Thursday July 11 2019, Weekly News Digest

Asset-backed securities

News Comments Today’s main news: Morningstar completes DBRS purchase. Figure issues $85M in loans per month. Zopa chief says banks are trying to put fintech lenders in a box. DBRS praises Funding Circle. Yirendai’s Q1 results. Octopus expands into Germany. Today’s main analysis: Over 60% of purchase borrowers received mortgage rates under 4.5% last week (A […]

The post Thursday July 11 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Asset-backed securities

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United States

United Kingdom

China/Hong Kong

European Union

International

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News Summary

United States

Former SoFi CEO Mike Cagney’s New Blockchain Startup Is Issuing $ 85 Million In Loans A Month (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Since the streamlined HELOC Mike Cagney, the co-founder and former CEO of fintech unicorn Social Finance (SoFi), knows that it is essential to focus on customer experience to build a loyal client base. Today, he is using that knowledge to create a platform aimed at driving mainstream adoption of blockchain technology in the financial sector.

Over 60% of Purchase Borrowers Received Mortgage Rates Under 4.25% Last Week (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

Mortgage Rate Distribution

  • For 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages, approximately 60.1% of purchase borrowers received offers of 4.25% or less. That is up from 57% of borrowers the previous week. A year ago, 0.06% of offers were under 4.25%.
  • Across all 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage purchase applications on LendingTree, 4.125% was the most common interest rate. This rate was offered to 14.3% of borrowers.
  • Of 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage refinance borrowers, 72.8% received offers of 4.25% or less, which is up from 70.4% the previous week. A year ago, no refinance offers were under 4.25%.
  • Across all 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage refinance applications, the most common interest rate was 3.875%, offered to 18.9% of borrowers.

Mortgage Rate Competition Index

  • Across all 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage purchase applications on LendingTree, the index was 1.19, down from 1.22 the previous week.
  • How big of a deal is it to get a mortgage APR that’s 1.19 percentage points lower than the competition? Over 30 years, that could translate to $56,826 in savings on a $300,000 loan (see Mortgage Savings Tracker graphic below).
  • The index was wider in the refinance market at 1.35, up from 1.34 the previous week. Refinance borrowers could have saved $65,108 by shopping for the lowest rate.
Source: LendingTree

It’s Taking Less Time to Close on a Mortgage in 2019 (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

  • The time to close in new purchase transactions has been steadily declining, from 74 days in 2017 to 51 days in 2018 and just 40 days thus far in 2019.
  • For refinances, the decline has been less dramatic: from 55 days in 2017 to 43 days in 2018 and just 38 days so far in 2019.
  • Some of the decline can be attributed to lower mortgage volumes, as refinancings have been on a downward trend. But increased digitization is also playing a major role.
  • Closing times vary based on the characteristics of the mortgage type and borrower. Having a higher credit score can knock a few days off: Purchase borrowers with scores above 760 averaged 38 days in 2019 compared with 45 days for those below 720. Refinancings did not show much variation by credit score.
  • Loan-to-value ratios below 80% had shorter closing times for refinances, at 37 days compared with 42 days on mortgages with a ratio above 95% in 2019.
  • Loan amounts also affect closing times, with lower amounts, perhaps surprisingly, taking the most time. Loans under $150,000 averaged 47 days compared with 39 days for those above the conforming limit ($484,350 in 2019). Why? Higher loan amounts are typically being made to more credit-worthy borrowers. Lower-priced homes may be in some form of distress or have some type of damage; lenders thus may require more extensive appraisals to better estimate the home’s value and this adds time to the process.

Mortgage Fintech Innovation (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

In broad-brush strokes, mortgage innovation centers on:

  • Customer experience (Better, Roostify, Blend, HomeCaptain) solutions are re-inventing the onerous mortgage with a digital experience, speeding decision times and opening up the lending buy box in the process.
  • Intermediation (OpenDoor, HomeLight, Zillow) – Some platforms are stepping in between buyers and sellers to provide liquidity, capturing transaction fees in the process
  • Data (House Canary, Zillow, Atom Data) – are amassing large data sets to providing accurate, standardized pricing models for investment decisioning
  • Banking 2.0 (SoFi, ZeroDown) – seek to provide a range of banking or investing services to consumers
Source: PeerIQ

Guaranteed Rate Companies Breaks 15 Company Records with Exceptional June Production Volume (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Guaranteed Rate Companies, one of the largest retail mortgage lenders in the nation, announces 15 new company milestones—breaking its monthly total locked volume for the fourth consecutive month in June.

Breaks its record of total locked volume with $5.31 Billion earned across more than 15,000 units

Can Commercial Real Estate Investment Truly Be Democratized? (Commercial Observer), Rated: AAA

Most real estate crowdfunding sites continue to highlight the equalizing benefits of the model. Fundrise provides “access to a once-unattainable investment class,” and Rich Uncles, which has a minimum of $5, wants to “level the playing field” for the average investor. The sites offer investments in funds that focus on income-producing assets, like single-tenant office, multifamily housing and convenience centers nationwide.

Jeff Holzmann, the former COO of crowdfunding site iintoo, says the definition of an accredited investor is very divisive: “You can have an economics degree, and if you make $199,000 a year, you can’t invest, but Kim Kardashian can walk right on up and buy a multifamily building for $200 million. Should our bar be set by how much money you make?”

Ryan Williams Is Bringing the ‘Proptech’ Revolution to Real Estate Investing (Fortune), Rated: A

Real estate is an industry notoriously stuck in its ways and slow to change. Cash-generating, bricks-and-mortar assets are at the very heart of the enterprise, and in many ways, business is conducted the same way it was 100 years ago. Until recently, real estate owners, investors and brokers had little patience for the kinds of technological advances that have swept through myriad other industries.

But that’s all changing now. Just as there’s fintech, medtech, edtech and regtech, so is there proptech—and there are few companies in the realm of real estate technology as closely watched as Cadre, led by a 31-year-old Blackstone Group and Goldman Sachs alum named Ryan Williams.

7 Reasons Why Long Distance Investing Isn’t As Risky As You Think (Forbes), Rated: A

In 2019 we have many ways we can verify the information we are provided when we invest outside of our own market. These methods will be the focus of this article. By the time you’re done with this, I think you’ll have a much better understanding of how to conduct due diligence, why out out state investing isn’t as risky as you thought, and why I’m such a big proponent of it

1.The Internet

There is very little you can’t find out with a little online searching.

2. You Can Find Rent Estimates Easily

Websites like Rentometer and Craigslist make a preliminary rent search fast and easy.

7. You Can Find Comps Yourself Online

BlueVine Reaches $ 2 Billion In Total Funded Volume (Bluevine), Rated: A

This past month, BlueVine achieved a major milestone, having provided access to more than $2 billion in total working capital to businesses across the nation.

Finitive Announces $ 100 Million Credit Facility For Platinum Auto (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Finitive announced on Monday its client Platinum Auto of Tampa Bay secured a $100 million credit facility through its platform. Platinum notably purchases auto loan contracts from a network of over 300 auto dealers in the southeast region of the U.S.

Affirm lets you pay off a large online purchase over time — here are 35 stores that accept it (Business Insider), Rated: A

You can apply for a loan as you’re shopping at one of many Affirm’s partner stores, which include women’s and men’s fashion, furniture, sports and fitness, electronics, jewelry, and watch brands.

You can see which online retailers accept Affirm below.

They’re divided by category and we’ve also designated which ones offer loans starting at 0% APR with an asterisk.

Will Abercrombie & Fitch’s “Buy Now, Pay Later” Plan Lock in Gen Z Shoppers? (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF) recently partnered with payment solutions provider Klarna to let U.S. shoppers split purchases into up to four interest-free payments over two months. A&F is aiming this “buy now, pay later” system — which its rival Urban Outfitters (NASDAQ:URBN) has also adopted — at younger shoppers with less spending power.

But will “buy now, pay later” work?

Only a third of millennials have credit cards according to Bankrate. The average millennial in the U.S. also has a net worth of just $8,000 according to Deloitte, which gives them significantly less spending power than previous generations. Most Gen Z shoppers don’t have credit cards yet. They mostly use debit cards or linked payment apps, which restrict purchases to the amount of cash in their bank accounts.

rue21 is Totally on Trend with the Addition of Klarna (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Klarna, the global alternative payments provider, is getting trendy with the Millennial favorite fashion brand rue21. Customers can choose to pay with four equal payments collected bi-weekly – with no interest or fees. With Klarna, these cool customers get the ability to stay ahead of trends even faster with a smooth checkout and a payment option that boosts flexibility and purchase power.

The necessity for businesses to keep up with the customer is increasingly important considering that U.S. shoppers admit to buying clothes and accessories online an average of 10 times a year. For Gen Z shoppers, aged 16-24, this number increases to 18 times per year, with nearly a quarter (23%) of them admitting to shopping online 1-3 times per month. Millennials are shown to shop online 14 times per year and the 55+ age group, 8 times per year. Considering these Millennial and Gen Z demographics are credit card averse and debt conscious, Klarna delivers an appealing and accessible method for shoppers to take control of their finances in a manageable way.

Metro Denver businesses mostly seeing green, not red (Denver Post), Rated: A

Of 42,610 businesses in metro Denver, 29,560 or 69.4 percent reported turning a profit, according to an analysis from online lender LendingTree.

That placed fifth out of the 50 metro areas that LendingTree ranked based on Census Bureau data. Seattle had a business profitability rate of 70.9 percent, making it the leader nationally. The only other cities ahead of Denver were Louisville, Ky.; Indianapolis and Portland, Ore.

U.S. Consumer Borrowing Climbs on Bigger Credit Card Balances (Bloomberg), Rated: A

U.S. consumer debt climbed in May at about the same pace as a month earlier, led by the largest advance in revolving debt outstanding since October, suggesting Americans’ favorable economic outlook is underpinning continued spending.

Total credit rose $17.1 billion from the prior month, in line with the median estimate of economists, following a $17.5 billion gain in April, Federal Reserve figures showed Monday. While credit card and other revolving debt outstanding increased at a faster rate, non-revolving credit posted the smallest increase in almost a year.

Small Business Loan Approvals at Big Banks Hit Record Highs (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Approval rates for small business loan applications inched up to yet another record high of 27.6% at big banks ($10 billion+ in assets) in June, while the approval percentage also climbed at small banks, hitting 50% for the first time in 2019, according to the Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Indexreleased today.

Small bank approvals of small business loan applications climbed one-tenth of a percent from 49.9% in May to 50% in June.

Small business loan approval rates among alternative lenders dropped one-tenth of a percent to 57.0% in June, down a notch from 57.1% in May.

LendingTree Survey Finds 45% of Newlyweds Went into Debt for Their Wedding (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Approximately 45% of newlyweds between the ages of 18 and 53 went into debt to pay for their wedding. And once married, nearly half of the newlyweds who obtained wedding-related debt said money has caused them to consider divorce. On the flip side, only 9% of couples without wedding-related debt contemplate divorce.

LendingTree released its study on newlyweds and wedding expenses.

How Using Fintech Can Help Pay Off Student Loans (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Companies like SoFi, Laurel Road and Splash Financial are just a few of the fintech industry names that have made their way into the student lending world.

Credible. This is a platform that allows you to compare student loan refinance rates from eight different lenders.

LendKey. Similar to Credible, Lendkey is a platform that allows the borrower to compare refinance rates side by side.

CommonBond. CommonBond for Business offers a flex contribution program that includes an option to directly contribute to paying down employee student loans, or to work with employees on financial literacy techniques for reducing their debt.

Gradifi. Gradifi is another fintech offering refinance options, bundled with employee benefits packages called SLP, or “student loan paydown”.

Earnest. This fintech offers refinance options to individuals with a more limited credit history that may not qualify for other traditional options.

FutureFuel. FutureFuel uses behavioral economics, which is the study of human behavior to explain economic decisions people make.

3 Alternative Financing Options for Small Businesses in 2019 (Digital Journal), Rated: B

Online finance is a very popular option to emerge of late. A few click on the website can bring about quick processing and loan approval.

Another alternative financing option is that of merchant cash advance.

Crowdfunding is an innovative and extremely popular way to raise money for new ideas, concepts, prototypes and creative products.

New Study on Digital Identity Shows Changing Consumer Behaviors (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Today, according to Pew Research Center more than 50 million American adults are mobile-only consumers.

Each year, IDology publishes a Consumer Digital Identity Study aimed at giving businesses visibility into how consumer preferences and opinions related to identity and fraud are shifting. This year’s study confirms the continued movement toward mobile, finding that in the last 12 months, for the first time, consumers opened more new accounts online with their mobile devices than on computers. A closer look at the data shows that 50 million American consumers (20% of all online adults) registered for new accounts exclusively on a mobile phone, up 10% from last year. This growing number has implications for financial service providers as they strive to keep fraud out while giving consumers a seamless digital experience.

Online Lending Startup Tries To Push Usury Suit To Arbitration (Law360), Rated: B

Online lending startup MoneyLion told a North Carolina federal court Tuesday that a suit over alleged unlicensed payday lending belongs in arbitration, arguing the proposed class of borrowers had signed valid arbitration agreements when taking out their loans.

United Kingdom

Zopa boss Jaidev Janardana: big banks are trying to ‘put fintech lenders in a box’ (The Telegraph), Rated: AAA

In just a few months, a string of Zopa’s rivals in peer-to-peer lending have collapsed. Others have exited the sector altogether.

The latest company to fall into administration, Lendy, resulted in £165m of customer cash being put on the line and affected more than 20,000 investors.

Zopa survey finds Brits are more open about bank balance than Netflix password (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

A survey of 2,000 adults by the peer-to-peer lender found that 47 per cent of respondents felt more comfortable revealing details about their bank accounts with their partner than their most intimate secret, while the same percentage would prefer to give an insight into their finances over their Netflix password.

Zopa looks to grow secured car finance offering (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

ZOPA is readying to launch its secured car finance product as a direct offer on its website, as it looks to expand this segment of the business.

Ratings agency backs Funding Circle strategy to tighten lending (AltFi), Rated: AAA

SME focused peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle was correct to proactively take the decision to tighten its lending criteria in pulling back from higher-yielding lower-quality loans, according to ratings agency DBRS.

Investor fintech demand drives record six months for Crowdcube (AltFi), Rated: A

Crowdcube saw revenues soar 39 per cent to £3.72m in the first half of 2019, compared to the same period in 2018, with £103.4m pledged to companies through the platform.

NatWest-backed Esme hits £60m lending milestone (AltFi), Rated: A

Esme Loans said it has hit over £60m of lending to UK small businesses just two years after its launch.

The small business lender unit said its loans have leapt 20 per cent since the end of April.

Habito launches buy-to-let mortgages (Which), Rated: A

Online mortgage broker Habito has launched a comprehensive range of buy-to-let mortgages, as it makes its first foray into lending.

The brokers offers a range of two and five-year loans for landlords, as well as more niche three, seven and 10-year fixed terms.

FCA misconduct probes into retail financial services firms increase by a third (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE NUMBER of Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) cases opened into misconduct in retail financial services has increased by 29 per cent in the past year.

The number of cases has increased to 101 for the 12 months ended 31 March, up from 78 the previous year, the FCA said in its annual report on Tuesday.

The regulator also said that the overall number of enforcement cases it is undertaking is up by 31 per cent over the past year – rising to 650 from 496 at the beginning of the year.

OakNorth lends £19.5m to Care Concern Group (Fintech Finance), Rated: B

Klarna teams up with UK festival We Out Here (Retail Tech Innovation Hub), Rated: B

PayTech venture Klarna has announced a partnership with new jazz and electric festival We Out Here.

It will unveil a ‘Smoooth Sanctuary’ at the event, which will be held in Cambridgeshire in August.

China/Hong Kong

Yirendai Reports First Quarter 2019 Financial Results, Closing of Business Realignment Transactions with CreditEase (GlobeNewswire), Rated: AAA

First Quarter 2019 Operational Highlights

Consumer Credit—Yiren Credit

  • Total loan originations in the first quarter of 2019 reached RMB 10.9 billion (US$1.6 billion), representing a decrease of 45% from RMB 19.8 billion in the first quarter of 2018.
  • Cumulative number of borrowers served reached 4,404,812, representing an increase of 15% from 3,824,341 in the first quarter of 2018.
  • Number of borrowers in the first quarter of 2019 was 149,715, representing a decrease of 48% from 287,166 in the first quarter of 2018.
  • The percentage of loan volume generated by repeat borrowers was 38.8% in the first quarter of 2019.
  • Total outstanding principal balance of loans reached RMB 63,213.8 million (US$9,419.2 million) as of March 31, 2019, representing a decrease of 16% from RMB 75,271.5 million March 31, 2018.

Reviewing China Rapid Finance Limited (XRF)’s and X Financial (NYSE:XYF)’s results (NBO News), Rated: A

This is a contrast between China Rapid Finance Limited (NYSE:XRF) and X Financial (NYSE:XYF) based on their analyst recommendations, profitability, institutional ownership, risk, dividends, earnings and valuation. The two companies are Credit Services and they also compete with each other.

Earnings & Valuation

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
China Rapid Finance Limited 1 0.27 N/A -0.85 0.00
X Financial 5 0.00 N/A 0.85 6.34

Table 1 shows the top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation for China Rapid Finance Limited and X Financial.

Court Upholds Ruling That Sent Two Peer-to-Peer Lending Executives to Prison for Life (Caixin Global), Rated: AAA

Shanghai Kuailu Investment Group Co. Ltd., along with two affiliated companies, and 15 defendants were convicted of fraudulent fundraising or illegal fundraising or both, according to the final ruling (link in Chinese) made by the Shanghai High People’s Court on Tuesday.

Kuailu, along with its affiliates, illegally raised more than 43.4 billion yuan ($6.3 billion) from the public, causing 40,000 people to take financial losses, the court said.

Foreign Investment Restrictions in P2P Lending Intermediaries (Lexology), Rated: A

The Interim Administrative Measures for the Business Activities of Peer-to-Peer Lending Information Intermediaries define “peer-to-peer lending” as direct lending/borrowing realized between peers on an internet platform. Peers include natural persons, legal persons and other organizations.

Bitmain’s Affluent Co-Founder Establishes the New Crypto Startup Matrixport (All Stocks), Rated: A

With the hope of capitalizing on the recent rise of the Bitcoin price, the co-founder of the mining giant Bitmain, Wu Jihan, has organized a group to develop “Matrixport,” a financial services startup for cryptocurrencies. According to its CEO Ge Yuesheng, Matrixport will function as a one-stop-shop for not just safekeeping of digital assets but also for crypto lending and over-the-counter trading.

European Union

Online Lender October Pushes into Germany as it Continues Expansion (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Marketplace lending platform October, which is based in France, has expanded in Germany, according to a blog post by CEO and founder Oliver Goy.

October has selected Thorsten Seeger, a Funding Circle veteran, as CEO of October Deutschland as its plots its ongoing expansion across Europe. October currently operates in France, Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands.

Investors are putting £9bn to work in P2P Lending across Europe, UK still dominating (AltFi), Rated: A

The peer-to-peer lending market is now funding more than £9bn of loans across Europe each year with two thirds (67 per cent) of this funding coming through UK platforms.

Revolut brings the fintech battle to Berlin with a new hub (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

British fintech startup Revolut is opening a new European tech centre in Berlin, the home turf of its online-banking rival N26.

Lagan Investments takes 10% stake in Property Bridges (Irish Times), Rated: A

Lagan Investments, a fund founded by the North’s biggest house-builder, Kevin Lagan, has taken a 10 per cent stake in peer-to-peer lender Property Bridges and is to supply it with €5 million in lending capital.

International

Morningstar Names Detlef Scholz President of Expanded Credit Ratings Organization (Morningstar), Rated: AAA

Morningstar, Inc. (Nasdaq: MORN) has named Detlef Scholz as president of its expanded, global ratings organization. The leadership announcement comes as Morningstar today completes its previously announced acquisition of DBRS, the world’s fourth largest credit ratings agency, for a purchase price of US$669 million.

Scholz will assume his new role Aug. 1, 2019 and report to Morningstar Chief Executive Officer Kunal Kapoor.

Source: Morningstar

View the Morningstar/DBRS overlapping ratings.

Deutsche Bank in partnership talks with SoftBank-backed OakNorth (Reuters), Rated: A

Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) is in talks with SoftBank-backed (9984.T) British fintech firm OakNorth to use the latter’s credit analysis and monitoring platform, a source with knowledge of the discussions told Reuters.

CoVEX Exchange — A Single Platform to Complete the Entire Crypto Lifecycle (Coinfomania), Rated: B

P2P loan: The CoVEX platform also implementing a decentralized p2p lending service. This allows users across the world to receive loans in lesser time and even reduces the repayment fee while at the same time protecting the interests of the lender.

Australia/New Zealand

An alternative loan scheme could help 2.1 million Australians in financial distress (UNSW Sydney), Rated: AAA

A social lending scheme could help bridge the gap between traditional lenders and government welfare for the 2.1 million Australians under high levels of financial stress.

Alexa Chung partners with Klarna challenger Laybuy (AltFi), Rated: A

Payments platform Laybuy has struck a new retail partnership with fashion brand of Alex Chung  – called ALEXACHUNG – allowing customers to spread the cost of purchases over six equal weekly payments.

New Zealand’s largest digital buy now, pay later app launched in March with its first partnership with Footasylum.

The true role of the SME broker (Australian Broker), Rated: A

Yet SMEs are being stiffed by traditional lending practices: 44% of small businesses have been knocked back for finance in the last 12 months. Put simply, SMEs are being underserved and ignored by the banks.

India

‘NiYO’ Raises US$ 35 Mn in Series B Round led by Horizons Ventures & Tencent (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

Indian new-age digital banking start-up NiYO Solutions has raised US$ 35 million in Series B funding round from Horizons Ventures, Tencent and existing investor, JS Capital. NiYO is founded by banking veteran Vinay Bagri and technology veteran Virender Bisht. NiYO had previously raised US$ 14 million in funding rounds led by Prime Venture Partners. With the current round the total fund raised by NiYO is US$ 49 million.
Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday July 11 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Thursday September 6 2018, Daily News Digest

Purchase APR by Credit Score Range

News Comments Today’s main news: Varo Money gets preliminary approval for bank charter. SynapseFI raises $17M for banking platform. RateSetter ISA gets 130M GBP inflow in 8 months. Ex-Lloyds Banking boss set to make 3.3M GBP from Funding Circle float. LendInvest hits 1B GBP total lending. Today’s main analysis: International P2P lending volumes for August 2018. Today’s thought-provoking articles: […]

Purchase APR by Credit Score Range

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United States

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United States

Varo Money wins preliminary approval for US national bank charter (FinExtra) Rated: AAA

San Francisco-based fintech startup Varo Money has been granted preliminary approval for a national bank charter by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), paving the way for the creation of the first fully-licensed mobile-only bank in the US.

Co-founded by former Wells Fargo executive Colin Walsh, Varo Money has raised $79 million in funding over the past two years and currently provides a range of savings, loans and account-based services through a relationship with The Bancorp Bank.

The approval for a Federal banking charter will enable the firm to expand its portfolio of millennial-friendly financial products on a national scale, providing a wider range of services in all 50 states.

Four Things for FinTechs to Consider Before Filing a Bank Charter Application, says Auriemma Consulting Group (PR Web) Rated: A

Each FinTech now finds itself at a regulatory Rubicon: To either take control of its destiny by embracing one of the available bank charters, with all of the attendant compliance and regulatory challenges; or to remain a non-bank technology company, dependent on a bank partner or subject to multi-state laws.

Here are four of the most important factors for FinTechs to consider now:

  1. Determine the importance of interest rate exportation to your business.
  2. Consider the need for deposit funding.
  3. Consider the requirements of equity investors – now and in the future.
  4. Weigh the risk represented by a Bank Partner.

3 best pieces of career advice for young people from ex NFL and Twitter exec (NBC) Rated: AAA

Anthony Noto has had a star-studded corporate career.

He has been the chief operating officer of Twitter, the co-head of telecommunications, media and technology investment banking at Goldman Sachs and the executive vice president and chief financial officer of the National Football League. And currently, he is the chief executive officer at the online personal finance company SoFi, short for Social Finance.

  1. Fix problems, don’t pass the buck
  2. ‘Be a truth seeker’ so you can make the best decisions possible
  3. Focus on making your whole team better

SynapseFI raises $ 17M to develop its fintech and banking platform (Tech Crunch) Rated: AAA

SynapseFI, a startup that helps banks and fintech companies work together to develop technology, has announced that it raised a $17 million Series A funding round.

The funding actually closed at the back end of last year, but CEO Sankaet Pathak said the company has been so busy developing new products, hiring and more than that it is only getting around to disclosing the deal now. The investment was led by Trinity Ventures and Core Innovation Capital, with participation from other unnamed backers.

The San Francisco-based startup has sat under the radar for a while now despite starting up in 2014. Its core product is a platform that helps banks and developers work together. That involves developer-facing APIs that allow companies to connect with banks to offer services, and also bank-facing APIs that allow banks to automate and extend back-end operations.

The LendingTree Mortgage Offers Report contains data from actual loan terms offered to borrowers on LendingTree.com by lenders.

  • APR: Actual APR offers to borrowers on our platform
  • Down Payment: Though analogous to the LTV, we find that borrowers identify more closely with the down payment. Academic studies have also found that the down payment is the primary concern for homebuyers and one of the main impediments to entering the home buying market.
  • LTV: Actual LTV offered to borrowers on our platform
  • Loan Amount: The average loan amount borrowers are offered
  • Lifetime Interest Paid: This is the total cost a borrower incurs for the loan, inclusive of fees.
Source: Lending Tree

Credit unions split on potential threat posed by OCC’s fintech charter (Credit Union Journal) Rated: A

With the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency having approved a national bank charter for fintechs this summer, a host of insiders have weighed in on potential pros and cons, and how OCC’s move might ultimately impact credit unions.

“The threat to any financial institution, including credit unions, would be around the prospect of a fintech with compelling, modern technology and innovative approaches to traditional banking services becoming regulated and competing with CUs and banks,” said Michael Carter, EVP of digital practice for the Memphis-based Strategic Resource Management (SRM).

Ted Bilke, president of Symitar and VP of Jack Henry & Associates, said one charter “negative” could be enabling large players like Walmart and Amazon to “provide traditional depository and lending services” that compete directly with traditional credit union business.

Should You Take Out a Loan for Payroll? (NAV) Rated: A

When cash flow slows, becomes stagnant, or is otherwise disrupted (large purchases, overdue accounts, etc.), business owners can become vulnerable to a variety of financial woes. Bills can go unpaid, vendor relationships can become strained, and, if the problems persist, your credit can take a quick slide downward. Unfortunately, cash flow problems can also impact another essential part of your business – payroll.

Aside from leaving employees disgruntled, failure to meet your payroll obligations is considered a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which can result in penalties handed down from the Department of Labor.

Why can’t you make payroll? 

Though the exact reason for payroll problems can vary from business to business, there are typically two primary circumstances that leave business owners frantically trying to make good on this obligation:  changes in cash flow or unexpected expenses.

Americans Are Planning to Spend Less on Fashion This Fall; Many Are Embracing Alternatives to Cash or Credit Cards (Business Wire) Rated: A

Affirm, Inc., the company founded by entrepreneur Max Levchin to provide fair and honest alternatives to traditional credit, today announced the “Shop with Affirm” fall fashion campaign and released the findings of a new survey revealing how Americans plan to shop and pay for apparel purchases this fall.

Starting in September, Affirm will feature fashion and apparel brands that partner with Affirm across Instagram and Affirm.com, showing consumers where they can buy now and pay for purchases over time with Affirm. Many fashion brands now give customers the option to use Affirm to buy items with no interest, repaid in three easy monthly installments.

The campaign was designed to make great brands accessible to more customers, offering a transparent payment option that better aligns with shoppers’ cash flows and helps them budget for fall purchases.

White Oak Healthcare Finance Closes $ 20 Million Financing For Fox Rehabilitation (Business Wire) Rated: B

White Oak Healthcare Finance, LLC (“White Oak”), today announced it acted as sole lender and administrative agent on the funding of a $20 million asset based senior credit facility for Fox Rehabilitation, Inc. (“Fox”). The funds were primarily used to refinance existing indebtedness and support continued growth.

Fox provides physical, occupational and speech therapy services to help geriatric patients regain a better quality of life. “We are excited to partner with a practice that is so highly focused on clinical outcomes. By investing in people and processes, Fox has demonstrated the unique ability to maintain continuity of care while expanding throughout the country,” said Ross Eldridge, Managing Director at White Oak.

United Kingdom

RateSetter ISA sees £130m inflows in eight months (Altfi News) Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lender RateSetter has seen a inflows of more than £130m into its Innovative Finance ISA in just eight months.

The firm, one of the three largest P2P lending platforms in the UK, launched its IFISA to existing customers in February and new customers in March. Like its peers Funding Circle and Zopa, the platform was fully regulated and therefore able to launch an IFISA later than many of its smaller peers.

John Battersby, head of communications at the firm, says that demand has been higher than expected for Ratesetter’s ISA.

Disgraced ex Lloyds Banking boss set to make £3.3m when web-based lender Funding Circle floats (This is Money) Rated: AAA

The disgraced former boss of Lloyds Banking Group could make millions of pounds when fintech darling Funding Circle lists on the stock market in the coming weeks.

Eric Daniels, who orchestrated Lloyds’ disastrous takeover of rival HBOS during the financial crisis which left the bank in need of a £20billion taxpayer bailout, is an investor and director at the peer-to-peer lender.

He owns a 0.2 per cent stake in the business, which looks set to be worth £3.3million when it joins the stock market.

Funding Circle “Go further” by Lucky Generals (Campaign) Rated: A

Funding Circle, the small business loans platform, breaks the functional conventions of most financial services advertising in its second TV campaign.

 

LendInvest’s Total Lending Capital Hits £1 Billion as Fintech Raises £150 Million in Residential Development Funding in New JV (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

LendInvest, an online property finance platform, reports it has secured £150 million of “initial funding” in a new joint venture with Nomura, a global investment bank,  and Magnetar, an alternative investment manager. This new capital infusion now places LendInvest’s total capital for lending at around £1 billion. The JV with LendInvest will see the funding used for residential development finance.

Nomura is a Japan headquartered financial services group with an integrated global network spanning over 30 countries. Magnetar, based in the US, is a $13.7 billion investment manager that seeks to achieve stable risk-adjusted returns by opportunistically employing a wide range of fixed income, energy, quantitative and fundamental investment strategies.

Proposed investor restrictions threaten P2P sector’s growth (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

THE PEER-TO-PEER lending industry has blasted the City watchdog’s proposed investor restrictions as unfair, costly and damaging to the sector’s future.

P2P platforms have been busy digesting the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA’s) long-awaited post-implementation review of the sector – released over the summer – and while most are happy with plans for heightened transparency and loanbook disclosure, there are concerns over proposed marketing restrictions and appropriateness tests  for investors.

These proposals would make P2P lending platforms become the preserve of sophisticated, high-net-worth or ‘restricted’ investors, akin to crowd bond providers like Abundance and alternative investment firms such as Goji.

WELENDUS LAUNCHES INDUSTRY-FIRST 15% RETURN ISA PRODUCT (Fintech Finance) Rated: A

Welendus, the FCA-approved Peer-to-Peer (“P2P”) lender, today announces the launch of an industry-first; it’s HMRC-approved Innovative Finance ISA (“IF-ISA”), which will allow investors to invest their annual ISA allowance in a flexible high return investment product, with no income tax on the interest earnings. This product will be the first ISA product on the market with up to a 15% return.

The UK’s short-term lending market is now worth £3.7 billion per year[1], however new innovative products have been few and far between, leaving great opportunity for disruption and innovation. In addition, the UK’s P2P lending market is expected to exceed £10 billion this year, and up to £19 billion by 2020.

Buy to let Britain: A divided nation sell or stay? (Property Reporter) Rated: A

Britain’s buy-to-let landlords are divided over their future, in light of tax and market changes – according to latest research from property-backed P2P lending product, Octopus Choice.

While three in five buy to let investors (56%) want to keep or buy more rental properties, two in five (44%) are looking to sell. The majority of UK landlords still view it as a money-making asset class but think it will be on the decline in the future. As the market consolidates, buy to let owners are polarized across the country, with tough decisions to make on whether to stay or leave the sector.

For those looking to exit the market, nearly a quarter blame falling yields (24%) and tax changes (23%), while a fifth blame cooling house prices (19%). Three in five (60%) say that property management had become a burden and 61% undervalued the costs involved.

Charlotte Rogers: The demise of Wonga shows toxic brands will always fail (Marketing Week) Rated: A

At one point Wonga was the UK’s biggest payday lender and tipped for a $1bn listing on the New York Stock Exchange, but it collapsed under the weight of compensation claims from customers who had been mis-sold loans and has not done enough to repair the damage.

Some 200,000 customers who owe an estimated £400m in short-term loans are still being asked to make repayments to the company, despite the fact compensation claimants are unlikely to ever receive a full pay-out.

The current reality is a world away from 2008, the year Wonga launched. The company positioned itself as a flexible digital alternative to banks and as an option for people looking online for a financial fix in 15 minutes.

Taking a cheeky and brash tone, the loans firm invested heavily in marketing to raise its brand awareness. Wonga’s advertising spend rocketed from £22,000 in 2009 to £16m by 2011, according to estimates by analysts AC Nielson MMS.

In 2010, Wonga made its first high profile move into sponsorship, teaming up with Transport for London to sponsor five hours of free late-night travel on New Year’s Eve. That same year the company made its first foray into the world of sports through a shirt sponsorship deal with Blackpool FC, which it would continue until 2015.

The PRS in a divided Nation – 44% say sell and 56% stay (Property 118) Rated: A

Britain’s buy-to-let landlords are divided over their future, in light of tax and market changes with 56% buy to let investors wanting to keep or buy more rental properties, and 44% are looking to sell. This is according to latest research from property-backed P2P lending product, Octopus Choice.

The majority of UK landlords still view it as a money-making asset class, but think it will be on the decline in the future. As the market consolidates, buy to let owners are polarized across the country, with tough decisions to make on whether to stay or leave the sector.

Meet the Wonga wannabees: Britain cheered when its biggest payday lender went bust last week… But beware its rivals still out there (This is Money) Rated: A

Wonga is no more — but there are still dozens of other payday loan firms out there.

So who are the Wonga wannabes?

SUNNY LOANS

Borrowers can apply for a loan of between £100 and £2,500.

The standard representative APR is 1,293 per cent, with risky borrowers charged up to 1,617 per cent.

QUICKQUID

Owned by parent firm Cash- EuroNet UK, QuickQuid has been trading since 2007 and offers loans up to £1,000 for new customers — £1,500 to those returning.

PEACHY

It offers loans of between £100 and £1,000 for between one and 12 months.

MR LENDER

It offers loans of between £200 and £1,000 over a term of six months.

Its typical APR is 1,256 per cent and maximum is 1,462 per cent. Borrow £1,000 over six months at the standard rate and you would repay a total of £1,815.

MYJAR

Based in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, Myjar launched a decade ago and offers loans of between £100 and £7,200 over three, six, 12 or 24 months, with a maximum interest rate of 1,326 per cent.

China

Slow-Motion Crash Sees Chinese Auto Stocks Skid 40% This Year (Wall Street Journal) Rated: AAA

A plan by Great Wall Motor Co. GWLLY -4.12% to offer discounts of between 11% and 27% on its cars has helped trigger a round of selling this week, according to analysts at Deutsche Bank.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Dongfeng Motor Group Co. DNFGY 8.84% Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd. GELYY -0.90% andGuangzhou Automobile Group Co. 2238 -2.97%—among the largest Chinese auto makers listed in Hong Kong—have each dropped by between 4% and 7% in the last two days of trading.

Combined, the trio have lost nearly 194 billion Hong Kong dollars (US$24.8 billion) in market capitalization this year, Datastream shows, while a Thomson Reuters index of Hong Kong-listed auto and truck manufacturers is down 39%.

Vehicle purchases are on the decline: In July, new car sales were 5.5% lower than in the same month last year. Sales of insurance policies are also falling. Peer-to-peer lending for car purchases had become increasingly popular, but after a series of lending scandals the government has cracked down.

International

International P2P Lending Volumes August 2018 (P2P Banking) Rated: AAA

Source P2P Banking

Startup Influx into Fintech: Is There Still Space for Growth? (Equities) Rated: AAA

We need to understand that the fintech industry is extremely broad, and the user base does not fit into a single category. Therefore, the applications of financial technology will find relevance in many spheres. This is one of the factors that have accounted for a massive growth in the number of fintech startups across the world. It is estimated that the number of startups in the fintech space has increased 8-fold; from an estimated 1000 companies in 2005 to more than 8000 companies in 2016.

Source: Equities

The fintech industry is still in a growth phase and therefore there is every possibility that we will continue to see an increase in the number of startups jumping into the fintech space. However, the emerging markets will see more of the increase in the number of startups due to the underserved nature of these markets.

ACORN OakNorth Holdings closes $ 100m round as business continues to grow ahead of plan (Fintech Finance) Rated: A

ACORN OakNorth Holdings has today announced that it has secured $100m from the EDBI of Singapore, NIBC Bank, Clermont Group, GIC, and Coltrane Asset Management. The $100m represented 4.3% of the company. The capital will be used to accelerate the growth of ACORN machine and enable OakNorth to continue scaling its lending efforts in the UK.

Meanwhile, ACORN machine has opened offices in New York and Singapore to service clients across multiple continents and will have over $5bn of assets under service on its platform by year end. NIBC Bank is the platform’s first client in the Netherlands. ACORN machine’s team now consists of almost 100 people and in the short term expects to add another 50 people across growth and operations, engineering, machine learning and data science.

Biz2Credit Launches New Virtual CFO for Small Businesses (Crowfund Insider) Rated: A

Biz2Credit announced on Wednesday the launch of its BizAnalyzer Virtual CFO, which is described as an advanced software tool that enables business owners to make smarter financial decisions about their companies. According to Biz2Credit, the virtual CFO software is available to clients of Paychex Promise, a subscription-based service from Paychex, a provider of integrated human capital management solutions for payroll, HR, retirement, and insurance services.

Australia

Lender produces guide to business loans (Broker News) Rated: A

An online lender has released a free eBook to help brokers move into writing unsecured online business loans.

The ‘Guide to Online Business Loans’ is the first comprehensive guide to alternative lending produced by a fintech lender in Australia.

It was created to overcome barriers such as a lack of education and knowledge of the industry, to help brokers diversify.

India

P2P lending: How the Rs 10 lakh cap will affect small businesses? (The Economic Times) Rated: AAA

If you are salaried and earn up to Rs 20,000 every month, cold calls and emails from banks for pre-approved personal loans is a regular thing. But for someone planning to open a franchise store or start a catering business, getting an unsecured loan is not easy. Banks and NBFCs are reluctant to fund businesses or expansion plans of MSMEs/SMEs or proprietors.

This could be due to factors like lack of credit data, remote location or poor education. Banks and financial institutions require an individual to display established source of income, thus leaving about 80 percent of the population with no access to credit.

The Peer-to-peer (P2P) online platform aims to bridge the gap between people who can lend and those who want to borrow without any security. The P2P industry took its first baby step in October in the form of RBI regulations which allows high-end investors to lend their money to low-end borrowers.

Asia

The evolution of sme financing (The Business Times) Rated: AAA

This gap in payments in certain industries can be up to several months, such as in the construction sector. When unexpected crises hit, such as late payments by customers or budget overruns during projects, businesses without adequate financing can be left high and dry.

With so much at stake, SMEs need to ask themselves if their current financing facilities are adequate for their needs and future expansion.

While the SME Financing Survey suggests that SMEs do not have a serious problem with getting external debt financing as 90 per cent of SMEs were successful in securing loans in 2017, other SME surveys indicate that financing is still a top concern by this particular segment. In a separate SME Development Survey 2017 by DP Info, 35 per cent of SMEs cited facing financing concerns – up from 22 per cent in 2016 and 14 per cent in 2015.

Kristine Ng: Fundaztic’s SME Lifeline to Plug the RM80 Billion Funding Gap (Awani Review) Rated: A

Kristine Ng understands very well the struggles SMEs go through to obtain financing. She spent a decade in the banking sector – five with Credit Guarantee Corporation (CGC), which was set up with the sole objective to help SMEs obtain credit facilities by providing guarantee schemes.

Recognising the need to plug the funding gap, particularly among smaller and micro enterprises. Kristine left her corporate career to start to start peer-to-peer (P2P) platform Fundaztic with a team of senior level ex-bankers.

Hard cash (Business Times) Rated: A

Indonesian ride-hailing and online payment company GO-JEK is expanding its financial technology services through partnerships with three peer-to-peer (P2P) lending firms: Findaya, Dana Cita and Aktivaku.

GO-JEK’s payment system GO-PAY launched last year, accounting for more than half of the startup’s transactions. The company integrated GO-PAY into the GO-JEK app, enabling customers to store money on their mobile phones — similar to a digital debit card. Adding to the GO-PAY account can be done from a bank account or ATM. If customers don’t have a bank account, they can hand cash over to GO-JEK’s drivers, and it will be transferred immediately to their account.

MENA

New Report Trails the Rise of Israeli Fintech (C Tech) Rated: AAA

Over the last 18 months, 16 multinational financial firms started operating in the Israeli tech system, or increased their local footprint through strategic partnerships and investments, according to a new report by Start-Up Nation Central (SNC), a nonprofit working to promote Israeli tech.

Newcomers include French insurance firm AXA SA, Bank of Montreal, Fosun, TD Bank, AmTrust, and Mastercard.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday May 1 2018, Daily News Digest

Pace of Mobile Payment Adoption in China

News Comments Today’s main news: Former SoFi CEO Mike Cagney raises $50M for blockchain-based Figure. RateSetter IFISA attracts ‘high tens of millions’ of GBP. Brazilian online lender Agibank files for IPO in São Paulo. Today’s main analysis: The cities with the highest rates of mortgage denials. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Hedge funds are down in Q1. MPL’s new ways look […]

Pace of Mobile Payment Adoption in China

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

Other

News Summary

United States

SoFi’s Former CEO Harnesses the Blockchain for Home Loan Startup (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

Mike Cagney, who built SoFi into America’s biggest student loan refinancer before quitting amid allegations of sexual harassment at the fintech firm, is preparing for his second act: a startup offering home-equity loans.

Cagney has raised $50 million for San Francisco-based Figure, which plans to use the blockchain to help expedite loan approvals in minutes rather than days, according to people familiar with the matter. Two global banks have agreed to finance loans and several firms have agreed to purchase them, say the people, who requested anonymity to discuss a private matter.

CHINA-US TRADE WAR AND OTHER WORRIES (All About Alpha) Rated: AAA

The Eurekahedge April 2018 report says that hedge funds were down in the first quarter of the year (-0.13%). This is the industry’s worst performance since Q1 2016.

The steepest performance-based losses by regional mandate were those of the North American funds, they lost $1.2 billion. Meanwhile, asset inflows remained net positive but were lower (17% lower) than were the net asset inflows for the first quarter 2017.

The highest performance gains by regional mandate were those of the Asia ex-Japan funds. (+0.5%). But those hedge funds were down in March, largely on rumblings of a US/China trade war.

Total assets under management for the global hedge fund industry are now at $2.48 trillion.

Marketplace Lending’s New Ways Look a Lot Like the Old Ones (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

Last week, the Federal Trade Commission accused LendingClub, the largest of the peer-to-peer lenders, of misleading consumers with hidden fees and continuing to charge borrowers even after they had paid off their loans. Shares of the online lender fell to nearly $2.50, its all-time low.

Source Bloomberg

In the first quarter, peer-to-peer lenders sold $4.3 billion in asset-backed securities, according to industry tracker PeerIQ. That was slightly down from $4.4 billion in issuance in the last three months of 2017, which was a quarterly high for the industry. PeerIQ estimates that peer-to-peer ABS securitization will hit $18 billion this year, up from $14 billion in 2017.

Source: Bloomberg

 

LendingTree Reveals the Cities With the Highest Rates of Denied Mortgage Applications (Lending Tree) Rated: AAA

LendingTree delved into data from more than 10 million mortgage applications using the most recent available Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data set to find out the main reasons would-be borrowers were rejected.

Key findings:

  • Nearly one in 10 borrowers get denied for mortgages. On a national level, 8% of loan applications were denied.
  • Credit history and debt are the biggest barriers. The leading reasons for denial were credit history (which includes credit score) and debt-to-income ratio, which were each responsible for 26% of denied loans. These were followed by collateral at 17% and incomplete applications at 14%. All other reasons for denial were cited in less than 10% of denied mortgage applications.
  • Debt is a huge barrier to borrowers living in California. We found three California cities (Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose) had the highest share of borrowers who were denied because of their debt-to-income ratio.
  • Credit history is holding borrowers back in Louisville, Ky., Memphis, Tenn. and Philadelphia. Among failed applications in these three metros, we found the highest rates of denied borrowers due to their credit history.


Memphis among top 10 cities for highest rates of denied mortgage applications, study says (Bizjournal) Rated: A

Memphis-area mortgage applications are denied at a rate of 12 percent, the third-highest out of 50 cities in a study by LendingTree Inc., an online loan marketplace based in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Houston among top 10 cities for highest rates of denied mortgage applications (Bizjournal) Rated: A

The top reason for a mortgage denial in Houston was debt-to-income ratio, which is the share of monthly debt obligations in relation to monthly gross income. Most lenders want this number to be 43 percent or lower, per the report.

Other Texas cities ranked quite lower than Houston on the list. San Antonio was No. 18 with an 8.05 percent rate, Dallas was No. 21 with a 7.58 percent rate, and Austin was No. 27 with a 7.05 percent.

What’s next for Citi’s mobile app (Tearsheet) Rated: A

Banking apps are now among the most widely and frequently used apps, along with weather and social media, according to Citi’s second annual mobile banking study, released Thursday.

If that’s true — the study examines the behavior of some 2,000 U.S. adult consumers — that would mean people are checking their bank accounts more frequently than they use music, news and dating apps. Although, 20 percent of millennials actually use their mobile banking app while on a date, Alice Milligan, the chief digital client experience officer for Citi’s U.S. consumer bank, pointed out in a presentation of the results.

Could the USPS Be a Short-Term Lender for the Underbanked? (Nonprofit Quarterly) Rated: AAA

In this age of electronic communications, we often take the post office for granted, but it remains a powerful institution. As the US Postal Service (USPS) website indicates, 47 percent of the world’s mail volume is handled by the USPS; the website adds that if it were a private sector company, “the Postal Service would rank 37th in the 2017 Fortune500. In the 2017 Global Fortune 500 list, we ranked 99th.” The business employs over 500,000 career employees, has annual revenues of $69.6 billion, and operates 30,825 “retail offices” nationwide.

It is this last aspect—the ubiquity of post offices across the nation—that has spurred legislation (Senate Bill 2755), introduced last week by US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), that would require every post office to provide basic banking services. Interestingly, the idea of post offices offering banking services is not new. From 1911 to 1967, post offices offered savings and deposit services for Americans (although not loan products). At one time, Americans held more than $3 billion in deposits through postal banking ($30 billion in inflation-adjusted 2018 dollars). Other countries, including Japan, Germany, China, and South Korea, continue to offer banking services through their postal networks.

Daniel Maran of the Huffington Post explains that, “Under Gillibrand’s proposal, Americans could cash paychecks and deposit money in accounts free of charge at each post office location. Deposits would be capped at the larger of two amounts―$20,000, or the median balance in all American bank accounts. The postal banks would be able to distribute loans to borrowers of up to $1,000 at an interest rate slightly higher than the yield on one-month Treasury bonds, currently about 2 percent.” By contrast, a Pew Charitable Trusts report found that average payday loan of $375 typically costs a borrower $520 in interest and fees.

Financial Engines Sold To PE Firm For $ 3 Billion, Plans To Combine With Edelman (Financial Advisers) Rated: A

Financial Engines announced on Monday that it will be acquired by private equity firm Hellman & Friedman and combined with Edelman Financial Services.

According to the announcement, Hellman & Friedman will make the acquisition in an all-cash transaction that values Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Financial Engines at $3.02 billion. Financial Engines shareholders will receive $45 per share in cash upon closing.

Leading Robo-Advisors Post Negative First Quarter Returns (Financial Adviser) Rated: A

The best taxable robo-advisor performers in the first quarter for total portfolios were SoFi, which posted a loss of 0.14 percent; Schwab, which returned a negative 0.33 percent; and TIAA’s socially responsible portfolios, which posted a 0.45 percent loss.

The top-performing taxable robo-advisors for total portfolios over the two-year duration of Backend Benchmarking’s study are Schwab, offering 10.98 percent annualized two-year returns; SigFig, which returned an average of 10.71 percent annually over two years; and Betterment, which returned 10.24 percent.

MetaBank, CURO to offer flexible credit to underbanked (Bankless Times) Rated: A

MetaBank, a provider of payment, community banking and financing solutions, today announced an agreement with CURO, a facilitator of short-term credit to underbanked consumers. Together, the organizations will launch a new line of credit product the parties believe will be more flexible and transparent than others in the market, and well-suited for US-based underbanked consumers. CURO and Meta expect to unveil the new, joint brand and a timeline for the pilot launch later this year.

Through the credit option expected to be launched by CURO and Meta, underbanked consumers would be able to access credit with a flexible timeline for repayment. These consumers would also be able to control their cost of borrowing through transparent fees that would apply only when credit is drawn. Estimates indicate 67 million adults are considered un- or underbanked. Many of these adults typically have poor credit ratings and, as such, have difficulty securing credit or loans — this product is expected to provide a responsible credit option for many of those consumers.

LendingTree, Inc. to Present at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey Internet & Digital Media Conference (Benzinga) Rated: B

LendingTree, Inc. (NASDAQ:TREE), operator of LendingTree.com, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, today announced that it will participate in the SunTrust Robinson Humphrey Internet & Digital Media Conference at The Palace Hotel in San Francisco, California.

Trent Ziegler, Vice President of Investor Relations and Treasurer at LendingTree, is scheduled to present on Tuesday, May 8, at 9:10am PT and will participate in one-on-one meetings throughout the course of the day. The presentation will be webcast live and archived at 

8 Side Hustles You Can Start Today (NAV) Rated: B

If you’re looking for a way to grow income over time, and don’t mind the risk and reward nature of investment, peer to peer (P2P) can be a great way to earn some passive income on the side.  Operating much like a bank loan — but without the bank – P2P lending connects people with money (even if it’s only a few hundred dollars) with people who need it.

United Kingdom

 

RateSetter IFISA has attracted ‘high tens of millions’ of pounds (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

RATESETTER has revealed that its Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) has already attracted “high tens of millions” of pounds from investors, in less than three months since launch.

RateSetter opened its IFISA to existing customers on 8 February and to new customers on 1 March. The platform previously reported that it had seen over 5,000 IFISA accounts opened in the first month.

TransferWise founder Taavet Hinrikus invests in fintech chatbot Cleo (Tech Crunch) Rated: A

Cleo, the London-based fintech that offers an AI-powered chatbot as a replacement for your banking apps, continues to put together an impressive list of backers. The startup’s early investors already include Entrepreneur First, Moonfruit founder Wendy Tan White, Skype founder Niklas Zennström, Wonga founder Errol Damelin, and LocalGlobe, the seed VC firm founded by father and son duo Robin and Saul Klein, amongst others. Now TechCrunch can reveal that TransferWise founder Taavet Hinrikus has become a Cleo  investor and advisor.

Family Building Society And LendInvest Reduce Buy To Let Investment Rates (Residential Landlord) Rated: B

Family Building Society and LendInvest have each reduced rates on a number of buy to let mortgage deals.

Family Building Society slashed interest rates across its entire buy to let product range, whilst LendInvest has reduced rates on several of its buy to let deals.

CrowdProperty names Mike Bristow as chief executive (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: B

CROWDPROPERTY co-founder Mike Bristow has been appointed as chief executive of the peer-to-peer property lender, taking over the reins from fellow co-founder Simon Zutshi.

Bristow, who was also a non-executive director at CrowdProperty, had been acting as interim chief executive for around two months before taking on the role on a permanent basis, effective from 1 May.

Zutshi has now been appointed as chairman of CrowdProperty.

China

Lessons From A Mobile Payments Revolution (American Banker) Rated: AAA

According to the research firm eMarketer, 76% of Chinese smartphone users made a mobile point-of-sale purchase in 2017, compared with 25% of American users. In total, 61.8% of all such transactions globally are Chinese.

Source: American Banker

In the first 10 months of last year, China processed a whopping $12.8 trillion in mobile payments, according to the state-run news agency, Xinhua — 38% higher than for all of 2016.

Though it’s not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison, the U.S. market in 2017 had just $49.3 billion in mobile point-of-sale transactions, according to Shelleen Shum, eMarketer’s forecasting director.

Start with an oligopoly

More than 90% of Chinese mobile payments run through Alipay and WeChat Pay, rival platforms backed by China’s two largest internet conglomerates — Alibaba, essentially the Amazon of China, and Tencent Holdings, owner of WeChat, the nation’s must-have messaging and social-media app with more than 1 billion users.

Peering into the murky world of China’s online P2P sector (Asia Times) Rated: A

During an 18-month period, Ezubo swindled up to 900,000 investors out of 50 billion yuan (US$7.7 billion).

In one of the country’s highest-profile court cases, the founders of what was once China’s largest peer-to-peer lending platform, Ding Ning and his younger brother Ding Dian, were jailed for life last September.

Another 24 executives were sentenced to prison terms, ranging from three to 15 years, after disbelieving depositors mounted unprecedented protests in fintech’s biggest scandal.

“[Just] 500 P2P companies, out of the total 4,856, are likely to maintain their operations this year,” it added.

Fincera Reports 2017 Year-end Financial Results (Digital Journal) Rated: A

Fincera Inc. (”Fincera” or the ”Company”) (OTCQB: YUANF), a leading provider of web-based financing and ecommerce services for small and medium-sized businesses and individuals in China, today reported financial results for the year ended December 31, 2017.

Full-year 2017 Financial Highlights

  • Income for the year ended December 31, 2017, increased 16.9% to RMB1.0 billion (US$156.7 million) from RMB875.9 million in the prior year.
  • Net loss improved to RMB8.4 million (US$1.3 million), from net loss of RMB12.3 million in the prior year.
  • Net cash provided by operating activities increased 148.4% to RMB2.1 billion (US$326.6 million) for the year ended December 31, 2017, from RMB859.2 million in the prior year. This increase resulted in a 63.6% improvement in the Company’s overall cash position to RMB1.3 billion (US$191.5 million) at the end of 2017, compared to RMB764.8 million at the end of 2016.

Operational Highlights

Loan transaction volume across all loan types for 2017 totaled approximately RMB26.8 billion (US$4.1 billion), compared to approximately RMB24.4 billion in 2016.

Source: Digital Journal
International

Can FinTech Walk The FinTalk? (PYMNTS) Rated: AAA

BLOCKCHAIN

In January, the International Data Corporation (IDC) reported worldwide spending on blockchain solutions would increase to $2.1 billion in 2018 from $945 million in 2017 and will grow more than 80 percent year over year to reach $9.7 billion by 2021. Most of that spend will be concentrated in the U.S., with supporting use cases mostly related to financial services and cross-border settlement, for a grand total of $242 million in 2018.

To put that into context, the IDC projected worldwide growth and spending on mobility solutions at 15 percent a year from a 2018 base of $1.6 trillion; on security-related hardware, software and services at 10 percent a year from a 2018 base of $91.4 billion growing to $120.7 billion in 2021 and on the Internet of Things at 14 percent a year from $772.5 billion in 2018 growing to $1.1 trillion in 2021.

MARKETPLACE LENDING

LendingClub was hit with a lawsuit by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) last week over claims of “deceptive” practices.

Following that news, LendingClub’s stock price took a nosedive. Yesterday, it was trading at an all-time low of $2.70.

Launched in October of 2016, Marcus is Goldman’s $2 billion annual hedge on threats to its core commercial banking and trading businesses. Goldman Sachs reported on its Q1 earnings call that Marcus, since it launched, has originated $3 billion of new loans and taken in $9 billion of new retail deposits.

DIGITAL BANKS

If the blockchain is all about replacing the global financial system and marketplace lending is all about replacing traditional lenders, digital banks in the developed world are about upending the traditional banking ecosystem.

Crypto lending may be risky, but these firms say they’ve solved the riddle (American Banker) Rated: A

A new crypto lender, Nexo, will launch Monday in a market where existing participants have already withstood trial by fire.

Such lenders extend credit to those who want to own digital currency, such as bitcoin and ether, and hold onto it long-term while investing it in real estate and elsewhere. But crypto lenders have been severely tested of late as digital currency prices dropped about 70% between December and February.

Source: American Banker, Coindesk

Nexo

The team behind Switzerland-based Nexo runs a consumer lending operation called Credissimo that has made more than a million loans to consumers of up to $2,000 in Europe.

Salt Lending

Denver-based Salt Lending, which started crypto lending earlier this year, has made just under $40 million in loans and has had no losses, according to co-founder Blake Cohen.

Unchained Capital

Unchained Capital, which publicly launched in November, is originating “single-digit million dollars of loans per month,” according to CEO Joe Kelly. The typical loan size is $120,000; the average interest rate is 12%.

RCN Partners with IdentityMind Global to Provide KYC and AML Compliance for Its Protocol (PRWeb) Rated: B

IdentityMind Global today announced that Ripio Credit Network (RCN), a global peer-to-peer credit network based on co-signed smart contracts that connect lenders and borrowers located anywhere in the world, has partnered with IdentityMind to provide KYC and AML compliance support.

Australia

Research shows savings at online lenders (Broker News) Rated: A

The company’s research shows the average customer of one of the big four banks can save more than $2,500 a year by switching to an online deal. This has increased from a year ago, when the potential annual savings were $2,250.

Despite these savings and the fact most other services have migrated online, only 27% of consumers said they would take out a home loan with an online lender.

India

Fintech Startup MyLoanCare Raises Series A Funding (Inc42) Rated: AAA

Gurugram-based B2C online loans marketplace MyLoanCare has secured $977.7K (INR 6.5 Cr) equity Series A funding from Ncubate Capital Partners, a private investment arm of SAR Group family office.

The startup plans to use the funding for branding, technology augmentation and growth. MyLoancare also plans to enter new segments of the market including cards, savings and investments.

 

 

Asia

INDONESIAN fintech startup EmasDigi enables the investing in as well as buying and selling of gold through mobile applications with easy processes that require little time.

The idea began with EmasDigi chief executive officer and founder Claudia Kolonas selling vouchers which gave people easier access to the gold trading market.

EmasDigi is affiliated with PT PG Berjangka, which is registered and supervised by the Trade Ministry’s Futures Exchange Supervisory Board (Bappebti). This affirms EmasDigi’s commitment to consumer protection and ensures compliance with legal provisions in Indonesia.

Fintech microfinance, the next opportunity (Prothom Alo) Rated: A

Bangladesh is widely known as the origin of microfinance. The pioneer two NGOs, Grameen Bank and BRAC, have taken this poverty reduction tool to different places in the world, especially in Asia and Africa. This has been acclaimed by the United Nations and other international organisations. Certainly the objectives of microfinance have undoubtedly already been achieved.

Microfinance was inaugurated in the 1980s for a specific, target group of people (given their poverty level). It doesn’t have the generalised character required to reach all people.

Latin America

Brazilian online lender Agibank files for IPO (Reuters) Rated: AAA

Brazilian online lender Banco Agibank SA on Monday filed for regulatory clearance to launch an initial public offering (IPO), according to a securities filing.

Agibank follows Banco Inter SA’s (BIDI11.SA) strategy of raising capital to fund its expansion and IT investments. On Monday, Inter made its debut in São Paulo stock exchange, in the first IPO by a Brazilian retail bank in nearly a decade. In late afternoon, Inter’s units were stable at 74 reais.

The bank and its owner, Marciano Testa, will sell an undisclosed amount of preferred shares in the IPO.

Canada

Fintech Select Earns a Net Profit of $ 435k and Reduces Liability by $ 7.6m for the Year Ending Dec 31 2017 (Globe Newswire) Rated: AAA

Fintech Select Ltd. (“Fintech Select” or the “Company”) (TSX-V:FTEC) is pleased to announce that its financial statements for the year ending December 31 2017 have resulted in a net profit of $435k. 2017 Financial Statements and Management Discussion & Analysis (“MD&A”) will be filed on SEDAR shortly.

2017 Highlights

  • Reduced the Company’s liability by $7.6M including our unfavourable high-interest loan
  • Made a net profit of $435k for the year due to the reduced liability
  • Reduced interest rate of 24% per annum plus management fee to 12% on April 1, 2017, and further to 6% plus management fee on May 16 2017.
  • Raised $3.4M through two private placements in April and June of the year, and had access to un-restricted cash of $915k by December 31 2017
  • Increased its customer care service revenue
  • Established an advisory board with high skill sets in business and Cryptocurrency space
  • Filed a patent-pending for Cryptocurrency POS platform.
  • Developed and launched the Company’s first phase of the Cryptocurrency POS solution, which simplifies buying cryptocurrecny to the mass of consumers
  • Acquired software for P2P Micro Lending and initiated the project to work on required changes and enhancements to meet the regulatory required standards

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday March 30 2018, Daily News Digest

Friday March 30 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: LendingClub grows short interest. Larry Summers resigns from LendingClub board. RealtyShares intros gap financing for projects under $20M. Mark Davies steps down from RateSetter board. Today’s main analysis: Heap’s behavior attribution platform. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Can Noto sell mortgages at his new SoFi post? China banks report drop in bad loans. Chinese families rack up […]

Friday March 30 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

Other

News Summary

United States

LendingClub Corp (LC) Sees Significant Growth in Short Interest (the Ledger Gazette), Rated: AAA

LendingClub Corp (NYSE:LC) was the recipient of a large increase in short interest during the month of February. As of February 28th, there was short interest totalling 31,244,316 shares, an increase of 11.0% from the February 15th total of 28,142,392 shares. Based on an average daily volume of 9,132,224 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 3.4 days. Currently, 11.3% of the company’s stock are short sold.

Larry Summers Has Resigned From the LendingClub Board (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Yesterday, we learned that after nearly six years Mr. Summers will be leaving the board of LendingClub. He is being replaced by leading economist and Stanford professor Susan Athey. While she is not nearly as well known as Larry Summers she still brings serious economics clout to the board.

Heap launches behavioral attribution platform (Venture Beat), Rated: AAA

Source Heap

Heap is aiming to automate insights and is starting today with the launch of Heap Behavior Attribution. The new product is the industry’s first attribution product that measures behavior and does so in a way that requires no data science or engineering resources, the company said.

The Heap Behavioral Attribution measures standard marketing channels (i.e. Google and Facebook), and also ties in a set of broad user behavior, including email, customer relationship management (CRM), shopping cart, customer success, and either-or testing platforms. Examples include user behaviors stored in Salesforce, Marketo, Shopify, Autopilot, Optimizely, Oracle, and more.

Source Heap

It has more than 100 employees and 6,000 customers, including Twilio, Lending Club, App Annie, Morningstar, Monotype, and Casper.

 

RealtyShares Introduces Gap Financing Program For Projects Under $ 20 Million (Business Wire), Rated: AAA

RealtyShares today announced a gap financing program that delivers subordinated financing solutions to commercial real estate owners seeking higher leverage on the financing of projects under $20 million. The suite of solutions, which includes preferred equity, mezzanine debt, and second lien loans, helps commercial real estate operators get the capital they need to buy, refinance, or renovate commercial properties.

He Can Fix Your Student Debt, but Can He Sell You a Mortgage? (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

As chief operating officer of Twitter Inc., Anthony Noto did a lot to calm the company’s perpetually anxious shareholders. On Feb. 26, however, Noto took over as chief executive officer of a financial technology startup, Social Finance Inc., or SoFi.

He’ll be facing increasingly tough competition. SoFi sees Marcus, the consumer-lending business started by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in 2016, as the biggest threat, according to people familiar with SoFi’s thinking.

One question Noto will have to navigate is how much SoFi should use its own balance sheet—that is, hold on to the loans it originates as opposed to selling them to other investors. It currently keeps a slice of loans but sells off most of them. Holding loans allows a company to earn a stream of interest income, but investors generally put a lower value on financial firms than tech platforms.

SoFi says it plans to hold 500 events in 2018, up from 41 in 2015.

The wealth management unit, fully launched in May 2017, had $42.3 million in assets under management as of Jan. 18, according to Prosser.

 

Instant Financing Offers Drive Sales, Decrease Cart Abandonment (Retail Touchpoints), Rated: AAA

E-Commerce retailers in the U.S. recognize the value of instant financing offers, and 64% believe providing financing options through their online store is important to driving new and increased sales, according to a survey from Klarna. Another 46% believe such services decrease cart abandonment, which is a pressing concern for retailers.

Instant financing is a revolving line of credit that shoppers can apply for during online checkout, letting them spread payments out over time with low annual percentage rate (APR) offers. The option is particularly appealing to Millennials, as fewer than 33% of them carry credit cards, according to a 2016 Bankrate survey.

Retailers’ enthusiasm for online financing is shared by shoppers, and a 2017 Researchscape International survey conducted on behalf of Klarna found that consumers:

  • Prefer online merchants that offer instant financing (75%);
  • Want to be presented with an instant financing option when shopping online (47%);
  • Would spend more if given instant credit options when making a purchase (39%); and
  • Are very or completely likely to change retailers to use instant financing (28%).

FINANCE THEORY, LISTED EQUITIES, AND LIQUIDITY (AllAboutAlpha), Rated: A

A recent paper from Robeco discusses whether a liquidity premium exists in the stock market. The authors, David Blitz, Jean-Paul van Brakel, and Milan Vidojevic, conclude that “the evidence for such a premium is, at best, weak.”

Less politely, these authors refer to the whole notion of a liquidity premium as having been “challenged and debunked in various studies.”

Theory and Practice

In a sense there “should” be a liquidity premium. The more illiquid a stock, the more difficult it is to trade it, which on some models means that illiquid stocks are less attractive than liquid stocks, and should command a premium. One should have to be bribed to hold an illiquid stock just as one has to be bribed to hold a risky one.

BLACK ENTREPRENEURS, SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS NOT TAKING ADVANTAGE OF SBA OFFERINGS (Black Enterprise), Rated: A

Here is a surprising statistic: Over 80% of small business owners have never visited their local U.S. Small Business Administration office.

The finding was revealed as part of a random survey of 409 owners and senior leadership at small businesses by national online lender Fundera and online research firm Qualtrics.

Fundera also offers a list of other resources black entrepreneurs can tap into to help them get help with everything from how to run a small business to becoming a certified minority business.

Marketplace Lending Update #2: Another Rocky Mountain Remand (The National Law Review), Rated: A

In our prior Clients & Friends Memo “Who’s My Lender?” published on March 14, 2018, we analyzed two actions brought against marketplace lenders, one against Kabbage Inc. (“Kabbage”) in federal court in Massachusetts1 and the other against Avant in federal court in Colorado.2 In that memo, we noted that the Massachusetts action against Kabbage is proceeding to arbitration, while the action against Avant was remanded to state court.

Last week, Colorado courts issued several new rulings related to marketplace lending. First, the federal court in Colorado remanded another enforcement action brought by the Administrator of the Colorado Consumer Credit Code against Marlette Funding (“Marlette”),3 which had been doing business as a marketplace lender in Colorado under the name Best Egg. Following the reasoning in the Avant decision discussed in our prior memo, the court rejected the marketplace lender’s argument that Colorado’s usury laws were subject to complete preemption under federal law and therefore the court granted plaintiff’s motion to remand. As a result, Avant and Marlette will be forced to make their arguments that a bank is the “true lender” and that the Colorado Administrator’s usury claims are therefore preempted by federal law, and any other defenses, in Colorado state court.

KBRA Comments on Cross River Bank’s Settlement with the FDIC (Business Wire), Rated: A

The FDIC announced yesterday that it had reached settlements with Cross River Bank (“Cross River”) and Freedom Financial Asset Management (FFAM). Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) believes that the settlement and related consent order have a low likelihood of adverse impact upon the credit profile of Cross River and that of its parent, CRB Group, Inc. (CRB). While FFAM represents a very small portion of Cross River’s customer base, KBRA believes any adverse regulatory action draws heightened scrutiny to Cross River and the MPL industry, a factor already considered in the current ratings. Furthermore, KBRA believes that the matters cited by the FDIC were isolated instances and is not representative of pervasive issues with Cross River’s Compliance Management System (CMS). Nonetheless, we believe that has Cross River has since adopted enhanced compliance and reporting requirements consistent with FDIC guidance and incorporated enhancements to their CMS.

Enacomm and VOX Network Solutions to Provide Financial Institutions with Data-Driven Phone and Digital Assistant Banking (Global Newswire), Rated: B

VOX Network Solutions (VOX) has announced a partnership with Enacomm, Inc. (Enacomm) to bring Enacomm’s self-service solutions to VOX clients.  Through the reseller agreement, financial institutions will be equipped with VPA (Virtual Personal Assistant) banking and the Enacomm Financial Suite (EFS), which includes a hosted, dynamic interactive voice response (IVR) system for personalized customer interactions.

Crypto Asset Expert David Drake Joins Advisory Board of Digits (Nothing in Particular Blog), Rated: B

Digits, a leading crypto company using technology aimed to combine the convenience of credit and debit card payments with the utility of cryptocurrency payments and to easily allow the consumer the ability to effortlessly pay for goods and services with crypto via their existing credit or debit card, announced today the addition of a highly respected crypto expert, David Drake, to its advisory board team.

United Kingdom

Betfair founder Mark Davies steps down from RateSetter board (Peer2Peer Finance), Rated: AAA

MARK Davies has stepped down from the board of RateSetter after more than six years.

Davies, who was part of the founding management team at e-gaming company Betfair, joined the board of the peer-to-peer lender as a non-executive director in November 2011 – just 13 months after the company’s launch.

Data gatherers should be regulated like financial advisers (Financial Times), Rated: A

There was a time in the UK when most people were under the impression that financial advice was free. They went to see an adviser. He gave them advice. They handed over their money to him to be looked after. They never got a bill.

Only when the government changed the laws in 2012 did they realise they were paying. A lot. They just hadn’t noticed for the simple reason that they did not physically pay it to the adviser.

Deal maker Numis on the front foot after M&A numbers surge (Evening Standard), Rated: A

The City broker, which worked on the Trinity Mirror takeover of the Daily Express, and the sale of cocktail bar Revolution, said sales would be “significantly ahead” of £53 million recorded last year.

Since September, the company has worked on big deals like  the Mirror-Express takeover, the £600 million float  of car insurer Sabre and  the Aveva tie-up with Schneider’s electrical business.

Numis is also lined up to work on AJ Bell’s £500 million float and Funding Circle’s £1.5 billion float later in the year.

Shares rose 1.5%, gaining 5.5p to 365p.

One year to Brexit: How to protect you finances (Money Observer), Rated: A

Brexit is officially one year away and the impact it is having, and will continue to have, on our financial lives is filling the pages of our newspapers and TV screens daily.

Foreign currency

Since the Brexit vote in June 2016, sterling has fallen significantly in value against the euro. The pound reached a high of €1.42 in October 2015, but at the time of writing on 20 March 2018, it was worth 21 per cent less at €1.14, according to currency specialist Moneycorp.

Typical transaction costs for using your card abroad are between 2.75 and 2.99 per cent, and you will be charged a non-sterling purchase fee of up to 1.25 per cent on top.

Each time you use an ATM abroad, you can also be charged anything from £1.50 to £2 a time, so it is wise to withdraw larger sums in one go or to get a specialist overseas card that allows fee-free spending and cash withdrawals, according to Nick England, chief executive of travel money firm EasyFX.

Where are the current UK BTL hot spots? (Property Reporter), Rated: B

The latest UK buy-to-let index from property finance experts, LendInvest, has shown that the Midlands appears unaffected by the UK’s current house price growth slowdown, sending three of its largest cities into the top 5 places to invest – but where came out top?

  1. 1.  Colchester
  2. 2.  Northampton
  3. 3.  Leicester
  4. 4.  Luton
  5. 5.  Birmingham
  6. 6.  Manchester
  7. 7.  Ipswich
  8. 8.  Brighton
  9. 9.  Rochester
  10. 10.  Norwich

Together appoints new regional development director (Bridging & Commercial), Rated: B

Together has expanded its professional sector team with the appointment of Mel Fourie as its new regional development director.

Mel joins the specialist lender from RateSetter, where she was its strategic partnership manager covering the North of England.

China

Big four China banks report first drop in bad loans in 6 years (Asian Review), Rated: AAA

Industrial and Commercial Bank of ChinaChina Construction BankAgricultural Bank of China and Bank of China had a total of 765.7 billion yuan ($122 billion) in non-performing loans on their books at the end of 2017, marking a 0.2% drop on the year.

Non-performing loans ratios — a gauge of asset quality — averaged 1.57% at the four state-owned lenders, 0.15 percentage point less than at the end of 2016. “Special mention” loans with an elevated potential for default decreased 0.9% to 1.59 trillion yuan. All four banks had reported 2017 results as of Thursday.

Famous for hoarding cash, Chinese families are now racking up debt on an unprecedented scale (South China Morning Post), Rated: AAA

Chinese families with their long tradition of saving money are now accumulating debt at a rate never been seen before, according to data compiled by a state-backed think tank in Beijing.

The country’s household leverage ratio – or the ratio between debt incurred by families and gross domestic product – surged to 49 per cent at the end of last year from 17.9 per cent at the end of 2008, going up about 3.5 percentage points annually, the think tank said in a report released on Thursday.

So in the period from 1993, when the data became available, to 2008, the household debt ratio went from 8.3 per cent to 17.9 per cent, with an annual rise of 0.65 percentage points.

According to its report, average disposable income could cover standard loan interest and mortgage repayments, while households were still sitting on 70 trillion yuan (US$11.13 trillion) worth of bank deposits and cash overall – enough to offset the 40 trillion yuan in outstanding bank debt.

Dianrong and Sino Guarantee Announce Lenders Protection Plan (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Dianrong and China United SME Guarantee Corporation, known as Sino Guarantee, one of China’s leading guarantee companies, today announced a new lenders protection plan for Dianrong customers. The plan, which went into effect at the beginning of 2018, is designed to provide third-party protection in the event of a loan default.

Dianrong’s borrowers now have the option to purchase the Sino Guarantee lenders protection plan, which further improves the borrower’s risk and credit profile. Sino Guarantee will then use a dedicated fund account to pay lenders the loan principal and any outstanding interest in the event of a loan default covered by the plan.

European Union

Spotcap Roundtable: Customers Expect More as Fintech Boosts User Expectations (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Spotcap, an SME focused online lender based in Berlin, recently held a roundtable on the future of finance. Individuals from prominent firms joined with the Fintech lender to assess progress made so far. Representatives from Deutsche Bank, Figo, GP Bullhound, McKinsey along with Spotcap debated how the financial ecosystem model will evolve, the implications for the customer, and the challenges and opportunities for Fintechs and more traditional financial service firms.

International

Alt.Estate To Become an Industry Standard for Blockchain-Based Real Estate Transactions (the Merkle), Rated: A

Using the blockchain technology to disrupt the real estate market, Alt.Estate has a strong potential to become an industry standard for the blockchain-based real estate transactions. A strong technology stack, a go-to-market strategy with 10X leverage, a working prototype with three tokenized apartments in key geographies, strong community support, and a solid pipeline of enterprise deals all position Alt.Estate as a win-win solution for real estate developers and investors.

Estimated at $217 trillion, the real estate market is worth nearly 2.7 times the global GDP.

“ERC-20” FOR REAL ESTATE

Developed two years ago, ERC-20 has quickly become a significant industry standard for all the tokens on Ethereum. Inspired by the approach of ERC-20 developers, Alt.Estate’s Protocol aims to become an industry standard for the tokenized real estate.

 

Asia

This Startup Combines FinTech And Traditional Lending Circles To Empower Women (Forbes), Rated: AAA

When Fonta Gilliam joined the foreign service out of school, she didn’t expect it would lead her to entrepreneurship. But after seeing community lending in practice throughout her work in East Asia and Africa, Gilliam wondered what would happen if she combined these traditional practices with new financial technology.

It all started when Gilliam was working in the visa department at the embassy in South Korea.

The practice of a lending circle is a kind of informal savings program. Say you have 10 members who each put $100 into the lending club each month. One member collects the full 1,000 each month and each month the total amount rotates until 10 months has passed and the circle starts back at the beginning.

Proptech – the emerging disruption in real estate (The Business Times), Rated: A

In proptech, three forms of technologies are particularly pertinent and pervasive: blockchain, augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI). In Singapore, these technologies are already making their impact felt in the real estate industry with their adoption by startups, global corporations and the government.

Blockchain: facilitating real estate transactions

A form of distributed ledger, the blockchain is distributed across nodes, locations and even countries. Being decentralised, it eliminates the need for an intermediary to process, validate or authenticate transactions.

Artificial intelligence: extracting insights from data

The most valuable tech companies (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google) are where they are today because of the trove of consumer data they possess and continue to accumulate. In the realm of technology, data is wealth, and AI is the key to unlocking this wealth. AI, as the name suggests, is teaching the computer to think like a human, making sense of the data fed to it.

Proptech: transforming real estate in Singapore

Cognisant of the need to keep up with change, the Singapore government has introduced an Industry Transformation Map (ITM) for the real estate industry. The ITM is focused on using automation, digitised contract templates, and predictive systems to streamline processes for property transactions and facilities management.

MENA

How GISC LoanCoin Network (GIS) is democratizing Credit with its Blockchain P2P, B2B & Altcoin Lending Platform (MenaFn), Rated: AAA

GISC uses a strict proprietary model composed of a fundamental and technical analysis strategy. So when their analysts suggested that cryptocurrency are poised to outperform in developing nations for some years to come, the company dedicated to coming up with a solution that would basically democratize lending of blockchain digital assets on a global scale.

GISC LoanCoin Network platform is designed with an aim of bridging traditional lending services to the blockchain and opening access to the non-banked. GISC LoanCoin Network is a Ethereum blockchain utility token based lending platform that will support P2P and B2B lending by eliminating intermediaries like banks and other financial institutes. It’s a platform where borrowers can interact and deal directly with the lender and GIS token holders can earn income by becoming Lenders or Guarantors.

GISC differs from other lending platforms like ETHLend and SALT in a way that GLN lends against Altcoins and this feature is yet to be introduced by any other lending platform. The platform usually takes a low, around 2% transaction fee for credit assessment/KYC-AML/ ID verification and connection through the network.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday March 29 2018, Daily News Digest

Thursday March 29 2018, Daily News Digest

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

Thursday March 29 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Asia

Africa

News Summary

United States

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

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

Conservative:

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

Source Crowdfund Insider

Moderately Conservative

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

Source Crowdfund Insider

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How Lenda works

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

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

Consumers ready for a digital mortgage

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

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

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

Here are the 10 worst cities, per LendingTree:

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

Here are the 10 best cities, per LendingTree:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

GoKapital’s Affiliate program highlights:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

United Kingdom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

China

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

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

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

European Union

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

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

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

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

International

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

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

Source: INTL FCStone
Source: INTL FCStone

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

Source: INTL FCStone

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

India

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Asia

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

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

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

Africa

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday February 21 2018, Daily News Digest

LendingClub originations by funding source

News Comments Today’s main news: Lending Club losses extend to Q4 2017. LendingClub to settle lawsuit for $125M. Groundfloor launches online public offering. Even Financial gets backing from American Express. LendInvest launches buy-to-let calculator online. Today’s main analysis: Lend Academy reviews LendingClub’s Q4 2017 results. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Equity sharing and home ownership. How millennials move emerging markets. Why Australia needs […]

LendingClub originations by funding source

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Lending Club extends losses for fourth straight year (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Lending Club lost money for a fourth year in a row last year, as it wrote a big cheque to settle class-action lawsuits connected to its governance glitches of 2016.

The San Francisco-based company, the biggest listed online lender in America, said on Tuesday that net losses for the fourth quarter almost tripled from a year earlier, to $92m, as it agreed a $125m settlement to resolve civil suits stemming from the loan-mis-selling scandal that blew up almost two years ago. About $48m of the sum would be covered by insurance, the company said, with the remainder to be paid from liquid assets of about $650m.

The loss for the full year came to $154m, wider than the previous year’s $146m.

LendingClub agrees to settle shareholder litigation for 5M (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Under the agreement, which was announced Tuesday, the San Francisco-based online lender expects to pay $77.25 million. An additional $47.75 million is expected to be covered by LendingClub’s insurance, bringing the total payout to $125 million. The deal is subject to court approval.

LendingClub Corp (LC) Shares Sink on Q4 Earnings Miss (InvestorPlace), Rated: A

Lending Club also underwhelmed in its revenue as the company raked in $156.5 million during its fourth quarter, below Wall Street’s consensus estimate of $157.6 million, according to FactSet. The figure did increase 20% compared to the year-ago quarter.

On an adjusted basis, the company posted earnings of a penny per share, compared to a loss of 2 cents in the year-ago quarter.

The company also experienced a 23% annual growth in originations, which reached over $2.4 billion.

LendingClub Q4 2017 Earnings Results Review (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

LendingClub delivered another record quarter of $156.5 million in revenue up slightly from their previous quarter. Originations were slightly down from the third quarter at $2.436 billion. They reported a GAAP net loss of $92.1 million in the fourth quarter which was affected by the class action litigation settlement expense.

Source: Lend Academy
Source: Lend Academy

LendingClub provided the below guidance for Q1 2018 and reaffirmed their guidance for 2018:

First Quarter 2018

  • Total Net Revenue in the range of $145 million to $155 million
  • Net Income (Loss) in the range of $(25) million to $(20) million
  • Adjusted EBITDA in the range of $5 million to $10 million
  • Reconciling Items between net loss and non-GAAP adjusted EBITDA consisting of stock-based compensation of approximately $19 million, and depreciation and amortization and other net adjustments of approximately $11 million

Full Year 2018

  • Total Net Revenue in the range of $680 million to $705 million
  • Net Income (Loss) in the range of $(53) million to $(38) million
  • Adjusted EBITDA in the range of $75 million to $90 million
  • Reconciling Items between net loss and non-GAAP adjusted EBITDA consisting of stock-based compensation of approximately $77 million, and depreciation and amortization and other net adjustments of approximately $51 million

Stocks making the biggest moves after hours (CNBC), Rated: B

LendingClub stock plunged 10 percent after the bell. The peer-to-peer lending company reported earnings and revenues that missed Wall Street estimates.

Groundfloor Launches Online Public Offering Amidst Increased Stock Market Volatility (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Groundfloor, the first issuer qualified by the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission to offer real estate based payment dependent notes that are available to non-accredited investors, today announced that it has raised a total of $4.3 million from 687 participating investors in a combination of two recent financings, a private online bridge note closed late last year and an initial closing of its online public offering of equity. In each case, the company kicked off the invitation-only raises to customers and friends of the company with a $1M target, surpassing that in under 48 hours. Due to increased growth opportunities and strong demand, the company has today expanded the equity raise to the public.

Groundfloor is offering a total of up to 530,000 shares of Common Stock at $10 per share in its online public offering. Investor benefits include: no investor fees for life2; access to regular shareholder-only loan offerings; and invitations to attend annual Groundfloor shareholder events.

Recently increased expectations that the Fed may raise interest rates in the future has investors rebalancing their portfolios, with a shift out of equity into debt, as bond yields are expected to increase. Twelve-month bond yields have recently inched up to 1.97 percent.

By comparison, Groundfloor investors have earned an average of 13.6 percent per year over the past three years, which represents over 6x the yield of a current one year Treasury note, and over 1,000 percent more than they would have made if their money had been in a CD or savings account over this period.1 Groundfloor’s retail investors create their own portfolios of real estate debt investments in the fix and flip residential housing market, and the loans on which the investments are based are secured by a first lien position against the underlying real asset.

Real Estate Equity Crowdfunding: A New Investment Opportunity for the Investors (EIN News), Rated: A

Talking in context of real estate, there are 3 ways to invest in a crowdfunded real-estate property:

• Equity crowdfunding
• Syndicated debt crowdfunding
• Platform-issued (‘pre-filled’) debt crowdfunding

Following are the pros and cons of going for equity crowdfunding in real estate:

Pros

• High yield potential
• Lower barrier to entry: Even if you have a very less amount of money, you can still invest even in large commercial real estate projects through equity crowdfunding and enjoy the benefits of the real estate i.e., strong returns and lower volatility.
• No self-employment taxes
• Higher returns

Cons

• The risks. An investor should know how to evaluate the risk factors like local economy volatility and chances of higher than expected construction costs. Due diligence is what is required.
• Liquidity constraint: These investments need to be held up for a period of five years or so, and hence one should go for this option if this much bandwidth is available, lack of liquidity is not there, and an investor is comfortable with the invested amount to be tied up for several years.
• It’s still an early option: It is still an early option to be considered as the performance track record and validation is still not complete and individual investors are still trying to figure it out.
• Lack of control: Since it is a passive investment, the investors are not involved in the day to day activities and therefore have limited ability and control over the operations required.

RealyInvest App Empowers Beginners to Invest in Commercial Real Estate (PR Newswire), Rated: A

In a rising tide of fintech apps, RealyInvest is emerging as a new way for beginning investors to access the high-priced world of premier commercial real estate right from their smartphones.

RealyInvestors can purchase fractional shares of REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) for as little as $5. Investors can also own shares of commercial real estate NNN Assets, such as a building long-term leased to Starbucks, for as little as $20.

All investments, rental income and dividend earnings can be managed right on your smartphone. Fees range from $1 to $3 per month, depending on investment options.

Silicon Valley Explores a New Investment: Your Home (WSJ), Rated: AAA

A handful of companies, including those backed by marquee Silicon Valley names such as Andreessen Horowitz and Mark Zuckerberg’s philanthropic organization, are experimenting with a product that essentially lets them take an ownership position in a house along with the homeowner. The agreements, called shared-equity contracts, provide a new way for investors to get exposure to rising home prices across the U.S.

Shared-equity products are aimed at new buyers who need help with a down payment, or current homeowners looking for an alternative to a cash-out mortgage refinancing or a home-equity loan. The first use has caught the attention of mortgage-finance giant Freddie Mac ,which recently agreed to buy loans on properties where one firm,Unison Agreement Corp. , contributes to the down payment.

Landed Inc. offers these down-payment contracts to teachers and other educators. Last year, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative , a philanthropy co-founded by Facebook Inc.’s chief executive, gave Landed $5 million to start a new fund.

The length of the contracts can vary from a few years to 30. Homeowners can repay early, including if they sell their house before the term ends. How much they end up owing depends on how the value of their home changes. Because the funds are equity, not a borrowing, they don’t require monthly payments.

Even Financial inks $ 3 mln (PE Hub Network), Rated: AAA

Even Financial, the technology platform powering financial services online, has secured a strategic investment round totaling $3 million. The round includes an investment from American Express Ventures, the strategic investment unit of American Express, as well as Plug & Play and Arab Angels.

With this investment, Even Financial will expand its team and advance its proprietary technology, which allows financial institutions and other partners to scale customer acquisition and remain competitive in the growing online financial services industry.

Fundrise Reports 2017 Performance. Total Return for the Year Stands at 11.44% (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

In brief, this is what Fundrise reported;

“In 2017, Fundrise investments earned an 11.44%* total return on investment, including over $16 million in dividends paid out to investors. Delivering attractive, consistent cash flow is a core part of our mission to offer you a better way to invest.”

Online SMB lending platform Yalber closes $ 20M senior credit facility (Bankless Times), Rated: A

SMB lending platform Yalber closed a $20 million senior credit facility this week, the company announced today.

Blinker Joins With Ally To Enhance The Auto Industry’s Only Peer-To-Peer E-Commerce Platform (PR Newswire), Rated: A

South by Southwest Interactive Innovation Award winner and 2018 LendIt Fintech Industry Award finalist Blinker, the only peer-to-peer e-commerce platform that provides an end-to-end solution for anyone buying, selling or financing cars, announced two major milestones for its business today:

  • Blinker is now available in the largest car markets in the US – Beginning today, Blinker is expanding its proprietary e-commerce and loan origination platform from Texas and Colorado to California and Florida, allowing millions of customers to buy, sell and finance vehicles easier, quicker and safer with other people. Thirty percent of vehicle sales across the US every year are between people, yet private-party marketplaces including Craigslist, Letgo, Autotrader, Cars.com and Facebook Marketplace don’t have services such as integrated financing or lien payoff support. Leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning, Blinker customers get guidance and tools to complete the entire purchase process themselves, from instant vehicle valuation to real-time auto loan approval to e-signing documents to secure funds transfer, all for free within Blinker’s mobile app.
  • Blinker joins with Ally to offer best-in-class auto protection products – Blinker will now give customers the option to add Ally’s vehicle protection coverage, including Ally Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) and Ally Premier Protection vehicle service contracts, for their vehicle purchases in the app. GAP covers the difference between the cash value of a vehicle and what Blinker customers still owe on their loan if the vehicle is totaled or stolen. Ally vehicle service contracts cover the repair cost for over 7,400 mechanical, electrical, safety or digital components, as well as some related expenses like trip interruption, rental car coverage, towing and 24/7 roadside assistance.

Zelle users are finding out the hard way there’s no fraud protection (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Scammers have taken to Zelle, the Venmo alternative backed by U.S. banks, to defraud consumers who believe the service includes the same protections they’ve come to expect from PayPal. A number of customers report having lost hundreds, or even thousands of dollars, over Zelle, when they used it for transactions with people they didn’t know – like tickets bought off a Craigslist posting, for example.

Cyberattacks took $ 56B from U.S. economy in ’16 (American Banker), Rated: A

Malicious cyber activity cost the U.S. economy between $57 billion and $109 billion in 2016, the White House said Friday.

The estimate comes in a Council of Economic Advisers report on the impact of cyberattacks on U.S. government and industry. The report details the range of threats that U.S. entities face from actors including corporations and countries such as Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.

The council’s estimate represents between 0.31% and 0.58% of the 2016 U.S. gross domestic product. For comparison, the report cites a Center for Strategic and International Studies report that estimated the cost of malicious cyber activities against U.S. entities at $107 billion in 2013, 0.64% of GDP that year.

BlockFi Raises 1.55M in Seed Funding (Finsmes), Rated: A

BlockFi, a New York-based fintech company whose first product is a loan for cryptoasset owners, raised $1.55m in seed funding.

Backers included ConsenSys Ventures, Kenetic Capital, PJC, SoFi, Purple Arch Ventures and Lumenary.

The 2018 World’s Most Innovative Companies (Fast Company), Rated: A

03 Square

For extending the benefits of banking

19 Social Capital

For putting values into its ventures

26 Kakao Bank

For marrying social messaging with banking

31 Paytm

For pioneering the cashless economy

42 Stripe

For writing the new startup manual

47 CommonBond

For offering payback

‘Pinterest will get even bigger for us’ says fintech lender Elevate Credit (The Drum), Rated: A

Speaking to The Drum in the final instalment of a four-part video series with Falcon.io exploring social media strategies, she admitted that while it can be a challenge, using data to understand her audience’s wants and needs has helped her shape content which is likely to resonate.

Fox says she has been finding success on the unlikeliest of social media platforms – Pinterest.

“All our content is more lifestyle focused than finance focused,” she explained.

OpenClose Bolsters Software Integration and Support Teams (Send2Press), Rated: B

OpenClose, an industry-leading multi-channel loan origination system (LOS) and mortgage fintech provider, announced that it has added staff to its integration and customer support departments. The new hires will help enhance OpenClose’s existing software products, facilitate digital mortgage processes, produce fintech-level innovation and provide excellence in customer support. The company also recently added three senior software engineers to its development team.

3 Loans for Students You Should Avoid Like the Plague (Student Loan Hero), Rated: B

1. Payday loans

You usually have only a couple of weeks to repay the loan, and the typical APR is almost 400.00%, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. If you can’t pay it back and have to take out a new payday loan to pay off the first, you could end up stuck in a vicious cycle of predatory debt.

What you should try instead: payday alternative loan (PAL).

2. Auto title loans

The reality is these short-term loans also have three-digit APRs, and you typically have between 15 and 30 days to repay the loan.

What you should try instead: A short-term campus loan.

$20 / $2,000 = 1%
1% x 365 days = 3.65
3.65 / 60 = 6.08% APR

3. Cash advances

This type of loan isn’t as costly as a payday loan or an auto title loan, but it’s not ideal for two reasons:

  1. Credit cards charge a fee, typically 5% of the advance amount. So, if you withdraw $500, you’ll have to pay $25 upfront.
  2. There’s no grace period with cash advances, so interest starts accruing immediately.

What you should try instead: A 0% APR promotion. Some credit cards offer a 0% APR promotion on new purchases for a period.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle to launch two new mobile apps this year (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

The business lender, which currently only has an iPhone app for investors to access, monitor and manage their accounts, is now advertising for a global mobile apps product manager and for an Android developer.

Both positions are based in the UK.

“We have an ambitious roadmap for this year and want to launch two new apps (Android and iOS) for our investors,” the job advert on the Funding Circle website said.

LendInvest Announces Launch of Buy-to-Let Online Calculator for Intermediaries (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Tuesday, LendInvest announced the launch of its new buy-to-let (BTL) online calculator for intermediaries.

 

P2P business lending up 51% (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

The value of P2P business lending grew by 51% during 2017, according to new research from the British Business Bank (BBB).

The report also found that the value of SME asset finance deals was up 12%.

Although net bank lending volumes remained positive (£700m in 2017), it was weaker than in both 2016 (£3bn) and 2015 (£2bn).

The BBB found that there had been a significant increase in both the value and number of SME equity deals, up 79% and 12% respectively.

Online lenders and banks may operate as ‘joint ventures’ (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

ONLINE lending platforms may partner with banks to fund and market credit products in the future, even sharing the approval process and compliance, in one scenario outlined by global banking regulators.

A number of peer-to-peer lenders have already partnered with banks on a smaller scale. For example, Metro Bank has lent through Zopa’s platform and Santander has referred borrowers to Funding Circle. However, these tie-ups have not gone as far as the report’s scenario suggests in terms of becoming a joint venture.

Crowdfund sites ‘are not explaining the dangers’ (The Times), Rated: A

Square Pie, which started life as a stall in London’s Old Spitalfields Market, expanded with the help of a “pie bond” that promised 8% annual interest over four years. The bond was offered through one of Britain’s biggest crowdfunding platforms, Crowdcube.

A total of 324 investors signed up, lending more than £650,000 to fund Square Pie restaurants and its efforts to improve supermarket sales. Square Pie has gone into administration — the first failure of a business that issued a mini bond on a crowdfunding site.…

Crypto lending platform nears launch (AltFi), Rated: A

Lendingblock is one such business. The soon-to-launch platform is, in its founder Steve Swain’s words, “an open exchange for cryptocurrency loans”.

Lendingblock is in the middle of a three-stage Initial Coin Offering that will conclude in March. The first phase has already been completed, raising the equivalent of $500,000. The offering has a hard cap of $10m.

Number of farming building conversions falls 20 percent in a year (FarmingUK), Rated: B

The number of conversions of farm buildings into new homes dropped 20% in the last year, denting hopes that these conversions could help solve the rural housing crisis.

According to Lendy, one of Europe’s largest peer-to-peer lending platforms, only 1,511 agricultural-to-residential conversion applications were approved in 2016/17.

China

The New Year to Bring a New Flood of IPOs (CapitalWatch), Rated: A

Golden Bull Ltd., an online peer-to-peer lending platform in China, plans to offer up to $9 million in shares on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “DNJR.” The Shanghai-based company, which was founded in 2015, provides borrowers access to short-term loans.
European Union

Finnest Expands Online Financing to Larger Corporations, Adds Institutional Investors (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Finnest is an interesting online lender operating in the DACH countries. The peer to peer platform was launched to provide SME funding supported by individual investors but the company is now expanding by providing loans of €10 million and higher. Institutional investors such as insurance companies, funds, family offices and banks will now be able to invest in large SMEs on “FinnestPro.”

Why it’s OK that the majority of consumers don’t know about Open Banking – for now (AltFi), Rated: A

The new EU legislation on payment services – PSD2 – and the introduction of Open Banking in the UK seem to have passed the vast majority of people in the country by, according to an AltFi News article last month.

This referred to a report by Which saying that 92 per cent of consumers hadn’t even heard of Open Banking.

International

How Millennials are Moving Emerging Markets (Morningstar), Rated: AAA

Millennials in advanced economies have come under pressure in recent years, thanks to stagnating wages, rising house prices and escalating student debt. But an altogether different trend is taking place in many emerging markets where millennials are seeing their prospects rapidly improve. This in turn is creating an investment opportunity, as millennials in these countries are becoming hugely influential on the prospects for emerging market equities.

Millennials will account for half of the global workforce by 2020, meaning they will be one of the most influential groups in shaping the economy and society, including consumption habits, policy and how companies may want to market and brand themselves. They are disrupting traditional industries and companies are having to adapt. This presents investment opportunities, but it also presents new investment risks.

Latest ICO Updates on VLR Token – Valorem Foundation ICO is LIVE! (TechBullion), Rated: A

Based on ERC-20, the multilayered cryptocurrency platform will host a marketplace that allows developmental phases. The first phase focuses on micro loans (small loans), rent payments, student loans and peer-to-peer payment processing.

As trust grows on the platform, phase 2 will be implemented to cater to sales distribution, global small business investing and global commercial and residential real estate crowdfunding while the third stage will serve charity and insurance. The final phase will be dedicated to maintenance and future developments that may include additional currency adoption, feature adding etc.

Valorem (VLR) is the token offered. The exchange rate stands at 1 ETH= 1000 VLR. There is a total supply of 200 million tokens of which 150 million are available during the ICO and 50 million will be kept in reserve. Valorem will not be mined.

Wealth managers must go digital (Raconteur), Rated: B

People born between roughly 1982 and 2002 are set to receive the biggest inheritance boom of any post-war generation. The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) estimated the figure will be around $4 trillion in the UK, Canada and United States.

An Interview with Kirill Suslov – The CEO at Finom and TabTrader Founder (NewsBTC), Rated: B

NewsBTC: Now it seems that you have no experience with banking services yet. How do you plan to cover this area?

Now I can say we understand confidently how banking works and how it should work in the crypto industry. By 2020, we’re going to have a licensed bank and transform it into a crypto one with a network of crypto terminals.

A bit sooner, in 2018, we plan to release crypto e-wallets with linked debit cards. Miners will be able to use recently mined coins right away, transferring them to their wallets immediately. We’re also designing a platform for peer-to-peer lending.

Australia

Peer To Peer Lending Increasingly Popular In Australia (compare dinkum), Rated: AAA

Australian investors and borrowers are increasingly adopting peer to peer lending platforms according to the results of survey undertaken by ASIC. The results of the survey suggest that as much as $300 million of personal and business loans were underwritten by peer to peer lenders over the course of the last fiscal year. That represents a doubling in the amount that was lent on such platforms during the 2015/2016 financial year.

Why Australia needs a better system for credit scores (The Converstion), Rated: AAA

Australia’s credit rating system is failing both borrowers and lenders. Many borrowers are unaware of their own credit scores and our research shows they have trouble applying for suitable loans. Lenders are also struggling with too little information, causing them to extend loans to those they shouldn’t and restrict loans to worthy borrowers.

Upcoming changes to Australia’s credit reporting system could remedy these issues.

Under the new credit reporting regime, both lenders and borrowers will have access to more data, such as monthly payment histories on loans and credit cards.

More innovation ahead in mortgage lending

For higher-risk borrowers, novel techniques to assess credit risk (such as analysis of social media accounts) may be the answer to distinguish good borrowers from bad.

But prior experience from an over-reliance on credit scores in the United States shows that careful assessment of borrowers remains vital.

India

Refer to these fintech startups for range of medical loans (Business Standard), Rated: A

Among all the personal the medical loan is the most crucial one which is often required on an urgent basis by the applicants.

Recently a host of Financial technology(Fintech) and Non-financing related start-ups have been launched in providing a variety of medical to the clients.

Canada

They couldn’t get loans from their banks so turned to a legitimate-looking lender online (The Star), Rated: AAA

Unable to qualify for a loan from her bank, Johnston searched online for private lenders and found a website for what appeared to be a legitimate company calling itself North Clear Credit.

Everything about it — the variety of loans offered, the glowing testimonials, the company description — seemed professional. In fact, a customer who later reported North Clear Credit to police says an officer told her the website looked legitimate.

For Johnston and Mood, the terms were appealing. The money could be paid back monthly over five years at an interest rate substantially lower than what they would be charged elsewhere.

Johnston completed an online application and was approved for a $20,000 loan.

Within a few days, Johnston and Mood had lost $3,500, and two North Clear Credit “representatives” with whom Johnston had been corresponding had disappeared.

Blackchain Announces Private Placement (Stockhouse), Rated: A

Blackchain Solutions Inc. (the “Company” or “Blackchain”) (CSE: BIS), announces a private placement of up to 3,400,000 units at a price of $0.18 per unit, for gross proceeds of $612,000.  Each unit consists of one common share and one share purchase warrant.  Each warrant is exercisable at a price of $0.22 per share for a term of two years.

Proceeds generated from this financing will be used to initiate and support the filing of multiple patents and trademarks related to the Blackchain Crypto Credit Rating API and P2P Lending Platform.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday January 29 2018, Daily News Digest

financial advice market

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi buys Clara Lending product, engineering teams. LendingClub files 8K on $200 warehouse agreement. Raisin surpasses 5B Euro. Columbian lender LoanPie goes online. Today’s main analysis: UK P2P lending hits 3.1B GBP, borrowers shift to online lending. Today’s thought-provoking articles: PeerIQ evaluates letter from Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Mulvaney. Funding Circle in no […]

financial advice market

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

South America

News Summary

United States

SoFi Buys Teams From Mortgage Startup Clara to Boost Offerings (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Social Finance Inc. has acquired the engineering and product teams of mortgage startup Clara Lending, bolstering the financial technology company’s offerings beyond student-loan refinancing, according to people familiar with the matter.

SoFi confirmed the acquisition on Friday and said taking on the Clara teams allows it to “immediately ramp up our technical capabilities.”

San Francisco-based SoFi has plans to hire about 100 engineers, one of the people familiar with the matter said, and Clara filled about 20 of those spots.

How Credible.com Makes Refinancing Student Loans Easy (Pop Dust), Rated: A

While refinancing my own loans, it was a stressful situation to navigate, even with the help of my parents. Coming out of school with a $200,000 degree but only a $40,000 annual salary was a tough pill to swallow, and I wasn’t alone – several of my friends found themselves in a similar situation.

Credible is working to change all of that by simplifying the refinancing process. Instead of hopping from lender to lender and form to form looking for a good rate, Credible provides a one-stop shop where you can connect with a variety of vetted lenders and get real rates in about two minutes, without affecting your credit score.

LendingClub Files 8K on $ 200 Million Warehouse Agreement (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

LendingClub (NYSE:LC), the largest marketplace lending platform in the US, has just posted an 8K regarding a warehouse funding agreement with certain lenders. LendingClub has enlisted the assistance of JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. as administrative agent, and Wilmington Trust, National Association as collateral trustee. The warehouse is to provide a $200 million secured revolving credit facility.

LendingClub’s 8K filing.

Strong GDP growth, Mulvaney’s New Director for CFPB, SoFi’s New CEO (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

In this week’s newsletter, we interpret key points of Mulvaney’s letter and how they may affect the lending industry.

Source: PeerIQ

The US economy grew by 2.6% in the 4th quarter, continuing the pattern of strong trend growth in 2017. Global economies continue to enjoy an unusual period of synchronized growth, a constructive pattern last seen in the mid-2000s. US growth was primarily driven by consumer spending of 3.8%. US consumer spending is supported by US consumer credit outstanding which grew at an annualized rate of 8.8% – well ahead of GDP growth.

Bank earnings continued to roll in this week. Retail banks reported that credit card losses rose 20% year-over-year to $12.5 Bn.  Credit card losses as a percentage of outstanding receivables have increased to 4.5% from 2.9% in 2015 as credit normalization trends continue. The combination of high consumer credit growth relative to GDP, full employment levels, and low productivity growth is casting doubts on whether 3%+ GDP prints are sustainable.

Earnest Co-Founder Steps Down a Few Months After Selling Startup (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Louis Beryl, co-founder and chief executive officer of Earnest Inc., left the online lender this week after selling his company in October.

The San Francisco-based startup was acquired by student loan provider Navient Corp. for $155 million after a lengthy search for a buyer. Beryl and his co-founder, Ben Hutchinson, were supposed to remain at the firm and continue running Earnest as a separate unit within the company. Hutchinson remains there as chief operating officer, Navient said.

Don Davis of Prime Meridian (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • When marketplace lending first got on Don’s radar.
  • Why he decided to start Prime Meridian.
  • How his offerings have expanded from one product to four.
  • The total AUM they are at today.
  • Who their typical investor is today and how that has changed over the years.
  • How his conversations with investors have changed.
  • What investors misunderstand about the space today.
  • What platforms his company is investing on today.
  • How they conduct due diligence on new platforms.
  • Don’s views on why some of platforms have failed.
  • How the investor pullback of 2016 affected Prime Meridian.
  • The state of the marketplace lending industry today.
  • What areas Don likes most and what he likes least.
  • The only two things that matter for marketplace lending platforms.
  • How he has been able to grow his company so quickly.
  • What’s next for Prime Meridian.

A bank’s unfolding plan to enter online consumer lending (American Banker), Rated: A

Meta Financial Group in Sioux Falls, S.D., has struck a deal to provide personal loans to customers of Liberty Lending, an online lender based in New York.

The $5.2 billion-asset Meta said it expects to originate $500 million to $1 billion in personal loans during the three-year partnership. The program marks Meta’s first foray into the direct-to-consumer credit business.

Discover CEO bashes online lenders (American Banker), Rated: A

Discover Financial Services CEO David Nelms said this week that many of the online lenders that have emerged in recent years do not understand how to underwrite the loans properly over the long run. He also jabbed at the technology-focused firms for their failure to achieve profitability.

JP Morgan Chase invests $ 20bn for new branches and jobs (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

JP Morgan Chase has unleashed a five-year $20 billion investment plan that includes 400 new branches, 4,000 jobs and an increase in staff wages across the US.

It is also a stark contrast to yesterday’s report concerning branches in 2017. Last year, US banks accelerated their pace of branch closures, shutting down 2,069 locations (an 18% increase compared to 2016).

According to JP Morgan Chase, these new branches and bankers will help the firm increase small business lending nearly 20%, or $4 billion, over three years.

7 failed fintech ideas that might succeed today (PaymentsSource), Rated: A

Blippy’s card-sharing social network

Contactless payment cards

Opendoor Raises $ 135M in Funding (Finsmes), Rated: A

Opendoor, a San Francisco, CA-based online home-selling service, raised $135m in funding.

The round was led by Fifth Wall Ventures and Lennar with participation from Rialto Capital Management.

Technology will have a massive impact on your financial future: here’s why (The Next Web), Rated: A

For consumers, that’s mostly good news; it means you have access to more services in a digital format, and at a much less expensive rate. For the finance industry, this is coming with big changes; as banks digitize more, Citigroup estimates that the industry will lose 1.7 million jobs or more to automation and digital environments.

On a level that’s probably more familiar with mainstream consumers, we can look to the emergence of money savings appsstock exchange appsbudgeting apps, and other tools designed to make financial management easier for the average customer.

As many as 45 percent of financial intermediary services are victims of economic crime every year, which makes security and privacy top concerns for the finance industry.

 

Ladenburg Thalmann Launches Tech Innovation Platform (Financial Advisor), Rated: B

Brokerage and advisory firm Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services has announced the launch of its Enterprise Innovation initiative and Innovation Lab. The company said innovation strategist Dan Sachar has been named as the vice president of enterprise innovation.

United Kingdom

P2P Lending Tops £3.1 Billion in 2017, Q4 Sees Borrowers Shift to Online Lending (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The UK Peer to Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) has published aggregate fourth quarter data for of 2017 for its member platforms. The P2PFA shows that during 2017 £3,145,098,842 in peer to peer loans were facilitated. Cumulative lending transacted through P2PFA member platforms exceeded £8 billion.

Funding Circle heads for market (The Times), Rated: AAA

Sources close to the lender said it was in “no hurry” to do an initial public offering but, if markets remain favourable, the float could go ahead in the second half of this year.

Atom Bank chairman to step down (AltFi), Rated: A

Anthony Thomson, the founder of UK challenger bank Atom Bank, is planning to step down from his role as chairman after it completes its latest £150m fundraise.

Existing non-executive director, Bridget Rosewell, will be taking over the helm of the Durham-based lender, subject to regulatory approval.

Best buy-to-let areas in the UK for 2018 (Simply Business), Rated: AAA

LendInvest’s latest buy-to-let index is out, and it makes great reading for landlords looking for the best buy-to-let areas.

  • Manchester is currently the best place to buy-to-let in England and Wales. It ranked highest for rental yields (5.55 per cent) and rental price growth (5.76 per cent). Manchester took the top spot after a steady climb up LendInvest’s rankings throughout 2017.
  • Colchester in Essex and Luton in Bedfordshire are in second and third position, with rental yields of over 3.78 per cent. Colchester has the strongest capital gains of all postcode areas over the last 12 months, while Luton remains a popular commuter town within easy reach of London.
  • The Midlands is still the buy-to-let location to watch, though – Leicester rose an incredible 17 places to reach ninth place in December’s index, while Birmingham narrowly missed out on the top 10, coming in at 11th.

According to the research, here are the 10 best buy-to-let areas 2018:

  1. Manchester
  2. Colchester
  3. Luton
  4. Rochester
  5. Southend-on-sea
  6. Hull
  7. Romford
  8. Norwich
  9. Leicester
  10. Ipswich

Top 10 areas for capital gains in the UK

Area Capital gains
Colchester 11.96%
Southall 11.09%
Hemel Hempstead 10.27%
Slough 10.19%
Harrow 9.89%
Ipswich 9.44%
Luton 9.16%
Southend-on-sea 9.12%
Ilford 8.82%
Hull 8.46%
Source: LendInvest

FCA reports increase in advice firm numbers (Money Marketing), Rated: A

Figures drawn from regulatory returns show 5,270 financial advice firms had at least one staff member advising on retail investments, with a total of 25,951 advisers recorded as at the end of November 2017.

The number of advisers at banks and building societies continued to decrease, however, from 3,525 to 3,374. 34 banks had at least one adviser as at the end of November last year, compared to 38 the December before.

Expert Tips to Keep a Close Eye on your Cash Flow this Year (NewBusiness), Rated: B

Find the right finance for you

Here are some examples of the various types of external finance that may be available if you need a helping hand:

Bank loan – one of the most commonly chosen finance options. The loan will be fixed over an agreed period, with a fixed rate and monthly repayments.  Eligibility for this can be dependent on how long you have been trading for.

Peer-to-peer lending – this is a form of borrowing without using a traditional financial institution such as a bank or building society. The lending involves individuals or ‘peers’ where you are matched up to people willing to invest in, and lend money to, your business.

Merchant cash advance – an alternative financial solution if you have strong sales and good volume of card transactions every month. You receive a lump-sum payment to be repaid via an agreed percentage of your future credit and debit card transactions.

Business credit card – stay in control of your business expenses and keep your cash flow moving. A business credit card is a short-term flexible way to manage expenses.

London fintech start-up Duco raises £20m (The Times), Rated: B

Duco, which was founded eight years ago by a computer science postgraduate from University College London, allows financial institutions to manipulate enormous amounts of data through remote internet servers, popularly known as the cloud. It is understood the funding round values the company at about $100m.

China

Future FinTech Announces Digital Assets Transfer Agreement (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Future FinTech Group Inc. (NASDAQ: FTFT) (“Future FinTech”“FTFT” or “the Company”), a financial technology company and integrated producer of fruit-related products, today announced that on January 23, 2018, one of its wholly owned subsidiaries, DigiPay FinTech Limited (“DigiPay”), entered into an agreement to acquire 60% of the digital assets associated with DCON, a blockchain development project that has developed 100 communities utilizing blockchain technology and which intends to conduct a variety of financial businesses to provide users with a diversified blockchain experience.

European Union

Deposit marketplace Raisin surpasses €5bn after record year (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Since its founding four years ago, Raisin has returned its first cash flow positive month after passing €5bn in brokered savings deposits.

The European marketplace for savings and investment products increased its total customer deposits by over €3bn in 2017, after its international expansion efforts bolstered growth. The company now serves over 30 European markets, with around 20 per cent of all new customer acquisitions coming from abroad.

Europe’s Alternative Finance Sector Accelerates (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Europe’s online alternative finance market continues to grow, but remains dominated by the UK, new research shows. The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance says the market was worth €7.7bn by the end of 2016, the most recent period for which data is available, with €5.6bn of that total accounted for by the UK.

The data means the alternative finance market across Europe grew by 41 per cent during 2016, providing a range of valuable funding for entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises that was not available from traditional funding sources. Stripping out the UK, however, the market was up by 101 per cent, with the less mature alternative finance industries of continental Europe now growing very rapidly.
The UK’s share of the European alternative finance market fell to 73 per cent in 2016 from 81 per cent a year earlier as other markets grew faster. France, Germany and the Netherlands are now the three largest alternative finance markets outside the UK, followed by Finland, Spain, Italy and Georgia.
Consumer lending remains the single biggest sub-sector of the alternative finance industry, with peer-to-peer lending sites accounting for 34 per cent of the marketplace. However, SME funding is significant, with peer-to-peer business lending, invoice trading and equity-based crowdfunding together accounting for 40 per cent of the market.
International

FintruX – Disrupting P2P Lending and Unsecured Loans on the Blockchain (ChipIn), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lending platforms are also still on a global uptick. In just one country where this new kind of access to capital is having a major impact, the UK, over $3.3 billion in P2P loans were facilitated in 2017. That number is expected to continue to rise globally this year, and blockchain is likely to be right in the middle of it.

The FinTruX Network is one of the world’s first blockchain-based online marketplaces for unsecured lending that connects the dots in an environment augmented by specialized servicing agents who can configure and construct each borrower’s (smart) contract in real time.

Cascading levels of credit enhancement help borrowers improve creditworthiness. Lenders are provided with several forms of reassurances that their money will be repaid. Loans are over-collateralized. Local third-party guarantors and cross-collateralization act as an additional kind of insurance.

And here is the best part: All of this is enabled by a system token which creates not only a fee structure but a tracking device, authenticator, and payment system, all in one place.

Robo Advice: Are ETFs the Solution? (CFA Institute), Rated: A

RiskSave and True Link are examples of such emerging technology. The portfolios generated from a broader spectrum of assets improve on the current robo model, offering more efficiency and superior risk-return characteristics.

Robo advice and digital asset management will open up financial advice to a much wider market. People who previously were priced out of financial advice will now be able to afford it. The reduced costs of robo advice in the United Kingdom could give as many as 16 million more people access to financial advice, according to estimates from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Are ETFs the correct solution?

Much of the financial management industry has concluded that ETFs are the future of automated advice. That is naive.

Tradeshift explores new Frontiers with innovation lab launch (Fintech Futures), Rated: B

Business commerce platform Tradeshift has unveiled Tradeshift Frontiers, an innovation lab and incubator designed to apply emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), distributed ledgers, and internet of things (IoT) to business networks, supply chains, and global trade, reports David Penn at Finovate (FinTech Futures’ sister company).

India

FinTech platforms providing robust loan disbursal to MSMEs (Outlook), Rated: A

CreditMantri helps small business connect with NBFCs and banks on its platforms and avail financial assistance. The easy and hassle-free digital procedure makes it easy for a business to avail a loan in lesser time.

Aye Finance, along with its commercial operations, also funds its non-profit initiative to coach MSMEs on market knowledge, business book-keeping and advising on operations techniques. These, in turn, help sustain employment at the bottom of the pyramid. Aye Finance has already impacted an ecosystem of over 40,000 MSMEs through its business enterprise loans.

CoinTribe is confident about the adoption of digital in the SME segment especially as younger generations enter the domain. With increasing digital adoption in the country and expansion of the MSME sector, CoinTribe aims to facilitate USD 5 billion of loans through its platform over a period of 5 years and is rapidly scaling up its marketplace operations.

Faircent’s P2P model serving business loan requirements is an example of how far lending industry has come to serve MSMEs. The platform has over two lakh registered borrowers and 18,000 registered lenders.

South America

Columbia business launches $ 1.8M investment website (Columbia Daily Tribune), Rated: AAA

LoanPie, an online local marketplace based out of Columbia for residential and commercial real estate investing, last week launched its website with over $1.8 million in investments available.

The company seeks to introduce more accredited investors to the secondary mortgage market using a web-based platform. LoanPie’s goal is to create return on investment for 25,000 subscribers by the end of this year.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday November 20 2017, Daily News Digest

credible

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi offers 6-month grace period for SoFi ReFi. Zopa to build Open Banking infrastructure. Faircent secures $4M funding round. Assetz Capital launches IFISA. Ping An make big bet on technology. Ant Financial partners with Standard Chartered. Today’s main analysis: Student loan borrowers prefer payments over iPhone X or bitcoin. Who are LendingClub borrowers? (A must-read market […]

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United States

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Australia/New Zealand

India

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United States

Behind the Investment Platform: The LendingClub Borrower (LendingClub), Rated: AAA

From 2007 through 2017, LendingClub has matched $31 billion investor dollars with 2 million borrowers’ loans.

Source: LendingClub

Today, outstanding credit card and personal loan balances in the U.S. are approximately $960 billion. Of that, two-thirds, or roughly $600 billion, represents interest-earning balances carried month-to-month —the overall addressable population. About half of the addressable population (more than $300 billion) currently meets LendingClub’s target credit profile—a market that we have only just begun to penetrate.

Read LendingClub’s Marketplace Insights report in full here.

Holiday Finance with Lending Club (ABC News), Rated: A

LendingClub Appoints Former Netflix Chief Talent Officer Patty McCord As New Board of Directors Member (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Online credit marketplace LendingClub Corporation (NYSE: LC), announced on Tuesday it has appointed Patty McCord as the newest member of its Board of Directors, effective December 13, 2017.

McCord spent 14 years creating the unique and high-performing culture at Netflix and as the video streaming giant’s Chief Talent Officer, she helped create the Netflix Culture deck and experimented and cultivated new ways to work.

SoFi Now Offering Six-Month Grace Period for Graduates Using SoFi ReFi (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Tuesday, online lending platform SoFi announced it is now offering a six-month grace period for graduates using its newly launched SoFi ReFi program.

ABS investors could pull back from MPLs in 2018 as cycle set to turn (GlobalCapital), Rated: AAA

Interest in marketplace loan ABS from the buyside picked up in 2017, but some investors are now saying that they could sit things out in 2018 as credit concerns grow and a lack of data presents problems in the late stages of the credit cycle.

ABS volumes doubled from $3.4bn in 2016 to $7bn in 2017, with SoFi issuing more than $3bn in deals this year, according to data from JP Morgan. The introduction of multi-seller platforms from SoFi, Lending Club, Marlette Funding, Prosper Marketplace also drove liquidity for the sector, while new …

Fiserv teams with TransUnion for loan origination system (Banking Technology), Rated: A

Financial services company Fiserv and credit reporting agency and risk information provider TransUnion have joined forces, reports Julie Muhn at Finovate (Banking Technology‘s sister company).

Under the agreement, Fiserv will integrate TransUnion’s CreditVision Link to increase precision of scoring and risk modeling in its Automotive Loan Origination System.

Over 65% of students prefer student loan payments over iPhone X or Bitcoin for holidays (TechRepublic), Rated: AAA

LendEDU asked 1,000 people repaying student loans if they would prefer a popular holiday gift or a loan payment of equal value. And, despite the hype surrounding tech trends, they wanted loan payments more.

Source: LendEDU

Voice assistants like Google Home and Amazon Echo won’t change banking in 2018 (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Bankers agree voice will be the biggest and most important channel to their business after mobile, only this time, it won’t sneak up on them like mobile did. They’re looking at 2018 as a year to get their companies more involved with voice by adding features to their Alexa skills, creating an Alexa skill if they haven’t done so already or expanding Alexa capabilities to other parts of the organization. But for the most part, they’re looking for a clearer sense of how people even use Alexa.

In 2017, USAA, Ally Bank and U.S. Bank launched Alexa skills. Before this year, Capital One was the only bank with the feature, which it launched in 2016.

Upstart’s First SaaS Partner (LinkedIn), Rated: A

Earlier this year, we announced an initiative to bring the industry’s first Software as a Service (SaaS) lending platform to market, which we call “Powered by Upstart”. Now we’re excited to announce that BankMobile is the first bank to launch their personal loan program on the Upstart platform. Beginning today, BankMobile offers consumers in 43 states personal loans from $5,000 to $30,000, with no origination fees and interest rates starting at 5.99%.

Overcoming the Hurdles of Big Data Start-ups (Big Data), Rated: A

We are an early investor in the company ‘Kabbage” and Kabbage to me is a major disruption in the fund-lending and risk-analysis market. Established in 2009, Kabbage supported the emerging companies that were suffering the blow of a financial crisis. Banks were declining to lend money to small businesses and entrepreneurs had no access to capital to support their businesses. What aggravated the problem is that even if they did get access to money, the procedure for evaluating the risks of money lending were strictly based on scrutinizing the company’s financial background and fico scores instead of probing into the business. Deviating from the established model of risk analysis, Kabbage stepped into the market at a time of financial distress and operated on a completely different strategy. They would evaluate your UPA shipping data, ebay seller reviews, and other bits of information that are generated on different platforms and then assess credit card risks based on these factors and not just credit card fico scores. Kabbage started off by accumulating a ton of third party data which they ingested, analyzed and then created a solution. Over time, the company has gathered a substantial amount of primary data that they can use to tweak and refine their risk-analysis model. The company efficiently leveraged big data to provide an entire new service in the risk-analysis industry.

Anthemis Group’s Jillian Williams on tough times for personal finance apps (Tearsheet), Rated: A

It’s a space that started out with Mint ten years ago, with a new way to look at all of one’s finances in one place. The field has now grown to accommodate an ever-expanding number of direct-to-consumer PFM apps, including apps like Digit, Clarity Money, Penny and Qapital, and banks are now folding PFM capabilities into their mobile apps.

Banks have been folding in PFM features and competing apps are having trouble differentiating. Where do you see the PFM market right now?
A lot of PFM will continue to move to a business-to-business, or business-to-business-to-consumer model. Things [business-to-consumer PFMs] struggle with are being able to monetize and with customer acquisition.

What’s the problem with business-to-consumer PFM?
The market is really crowded and it’s hard to provide that extra value to really distinguish themselves from other platforms in the space.

Instant Loans at Checkout: helpful or hurtful? (MSN News Now), Rated: A

An $800 mattress for your bed. A $600 sofa for your living room. A vintage designer bag as a Christmas gift for your best friend.  They’re all pretty big purchases to buy online, but now you can get an instant loan for any of them right at checkout.

Ingle says the payment plans are different than credit card options. Companies like Affirm partner with certain retailers to offer the loans, which are installment loans with interest rates, and set payments are made over time.

India

Peer-to-peer lending platform Faircent gets $ 4m in Series B (Economic Times), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending platform Faircent has raised $4 million in a Series-B round led by Belgian impact investment fund Incofin and Muthoot Fincorp.

P2P platform Faircent raises Series B from Muthoot Fincorp, Incofin, others (Economic Times), Rated: A

In a statement Faircent said it will utilise the newly acquired funds towards strengthening the platform’s technology and creating greater awareness about P2P lending’s significance as a new and highly rewarding asset class.

Fintech Startups Seek to Shake Up Money Transfer Industry (WSJ), Rated: AAA

The race is on to become the top global app for international money transfers.

Fintech startups including WorldRemit Ltd., TransferWise Ltd. and Remitly Inc. are pulling ahead of the pack of the dozens of companies trying to disrupt the remittance industry, using the latest technology to send money internationally.

More than $600 billion is remitted world-wide every year, mostly by migrant workers from places like India, Mexico and the Philippines, who have traditionally had to deal with long lines and high fees to send money home.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Finvasia gets licence to operate as NBFC (The Tribune), Rated: A

Chandigarh-based Finvasia, a fintech company offering zero brokerage, has received the Certificate of Registration (CoR) from RBI to operate as a non-banking financial corporation (NBFC). This extension will allow the company to offer loan-based products to retail and corporates alike. The company plans to develop block chain technology based P2P (peer-to-peer) lending platform.

Canada

Fintech Select Announces Launch of Physical Bitcoins (GlobeNewswire), Rated: A

Fintech Select Ltd. (“Fintech Select” or the “Company”) (TSX-V:FTEC) is pleased to announce that it will be launching its physical Bitcoin product alongside its Selectcoin closed loop swipe card.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday December 15 2017, Daily News Digest

mortgage tech

News Comments Today’s main news: Walmart partners with Even, PayActiv on employee financial wellness. Moody’s says some consumer ABS sectors will be weaker next year. LendInvest has $1B in funds under management. Yirendai’s investment in Lion Rock amounts to $50M. LexinFintech kicked off IPO yesterday. Crowd Genie to launch ICO. Today’s main analysis: Why mortgage tech is finally taking off. Australian […]

mortgage tech

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United States

Walmart Teams Up With Fintech Startups Even & PayActiv to Launch Financial Wellness Services For Associates (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Wednesday, retail giant Walmart announced it has teamed up with fintech startups Even and PayActiv to provide a suite of new financial wellness services for its more than 1.4 million associates nationwide.

Goldman Sachs’ and Morgan Stanley’s Big Growth Opportunities (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) and Morgan Stanley(NYSE:MS) are both trying to expand their businesses into more traditional areas of consumer banking, such as consumer loans and mortgages.

Matt Frankel: Out of all the major unsecured lending platforms — Lending Club, things like that — Marcus was the quickest one to get to $1 billion in loan volume.

The interest rates people have gotten are more competitive than the others, because they can afford to run it at slightly more compressed margins than, say, a Lending Club.

Frankel: Morgan Stanley’s robo-advisory platform just launched. So that’s one way they’re trying to branch out into more traditional areas of banking and investing.

Just to throw a couple of figures out there, Morgan Stanley’s wealth management business, which is not the highest-margin business, which is why they’re not as efficient as Goldman, their wealth management business, they’re margin has gone from 9% to 22% since 2010.

Morgan Stanley estimates that their clients still have about over $2 trillion worth of assets with other asset managers, and they’re trying to bring some of that in.

Nearly 5 Million Americans in Default on Student Loans (WSJ), Rated: AAA

The number of Americans severely behind on payments on federal student loans reached roughly 4.6 million in the third quarter, a doubling from four years ago, despite a historically long stretch of U.S. job creation and steady economic growth.

In the third quarter alone, the count of such defaulted borrowers—defined by the government as those who haven’t made a payment in at least a year—grew by nearly 274,000, according to Education Department data released Tuesday.

The total number of defaulted borrowers represents about 22% of the Americans who were required to be paying down their federal student loans as of Sept. 30. That figure has increased from 17% four years earlier.

 

Mortgage Tech 101: What It Is & Why It’s Taking Off Now (CB Insights), Rated: AAA

By the end of 2017, nearly $1.8T worth of mortgages will have been originated in the United States this year, according to government-backed mortgage lender Freddie Mac.

Yet, despite the size of the mortgage industry, the space still hasn’t digitized. Originating, processing, and underwriting a home loan with a large bank lender still requires faxes and snail mail and take almost as long as it did 20 years.

Source: CB Insights

Driver 1: New lenders increase the competition

Non-bank lenders are becoming much bigger players in mortgages. In 2011, three banks accounted for half of new mortgage loans, according to the Washington Post. As of September 2016, that share dropped to 21%.

In 2011, just two of the top 10 biggest lenders were non-bank lenders. In 2016, non-bank lenders like Quicken Loans accounted for six of the top 10.

Driver 2: Incumbents are looking to improve their technology

At an average cost of $7,000, originating and processing a loan takes over 400 pages and more than 25 humans working hundreds of hours across 50 days. Of the total, approximately $5,000 can be attributed to human processing costs.

Driver 3: Individuals’ debt burden forces them to find alternative lenders

Eighty percent of millennial renters want to buy a single-family home or apartment, but 72% cannot afford to, according to survey data from Apartment List.

Source: CB Insights

Although total US homeownership has risen to 64% as of Q3’17, when examined by age group, the percentage of homeowners under 35 years old is only 36%. This is down from 44% in 2004.

Some consumer ABS sectors to have weaker collateral performance due to pockets of borrower stress and weaker underwriting (Moody’s), Rated: AAA

The anticipated continued expansion of the US economy into 2018 will support overall collateral performance of consumer asset-backed securities (ABS), according to Moody’s Investors Service. However, growing financial strains among some pockets of borrowers and loosening of underwriting by lenders will result in slightly weaker collateral performance for several categories of consumer ABS, including transactions backed by auto loans, credit cards and unsecured personal loans.

Amid further declines in automobile sales and used vehicle prices, Moody’s says issuers will generally maintain the steady collateral quality in their 2018 auto loan and lease deals, with incremental weakening in certain collateral attributes such as loan terms. New private student loan ABS, meanwhile, will likely continue to have strong credit quality and performance.

An Open Internet is Essential for Financial Inclusion (Huffington Post), Rated: AAA

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted today to dismantle internet “net” neutrality: a vote that determined whether the internet should be treated like a public good or service or whether it should be treated like a product.

Another consequence of dismantling net neutrality has to do with undermining financial inclusion and the impending technological revolution of financial services. An array of financial technologies—online and mobile technologies referred to by their shorthand “fintech”—is heralded with the potential to expand access to financial services to underserved households and in underserved communities.

Internet connectivity is required for online and mobile transactions and many lower-income households alreadycannot afford internet service capable of making these transactions.

Online and mobile banking could become less reliable if internet service companies adjust connectivity speeds. Banks are increasingly shifting their products and services online and the number of bank branches is projected to decline by 20% over the next decade.

Prosper brings on JPM Chase veteran as board member (GlobalCapital), Rated: A

Online lender Prosper announced the appointment of Claire Huang as a board member this week as the company looks to enhance its product offerings in 2018.

Huang’s appointment was effective as of Tuesday, according to a company statement. Prior to joining the San Francisco-based lender’s board of directors, Huang was the first ever chief marketing officer at JP Morgan Chase.

INSIKT raises $ 50 million to lend to low-income communities (TechCrunch), Rated: A

An estimated 45 million Americans don’t have a credit score and others have trouble bringing up their scores, even if they are in a better financial position than in years past.

And after facilitating 125,000 loans in three years, INSIKT is raising $50 million to expand. The round is led by Grupo Coppel, with participation from FirstMark Capital, Revolution Ventures and Colchis Capital. INSIKT has raised $100 million to date.

INSIKT has built what they believe is a better alternative to payday loans, breaking up payments into smaller installments. Its white-label loan processing service is used in over 600 banks and credit union locations across California, Texas, Illinois and Arizona.

Kasisto Raises $ 17M in Series B Funding (Finsmes), Rated: A

Kasisto, the NYC-based creator of a conversational AI platform for finance, raised $17m in Series B funding.

The round was led by Oak HC/FT with participation from existing investors Propel Venture Partners, Two Sigma Ventures, Commerce Ventures, Mastercard and Partnership Fund for New York City.

Consumer lending 2017: Bold bets and strategic exits (American Banker), Rated: A

With the economy continuing to improve and household wealth growing, total consumer debt has increased in 12 consecutive quarters and hit a record $12.8 trillion in the second quarter, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. And, for the most part, consumers are staying on top of their bills. The American Bankers Association said recently that the midyear consumer delinquency rate held steady around 1.56%, which is below the 15-year average of 2.16%.

Banks searching for growth pushed and pulled on a variety of consumer lending levers this year. Personal loans, particularly those offered through digital channels, were especially popular as banks aimed to emulate online lenders’ speed and efficiency.

How Twine, John Hancock’s robo-adviser tool, keeps a startup feel (Tearsheet), Rated: A

John Hancock wants to change that narrative with Twine, its robo-adviser and personal finance tool it released last month.  Twine emphasizes simplicity in its look and feel — a user interface similar to many startup-developed apps out there.

John Hancock looked outside, buying San Francisco-based financial services AI startup Guide Financial in 2015.

Twine operates as a separate organizational unit based in San Francisco, while most of John Hancock’s offices are in Boston. The team of around 25 employees includes engineers, product managers, user experience designers and marketing staff. But despite being organizationally separate, Goose said the team stays in contact with the mother ship through travel and video conferencing.

41% of households mix digital, human financial advice (InvestmentNews), Rated: A

But this isn’t a return to the way things used to be, said Hearts & Wallets, the Rye, N.Y.-based research firm that conducted the study of 40,000 individuals.

Today’s investors are what the firm calls “hybrids,” who use a mix of paid and free live professional advice, digital advice and their own insights. They now account for 41% of all U.S. households, the firm said.

Blenders of digital and live advice include 68% of consumers ages 35 to 44 with investable assets between $100,000 and $250,000, and 85% of consumers under age 35 who have over $1 million in assets. In all, over 75% of consumers under age 45 with assets of over $250,000 are “hybrids,” the firm said.

USAA’s Heather Cox is blurring the lines between business and technology (Tearsheet), Rated: A

In hiring Cox, the San Antonio bank, which has a longstanding reputation for being innovative, effectively agreed to restructure the entire company. She has plans to “levelize” the business and technology teams and morph them into “business technologists,” who are empathetic and understand that technology is the enabling function of their entire business — not the checking account or the insurance policy.

The new model will make USAA look more like one of the technology “greats” — the usual suspects like Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google — instead of an old bank or insurance company, Cox said.

 

Despite court win, OCC still faces legal ‘landmine’ over fintech charter (American Banker), Rated: A

Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting has not weighed in on the fate of a fintech charter yet, but the ball is now squarely in his court.

The agency that Otting was just appointed to run scored a victory earlier week when a judge dismissed a lawsuit from the New York Department of Financial Services, which had challenged the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s authority to create a charter for fintech firms.

Jax small businesses turn to site to find lenders (Jacksonville Business Journal), Rated: B

New York-based Fundera has made a splash in Jacksonville with companies looking to find lenders.

Regions Bank Increases Prime Lending Rate (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Regions Bank today announced it is increasing its prime lending rate to 4.50 percent from 4.25 percent, effective Thursday, Dec. 14.

United Kingdom

LendInvest hits $ 1bn in funds under management (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Cutting out retail P2P investors doesn’t seem to have slowed LendInvest down. The UK’s leading fintech property lender now holds £765m (approximately $1bn) under management. Its capital base has more than doubled in 2017, up 104 per cent since the start of the year.

Manchester tops the buy to let index for England and Wales (PropertyWire), Rated: A

The highest yields for landlords are in Manchester at 5.55% and the city is also top in terms of rental growth at 5.76% and has a reasonable capital gains growth at 8.34%, the buy to let index from specialist lender LendInvest.

When it comes to capital gains the top city is Colchester at 11.96%, followed by Southall at 11.09%, Hemel Hempstead at 10.27%, Slough at 10.19%, Harrow at 9.89% and Ipswich at 9.44%.

Millennials will spend £1.1MILLION on rent over their lifetimes if they don’t get onto the property ladder (DailyMail), Rated: AAA

Millennials who began renting at 21-years-old and live in an average-sized property outside of London will spend an average of £110,830 in household rent before buying their first home – typically at an age of 32, according to research by peer-to-peer lending platform Landbay.

For those living in the capital – where property prices and rents are significantly higher – the amount increases to £273,210.

Source: DailyMail

Mortgage write-offs fall 79% in one year (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

The value of residential mortgages written off by banks and building societies has dropped by 79% in the past year, according to the latest research.
Data from the Bank of England revealed that UK lenders wrote off £72m of residential loans in the year end 30th September 2017, 79% lower than the same period in 2015/2016 – when £348m was written off – and even lower than pre-credit crunch levels.

Developer secures £1.9m from P2P platform for Merseyside projects (Development Finance), Rated: B

Mitty Group has secured £1.98m worth of funding from Assetz Capital to develop two new residential and leisure sites in Merseyside.

UK consumers ditching banks for digital loan alternatives (Finextra), Rated: A

UK consumers looking for personal loans are increasingly shifting away from traditional banks towards digital loan providers according to Zopa, the pioneering financial services company.

Research on the price comparison sector* shows loan sales obtained via price comparison sites have doubled in the last two years.
The data highlighted by Zopa shows that over 113,000 loans were sold through price comparison sites in the 6 months to April 30 2017, representing a 139% increase compared to the same period in 2015, whereas the overall unsecured personal loan market grew only by approximately 20% in the same period.

Gibraltar launches world’s first licence for fintech firms using blockchain (Independent), Rated: A

Gibraltar’s financial services watchdog will introduce the world’s first bespoke licence for “fintech” firms using blockchain distributed ledger technology from next month in a bid to attract start-ups to the British overseas territory as it prepares for Brexit.

Twenty-two of the world’s biggest banks and fintech firm R3 have just developed an international payments system using blockchain.

Gibraltar expects firms numbering well into “double digits” to seek authorisation after the new rules come into force on January 1, Gomez said.

China

Yirendai Makes $ 50 Million Strategic Investment in Finance Services Platform Lion Rock (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

China-based fintech Yirendai announced on Wednesday it has made a $50 million strategic investment in Lion Rock through the financial service platform’s Series A funding round.

LexinFintech starts IPO amid sector crackdown (Finance Asia), Rated: AAA

The Shenzhen-headquartered online micro lender, which launched the deal on Thursday, joins a flurry of other Chinese internet finance companies, including Qudian, PPDai and Hexindai, in their rush to  raise capital with a New York listing…with a US share sale worth up to $132 million.

Chinese fintech company PPDAI Group inks partnership deal with Sun Hung Kai (SNL.com), Rated: B

The move comes after Sun Hung Kai became a strategic investor in PPDAI Group through a private placement concurrent with the latter’s U.S. IPO.

European Union

Belgian crowdlending company expands in Europe (The Brussels Times), Rated: AAA

Look & Fin, the largest Belgian player in the field of crowdlending, plans to expand again in Europe.

On average, more than one million euros is invested monthly via Look & Fin. Loans vary between €50,000 euros and €1 million, with an average term of 38 months. Individuals invest on average €2,400 and can count on an average return of 7.6%.

Can a BBVA spinoff crack the digital ID code? (American Banker), Rated: A

Governments, banks and startups have been trying for years to solve the problems associated with identifying people in a digital world. The challenges are only getting harder thanks to identity thieves, data breaches that have exposed the personal information of hundreds of millions of consumers, and the fact that some folks want to avoid having to register face-to-face.

The latest entrant, a recent BBVA spinoff called Covault, is a bit different.

Its app lets consumers store their digital identity documents, passwords and (potentially) digital currency in a secure cloud, and then share pieces of that information with others as they see fit.

Regtech insights from Suade CEO, Diana Parades (Holland Fintech), Rated: A

Diana is the CEO and co-founder of Suade, a software platform which allows financial institutions to better understand and meet their regulatory requirements.

At SIBOS2017, Paredes encouraged financial institutions to think of regulation as being at the centre of their business. More education and research for implementation is needed, suggested Paredes in our interview. Smaller companies like startups offer more agile  implementation as they are technology driven companies. Meanwhile, the big machine of a bank is becoming better at agile acceptance of new technology.

‘Regtech will prevent the next financial crisis.’

Paredes explained this quote saying that while regulation is trying to prevent another crisis, it has no implementation guide. As such, regtech will be needed to give effect to the regulation.

Saxo Payments Banking Circle Nabs Prestigious Award (Holland Fintech), Rated: B

The Banking Technology Awards 2017 has named the organisation’s Banking Circle Virtual IBAN as the Best Corporate Payments Initiative.

International

Exclusive Interview with Celsius CEO Alex Mashinsky (ChipIn), Rated: A

Celsius is a peer-to-peer (P2P) and blockchain-powered global lending and borrowing network designed to enable coin holders to earn interest.

First off, why did you decide to use the blockchain to build Celsius?

The blockchain is the first real technology threat that the large banks have faced for the past 100 years. It has the potential to spur a new financial revolution from which they cannot adjust. We decided to build Celsius using blockchain to leverage the technology’s global presence and decentralized design to extract the bank’s profits and distribute them to our members.

What was your thought process behind it?

We want to find the best way to add the next 100M crypto users to the market, and we came to the conclusion that offering coin holders 5-7% in interest on their coins would be the best way to get there.

Did you face a problem within the consumer credit industry or do you think there is a gap in the market for Celsius to fill?

Unfortunately, the continued concentration in the banking sector has allowed banks to pay people less than 2% interest but charge our credit cards 25% interest when lending us the same dollars.

THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE GLOBAL REINSURANCE INDUSTRY (All About Alpha), Rated: A

A new paper from Milliman, a consultant to the insurance and financial services industries, discusses the ongoing transformation in and of the global reinsurance industry that alternative investment has created.

By the end of 2016, Milliman says, alternative capital in the catastrophe space consisted of around $76 billion, which breaks down as follows:

  • Collateralized reinsurance $39 billion
  • CAT bonds, $25 billion
  • Sidecars $8 billion, and
  • Industry loss warranties $4 billion.

As a proportion of the whole: alternative capital now represents roughly 13% of the available capital in global reinsurance.

Since 2011 the percentage of bonds with indemnity triggers has increased from 30% to roughly 70%.

Australia

Behind the 500% increase in small businesses using marketplace lending (SmartCompany), Rated: AAA

The number of small business customers signing onto loans through marketplace lenders has increased more than 500% over the past year, but experts say scrutiny must be put on the alternative finance sector now to ensure smaller operators get the best deal.

In 2015-16, ASIC’s survey of the sector put the total value of loans through this kind of model at $156 million, but that figure has doubled over the past year to now sit at $300 million. Total borrowers for the year jumped from 7,448 last year to 18,746 this year.

Australian Securities & Investment Commission Publishes Report on Marketplace Lending, Shows Double the Loans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Earlier today, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) published a report on the marketplace lending industry (peer to peer lending).  ASIC believes that by monitoring Fintech they are better positioned to assess any risk as the industry develops.

The survey covers marketplace lending activities of 12 platforms that are regulated by ASIC – so it is not comprehensive of the entire online lending sector.

In summary, there were 353 incidents or suspected incidents of fraud , compared to 126 incidents or suspected incidents of fraud during the 2015 – 16 survey. There was one cyber security incident, compared to zero during the 2015– 16 survey. There were reports of some borrower complaints but most appeared to be minor. The average default rate was 2.2%.

Source: Australian Securities and Investments Commission
Source: Australian Securities and Investments Commission

Read the full report here.

India

Impanix Fuels Loans Marketplace Finbucket With $ 1.87 Mn Funding (Inc42), Rated: AAA

New Delhi-based online loans and investments marketplace FinBucket has raised $1.87 Mn (INR 12 Cr) from Impanix Capital.

As evident from her statement, the online loans marketplace aims to use the newly raised funds in the growth of business and infuse new technology to scale further.

Asia

CROWD GENIE ASSET EXCHANGE TO HOLD ICO (Bitcoinist), Rated: AAA

Crowd Genie, a fully operational Singapore-based peer-to-peer digital lending platform licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), has been selected by the token holders of the ICOS platform as the latest promising project to hold its own ICO.

Unlike most projects contemplating an ICO, Crowd Genie is not a startup but rather a debt-based lending platform that has been in operation for more than 12 months. It is one of only four P2P lending platforms licensed by the MAS. The project’s vision is to build a tokenized Pan-Asian lending exchange based on smart contracts, to ensure cost-effective, safe and efficient cashflows between lenders and borrowers.

The public ICO will begin on January 15, 2018, and will run until February 15, 2018. On offer will be 50,000,000 CGCOINs, a utility token which can be used to trade on the Crowd Genie platform.

Credit Suisse Snaps Up Fintech Stake (FiNews), Rated: A

Singapore-based fintech Canopy announced it has raised fresh funding of $3.4 million from investors including Switzerland’s second-largest bank Credit Suisse as well as Lionrock Capital.

Canopy, formerly known as Mesitis, is a Singapore-based anonymous account aggregation and analytics platform for financial institutions, wealth management professionals, and high net worth individuals.

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