI had created a special category called NBFC-P2P, in view of the proliferation of entities. While mandating Rs 20 million as minimum net worth, RBI had also imposed a Rs 1-mn cap for individual lending on such platforms.

So far, a couple of these entities have got an NBFC licence from RBI. Faircent says it got the licence about 20 days earlier.

Amazon launches lending platform for sellers (The Economic Times) Rated: AAA

Amazon India has launched a platform for lenders and sellers wherein sellers can choose from competitive rates and loan offers. It will also open its APIs to lenders to plug in and lend to the sellers as part of the new programme, called the seller lending network.

India will be the first geography for Amazon where it has launched such a seller platform.

Fiscal 2015 World Bank Lending Report highlights India as one of the biggest Loan Beneficiary (Digital Journal) Rated: AAA

Fintechs offer loans to individuals with low credit scores as well. For instance, in the case of Qbera, individuals with a minimum credit score of 600 can qualify for personal finance. This is not quite so in the case of private banks – individuals need to have a minimum credit score of 750 to be eligible.

Aye Finance Secures $ 21.5M in Series C Funding (Finsmes) Rated: A

Aye Finance, a Gurgaon, India-based provider of financial services to micro and small businesses, secured $21.5m in Series C funding.

Backers included CapitalG, SAIF Partners and LFT.

The company intends to use the funds to accelerate business growth.

P2P lending: Can India replicate the UK experience to achieve Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas? (Economic Times) Rated: A

India is still struggling with a huge credit gap that is holding back the economy. Getting a bank loan is an extremely cumbersome and long-drawn process for salaried individuals and small businesses, alike. According to a study conducted jointly by ASSOCHAM and EY, around 19% of India’s population remains unserved by the traditional banking sector.

Several million MSMEs that lack a tangible financial record are thus not eligible for credit from legacy financial institutions who still use traditional credit and financial data to evaluate eligibility. For the Indian economy to achieve the next level of growth, the current gap of nearly $200 billion in credit supply to MSMEs and significant under-banked population of India needs to be addressed immediately.

Asia

FSC reins in P2P firms (Korea Joongang Daily) Rated: AAA

In Korea, P2P firms, which directly connect borrowers with investors through online platforms, are not under the direct supervision or management of financial authorities. The Financial Services Commission (FSC) only indirectly supervises them by requiring registration of P2P firms’ lending subsidiaries, which most P2P firms use to carry out the process of lending money to borrowers.

But this safeguard also has many loopholes. TheHighOneFunding, for example, had uploaded the name of a different person as CEO when it registered its lending subsidiary with government regulators.

With more investors attracted to the idea of making easy money through high interest rates on P2P lending, the cumulative amount of loans on such platforms has dramatically increased, from 37.3 billion won in late 2015 to 3.50 trillion won as of May.

MENA

Where’s the money, honey? (Gulf News) Rated: AAA

According to the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, nearly 50 to 70 per cent of loan applications made by SMEs in the UAE are declined by traditional banks, while loans to SMEs account for around four to five per cent of the outstanding bank credit in the UAE.

Enter peer-to-peer lending.

Over the years, such platforms have become big business: In 2016, the size of the peer-to-peer lending market in the US, UK, the European Union, Australia and New Zealand was estimated to be more than $72 billion, according to AltFi. In China, loan originations in 2015 were estimated at $101 billion.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday February 20 2018, Daily News Digest

Loan Charge Rates

News Comments Today’s main news: Cross River Bank, PeerIQ partner on loan data.Coinbase to offer crypto payments service to compete with PayPal.Better Mortgage hits $1B in mortgage loan funding.LendingClub updates Truth in Lending Statement.Zopa to launch a credit card.Funding Circle plans IPO at $2.1B valuation.Prospa ranked #1 among high-growth firms in APAC. Today’s main analysis: […]

Loan Charge Rates

News Comments

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News Summary

United States

Fintech-friendly Cross River Bank partners with PeerIQ on loan data (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Cross River Bank in Fort Lee, N.J., has entered into a partnership with PeerIQ, a provider of consumer loan data analytics, in an effort to streamline capital sourcing between online lenders and institutional loan buyers such as small banks.

Coinbase Now Powering Payments in Digital Currency (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Coinbase, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, has launched Coinbbase Commerce, a payments platform that allows merchants to accept digital currency anywhere, anytime.

Millennials SME Owners Prefer Online Alternative Lenders to Tradtional Ones (Bank Innovation), Rated: AAA

According to Mercator’s report, Business Banking Services: Keeping Up with Millennial Owners, 27% of total U.S. SMEs have used online alternative lenders (P2P lenders or marketplace lending platforms) in 2017.

Of this number, 48% of millennial owners (aged 18–34), currently have a loan from an alternative lender compared to 25% of SMEs run by owners over 35 years of age. Further, these millennial owners said they are twice as likely to use alternative lenders than their older counterparts.

Source: Bank Innovation

P2P lending soars but SMEs generally wary of finance (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

The 2018 Small Business Finance Markets report, released on Tuesday, found that P2P business lending rose by 51 per cent in 2017. In contrast, bank lending to UK small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) fell to £700m in 2017 from £3bn the previous year.

Despite increased demand for alternative finance, the report found that 70 per cent of smaller businesses would rather forego growth than borrow. The BBB’s analysis found that only 1.7 per cent of small firms sought new loans over the last 10 quarters – a record low since its index began in 2011.

Less than half (43 per cent) of businesses surveyed were confident they would get a loan if they applied, even though most new loan applications (72 per cent) are approved.

Better Mortgage Hits $ 1 Billion Dollars in Mortgage Loans Funded after Launch in January 2016 (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Better Mortgage, a digital mortgage company focused on improving access to home financing for a new generation of homeowners, announced that it has funded over $1 billion dollars in mortgage loans to date. Better launched in January 2016, making it the third fastest online lender to reach this $1B milestone — per research published by Lend Academy in July 2017.

The Case for M&A (Why Banks Should Buy Online Lenders) (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Tech firms have already demonstrated they can open these markets. The largest money market fund in the world, Ant Financial’s four-year-old Yu’e Bao, was built on a sweep from the AliPay payments product. Intuit can utilize proprietary accounting and tax data to underwrite (and acquire) borrowers in novel ways. Amazon can underwrite small businesses using inventory turnover and reams of customer data.

“Big Tech” firms also have proprietary platforms and channels – in-home (think ‘Alexa’), apps, in-car, and mobile to name a few.  However, in the US – at least for now – Big Tech firms lack a regulatory “swimlane” to compete with banks in lending and payments on a national scale. Their non-bank and commercial status confines their activities to narrow forms of lending, affinity partnerships, and lead generation. Until that impediment is dissolved, “Big Tech” firms need to partner with national banks with unsecured lending capabilities to fully unlock these markets.

Our argument is that banks without an unsecured lending capability risk losing long-term customer relevance. Banks that do not have an unsecured lending business do not have a seat at the table.

Source: PeerIQ

Which Banks are the logical buyers?

Banks that have the following characteristics would make a short-list of likely acquirers:

  • Are active in lending, but have a gap in unsecured consumer loans
  • Banks with asset management or structured products arms that can package loans into new products (e.g., ABS offerings, investment vehicles, etc.). Also, banks that have aspirations to develop a robo-advisor
  • Banks that have a demonstrated history of partnering with FinTechs
Source: PeerIQ, SEC filings, bank corporate websites

We assume underwriting and loan terms similar to those today (e.g. ~700 credit score, 15% coupon, $15k principal, 3 to 5 year term). We assume annual charge-off rates of 5%. We assume a 1.5% deposit funding charge and a leverage ratio of 15%.

We find that a bank can generate 10% NIM, 2 to 3.5% ROA, 15 to 20% marginal-ROE during good times.

Update to Truth in Lending Disclosure Statement (Lending Club), Rated: AAA

As of Friday, February 23, 2018, recent updates made to the Truth in Lending disclosure statement for unsecured consumer loans will take effect. The forthcoming Truth in Lending disclosure statement is available here.

Will LendingClub Turn a Corner in 2018? (Guru Focus), Rated: A

LendingClub has a market cap of about $1.6 billion, which makes it one of the biggest players in the peer-to-peer lending market.

The company’s stock price has plunged nearly 40% over the last four months and this could continue unless the upcoming earnings call changes investor sentiment. LendingClub was valued at about $9 billion in late 2014 but it has dropped to about $1.6 billion.

Source: Guru Focus

Pricey personal loans would be outlawed by bill that would reshape state lending industry (Los Angeles Times), Rated: AAA

A bill introduced Thursday by Assemblyman Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) could dramatically reshape California’s lending industry by capping interest rates at roughly 20% for consumer loans between $2,500 and $10,000. Since rate caps were removed by the Legislature in the 1980s, there’s been no limit to the amount of interest lenders can charge on those loans.

That has led to startling growth in the market. In 2016, more than half of the loans between $2,500 and $5,000 and about 21% of larger loans charged interest rates of 100% or higher. In all, Californians in 2016 — the most recent year for which state data are available — borrowed $1.1 billion at triple-digit interest rates.

But Kalra’s bill would do much more than ban lenders’ priciest offerings. The bill would extend an existing set of rate caps that now apply to loans of less than $2,500 to all loans of up to $10,000. That would cap interest rates at roughly 19% for loans up to $10,000.

Had the caps been in effect in 2016, 98% of loans between $2,500 and $5,000 and 95% of loans up to $10,000 would have been outlawed. Only about $91 million of the $2.7 billion in loans made in those sizes in 2016 had rates below 20%.

BFS Capital Announces New 5 Million Credit Line (BFS Capital Email), Rated: A

BFS Capital, a leading small business financing platform, today announced it is has received a new $175 million revolving credit line provided by funds managed by Ares Management, L.P. BFS Capital will use the new facility to accelerate the growth of its lending business, following a record year where the company generated more than $300 million in originations, a new annual high.

Braviant Holdings Announces $ 7 Million Equity Raise (Braviant Email), Rated: A

Braviant Holdings, a leading fintech startup that uses advanced analytics and proprietary technology to make smarter lending decisions, has raised $5 million common equity from Loom Capital, LLC. Alongside the equity investment, Braviant has entered into an exclusive partnership with a subsidiary of Trend Capital, a tech-enabled digital marketing platform affiliated with Loom.

VPC’s portfolio sales drag on performance (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

VPC Specialty Lending Investments has reported a total net asset value (NAV) return of 3.07 per cent for 2017 – below its target return levels.

PeerStreet Review (Benzinga), Rated: A

In addition, “accredited investors” need only apply. Investors must have a net worth greater than $1 million in liquid assets (meaning the equity in your home doesn’t count) or you need to earn more than $200,000 per year or make $300,000 jointly.

PeerStreet’s minimum investment is $1,000 and account fees range from 0.25% to a 1% setup fee. The investment length ranges from six to 24 months.

Marla Blow of FS Card (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • How Marla’s time at the CFPB indirectly led to the founding of FS Card.
  • Why creating a new credit card company is so complicated and challenging.
  • What their Build card is and who is their target market.
  • How they are able to offer an secured credit card to people that banks reject.
  • The types of data they use to find stable customers in the subprime segment.
  • The typical size of the credit line they provide to these customers.
  • The profile of their target customer and how they are using the credit card.
  • How they are providing financial education to these people.
  • How FS Card is acquiring these credit card customers.
  • The percentage of their customers who have qualified for credit line increases.
  • Why improving credit scores of their customers is a key metric.
  • How they are able to issue these cards through their partner bank.
  • How FS Card makes money.
  • What regulators could be doing to help subprime consumers get more access to responsible credit.
  • What more should fintech companies be doing to help these underserved people.
  • The biggest challenges that FS Card has to overcome to become a large and successful credit card company.

How does real estate investing benefit from technology (Realty Biz), Rated: A

Buying and selling property has already become much more accessible due to technology, and this trend is only going to speed up. While historically, real estate professionals, investors, and landlords have been reluctant to pay for technology, and the data available has been spotty, the tide is turning as more wake up to the opportunities. Investment values are shooting up in many places due in a large part to technological advances, including the ability to market real estate to audiences beyond the immediate community and to close deals securely, quickly, and remotely with investors.

BBVA taps digital start-up Azlo to target US freelance market (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

BBVA has partnered with digital business account provider Azlo to target the freelance market in the US.

According to BBVA, by 2020 in the US alone, 43% of workers will be employed in freelance capacities – a trend that is expected to continue to grow.

Goldman Sachs and rivals home in on risky consumer banking (Financial Times), Rated: A

Lloyd Blankfein was a breezy opening act at a big industry event this week in Key Biscayne, Florida. On stage at the Ritz-Carlton the chairman and chief executive of Goldman Sachs was talking about Marcus, the bank’s new online savings and lending platform, which is targeting borrowers with scores as low as 660 on the 300-850 Fico scale. Goldman calls such people “creditworthy”; others call them subprime.

Banks Urged to Take On Payday Lenders With Small, Lower-Cost Loans (WRAL), Rated: A

Those who find themselves pinched for cash often turn to high-cost payday lenders. But traditional banks and credit unions could serve that role for borrowers and do it at much lower rates, according to a new proposal from the Pew Charitable Trusts.

B of A’s Moynihan: Big banks are ‘fine’ with Dodd-Frank (American Banker), Rated: A

While small and regional banks are pushing for a rollback of the Dodd-Frank Act, big banks are largely supportive of the 2010 financial reform law, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan said Thursday.

African-American Entrepreneur Launches Innovative Mobile Tax Refund Loan App to Revolutionize the Tax Industry (Black News), Rated: B

Good news for Americans struggling with income tax returns given the recent changes in the tax laws with the enactment of The PATH ACT. A visionary African-American entrepreneur, Marshawn Govan, has come up with an innovative mobile tax refund loan app that is all set to revolutionize the tax industry and make tax returns simpler for Americans.

Titled as MKG Tax Refund, the state of the art program is a patent pending mobile tax refund Collateral Driven Interest & Investment (SaaS) Software-as-a-Service (FOF) Fund-Of-Fund multi-manager investment application.

Add Another Bank to Fintech Roostify’s Roster of Investors (Bank Innovation), Rated: B

If there’s any question that digital mortgage firms are gaining attention from larger fintech players and investors, then look no further than venture capital firm Santander InnoVentures‘ investment in Roostify, a startup that digitalizes the mortgage application process.

French asset manager signs record deal in the Meatpacking District (The Real Deal), Rated: B

Tikehau Capital, a Paris-based firm with $15.6 billion in assets under management, signed a lease for the top two floors at Rockpoint Group’s new development at 412 West 15th Street, sources told The Real Deal.

The 11-year lease covers nearly 10,000 square feet on the top two floors of the 18-story building, which offer sweeping views of the Hudson River.

Lawmakers highlighted that H.R. 3299 — the Protecting Consumers’ Access to Credit Act of 2017 — clarifies current law to ensure innovative marketplace lending remains in-tact while simultaneously providing safe consumer protections.

H.R. 3299 passed through the House by a vote of 245-171 and went on over to the Senate, which received it, read the measure twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.

United Kingdom

Zopa on hiring drive to support credit card launch in 2018 (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ZOPA is recruiting staff to develop its new credit card, which it plans to launch later this year as a feature of its digital bank.

Temasek-backed Funding Circle plans IPO at .1b valuation (Deal Street Asia), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle, the largest peer-to-peer (P2P) lender in the UK, is planning to list on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) that will see it float at an estimated valuation of £1.5 billion ($2.1 billion), according to a report by Britain’s Sky News.

Funding Circle set to hire Morgan Stanley to lead London flotation (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

FUNDING Circle is reportedly poised to hire Morgan Stanley to lead a flotation on the London Stock Exchange in the second half of this year.

The largest P2P platform by loan book size in the UK is expected to hire the US bank in the coming weeks, according to Sky News.

Lendy reports 224% turnover increase (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: AAA

Lendy has revealed a 224% turnover increase in 2016 (to £29.2m), compared with the previous year (2015: £9m).

The P2P lending platform has published its audited accounts for 2016, which also showed that profits before tax increased to £3.3m, compared with the £53,000 reported in 2015.

Lending Works chooses Credit Kudos to power new Open Banking initiative (Finextra), Rated: A

Credit Kudos, a challenger credit bureau, and Lending Works, a fast-growing peer-to-peer (P2P)  lending platform, are partnering to enable customers to benefit from the UK’s Open Banking  initiative, a secure way for banking customers to take control of their financial data. Credit Kudos  and Lending Works’ partnership is one of the first initiatives to use Open Banking to improve  customer experience in the finance industry.

Currently, approximately 60% of Lending Works’ borrowers are provided with  instant and automated credit decisions, whereas the remaining 40% require some manual  processes. Within the new world of Open Banking, Lending Works expects to increase that figure  to up to 90% of credit decisions being fully automated.

Small businesses look to specialist lenders for loans (Financial Times), Rated: A

British small businesses are diversifying their sources of funding away from big banks, as a growing number turn to specialist asset-backed lenders, peer-to-peer finance sites, private equity and venture capital investors.

Fewer small businesses are applying for loans than in the past five years and more of them fear that if they did they would be rejected, according to the latest report into small business finance by the British Business Bank, a government-backed development bank.

Out of the UK’s total of 5.7m small businesses, only 1.7 per cent applied for a loan or overdraft last year, the fifth consecutive year of decline since 2012.

There’s never been a better time to seek alternative finance (Belfast Telegraph), Rated: A

There are also several privately funded lenders (with a local presence in the province through brokerages) such as Atom Bank, Relendex, Thin Cats and Dunluce Capital which have all completed a number of deals in Northern Ireland from cash flow loans to property development finance.

The Access to Finance initiative supported by Invest Northern Ireland offers a variety of support including start-up funding, loans and equity investment.

WhiteRock Capital Partners manages the £50m NI Growth Loan Fund (Access to Finance) which offers loans from £50k to £1.25m to local SMEs. With an extensive network of funding partners, we work hard to deliver the most appropriate support for local businesses.

ArchOver readies for IFISA launch (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

ARCHOVER is planning to launch its Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) in the next few weeks.

Crowdfunding Comes of Age (moneyexpert), Rated: A

Crowdfunding is gaining serious traction in the UK market, with the sector pushing past the £10 billion milestone in 2016. While, most people will probably still associate the idea of ‘crowdfunding’ with websites like Kickstarter or early stage equity investments, the reality is that 97% of the market is debt-based – either P2P lending or Crowd Bonds.

Both P2P lending and Crowd Bonds are also making big strides into the mainstream thanks to their inclusion in the new(ish) Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA), which allows investors to earn interest tax free on their investments.

It’s time to get clear on the Innovative Finance ISA (moneyexpert), Rated: A

With the birth of the Lifetime ISA (LISA) for 18-39 year olds on 6 April 2017, the Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) is no longer the baby of the ISA family. But it is perhaps still the least well understood.

The peer-to-peer lending industry celebrates its 13th birthday this year. Has it finally grown up? (Verdict), Rated: B

Whether that’s Paypal in the US or the start of the peer-to-peer lending industry (P2P) in the UK, financial services were changing long before the global recession hit.

The P2P industry is celebrating its 13thbirthday this year. With big changes afoot in its major players such as Zopa, as well as Funding Circle, what is next for P2P lending?

China

China Gets Pushback on New Rules to Curb Lending Practices (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Chinese regulators and commercial banks are butting heads over new rules Beijing is rolling out to tackle off-the-books lending that’s compounding China’s debt woes.

Particularly targeted are practices banks use to move loans off their books by repackaging them as investments. Banks transfer the loans—mostly corporate and local government borrowings—to brokerages and other types of shadow lenders, which then peddle the rebundled investments to investors. Such maneuvers accounted for $3.5 trillion in off-balance lending as of last year.

European Union

Online Lending Market Growth Continues With Spanish Purchase (Prague Post), Rated: AAA

Wonga’s latest acquisition is Spanish company Credito Pocket, who was a lending company based in Barcelona. This is aimed to boost the visibility of their Wonga.es domain.

BinckBank and Raisin double up for Dutch savings market (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

BinckBank says it will be the first in the Dutch banking sector to offer its clients access to European savings products via its cooperation with Raisin.

Augmentum Fintech to raise £100mln to cash in on Europe’s financial disruption (Proactive Investor), Rated: A

A new trust aimed at Europe’s fast-growing fintech sector is looking to raise £100mln ahead of a float in London.

Augmentum Fintech PLC said the financial services sector is ‘ripe for disruption and disintermediation’ but, unlike other sectors such as retail and travel, this has yet to happen.

ING Diba Buys Lendico (P2P Banking), Rated: A

Bank ING Diba acquires p2p lending marketplace Lendico. According to Finanz-Szene.de the transaction was reported to the German Federal Cartel Authority last week. The bank has confirmed the acquisition.

International

Digital Identity Pioneer IdentityMind Global Lands $ 10M (Coverager), Rated: AAA

IdentityMind Global, the leader in Digital Identities You Can Trust, today announced that it has closed a $10M Series C round of financing. In addition to all existing investors, the round was co-led by Benhamou Global Ventures and Eastern Link Capital and included Hanna Ventures, Overstock.com, and Zanadu Capital Partners.

Coin-backed P2P platforms shrug off crypto volatility (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

Digital currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum suffered from price falls in January but many firms are still seeing the benefits of creating their own cryptocurrency to use for P2P lending. One provider, SOFIN, is currently looking to raise up to $1m (£720,000) to create a token that can be used as a tool to bypass high exchange rates so loans can be funded internationally.

FintruX’s whitelist closes in 11 days (AMBCrypto), Rated: B

The global P2P lending ecosystem, FintruX backed by Ethereum and No-Code development has reopened the Token Sale, FTX which is used to power the FintruX network and is set-up as a mean to reward or get rewarded for participating in the marketplace. The token’s minimum per transaction at present is 0.1 ETH.

Harnessing the Full Potential of the $ 600 Billion Crypto Network (NewsBTC), Rated: B

Gluwa and Aella Credit are the two fintech companies that have come together to create a blockchain based protocol that will allow investors to lend in any crypto.

These two companies plan to launch Creditcoin, which will operate across blockchains in the P2P lending market.

The Gluwa platform, to be powered by Creditcoin, will address the issues of accessibility of the crypto market by those in the fiat world by seamlessly connecting them with cryptocurrencies.

GISC LoanCoin Network (NewsBTC), Rated: B

GISC LoanCoin Network is a utility token based lending and borrowing platform that allows users to leverage their blockchain assets to secure cash loans. The network is optimal for P2P and B2B credit financing on a global scale.

iP2PGlobal Announces Its Pre-ICO Crowdsales For Its TWQ Token On Feb 19 (CoinTelegraph), Rated: B

The TWQ (Tawarruq) is an ERC20 token that confer the right to the token holder to submit an application for a personal financing based on a Commodity Tawarruq Trading program, through the iP2PGlobal platform and have it listed in the platform for prospective lenders to view and choose to finance.

10TWQs are needed to apply for a personal financing of up to 5ETH.

Australia

Australian Online Lender Prospa Ranks #1 in List of High Growth Firms in Asia Pacific (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Prospa, a Sydney based online lender servicing the SME market, has received a nice recognition as it took the top spot for a high growth firm in Asia Pacific. According to a recent ranking of the top 1000 firms in Asia-Pacific by the FT, Prospa ranked number one having experienced revenue growth of 1600% during the time period of 2103 to 2016.

Payday lender Nimble Money up for sale, bids due this week (Financial Review), Rated: A

Privately owned personal loans company Nimble Money is on the block, with its two founders believed to be seeking an exit.

Street Talk can reveal Melbourne-based Baillieu Holst has been hired to find a buyer for the business and has been marketing the short term loans provider to financial services industry players and private equity firms in recent weeks.

Interested parties have been told Nimble Money is on track to make about $15 million in earnings this year, following significant growth in its loan book over the past 12-months.

It’s expected to be worth about $100 million.

Loans.com.au slashes variable rates for home buyers (Canstar), Rated: B

Online lender loans.com.au has cut interest rates on its variable rate home loan to just 3.52% (3.56%* comparison rate).

Comparatively, the next lowest variable home loan for owner-occpupiers at the time of writing sits at 3.54% (3.55%* comparison rate).

Over $ 11.5 million lent by payday loan alternative (finder), Rated: B

BaptistCare has approved 16 loans per week to some of Australia’s most financially vulnerable people.

The No Interest Loan Scheme (NILs), a microfinance program aimed at providing small no- and low-interest loans to financially vulnerable people, has this week announced it has surpassed $11.5 million lent in NSW. The loans are designed to help people on lower incomes purchase essential goods and services.

The loans are provided through BaptistCare with the scheme run under Good Shepherd Microfinance in partnership with NAB and the NSW Office of Fair Trading.

India

Financial services execs invest in fin-tech startup Fincash (VC Circle), Rated: AAA

Mumbai-based personal finance startup Fincash.com has raised Rs 1 crore ($150,000) in a fresh funding round from a group of angel investors from the financial services sector, a company statement said.

The startup will use this money to build its team, expand its product line, acquire customers and make its services available across more cities and towns, the statement added.

Fintech startup Aye Finance raises Rs 25 cr from Vivriti Capital (Economic Times), Rated: B

Fintech company focussed on the MSME sector Aye Finance has raised Rs 25 crore through a securitisation deal facilitated by Vivriti Capital.

APAC

Lendit’s accumulated volume of loan tops W100b (The Korea Herald), Rated: AAA

Lendit, a peer-to-peer lending platform operator in South Korea, has extended a combined 101.8 billion won ($95.4 million) in nearly 7,300 consumer loans as of Monday to midrange borrowers seeking lower interest rates, according to the fintech startup Monday.

How VC Firm Magma Partners is Tapping Into the Untapped Chilean Fintech Market (Bank Innovation), Rated: A

With government-backed initiatives and a finite business of copper export, Nathan Lustig, co-founder and managing partner at Magma Partners, saw huge potential in the Chilean fintech market.

Lustig points out that only 30% of Chileans have credit cards, while only 50% have bank accounts, “and that’s the more advanced population,” he said. Additionally, consumer experience is “pretty horrible for about 80% of this population,” he said.

One area within the fintech space that Magma has been particularly interested in is invoice-based lending, also known as factoring. In its portfolio is Portal Finance, a startup that provides SaaS for the factoring industry.

Portal Finance earns between 0.5% to 1% for every deal the bank accepts.

Talad platform offers SME loans based on invoice collateral (The Nation), Rated: B

Talad Invoice, a lending platform initiated by a fintech startup, is expected to grow at an exponential rate this year, following two years of peer-to-peer lending using invoices as loans collateral, said Watewiboon Pumipue, chief executive officer of D90 Capital Co, which operates the financial platform.

Finda envisions online financial marketplace (The Korea Herald), Rated: B

Finda operates an eponymous web portal that provides information about over 7,000 financial products — ranging from personal and mortgage loans, investment instruments, credit cards to insurance products — standardized in Finda‘s own format. Users can be offered easy-to-understand and up-to-date information about products online, she said.

Finda gathers information primarily from an open API by the Financial Supervisory Service, but since the FSS’ database provides data, including interest rates, of the previous months, Finda reflects updates directly from sellers — banks, insurers, credit card firms and peer-to-peer lending platforms.

Africa

Global Startups Boot Camp Coming To Rwanda (KTPress), Rated: A

Rwanda will next month host a continental Startup boot camp (SBC) that will source innovative and top startup talents in the country and across the globe.

SBC is a global family of industry-focused accelerators, which last year launched its first-ever Africa-based programme.

Canada

KiWi’s marketplace loans set for imminent Canadian debut (Financial Post), Rated: A

The next stage in the development of Canada’s first credit fund that invests in marketplace loans — unsecured consumer and small business loans provided by online lending companies — is set to play out over the next month.

The gang behind KiWi Private Credit Fund — formed last summer with $30 million of contributions from institutional and high-net-worth investors — is planning to meet the Canadian platforms.

Russia

Microfinancers warn Central Bank of return to 90s (Realnoe Vremya), Rated: A

The regulator has been fighting against expensive and very risky loans for several years already. Last July it tightened reserve requirements for MFO again: they must add 100% interest for payday loans with a delay of more than 90 days.

Firstly, the regulator is going to restrict the size of payday loans to 10,000 rubles, secondly, to reduce the biggest term of such loans to 15 days, thirdly, to reduce interest rates to 1,5% in 2018, to 1% in July 2019 a day. Now the largest payday loan is 45,000 rubles. The maximum term is 2 months, while extra payment on such loans is limited to a threefold size of a loan.

Payday loans account for 57,6% of all loans that MFOs granted in the second quarter of the last year.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday December 14 2017, Daily News Digest

online lender delinquency rates

News Comments Today’s main news: LexinFintech relaxes on IPO funding goal. Welendus exceeds Seedrs funding target. LendingTree provides 2018 guidance prior to Investor Day. Yirendai invests in Lion Rock. Mercer delivers financial advice with AI through Facebook Messenger. Today’s main analysis: Online lenders test the faith of investors. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Why Google, Amazon scare BlackRock, Fidelity. A new chapter […]

online lender delinquency rates

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

South America

News Summary

United States

Why Google and Amazon Keep Fidelity and BlackRock Up at Night (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

“Alexa…will I meet my retirement goal?”

“You are not on track to meet your retirement goal,” replies Amazon.com Inc.’s voice-activated digital assistant, with not a bit of sugar-coating. Then she suggests turning over $76 a month to Fidelity Investments and its advisers.

This won’t actually happen if you try it on your Amazon Alexa device at home. It’s a demonstration put on by EMoney Advisor LLC, a company owned by Fidelity, in its offices in Radnor, Pa. Amazon provides software for third-party developers to experiment with new functions. Fidelity is trying to find ways to apply artificial intelligence, computer algorithms, and voice-­recognition software to the hidebound world of money management and investing.

Earlier this year, Boston-based Acadian Asset Management LLC struck a deal so its portfolio managers could use Microsoft Corp.’s Bing Predicts, which makes forecasts using search and social media data, to help pick stocks; that agreement later ended.

BlackRock, led by chief executive officer Larry Fink, in recent years has been buying stakes in other companies, particularly technology firms. Through these purchases, the company is pushing into new lines of business.

Fidelity bought EMoney in 2015. It sells software to investment advisers that’s designed to make it easier to interact with their customers on budgeting for weddings, college, or retirement.

Online lending platforms test investors’ faith (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Tianqiao Chen still wants to be part of Lending Club. Last week, while shares in America’s biggest listed online lender were tumbling after another cut to profit forecasts, the chief executive of Shanda Group bought 4m more of them, further cementing his position as the company’s biggest shareholder.

Many operators are feeling the effects of a big push for market share in the latter half of 2015 and early months of 2016, says David Snitkof, chief analytics officer at Orchard. As the platforms rushed to offer new loans, credit quality suffered, and loans originated during that period are among the worst performers, with loss rates well ahead of projections.

Across the sector, valuations have fallen. Earnest, a San Francisco-based student loans specialist, sold itself in October to Navient, the loan-servicing company, for $155m, or about 40 per cent of its peak valuation. Personal lender Prosper, once a “unicorn”, saw its pricetag drop from a peak $1.9bn to $550m in a fundraising last month.

That meant platforms had to spend heavily to bring compliance and controls systems up to scratch. Lending Club’s latest quarterly filing, for example, shows it had $1.21 of operating expenses for every dollar of fee income over the first nine months — up from $1.03 at the same point two years ago.

LendingTree Introduces 2018 Guidance Ahead Of Investor Day (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Business Outlook – 2018

  • Revenue is anticipated to be in the range of $770 – $790 million, representing growth of 27% – 30% over the high-end of full-year 2017 guidance of $608 million.
  • Variable Marketing Margin is anticipated to be $270 – $280 million.
  • Adjusted EBITDA is anticipated to be in the range of $145 – $150 million, up 28% – 33% over the high-end of full-year 2017 guidance of $113 million.

The Analyst and Investor event is being hosted in New York at the Nasdaq MarketSite in Times Square.  The presentation will begin promptly at 10:30 a.m. ET.  A live audiocast with accompanying slides will be made available on the company’s investor relations website at investors.lendingtree.com.

 

Does the ICO Open a New Chapter for RE Crowdfunding? (Lexology), Rated: AAA

An ICO is simply the initial public sale of a new type of digital “coins”, or “cryptocurrency”.

Judging from the prolific way these new cryptocurrency ICOs are popping up, like mushrooms after a spring rain, one might imagine any clever techie could spin one up at the kitchen table with little more than an internet connection and some well-caffeinated daring-do. Yes, ICOs are easier than crowdfunding, they have that special “blockchain” cachet going for them, and the “regulators talons” have not yet sunk deep.

In a real-life example, on September 29, 2017, the SEC filed a civil complaint in federal district court against ICO promoter Maksim Zaslavskiy and two companies run by Mr. Zaslavskiy. According to the complaint, between July and October Mr. Zaslavskiy and his companies raised at least $300,000 in an ICO touting a new cryptocurrency called “REcoin” — “the first ever cryptocurrency backed by real estate.” According to the SEC complaint, Mr. Zaslavskiy and his companies have been peddling unregistered securities. Furthermore, the complaint alleges, the companies never had any real operations even though Mr. Zaslavskiy told investors in REcoin they could expect sizeable returns from those company’s operations; the securities he sold weren’t backed by any real estate or other assets as he claimed they were; and no “REcoin” digital tokens ever actually existed.

ICOs and Crowdfunding

Circling back to the original crowdfunding thesis, we should also expect this disruptive new technology to begin surfacing in even more impactful nextgen “killer apps” for commercial real estate investment. That’s right, real estate crowdfunding may actually make a comeback by dint of being co-opted into the blockspace. New-age real estate crowdfunding ecosystems are already forming; for instance, the Real Estate Asset Ledger (“REAL”) is one application currently being talked up as a real estate crowdfunding network built on blockchain infrastructure.

The Rise of the ICO (Coinlist), Rated: AAA

Zeus CrowdFunding Earns Top-Ten Ranking in Real Estate Crowdfunding Industry (PR.com), Rated: B

Zeus CrowdFunding earned high marks recently from an independent ranking and reviews portal. The Real-Estate Crowdfunding Review named Zeus CrowdFunding the #7 real estate crowdfunding site on the Web based on its “incredible volume” and other impressive advantages.

The ranking also lauded Zeus CrowdFunding’s low default rate and semi-liquidity option and guarantee and called the company “one of the few platforms offering conservative loans below 65% LTV.”

To read The Real-Estate Crowdfunding Review’s ranking and review of Zeus CrowdFunding, visit

Open Banking Trends Shift to US Market (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Open Banking is set to launch in Europe next month. As banks and fintech firms rush to ensure compliance we wanted to explore the effects on the US fintech market. Recently the CFPB set forth data sharing guidelines for banks and fintech firms to share information. There has since been a number of articles in the news pointing to frustration among fintech companies as banks have not been forthcoming with data sharing.

The current process is clumsy and requires consumers to login many times across many different services. This has also been something banks have complained about to agencies like the CFPB. Services such as Personal Capital and Mint constantly ping bank accounts for information that users have open access to. Setting up a similar initiative in the US could not only allow for a better experience but will undoubtedly be safer for the banks and fintech firms.

LendingUSA Secures $ 60m Credit Facility (Finsmes), Rated: A

LendingUSA, a Sherman Oaks, CA-based point-of-need financing company, secured a $60m credit facility.

The funding was provided by CapitalSource, a division of Pacific Western Bank, and a provider of commercial lending and banking solutions.

 

U.S. Fintech Simility Secures $ 17.5 Million During Latest Funding Round Led By Accel With Participation From PayPal (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Simility, a provider of machine learning–powered adaptive fraud prevention solution, today announced it has secured $17.5 million during its latest funding round. PayPal, Inc. also participated in the round as a new strategic investor along with existing investors The Valley Fund and Trinity Ventures.

First National Bank Plans Online SMB Lending Portal (PYMNTS), Rated: A

First National Bank and Trust Company is planning the launch of a digital small business lending portal and has tapped a partner to create the solution.

The financial institution (FI) said Tuesday (Dec. 12) that it is working with FinTech firm RCGILTNER Services to deploy the digital platform, which will launch in the first quarter of 2018.

Aspiration Taps $ 47 Million for Conscientious Banking (WSJ), Rated: A

Conscientious consumption and online banking services don’t typically go hand in hand. Andrei Cherny, co-founder and chief executive of Aspiration, aims to change that.

Aspiration, which offers online banking with optional fees and no penalties, provides its customers insights on how companies treat the environment and their employees, informing spending decisions.

Aspiration now boasts more than 200,000 account holders since launching in February 2015. On Tuesday, the Los Angeles company said it raised a $47 million Series B to further fuel its ambitions.

Will 2018 Be the Year of the Bank of Amazon? Experts Weigh In (Fortune), Rated: A

Payments

Matt Harris, Bain Capital Ventures: “SoftBank buys 20 percent of Stripe for $3 billion. PayPal continues to push itself down the path of being the leading financial services company for millennials and the mass market.” Dion Lisle, Capgemini SA: “‘Alexa, buy this’ or ‘Siri, I need an Uber, pay for it with my AmEx.’ Payments are going to be activated by that voice because that’s a great security method.”

Lending

Spencer Lazar, General Catalyst Partners: “Potential changes to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) under the Trump Administration will likely turn back the clock on Obama-era regulations on non-bank lenders. This will be a boon to startup lenders, making it far easier to dole out capital. The fear is that rates could potentially become predatory.”

Amazon vs. JPMorgan

Andy Weissman, Union Square Ventures: “Some combination of Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple, etc. will move deeper into online financing of small businesses.”

M&A

Tyler Sosin, Menlo Ventures: “Stripe and Adyen will merge, forming a $20 billion plus enterprise-value business and API-driven merchant processor.”

Funding

Charles Birnbaum, Bessemer Venture Partners: “Valuations in the alternative-lending space were overly optimistic in our opinion over the prior five years, but we do feel that the pendulum has likely swung back too far in the other direction following the recent pullback” leaving the sector ripe for potential funding or M&A.

Braviant Holdings Announces Launch of Chorus Credit Personal Loans (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Braviant Holdings, a leading fintech startup that offers analytics and technology-driven credit solutions for underserved Americans, is now offering personal loans up to $10,000 in Californiathrough its Chorus Credit online lending platform. Chorus will complement Braviant’s existing installment lending business, Balance Credit, by offering higher loan amounts at lower rates to the estimated 26% of California consumers who are underserved by traditional banks.

2017 YEAR-IN-REVIEW (Wunder Capital), Rated: A

In 2017, we increased our solar project pipeline by an order of magnitude. This is due in large part to more resources dedicated to pipeline development, advancements in our lending practice, and – at a macro level – a rapidly growing solar market and commercial sector.

Source: Wunder Capital

See the full report here.

Not “ripe,” says judge dismissing N.Y. fintech charter challenge (Banking Exchange), Rated: A

Yesterday U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald of the Southern District of New York dismissed one of those lawsuits, Vullo v. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. The judge dismissed the suit of the New York State Department of Financial Services, headed by Maria Vullo, against OCC on the grounds that the matter is not “ripe” for a decision on the legal ability of the Comptroller’s Office to issue such specialized charters.

Indeed, at the recent RegTech Enable conference in late November, OCC’s Beth Knickerbocker, chief innovation officer, characterized the proposal as “on hold.”

Why New York’s claim isn’t ripe

Judge Buchwald’s decision recapped the history of the proposal at length. Her decision came down to this sentence: “Claims are not ripe if they depend on the occurrence of contingent future event that may never occur at all.”

She pointed out that no injury would occur if OCC never issues such a charter to a fintech company.

Vanguard, the fund giant with nearly $ 5 trillion in assets, is using blockchain to underpin its mutual funds (Business Insider), Rated: A

Vanguard is moving to use blockchain to simplify how it updates index data underlying mutual funds, executives said on Monday, an important sign of confidence for the new financial technology.

Closely-held Vanguard, the top mutual fund firm with nearly $5 trillion under management, has successfully tested blockchain to automatically update data like the names and share prices of companies in index funds, processes that must currently be closely overseen by individuals, said Warren Pennington, a principal in Vanguard’s investment management group, in Pennsylvania.

UNOPPOSED MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE AMICIUS CURIAE BRIEF (U.S. District Court, D.C.), Rated: A

Further, to date, the parties have not raised an important argument that this Court should consider, namely, that restricting the President’s authority over the CFPB Director’s replacement only exacerbates the serious constitutional questions currently before the D.C. Circuit with respect to the CFPB’s structure. As CUNA explains, such questions could be avoided by adopting Defendants’ position in this case. Thus, CUNA’s perspective on the central issues in this case is invaluable and unrepresented by the parties.

Read the motion in full here.

(Coindesk), Rated: A

The startup revealed today that, through an existing partnership with MicroVentures, it will begin offering services to projects seek to use the blockchain funding model.

Specifically, accredited investors purchase Simple Agreements for Future Tokens (SAFTs), with the tokens set to be delivered at a later date. The mode has been used by a number of ICOs in recent months, and according to the page on MicroVentures, $915,000 has been raised from nine investors thus far in the new ICO.

Mastercard targets millennial clients with digital money management service (American Banker), Rated: B

The payments company today announced it is launching a new service called Assemble, which it calls a “prepaid innovation hub” designed to allow Mastercard partners or issuers to provide checking, budgeting, and payment features, as well as additional money management tools.

Longfin Corp. Becomes the First Public-listed FinTech Company Under Reg A+ on Nasdaq (GlobeNewswire), Rated: B

Longfin Corp. (NASDAQ: LFIN) announces that it will be traded on the Nasdaq market for the first day after its initial public offering (IPO) under Reg A+ closing on December 8, 2017.

U.S. News & World Report Names LendingPoint One of 2017’s Best Personal Loan Companies (BusinessWire), Rated: B

LendingPoint was named one of nation’s six best personal loan companies by U.S. News & World Report.

The media company evaluated personal loan companies in five key areas, reviewing data on eligibility, loan terms, fees, repayment methods and additional features. LendingPoint was cited as 2017’s top lender for people with fair to good credit, who have merit-based qualifications beyond FICO scores that make them worthy loan candidates.

Quesnay’s Female Founders in Tech Program Awards Goalsetter First Place (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Quesnay is pleased to announce that Goalsetter is the winner of the inaugural Female Founders in Tech, spotlighting female founders that positively impact the financial services and/or insurance technology industries.

The winners represented cutting-edge businesses that were also socially conscious:
– Goalsetter – Goalsetter is a goal-based savings and gifting platform, targeting millennials.
– Marinus Analytics – Marinus uses technologies to help identify and fight crimes like human trafficking and money laundering associated with it and other illicit activities
– LENDonate – LENDonate provides a marketplace lending platform for non-profits and supporters.

Approximately 100 women-led startups registered for the program with solutions ranging from artificial intelligence to blockchain to creative financial literacy and savings solutions. Seven finalists presented in New York to a panel of judges which included industry leaders from the sponsoring organizations: John HancockMassMutualRGAxSterling National BankTD Bank and Thomson Reuters.

 

United Kingdom

Welendus exceeds Seedrs fundraising target (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

WELENDUS, the peer-to-peer payday loan provider, has announced that its latest crowdfunding round on Seedrs has reached over 130 per cent of its target.

The firm had been seeking £150,000 but has already raised £197,991, according to Seedrs’ website.

Welendus said on Thursday that the funding round had attracted more than 250 investors.

Investec Provides U.K. Fintech With $ 67 Million for Online Loans (Bloomberg), Rated: A

London-based MarketInvoice, which arranges loans for small companies secured by accounts receivable, will handle the underwriting for Investec customers in the partnership, according to the bank’s website. Investec will provide 50 million pounds ($67 million) in the first year to fund the loans, Anil Stocker, the startup’s co-founder and chief executive officer, said in an interview.

The rise of the payday-style business loan (City A.M.),  Rated: A

British banks have been mired in criticism for not lending as much as they could.

Many businesses have meanwhile found that alternative lenders lack the data to provide products that are tailored to their needs.

Creative credit

Rate hikes typically result in an increase in lending profitability, and so the increase often stimulates the appetite to lend.

But an increased appetite to lend doesn’t always follow an increased ability to price risks on all loan applicants, and herein lays the risk: lenders become creative with the ways in which they entice borrowers and mitigate their risks.

These loans from mainstream lenders look like the payday loans that flooded the market in the height of the recession. They take minutes to apply for, turnaround is within one day, and command interest rates of up to 23 per cent APR – five times more than some personal loans.

Data shows increase in demand for alternative finance services (Londons School of Business Finance), Rated: A

The figures showed growth across the UK’s alternative finance market, including crowdfunding, invoice trading, and marketplace lending. The date found a year-on-year rise of 43 per cent in 2016 from £3.2 billion to £4.58 billion.

Business marketplace lending grew by 28.5 per cent from £881 million in 2015 to £1,232 million in 2016, placing it ahead of consumer marketplace lending, which previously had the biggest share.

LendInvest’s Latest Buy-to-Let Index Reveals: Manchester Tops Charts & Hull is Named Biggest Climber (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On Wednesday, specialist property lender LendInvest released its latest LendInvest Buy-to-Let Index report, which ranks all 105 postcode areas around England and Wales based ona combination of four metrics, which are capital gains, transaction volumes, rental yields, and rental price growth.

The Index report’s key findings include:

  • Manchester, leader of the Northern Powerhouse, takes top spot
  • Leicester breaks into the Top 10 and Birmingham climbs 8 places from #18 to #11, signaling upward mobility in the Midlands markets
  • Hull marks itself as biggest climber for 2017, rising 93 places to #6
  • Enfield tumbles from Top 10 in February to Bottom 10 in December
Source: LendInvest

Download the full report here.

One in two advisers ‘fire’ clients with less than £50,000 (Money Observer), Rated: A

Those with pot sizes of less than £50,000 are increasingly being turned away by their financial adviser. In 2014 just under a quarter of clients were shown the door, whereas in 2017 this figure rose to 50 per cent.

Artificial intelligence is guiding venture capital to start-ups (Financial Times), Rated: A

Mr Bonanzinga thought he could combine internet data and machine learning to do a better job of ferreting out prospects. It took two years and £5m in investment for InReach Ventures to create the software, which has so far trawled through 95,000 European start-ups, picking out 2,000 that Mr Bonanzinga might be interested in.

The software determines this based on the people they are hiring, the products they are developing and the traffic on their website, among other things.

Tifosy: The sports crowdfunding platform that wants to help small teams grow and big teams reconnect with fans (City A.M.), Rated: B

The company has already partnered with 15 clubs in England and Italy, raising £2.9m from “fanfunders” for a variety of different projects.

So rather than owners selling equity stakes to unfamiliar outside investors, crowdfunding solutions such as mini-bonds or equity shares have emerged as alternative solutions to many sports franchises.

Top-flight rugby clubs Harlequins and Wasps raised £15m and £35m respectively by issuing their own bonds, while Surrey County Cricket club raised £5m in seven days in 2015.

China

Chinese Online Lender LexinFintech Shrinks U.S. IPO Fundraising Goal (WSJ), Rated: AAA

LexinFintech Holdings Ltd., a Chinese online lender that is planning to go public in the U.S., scaled back its fundraising ambitions after regulatory changes in China sparked a rout in shares of similar companies.

Lexin, a four-year-old company whose backers include Chinese online-retail giant JD.com Inc., is planning to raise $120 million in an initial public offering, according to a Wednesday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

JD.com-backed micro lender slashes IPO by 70pc after China’s internet finance crackdown (SCMP), Rated: A

Lexin Fintech plans to offer 12 million American depositary shares at an indicative price range of US$9 to US$11 a share, raising as much as US$132 million, the company said in an updated filing on Thursday to the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

The fundraising value is sharply down from an originally planned US$500 million, as mentioned in the IPO prospectus issued last month.

Noncompliant P2P Lenders to Be Out by Mid-2018 (Caixin), Rated: AAA

Local banking regulators have until the end of June to weed out noncompliant peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders, according to a circular issued by a special working group led by the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC).

Yirendai Announces Strategic Investment in Lion Rock (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Yirendai Ltd. (NYSE: YRD) (“Yirendai” or the “Company”), a leading fintech company in China, announced today that it has made a strategic investment in Lion Rock, a comprehensive financial services platform that is focused on global asset allocation, through Lion Rock’s Series A financing of HK$50 million.

Lion Rock is headquartered in Hong Kong and offers a wide-variety of high-quality financial products, financial news, robo-advisory services as well as asset allocation services through its online platform.

Hong Kong Fintech Start-Up Lion Rock Raises $ 6.4M Led By Marathon Venture (China Money Network), Rated: A

Lion Rock FinTech Ltd., a Hong Kong-based fintech company, has raised HK$50 million (US$6.4 million) in an equity financing led by Marathon Venture Partners.

In addition, 9F Inc., the strategic investor who backed Lion Rock’s last round of financing, continued to invest in this round.

European Union

The Culture of p2p Investors Across the EU (FastInvest), Rated: AAA

FastInvest, a p2p fintech platform, recently studied data from over 8500 EU investors daily and came across a really unexpected finding. Highly specific traits and behaviors were driven by nationality over and above other individual factors when looking at big data.

From traditional investment metrics like risk aversion, to outside the box items like nationalistic tendencies and compulsive behaviors.  Across numerous areas, national cultural traits could be seen solely based on country to country locales.

Source: FastInvest

Poland
Even with the EU offering a bit of a more stable currency, only 1.76% of residents prefer to invest in Euro based currency loans.

Belgium
Only 2.20% of Belgian investors choose PLN (Polish) currency based loans as opposed to their own Euro.

Germany
Germans appear to be the most open minded of EU countries, with 15.73% making investments in PLN currency.

Netherlands
The Netherlands followed behind Germany in diverting from the euro, with 9.08% of investors choosing PLN based loans.

Download the full report here.

iZettle Grabs $ 47M Additional Funding, Eyes Market Expansion (PYMNTS), Rated: A

iZettle has grabbed €40 million in funding (the equivalent of $47 million) that the Stockholm-based payments firm will use to expand into new markets.

International

Disruptive Startup, Etherecash, Concludes ICO Ahead Of Schedule (Coinidol), Rated: B

Etherecash is one step closer to actualizing its vision of bridging the financial divide between the banked and the unbanked with the successful conclusion of its ICO ahead of schedule. The ICO is now scheduled to finish on 12th Dec 6:29 PM (GMT) after four impressive bonus rounds that outperformed expectations.

With over $30 million raised and 45000 registered participants, Etherecashcan now set its sight on eliminating traditional borders, intermediaries and prejudices in the way money is lent, spent, and sent.

Australia/New Zealand

MERCER LAUNCHES SUPERBOT, ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE DELIVERING FINANCIAL ADVICE VIA FACEBOOK MESSENGER (Mercer), Rated: AAA

Australia’s 17 million active Facebook users spend on average 1.4 hours a day liking, commenting and sharing stories with family and friends. Moreover, with roughly 17% of the earth’s population being active users of Facebook Messenger, there is irony in the fact that the smartphone generation is spending more time engaging on Facebook rather than thinking about their future financial readiness.

Accessed through Facebook Messenger, SuperBot represents the ultimate opportunity to scale financial advice across a very large proportion of the population.

Non-bank lenders lift profit 10% in 2017 (NBR), Rated: A

Eighteen of the 25 participants in the KPMG non-bank financial institutions performance survey posted increased earnings in 2017, generating a total net profit of $216.7 million, up from $196.6 million a year earlier. Total assets grew 12 percent to $10.96 billion, with lending boosted by the nation’s strong demand for new vehicles and several non-bank institutions testing the waters in the mortgage space as the major banks become more reticent in some of their credit criteria.

HNWI financial advice demand falls (Financial Standard), Rated: A

The use of financial advice among high-net-worth investors (HNWI) has fallen to a five-year low, according to the insights, which show 435,000 millionaires own more than $1 million of investable assets.

Almost 75% of HNWIs relied on the expertise of a financial advice professional in 2013 – but this has declined to 68% in 2017.

Credit Suisse found the number of Australian millionaires rose by 200,000 in the year to June, marking the third-largest increase after the US and Germany in its global wealth ranking.

CCR to help business financing (InvestorDaily), Rated: B

Indeed, interest rates on small business loans have “remained relatively high” due to a lack of competition – leaving banks as the major provider of lending to small businesses (80 per cent).

But a CCR regime would offer lenders more information about potential borrowers’ credit history than just negative credit information, as per the current standard.

The Australian government has determined a mandatory credit reporting regime to come into effect in July 2018, but a number of financial institutions such as NAB have already announced it will roll out such a regime.

Other forms of accessing finance for smaller firms or entrepreneur were large technology firms and alternative financing platforms, such as marketplace lending and crowdfunding, he added.

India

Online loans marketplace FinBucket gets funding from Impanix Capital (VC Circle), Rated: A

FinBucket Pvt. Ltd, which runs an eponymous online marketplace for loans and investments, has raised Rs 12 crore ($1.8 million) from Delhi-based early-stage venture capital firm Impanix Capital.

The startup plans to use the funds to increase its staff strength to 200 and expand operations.

‘Fintech can help assess credit score ’ (The Hindu), Rated: A

Financial technology firms that generate credit scores based on digital footprints of individuals will have a major role to play as banks begin to focus on lending to first generation customers who do not have credit history, former Deputy Governor of Reserve Bank of India H.R. Khan said here on Wednesday.

Fintech startup CapitaWorld raises funding (VC Circle), Rated: B

Mumbai-based fintech startup CapitaWorld Platform Pvt. Ltd has raised an undisclosed amount through convertible equity from high-net-worth individuals, corporate honchos and investors from Hong Kong and the Middle East.

The investors who participated in the latest round include former chief executive of Indian Banks’ Association Mohan Tanksale, Swift India CEO Kiran Shetty, Madhu Silica’s managing director Darshak Shah and former JP Morgan executive Mandar Mhatre, the startup said in a statement.

Asia

BHSI Launches Financial Institution Professional Indemnity Insurance in Asia (Insurance Journal), Rated: A

Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Co. (BHSI) announced it has introduced Financial Institution Professional Indemnity (FIPI) insurance in Asia.

The new BHSI policy is designed to cover a range of claims, from allegations of failure to disclose information, to misleading financial advice and breach of contracts, the company said in a statement. The policy combines coverage for civil liability, pre-investigations, mitigation expenses, bail bond costs, court attendance, loss of documents, and more.

The policy is designed for medium to large financial institutions, including securities dealers, regional banks, insurance companies, reinsurance companies, diversified institutions, and financial technology (fintech) and corporate advisory firms.

South America

Brazilian fintech Nubank starts international tech talent hunt (ZDNet), Rated: B

Brazilian fintech Nubank has launched an engineering center in Berlin as part of a plan to boost its software engineering function internationally.

Nubank has expatriated four of its engineers to Berlin to kickstart the European operations. It has also already started to hire local experts such as Gavin Bell, a senior engineer who previously managed the core data infrastructure platform at Soundcloud.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor