Thursday July 6 2019, Weekly News Digest

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News Comments Today’s main news: 3 top execs exit SoFi. Zopa proclaims end of monogamous banking. LendInvest earnings hit the roof. Financial Conduct Authority sets new rules for UK P2P lending. Quarter of global small firms are significant fintech users. Biz2Credit raises $52M. Today’s main analysis: Alternative lenders steal business from banks. P2P lending will be […]

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United States

SoFi Loses Three Top Executives (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Three top executives of Social Finance Inc. are leaving the financial-tech startup in the coming weeks, adding to the challenges the company faces as it moves through a tough environment for online lenders.

Marketing chief Joanne Bradford, head of risk Kevin Moss and Ashish Jain, the lender’s top capital markets executive, recently told Chief Executive Anthony Noto about their plans to step down from their roles. All three had been at the company prior to Mr. Noto taking the reins in early 2018.

Tech Driving Bank Earnings Growth (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

US first quarter GDP growth was revised lower to 3.1%. There is fear that the economy is slowing due to the ongoing trade war and the length of this economic expansion. The 3 month-10 year yield curve fell to its most inverted since 2007 to -12.3 bps. Recessions have usually followed within 18 months of this curve inverting. The market is looking to the Fed to bolster economic growth with the odds of a rate cut at the September meeting now at 54%.

Source: CME, PeerIQ

Technology Driving Earnings Growth

Banks and lenders are reaping the benefits of their technology investments now. Banks like Citi have been able to offer new products and grow their deposit base, while Capital One has improved its efficiency ratio by 400 bps. Banks and lenders continue to make large technology investments for faster growth at lower cost.

Alternative Lenders Continue to Steal Business From Banks (The Financial Brand), Rated: AAA

What is less well known is the rapid growth of PayPal as a digital lending alternative. It may be time for banks and credit unions to wake up, however, as the company announced that they had crossed $10 billion in small business lending in only 5 years.

Amazon Joins PayPal as Top 5 Small Business Digital Lender

Amazon has joined PayPal, OnDeck, Kabbage, and Square as a top 5 digital small business lender. In fact, Amazon revealed that it had made more than $1 billion in small business loans to US-based merchants in 2018.

The peer-to-peer business lender, Funding Circle, also revealed its first-quarter trading update, showing that loans under management rose by 44% compared to the first quarter of 2018, while originations grew by 23% (they have originated $9.5 billion in loans).

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Releases Rules for Comprehensive Reform of Debt Collection Industry (Debevoise & Plimpton), Rated: AAA

On May 7, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB” or the “Bureau”) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM” or “Notice”) to increase regulation of the debt collection industry.1 The much-anticipated Notice is the outgrowth of the CFPB’s 2016 Outline of Proposals (the “Outline” or the “2016 Outline”), which was a cornerstone of the Obama Administration’s efforts to protect consumers and overhaul all aspects of consumer finance (see our August 10, 2016 client alert on the Outline here). One presidential election and two CFPB Directors later, CFPB Director Kathleen Kraninger announced a more limited plan to put in place substantial protections, but which rejects some of the 2016 Outline’s more ambitious proposals. The NPRM would overhaul the industry by, for example, requiring that debt collectors make no more than seven attempts by telephone per week to reach consumers about specific debts, and allow debtors to opt out of allowing collectors to contact them via e-mail, text messages, or other media. However, the proposal fails to address many of the Outline’s calls for increased regulation of substantiation of debt, decedent debt, and transfer of information to subsequent collectors (among other things).

See the full report here.

Biz2Credit Raises $ 52M In Funding To Expand (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

Biz2Credit, the online lending platform that helps banks and other financial institutions manage small and medium-sized business (SMB) lending processes, announced Tuesday (June 4) that it raised $52 million in venture funding.

Biz2Credit said the Series B funding round was led by WestBridge Capital.

Jared Kaplan of OppLoans (Lend Academy), Rated: A

The next guest on the Lend Academy Podcast is Jared Kaplan, the CEO of OppLoans.

Lighter Capital Introduces Suite of Alternative Financing Solutions to Fund More Startups up to $ 3 Million (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Lighter Capital announced today that it has launched new financing products to better match the capital needs of growing startups. To date, Lighter Capital has provided over $150 million in more than 500 rounds of financing to over 300 startups. The company has historically provided Revenue-Based Financing and has now broadened its portfolio to include lines of credit and term loans, designed to provide startups capital over time as they need it. Unlike most venture debt, startups do not need to have raised Venture Capital to qualify for funding.

1. Lighter Line of Credit – Startups have fluctuations in capital needs, to make essential payments like payroll or wait for a big customer payment. The Lighter Line of Credit is a revolving working capital line. It enables startups to draw and return capital numerous times, to even out their cash needs.

2. Lighter Term Loan – Provides startups growth capital in a traditional structure with predictable payments. Lighter Capital will also make forward commitments, giving startups the right to get additional capital for a period of time. For example, a startup could get a $500,000 loan today and a commitment from Lighter Capital to provide an additional $500,000 over the following six months.

LendPro Unveils Dynamic Routing Capability to Streamline POS Financing (LendPro Email), Rated: A

LendPro LLC, a provider of Lending-As-A-Service (LaaS) products and platforms for retailers, today unveiled Dynamic Routing —an innovative POS financing solution that automatically matches consumer credit applications with the best-available lending option.

While alternative lending software moves credit applications through a pre-defined, inflexible process, Dynamic Routing by LendPro dynamically guides borrower application data to lenders in the merchant’s financing portfolio based on the attributes of the sale. For example, if the total price for a specific purchase is too large (or small) for a lender’s target loan size, LendPro’s Dynamic Routing system can route the applicant to a different lender. This technological innovation saves time, increases simplicity, and may help the borrower avoid an unwanted credit application.

Why it’s Time to Ask Your Wealth Manager About P2P Lending (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Using a crowdfunding platform, however, 5,000 individuals might each invest $1,000 into the company. Each of those individual investors is exposed to a very small amount of risk, and the company is able to raise the funds without surrendering ownership.

Possible Finance lands $ 10.5 million to provide consumers softer, kinder short-term loans (TechCrunch), Rated: A

It’s one reason that venture capitalist Rebecca Lynn, a managing partner with Canvas Ventures  and an early investor in the online lending company LendingClub, has largely steered clear of the numerous startups crowding into the industry in recent years. It’s also why she just led a $10.5 million investment in Possible Finance, a two-year-old, Seattle-based outfit that’s doing what she “thought was impossible,” she says. The startup is “helping people on the lower end of the credit spectrum improve their financial outlook without being predatory.”

Santa Clarita Ranked Second Highest ‘Debt-Ridden’ City In California (Home Town Station), Rated: A

LendingTree, an online loan marketplace, released a report this week detailing the accrued debt of all California cities with a population of at least 50,000.

Santa Clarita ranked the second highest in auto loan debt with an average of about $21,000, and second in the state for personal loan debt, excluding mortgages, with an average of just over $6,000.

Source: Home Town Station

Cities With the Highest Percentage of Black Homeowners (Black Enterprise), Rated: A

Even though housing discrimination has been outlawed for 50 years, studies show that the U.S. black homeownership rate isn’t any higher than when the Fair Housing Act initially passed in 1968. In fact, the racial gap between white and black homeowners today is significant. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the homeownership rate among white Americans is 73.2%, while the black homeownership rate stands at 41.1%. In comparison, 42% of black households owned their homes back in 1970, two years after housing discrimination based on race, color, religion, and national origin was outlawed.

According to the report, the U.S. cities that have the highest percentage of black homeowners are San Jose, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, and Portland. On the other hand, the cities where black homeownership is lowest relative to overall population are Memphis, New Orleans, Baltimore, Virginia Beach, and Milwaukee, where the median household income for black residents is a mere $28,928.

See LendingTree’s report here.

Real Crowd Says HNW Investors Poised to Boost Real Estate Investments in 2019 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Real estate crowdfunding platform RealCrowd reports that High Net Worth (HNW) investors are looking to increase their portfolio of real estate investments during 2019. According to a survey by the Fintech platform, 53% of surveyed HNW individuals expect to make “two-to-four direct real estate investments in 2019.” Specific details on the survey process were not revealed.

This is a big improvement over year prior when just 33% planned to do the same thus an increase of around 20%.

The survey also stated that 47% of respondents’ desire to allocate more than 25 percent of their investment portfolio to commercial real estate.

WealthStone – Democratizing Access to Commercial Real Estate (PR Newswire), Rated: A

WealthStone LLC announces the launch of its new website, WealthStoneLLC.com, where technology brings increased access to institutional-quality commercial real estate investments to a wider audience, while delivering the best customer experience possible for its growing global investor base.

3 Investments That Lead to Passive Income (Realty Biz News), Rated: B

Peer-to-peer lending is a relative newcomer to the world of investments. Lending Club and Prosper were the first institutions to offer P2P loans beginning in mid-2000, and they’ve changed the way countless loans are handled. Instead of going to the bank, borrowers apply for loans from other people. People who have been denied loans from financial institutions are often approved for P2P loans at rates that are lower than those of larger financial institutions.

Sagent Lending Technologies to Transform the Lending Experience, Powered by Microsoft Azure (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Sagent Lending Technologies announced today a strategic initiative to transform the borrower and the lender experience through Microsoft Azure. Sagent will leverage the potential of artificial intelligence, machine learning, data science, and cognitive services available on Azure that will provide a reimagined experience for Sagent clients and their consumer borrowers.

BofA, Longtime Leader in Leveraged Loans, Warns of `Carnage’ (Bloomberg), Rated: A

The U.S. economy is on solid footing except for one potential trouble spot, according to Bank of America Corp.’sChief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan: leveraged loans — a business the bank has dominated for a decade.

Bank of America was bookrunner on some $317 billion of leveraged loans this year, accounting for 10.8 percent of the market share, the Bloomberg data show, which captures all leveraged term loans and revolver facilities that are either new or have been amended.

Moody’s Investors Service said covenant quality for 2018’s last quarter was close to a record low, and the rating company sees no signs of improvement this year. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said last month that the market looks a lot like the mortgage industry in the run-up to the subprime crisis.

Digital Banks Look to Attract Older Generations (LendIt), Rated: A

One of the challenges for the challenger banks like Monzo, Starling and Revolut is to go beyond the young demographic they’ve been successful at attracting to their products; not surprisingly, less than 5% of Monzo’s customers over 60; as more bank branch close they are looking to bring in older customers who are no longer being served by traditional banks; Monzo and Starling have both added the ability to make cash deposits; Starling recently partnered with the post office and Monzo partnered with a payments service which is in 30,000 shops in the UK; these digital banks and their competitors are experimenting in how they can have more physical points of contact with customers; Revolut recently shared a plain English customer contract in a move to help their customers better understand the product.

The tech banks are using to boost deposit growth (American Banker), Rated: A

First Arkansas & Trust, for example, is using Plinqit, a goal-oriented savings app from a fintech called HTMA Holdings, in the hopes of boosting deposits.

And some banks have begun to specialize in the banking-as-a-service model to increase deposits.

Following is a look at how regional and community banks are employing tech to help in the race for deposit growth:

Wharton just released an online fintech course for the masses (Technical.ly), Rated: A

On Thursday, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Online announced its new virtual fintech specialization program, “FinTech: Foundations and Applications of Financial Technologies,” for students and professionals who want to learn about the rapidly changing tech.

The four-course financial program is available via online education platform Coursera, and will detail the use of cryptocurrency, robo-advising, crowdfunding and modern investing.

BlueVine Appoints Silicon Valley Veteran Herman Man to Chief Product Officer (BlueVine), Rated: B

BlueVine, which provides small- and medium-sized businesses with access to fast and simple online financing, announced today that it has named Silicon Valley technology and engineering veteran, Herman Man, its Chief Product Officer. In this role, Man will focus on developing the next generation of BlueVine products and oversee the company’s product vision, strategy, design and execution to deliver on its mission to provide fast, fair and easy financing solutions every small business needs to thrive.

Lendio Announces New Senior Vice President of Lender & Partner Strategy (Lendio), Rated: B

Lendio announced today that Denada Ramnishta has been promoted to Senior Vice President of Lender & Partner Strategy.

Thomas M. Affolter Joins White Oak as Managing Director to Bolster Origination Efforts (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

White Oak Global Advisors, LLC (White Oak) is pleased to announce that Thomas (Tom) M. Affolter has joined White Oak as a Managing Director based in Chicago. Mr. Affolter will focus on originating new investment opportunities and expanding the coverage network for White Oak’s private debt funds.

United Kingdom

Zopa says fintech revolution has killed off monogamous banking (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ZOPA has declared that “monogamous banking is a thing of the past”, as new research reveals that the average UK adult has a relationship with seven different financial providers.

The peer-to-peer consumer lender, which is launching a digital bank, said that the fintech revolution has changed the shape of financial services for consumers.

It cited a survey that found 71 per cent of UK adults said they do not need a relationship with their main bank, while two thirds are actively using products from banks and financial providers other than their main current account provider.

LendInvest earnings soar as it looks to disrupt ‘slow moving’ banks (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ONLINE property lender LendInvest has reported an 82 per cent jump in core earnings, as it looks to disrupt the UK mortgage market.

LendInvest, which used to be a peer-to-peer lender before it shut its platform to retail investors, posted core earnings of £4m for the year ended 31 March 2019, up from £2.2m the previous year.

The firm, which is considering a stock market flotation, said that platform assets rose by 69 per cent to £788.3m over the same period, while revenue rose by 36 per cent to £72.7m.

FCA Announces New Rules For UK P2P Lending Platforms (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

The long awaited changes to P2P lending regulations in the UK are finally here. Today, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced that the new rules for peer to peer lending platforms have been set and will come into effect on December 9, 2019.

  • Introducing more explicit requirements to clarify what governance arrangements, systems and controls platforms need to have in place to support the outcomes they advertise. These new rules focus particularly on credit risk assessment, risk management and fair valuation practices, especially for platforms with more complex business models.
  • Strengthening rules on plans for the wind-down of P2P platforms.
  • Applying marketing restrictions to P2P platforms, designed to protect new or less experienced investors. We have also clarified the practical implication of these new rules as they apply to P2P agreements.
  • Introducing a requirement that an appropriateness assessment (to assess an investor’s knowledge and experience of P2P investments) be undertaken, where no advice has been given to the investor. We have also provided guidance on what the assessment should include.
  • Setting out the minimum information that P2P platforms need to provide to investors

Assetz Capital hits bridging loans and small business lending milestones (AltFi), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lender Assetz Capital said it has hit a double milestone, providing over £100m in bridging loans and a further £50m in small business funding, “as the appetite for alternative forms of finance continues to rise across the UK”.

The Manchester-based fintech adds that since it was founded six years ago it has lent over £780m to small firms and property developers, helping build 3,700 homes in Britain.

UK P2P sector poised for “significant further growth” (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE UK’S peer-to-peer lending sector is set to experience “significant further growth”, according to Standard & Poor’s.

A report released by the ratings agency this week said that the growing involvement of institutional funds and increased securitisation issuance are set to boost the industry.

Santander and eBay team up on UK loans app (Techradar), Rated: A

In an effort to fend off tech giants and newer digital rivals, Santander and eBay have announced a new lending partnership for small businesses.

The Spanish bank will begin offering loans to over 200,000 small and medium-sized businesses that sell products on eBay in the UK through its financial technology app Astro.

As £165m Lendy collapses, experts warn ‘a dozen more peer-to-peer firms will follow’ (The Telegraph), Rated: A

While investments of varying risk are available, some platforms have tempted consumers with returns of more than 12pc on high-risk projects. But the collapse of one large platform, Lendy, which offered loans on property developments, has concerned investors across the sector.

Wagestream Says One Complaint Against PayDay Lenders is Resolved for Every Three Received (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Payday loan alternative Wagestream has issued a release stating the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) has received 47,220 complaints against payday lenders since 2018. Yet while many complaints have been received only a fraction have been resolved. Wagestream states that only one out of three are resolved or just under 17,000.

Welendus unveils rebrand as Fund Ourselves (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

WELENDUS, the peer-to-peer payday lender, has rebranded as Fund Ourselves.

ARBUTHNOT SPECIALIST FINANCE CONCLUDES FIRST LOAN COMPLETION SINCE LAUNCHING THE BUSINESS (Arbuthnot Latham), Rated: B

Arbuthnot Specialist Finance (ASFL) is pleased to announce it has concluded its first loan completion since announcing its launch in late May. The deal is a 70% LTV residential product loan on a property located less than half a mile from the University of Central Lancashire campus in Preston.

China/Hong Kong

The Escalating US-China Trade War, Part 1 (In Homeland Security), Rated: AAA

China is in debt, significantly. Part of the problem is that it is difficult, if not impossible, to assign a figure to the debt. There are Chinese statistics for official debt, but following the 2008 economic crisis, China implemented new restrictions on lending. Over the past decade, those restrictions have shifted from one type of loan to another so Chinese citizens get creative with how they borrow money for business purposes or to purchase property.

Furthermore, the economic crisis took “shadow lending” to new heights. Shadow lending can include everything from organized crime to banks obfuscating the purpose of a loan or peer-to-peer lending. China cracked down on this lending practice too, but the debt amount is significant and official numbers do not typically include shadow lending.

New US Tariffs Spell Doomsday for China’s Economy (The Epoch Times), Rated: AAA

The additional 25 percent tariff imposed by the United States on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods will trigger a new round of factory closures in China, driving economic collapse.

In the context of the blow-up of the P2P (peer-to-peer lending) and other usury, the 8.4 trillion will cause most medium and small-sized banks to fall into bankruptcy crisis.

HSBC Rolls Out Digital Wallet To Hong Kong Businesses (PYMNTS), Rated: A

HSBC has reportedly expanded its PayMe digital wallet to startups and small businesses, marking its first foray into the business payments marketplace.

European Union

ING pushes for open banking with SME financing platform and Yolt expansion (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

ING is keen to maximise the possibilities of open banking and is working with Yolt and Funding Options on bringing new features to customers across Europe.

Firstly, ING is launching a marketplace for SME financing in the Netherlands, which will open to other external financing providers, becoming the first Dutch bank in doing so.

International

We are “very close” to peak fintech, with more than 10,000 startups jumping into the boom (Quartz), Rated: AAA

According to Curve’s Shachar Bialick, the founder and CEO, an app that lets customers to link all their credit and debit cards to just one card, says there are more than 10,000 fintech startups around the world, and even he can’t keep track of them all. Some, or even most, aren’t going to make it.

Quartz: It’s been about four months since Amex blocked Curve. What are your plans now?

Bialick: Amex was never a critical part of Curve. It was always an opportunity to solve a big problem Amex has in the UK and Europe, which is access.

Curve has continued to grow in Europe without Amex.

Have we reached the peak in terms of new fintech startups?

I don’t know if we reached the peak, but we definitely are very close, because today there are over 10,000 fintechs globally. I don’t know over 90% of them.

Peer To Peer Lending To Be The Next $ 1 Trillion Industry (ValueWalk), Rated: AAA

By eliminating the need for banks, peer to peer lending allows investors to invest in individual and company debt with 5-10% returns – a far cry from the the lowly 1.5% that you’ll received in a regular CD account.

And it works better for borrowers too. Borrowers are able to take out loans with greater ease and lower interest rates, typically offered in the region of 3-4%.

The average default rate at Lending Works is only 3.2% over the last six years. And many P2P lenders allow you to choose secured loans for additional protection.

Transparency Market Research estimates the industry be worth $900 billion by the end of 2024, with an annual growth rate of 48%, up from $26 billion in 2015.

Source: ValueWalk

One quarter of world’s small firms are ‘significant’ fintech users, says report (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Fintechs are becoming the ‘new normal’ in financial services, said a survey by professional services firm EY.

Fintech adoption is by far the highest in China, where 61 per cent of small businesses use their services, followed by the US, 23 per cent, the UK, 18 per cent, South Africa, 16 per cent, Mexico, 11 per cent, with the average set at 25 per cent.

Source: Ernst & Young

See the full report here.

Tencent, Temasek Invest $ 35 Million in U.K. Open-Banking Startup (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Chinese technology giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Singapore government-owned fund Temasek is to invest $35 million in London-based TrueLayer.

The Fintech Bubble Floats Toward a $ 64 Billion Pin (The Washington Post), Rated: A

Trendy U.S. online payments company Stripe, worth some $22.5 billion according to private-market valuations, is joining Amazon.com Inc. and Apple Inc. in warning about the impact of EU rules aimed at getting customers to double-check payments going out from their accounts.

Adyen trades at a gob-smacking 110 times this year’s earnings, with a market value of 20.8 billion euros. That’s almost twice the worth of Deutsche Bank AG, even though the Dutch fintech only employs the equivalent of 1% of the German lender’s staff. Stripe is the sixth most expensive private company in the world, according to researchers at CBInsights.

Australia

RBA Boss Warns Banks On Undermining The Economy (SB Dirty South Soccer), Rated: A

THE Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has cut the cash rate to a new record low.

The online lender announced a new headline variable rate for owner-occupiers at 3.34 percent.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday July 6 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Thursday June 7 2018, Daily News Digest

Lending Tree Purchase APR by Month

News Comments Today’s main news: Circle seeks a banking license. Revolut has 2M users. Ping An looks beyond insurance. TransferWise partners with first big bank. Today’s main analysis: How microfinance is navigating the fintech revolution in Africa. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Where retail credit, charge cards are used the most. The case for a VRP strategy. A different type of Know Your […]

Lending Tree Purchase APR by Month

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

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News Summary

United States

Crypto Unicorn Circle Aims to Expand Into Regulated Banking (Bloomberg) Rated: A

Circle Internet Financial Ltd., one of the world’s most valuablecryptocurrency platforms, is looking to make a big leap into the highly regulated realm of U.S. banks and brokerages.

The venture, partly backed by Goldman Sachs Group Inc., plans to seek a federal banking license to provide more services to customers. It also intends to pursue registration as a brokerage and trading venue with the Securities and Exchange Commission, so it can help investors buy and sell tokens deemed to be securities.

LendingTree Releases Monthly Mortgage Offer Report for May (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

LendingTree today released its monthly Mortgage Offers Report which analyzes data from actual loan terms offered to borrowers on LendingTree.com by lenders on LendingTree’s network. The purpose of the report is to empower consumers by providing additional information on how their credit profile affects their loan prospects.

Source: PRNewsfoto/LendingTree
  • May’s best rate offers for borrowers with the best credit profiles had an average APR of 4.35% for conforming 30-year fixed purchase loans, up from 4.26% in April.
  • Refinance loan offers for borrowers with the best profiles were up 12 bps to 4.35%.
  • For the average borrower, purchase APRs for conforming 30-yr fixed loans offered on LendingTree’s platform were up 10 bps to 5.02%. The loan note rate of 4.91% was also up 10 bps.

CompareCards Study Reveals Which Places Use the Most Retail Credit and Charge Cards (Benzinga) Rated: AAA

CompareCards by LendingTree today released the findings of its study on the places that use the most retail credit and charge cards. The study found that some metro areas are home to heavy users of retail cards while other locations have a population who use retail cards more sparingly.

Nationally, 61.3 percent of credit card owners have at least one retail card. Of those who have at least one retail card, 30.4 percent carry a balance on a retail card, representing 11.4 percent of outstanding balances. The average balance on a retail card in the U.S. is $2,699.

Highlights from the report:

  • Residents of McAllen, Texas are by far the highest users of retail credit and charge cards. The metro earned a final score of 87.2 and ranked first in these categories:
    • The number of people who have retail cards (72%)
    • The number of retail card owners who carry a balance on their retail cards (45%)
    • And the percentage of credit card debt carried on a retail card (17%)
  • People in Charleston, S.C. have this retail card claim to fame: They carry the highest balances on their retail cards among all 100 metros, with an average balance of $4,026and a median balance of $1,746. Meanwhile, Albany, N.Y. had the lowest average balance ($2,420).
  • Honolulu has the lowest retail card usage, with a final score of 9.4. Although it didn’t rank last in any individual category, it ranked extremely low in all.
Source: Benzinga and CompareCards

AQR MAKES THE CASE FOR A VRP STRATEGY (all About Alpha) Rated: AAA

AQR Capital Management, the Greenwich, CT-based global investment firm, has posted a new discussion of thevolatility risk premium and of the advantages of strategies based thereon.

In principle the premium would disappear if markets efficiently estimated the probability of significant losses. But it remains, because investors are risk averse and tend to overestimate the probability of substantial losses.

QR models an investor who was hypothetically long the S&P 500 from 1996 to 2016, while hedging his position with a continuously rolled one-month 5% out-of-the-money put. The hedged strategy will in fact lessen portfolio volatility as measured against simply being long in the S&P without the hedge. Vol falls from 16.1% in the latter case to 14.7% in the former.

But, as noted, this risk aversion comes at a hefty cost. Average portfolio returns decline from 5.1% to just 1.8%.

Unchained Capital Raises $ 3M To Lend Fiat To HODLers (Crunchbase News) Rated: A

Austin-based crypto-finance startup Unchained Capital has raised nearly $3 million in seed funding. Unchained’s first product is a crypto asset-backed loan, which is like borrowing against one’s home—except the company lends against digital assets such as bitcoin and ethereum.

The round includes $2.4 million in new capital and $595,000 of SAFE notes converting.

Court upholds sanctions against lawyers, KC firm in payday case (Kansas City Business Journal) Rated: A

A federal appeals court upheld $150,000 in sanctions levied against Stephen Sixand Austin Moore of Stueve Siegel Hanson LLP in Kansas City, Darren Kaplan of the Darren Kaplan Law Firm PC in New York, and their respective law firms.

The plaintiff filed a class-action lawsuit that wasn’t against the online payday lending companies themselves, but against four nonlender financial institutions — Generations Federal Credit Union, BMO Harris Bank, Four Oaks Bank & Trust Co. and Bay Cities Bank — that processed the debit transactions and were paid fees.

LoanNow Reviews: Beware Personal Loan Offers With Sky-High APRs (Student Loan Hero) Rated: A

That’s where online lender LoanNow comes in. LoanNow reviews your application even if you don’t have strong credit.

Here are the ranges for APRs and repayment terms in the six states that LoanNow operates in as of June 6, 2018. Double-check the LoanNow website for the latest rates.

State Loan amount APR Repayment term
Alabama $2,500 – $5,000 29.00% – 229.00% 12 – 48 months
California $2,500 – $5,000 29.00% – 229.00% 12 – 48 months
Georgia $3,100 – $5,000 29.00% – 59.00% 12 – 48 months
Missouri $1,000 – $2,500 29.00% – 299.00% 9 – 24 months
New Mexico $2,600 – $5,000 29.00% – 229.00% 12 – 48 months
Utah $1,000 – $2,500 29.00% – 299.00% 9 – 24 months

Startup Aims to Disrupt High-Interest Payday Lending With Blockchain (Thirty K) Rated: A

Meje Tuyo thinks the payday loan industry is ripe for disruption and he wants to do it using blockchain technology. Specifically, Tuyo wants to deliver more equitable access to loans through Owo, a startup venture set to debut this fall. The company’s name means “money” in the West African language of Yoruba.

Tuyo, a native of Nigeria, is looking to, at first, address the challenges of African Americans, a population that relies more on payday loans than other groups. Another study from the Pew Charitable Trusts from 2012 found that 12 percent of African-Americans had taken out payday loans, compared with 4 percent of whites and 6 percent of Hispanics.

The company plans to launch an app called Pazimawhich will allow consumers to request loans that will be automatically repaid when they receive their paychecks.

Renovate America Named “Esoteric ABS Issuer of the Year” (PR Newswire) Rated: B

Renovate America, a leading provider of home improvement financing, has been recognized as “Esoteric ABS Issuer of the Year” in the 2018 U.S. Securitization Awards announced by GlobalCapitalmagazine. The award recognizes Renovate America’s position as a leader in the esoteric ABS market, which includes not only PACE, but also equipment leasing, containers, marketplace lending, whole business, solar, and cell tower deals, to name a handful.

Sallie Krawcheck thought she hated banking (Business Insider) Rated: A

  • Sallie Krawcheck spent years as a Wall Street exec, commonly called “the most powerful woman on Wall Street.”
  • But when she got her first investment banking job in her early 20s, she hated it, and even went back to business school to transition into her dream jobs in media.
  • It wasn’t until she asked herself what she loved about media that she could find in banking that she found a place in equity research, which launched her into a series of executive roles on Wall Street.

David Mitchell Joins White Oak Business Capital as Senior Vice President and Senior Business Development Officer (Globe Newswire) Rated: B

White Oak Business Capital, Inc. (“WOBC” or White Oak), an affiliate of White Oak Global Advisors, LLC, today announced the appointment of David Mitchell to the role of Senior Vice President and Senior Business Development Officer, responsible for expanding business in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic markets.

United Kingdom

UK fintech start-up Revolut reaches 2 million users (The Telegraph) Rated: AAA

London fintech start-up Revolut has announced that it has grown to 2m users following its launch in 2013.

Revolut said that it has now signed up 2m customers in Europe ahead of plans to launch in the US this year. Customers have also made over 100m transactions, the company said, with a monthly transaction volume of $2bn (£1.4bn).

Going tribal: A different type of ‘know your customer’ (Mortgage Finance Gazette) Rated: AAA

The fintech industry is coming of age. Global investments in the sector have grown from $20 billion in 2014 to $39 billion in 2017, according to Fintech Global. Fintechs like Transferwise, Nutmeg, Revolut, Starling Bank and Funding Circle in the UK have grown rapidly over the last five years. A large reason for this success is attributable to the way fintechs are able to develop deep relationships with their customers who rally around them in an almost tribe-like manner. Successful firms manage to convert isolated customers into communities and finally highly engaged ‘tribes’.

Fintechs that have successfully demonstrated that they can generate a sense of community within their customer base share the following six characteristics.

  1. Transparency-or at least the perception of it – is a great way to build trust and attract younger customers. Transferwise publishes its rate card in full on its website for instance.
  2. Reachability-In general, fintechs are much more in tune with what their customers want to be developed next. Revolut got this formula right from the start – this has helped them to grow to a $1.7 billion company in just 33 months.
  3. A sense of purpose-A large part of fintechs’ success in tribe-building is their ability to generate the sense of a greater purpose. Fintechs are typically focussed on achieving a specific goal which on its own, is mundane and something on the lines of – ‘help you transfer money cheaply’. However, this mundane goal is transformed into a grandiose vision when put into the intended context— ‘transfer money cheaply and beat the big banks at their game’. An origin story is the final touch required to transform this vision into a sense of purpose for the community – ‘transfer money cheaply, beat big banks and be a part of something meaningful’.

The growing popularity of bridging loans for investors (Property Week) Rated: A

This trend has only been exacerbated by Brexit as the ongoing uncertainty around Britain’s exit from the EU leaves borrowers, banks and new lenders without a clear picture of the next few years.

In light of this, bridging loans are increasingly popular as a short-term solution for investors and a way for high-net-worth individuals to see a return on capital.

Although the recent rise of bridging loans is associated with specialist lenders, particularly in the commercial space offering non-FCA regulated loans, the product originated as an option for property buyers to bridge a gap between exchanging contracts and completion of a sale where you needed to purchase a property in the interim but did not have the capital.

China

Chinese Giant Ping An Looks Beyond Insurance To A Fintech Future (Forbes) Rated: AAA

Global 2000 list — look beyond the stodgy insurance business and into the realm of high technology, whose tentacles reach into every aspect of commerce in China and eventually show up in the mobile handsets of Chinese consumers.

European Union

Klarna at Money 20/20: Banks are obsessed with themselves (Bobs Guide) Rated: A

In a presentation entitled ‘Banking on the CX factor’, Klarna CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski spoke to a packed crowd under The Big Top at Money 20/20 EU, Amsterdam, today, taking the opportunity to open fire on the banks.

The audience heard insight from Klarna on customer experience, including the fact that, according to the Happiness Index, consumers are more stressed and unhappy than ever before.

Auto1 Joins Deutsche Bank, Allianz in Fintech Car Financing Push (Bloomberg) Rated: A

Auto1 Group GmbH is partnering with Deutsche Bank AG and Allianz SE as the German startup expands into fintech to ease financing for customers buying its used cars.

The three partners together own more than 50 percent in a new company called Auto1 Fintech, that will offer refinancing loans and insurance products to car dealerships buying SoftBank Group Corp.-backed Auto1’s vehicles, co-Chief Executive Officer Hakan Koc said Wednesday in an interview.

International

TransferWise just partnered with its first big bank (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

UK-based cross-border money transfer company TransferWise has announced a partnership with France’s second-largest bank, BPCE Groupe, that will take effect at the beginning of 2019. Under the partnership, TransferWise will provide international money transfer services for BPCE Groupe’s customers, enabling them to send money in different currencies with TransferWise’s low standard fees.

Source: Business Insider

StartUp Nation Ventures Announces the Israel-Florida Innovation Alliance’s First Call for Proposals (PR Newswire) Rated: A

StartUp Nation Ventures (“SUNV”) in partnership with the Israel Innovation Authority (“IIA”) is proud to announce the initial Call for Proposals through the Israel-Florida Innovation Alliance (“Innovation Alliance”).

The Innovation Alliance was created to support Israeli innovation companies in the discovery and selection of Florida as their destination to establish U.S. headquarters—a gateway for expansion into the U.S., and Latin America markets.

The joint collaboration between SUNV and the IIA establishes a scalable platform to support Israeli companies that have proven the feasibility of their technologies and have a minimal viable product or working prototypes for the U.S and Latin America markets in the following areas:

  • Financial Technologies (FinTech), Blockchain, Cybersecurity, Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (AR/VR) Entertainment, Cryptocurrency, Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs); and
  • Tech Innovation related to smart contracts, supply chain, asset verification, certification, identity, health and financial transactions, digital and mobile payments; capital markets & investing, banking & corporate finance, financial platforms, crowdfunding & peer-to-peer lending, and personal financial management.

How Fintech Is Disrupting the Personal Loans Market (The Market Mogul) Rated: A

Lending has experienced one of the biggest changes in the traditional banking marketplace with financial technology startups, or simply, fintechs, introducing disruptive products to consumers. Peer-to-peer lending platforms have been at the forefront in this space, but recent developments suggest more could be about to unfold over the coming years.

Startup lending companies have managed to gain a substantial chunk of the market over the last few years. According to credit analysts, this growth has been driven by personal loans. In a report published by TransUnion late last year, it was established that fintechs continue to disrupt the personal loans market at an alarming rate. In the report titled Fact versus Fiction, the TransUnion study found that fintechs have grown from a mere 1% of personal loan originations in 2010 to one-third of the entire personal loan market in 2017.

The 32% market share for fintechs in the personal loans market was more than the 29% for banks, 24% for credit unions, and 15% for traditional finance. This clearly shows that fintechs are on the path to dominate the entire lending market if the momentum can be maintained.

Here’s why robo-advisors won’t replace human financial advisors (CNBC) Rated: A

Robo-advisors give retail investors access to automated investment strategies, creating portfolios and coming up with an asset allocation that’s based on client data points, including time horizon and risk tolerance.

As convenient as it may be, this technology doesn’t make human financial advisors obsolete, said Joe Duran, founder and CEO of United Capital.

That’s because robo-advisors fail to account for the complexity of financial planning, he says.

Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance Launches Global Research (Crowdfund insider) Rated: B

Having now tracked alternative finance for five years, and from this relatively short perspective, the Centre has noted an emerging industry that has progressed quickly. Where once there were only handful of early adopters and innovators in a given country, they now see an “altfin” landscape that is growing rapidly, with an exponential number of new platforms driving competition and introducing new products.

In many regions (the EU, UK, USA) the Centre is also seeing their first cases of consolidation, but with continued diversification of products and services to customers.

Africa

MICROFINANCE PAPER WRAP-UP: “How Microfinance is Navigating the Fintech Revolution in Africa” (MicroCapital) Rated: AAA

We are also looking to provide insight for microfinance stakeholders into how MFIs can leverage Fintech solutions to remain competitive in the rapidly changing financial landscape in Africa. While it is still too early to present a definitive response to the opportunities and challenges of Fintech, we are
convinced that MFIs will need to adapt to succeed in this increasingly dynamic microfinancing environment in Africa.

Source: Triple Jump

Fintech is considered more as an enabler than as a disruptor.

  • The MFIs surveyed perceived Fintech more as an opportunity than as a threat to their business (see graph 3: 88% consider it as a (very) great opportunity, while only 35% see a moderate to high threat).
Source: Triple Jump
  • Few MFIs foresee increasing competition in the future from Fintech-based (B2C) companies. This is explained by the fact that most digital lenders enter relatively easy markets with a target audience that is tech savvy, literate and more urban and where data and technical infrastructure are already available. But to access more informal and rural client segments effectively, these Fintech players face a number of challenges, such as client acquisition, initial high write-offs and limited profitability.

Read the paper in full here.

Asia

The Trillion-Dollar Investment Trend You’ve Never Heard Of And How You Can Be A Part Of It (Indonesia Expat) Rated: AAA

You can support Indonesian micro businesses and help them grow and thrive by investing in their loans. A leading, Indonesia-based peer-to-peer lending platform lets you do just that in just a few simple steps. Mekar (PT Mekar Investama Sampoerna) connects you, the investors (also called ‘funders’ in Mekar) from all over the world, with micro businesses in many provinces in Indonesia that are in need of funding.

About 99% of the micro businesses that are seeking loans in Mekar are run by women. Loans in Mekar range from around Rp 2 million (US$ 140) to Rp 8 million. For the last couple of years 99.5% of these borrowers have repaid on time.

Source: Indonesia Expat

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor