Monday May 21 2018 Daily News Digest

ICO red flags

News Comments Today’s main news: Prospa launches $146M IPO. Experian, HSBC UK partner on credit application solution. RateSetter Australia extends green deal. Student Loan Genius raises $3.5M. Australia court rules against Harmoney. Faircent gets certified for NBFC-P2P. Today’s main analysis: WSJ investigates ICO fraud. Today’s thought-provoking articles: One student explains her student loan turmoil. China’s foreign investment restrictions for P2P lending […]

ICO red flags

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United States

 

Wealthfront’s experiment in risk parity has a rocky start (Financial Times) Rated: AAA

Our case here involves Wealthfront, an automated investing service founded by all-star venture capitalist Andy Rachleff. Boasting over $10.5bn under management, the platform offers a wide-range of thoughtful strategies to the casual investor, including indexes optimised to harvest tax-losses and a smart-beta product, overseen by Random Walk proselytiser Burton Malkiel.

Back to Wealthfront’s risk parity offering. In an attempt to lure investors, it backtested its new strategy versus its competitors at AQR and Bridgewater. Here are the results:

Source: Financial Times

I’ve Paid $ 18,000 To A $ 24,000 Student Loan, & I Still Owe $ 24,000 (Bustle) Rated: AAA

The loan, ironically called a “Smart Option” loan, has a variable interest rate that fluctuates based on changes in the financial market — which may have been explained to me at the time (I truly don’t remember), but I know I didn’t fully grasp what that meant.

Source: Bustle

Now, eight years later, that loan — one of nine that left me $95,000 in debt upon graduation (because, yes, interest does accrue while you’re in school) — very clearly marks the exact moment when I lost control of my own financial destiny.

According to a February 2018 study published by the Levy Economic Institute, a nonpartisan policy think tank at Bard College, there are 44.2 million Americans with student loans, which adds up to about $1.4 trillion in debt. There already exists a myriad of research-driven articles that wax on the impact of the student loan crisis on the future of this country (screwed), our economy (broken), and the weight of the loan crisis (crippling)

Student Loan Genius Raises $ 3.5M in Seed Series Prime Financing (Finsmes) Rated: AAA

Student Loan Genius (SLG), an Austin, Texas-based employee benefits platform, raised $3.5m in Seed Series Prime financing.

The round was led by Vestigo Ventures, with participation from CMFG Ventures, Prudential Financial and Rubicon Venture Capital.

The company intends to use the funds to support commercialization of its offering as well as to grow its technology, sales and marketing teams.

Cloudvirga Raises $ 50M in Series C Funding (Finsmes) Rated: A

Cloudvirga, an Irvine, Calif.-based provider of digital mortgage point-of-sale (POS) software provider, closed a $50m Series C funding round.

The round was led by Riverwood Capital with participation from Upfront Ventures. In conjunction with the funding, Riverwood executives Scott Ransenberg and Jay Schneider will join Cloudvirga’s board of directors.

Under-the-radar Wilmington fintech companies burst onto consumer credit scene (Delaware Online) Rated: A

One is Fair Square Financial, which last week snagged a $100 million investment from Vikram Pandit, the former CEO of Citigroup.

It’s an infusion of cash that the online credit card company says will allow it to expand beyond its downtown co-working space this year while doubling its workforce to 100 employees during the next two years.

The expansion decision is the result of surprisingly strong customer demand for its online-serviced, low-fee Ollo cards, Fair Square CEO Rob Habgood said. The credit cards carry a variable interest rate that currently sits at a lofty 24.99 percent.

Fintech is disrupting big banks, but here’s what it still needs to learn from them (The Next Web) Rated: A

Much of the hype around fintech focuses on what traditional banks do wrong: they’re slow to adopt new technology; they don’t center the customer; they’re too big to respond nimbly to change. This narrative is part of why fintech continues to attract massive investment, with $31 billion total flowing into the sector last year, according to KPMG.

The truth is that there’s actually a lot that banks do right — things that fintech startups can struggle to replicate. I mean, there’s a reason why they’ve been successful.

Here are the three areas where I feel fintech’s needs and banks’ expertise overlap.

Will Consumers Take On Too Much Debt In 2018? (PYMNTS) Rated: A

The rate of new delinquencies on credit cards stood at 6.42 percent in Q1, up from 5.9 percent for the same period last year. According to Moody’s, the delinquency trend for the next year is for an “increase.” The Q1 credit card delinquency rate trails the 7.3 percent rate for auto loans but is higher than the 3.4 percent rate for residential mortgages.

Meanwhile, the rate of total new household debt delinquencies was about 4.5 percent in Q1 of 2018, “down slightly from a year ago,” Moody’s said. “Over the next year, we believe delinquencies will rise a bit as lenders modestly loosen underwriting standards.”

Direct Lending Partners Hires Industry Leader as Director of Originations and Capital Markets (PR.com) Rated: B

Dream Live Prosper (DLP), an award-winning family company led by Don Wenner (Founder and CEO), is excited to announce the appointment of Greg E Schecher as Director of Originations and Capital Markets.

Based out of the company’s Southeast headquarters in St. Augustine, Florida, Greg will lead the firm’s CRE bridge loan lending and marketplace lending platform.

United Kingdom

Equifax powers HSBC UK’s first live credit application solution (Fintech Futures) Rated: AAA

HSBC UK has created the “first live” use case of open banking for credit applications using the InterConnect cloud platform from Equifax.

According to Equifax, the solution will help quick affordability assessments by allowing individuals to submit their bank transaction information electronically, in less than five minutes, during an application for credit.

Each submission is presented directly to HSBC UK’s underwriting team in real-time, providing the bank with view of a customer’s affordability and offering faster lending decisions.

Peer-to-peer lending: beware the risks (The Times) Rated: A

About 150,000 Britons have lent nearly £10bn in this way over the past decade, earning around 4.5% interest on average. By contrast, the average interest rate on an easy access savings account is just 0.51%.

The bigger platforms, such as Zopa, Funding Circle and RateSetter, are therefore attractive alternatives for would-be savers.

The market was boosted by the launch in 2016 of innovative finance Isas, which allow people to invest £20,000 a year tax-free in P2P platforms and equity-based crowdfunding, where they buy stakes in companies.

The Disruptive Rise of FinTech (Technative) Rated: A

The fintech industry is one of the fastest growing areas of the British economy and is generating more than £20 billion annually. The sector continues to grow, it currently employs over 60,000 people and has produced more billion pound-valued start-ups than any other British economic sector.

 

P2P lender urges social media firms to allow crypto ads (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

A BAN on cryptocurrency adverts will do more harm than good, a crypto-backed peer-to-peer lender has warned.

Lendingblock, which lets individuals lend in a range of digital currencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple, said rather than Google, Facebook and Twitter pursuing a current ban on cryptocurrency adverts to help clamp down on scams, they should help promote education and awareness.

Lendingblock warned a complete blackout on information may be “the easiest option” but warned that cryptocurrencies aren’t going anywhere so it would be better to partner with the industry and ensure consumers understand the market.

More funding for smes (Manufacturing and Engineering Magazine) Rated: A

The Manufacturer has partnered up with the alternative finance specialist ThinCats to make £100 million of funding available to UK manufacturers, as more and more investors are becoming increasingly keen to help fund SMEs.

The main issue for some SMEs is that they do not have the largest amounts of assets against which the banks are more willing to lend. As a result, many of them can’t invest in their growth, or delay investment until they reach the point they can fund it themselves. The wider knock-on effect of this problem is that the UK’s productivity and growth is being held back.

Crypto world gets most complete and secured crypto exchange with Bitmillex (The Cryptocurrency Analytics) Rated: A

What separates Bitmillex from other crypto exchanges is that the platform was developed out of the long-standing demand of a credible cryptocurrency exchange which will prioritize fund security and also will be able to extend a much wider range of investing and trading options than what is offered by current regular exchanges.  

Speaking further, Mr. Briton highlighted the other state of the art features of Bitmillex which keeps it ahead of other crypto exchanges-

  • Most advanced security and hosting protection through cloud hosted servers that are connected to custom hardware security modules and multiple protective layers to withstand any attack and hack attempts. In addition, 98% of all balances are to be stored in secure offline cold storage.
  • Multiple social trade offerings through Auto-Trade, Peer-to-Peer BTC market and Peer to Peer Lending & Borrowing opportunity. (use the term copy trading)
  • Bitmillex has introduced MTG trading software to ensure a ground-breaking multi-terminal and multi-platform trading experience  (MT4)
  • Traders have the flexibility to hold funds in fiat and trade major forex pairs when the crypto market is bearish
  • Bitmillex is offering its revolutionary Debit Card to users that will be linked to their wallets and will provide them immediate access to their balance at ATMs or POS in fiat currency worldwide

Fintech envoy for Northern Ireland appointed (Open Access Government) Rated: B

Georgina O’Leary, Director of Innovation, Research and Development at Allstate has been appointed as the government’s new fintech envoy for Northern Ireland.

China

Foreign investment restrictions in P2P lending intermediaries (China Business Law Review) Rated: AAA

Current regulations and policies on peer-to-peer lending do not directly restrict or prohibit foreign investment in P2P lending intermediaries.

Relying on a network, a P2P lending intermediary will generally charge a certain consulting fee, service fee, etc., once a lender and borrower that have been brought together establish a lending relationship.

Local financial service office recordal/registration. Article 5 of the measures specifies that, within 10 working days after collecting its business licence, a P2P lending intermediary, or one of its branches, that proposes to launch P2P lending information intermediary services is required to carry out, on the strength of relevant materials, recordal/registration with the local financial regulator of the place where it has its business registration. Once it has completed recordal/registration with the local regulator, the P2P lending intermediary is required to apply for the appropriate telecoms service operating permit in accordance with relevant regulations of the competent telecoms authority before it can launch its services.

European Union

Following the Paypal acquisition: iZettle’s founders are the latest Swedish tech billionaires (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

Mojang founder Markus “Notch” Persson, Skype’s Niklas Zennström and Spotify’s founding duo Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon are Sweden’s richest people in tech today – all worth $1 billion or more.

Following Paypal’s announcement that it would buy the Swedish payments company iZettle for $2,2 billion (19 billion SEK), Jacob de Geer and Magnus Nilsson – founders of iZettle – have joined the few dozen Swedish entrepreneurs worth 1 billion krona or more.

International

Hundreds of Bitcoin Wannabes Show Hallmarks of Fraud (Wall Street Journal) Rated: AAA

In a review of documents produced for 1,450 digital coin offerings, The Wall Street Journal has found 271 with red flags that include plagiarized investor documents, promises of guaranteed returns and missing or fake executive teams.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Data Centers Take Center Stage in Real-Estate Investing (Barron’s) Rated: AAA

“An autonomous car will need 40 times more bandwidth than the cars we use today,” says East. “The demand for data centers is growing 30% per year in the U.S. and 70% in China, but there are only six public companies in the supplier’s market.” They are: Equinix (EQIX), CoreSite Realty (COR), CyrusOne(CONE), Digital Realty Trust (DLR), QTS Realty Trust (QTS), and Switch (SWCH).

Data centers aren’t easy markets to enter. It’s not hard to purchase a piece of land to build the property, but the facility needs to be outfitted in fiber, equipped with interconnected networks, and wired for massive electric power and top-tier security devices. It takes about $1,000 to build one square foot of data center, said East, compared with the average cost of $300 for conventional real estate.

Capgemini And Efma Launch Innovative FinTech Portal (Payment Week) Rated: A

Capgemini and Efma today announced the launch of FinTechVisor, an innovative platform designed to bring FinTechs and financial institutions together to collaborate. The FinTechVisor portal offers a world-wide networking and collaborative community for FinTechs and financial institutions to become game-changers by co-creating the future of the financial services industry.

Launched today at the CCX Forum in London, the portal, which connects financial institutions and FinTechs, will have a feature that allows bankers and insurers to rate FinTechs and comment on their solutions, as well as a “matchmaker-like” personalized function for financial institutions to find a FinTech partner who complements their needs and interests.

InnerScope Hearing Technologies, Inc. Announces Klarna Bank as a Financing Partner (Globe Newswire) Rated: B

Hearing Technologies InnerScopeInc. (OTCQB:INND) announced today the complete integration of www.Klarna.com for a simple and easy one-click payment solutions for its online customers who shop at www.hearingbenefit.com and www.nohasslehearing.com websites.

InnerScope and Klarna have teamed up to offer a frictionless one-click checkout solution which gives customers a choice of 2 simple no-hassle payment options, Pay Now, or Slice It options.

  • The Pay Now option is for customers who want to pay in full at checkout can do it quickly and securely with a credit/debit card.
  • The Slice it option with its instant financing and a quick and simple credit application process allowing the customers to spread the cost of their purchases over a 6 to 24-month period at 0% annual percent rate (“APR”), depending on transaction value, giving them flexibility and increased purchasing power.
Australia

Online lender Prospa launches $ 146m IPO (News) Rated: AAA

Online lender Prospa has launched a $146 million initial public offering, offering shares at $3.64.

Prospa, which lends to small businesses, says the majority of funds raised in the IPO, which includes institutional, retail and employee offers, will be used to grow its existing business, add new products and expand into New Zealand.

RateSetter Australia extends green deal (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

RATESETTER Australia has announced an 18-month extension to its green loan marketplace.

The UK peer-to-peer lender’s Australian subsidiary is working with the Australian government’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to bring clean energy borrowers and investors together.

In its first year it helped more than 1,000 households and small businesses finance green energy products.

 

High Court backs Commerce Commission over Harmoney (Scoop News) Rated: AAA

The High Court has sided with the Commerce Commission on how to interpret peer-to-peer lender Harmoney’s platform fees, deeming them to be credit fees and falling under the regulator’s purview.

The commission, which oversees the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act 2003, claimed Harmoney’s platform fees were an unreasonable credit fee and sought a declaration from the court backing up its interpretation.

Justice Patricia Courtney today backed the commission’s interpretation, saying Harmoney’s documents amounted to a credit contract and that the way the peer-to-peer lender was structured went “beyond mere matchmaking”, providing a nominal creditor to hold loans as a bare trustee for investors and undertaking the full administration of the transactions.

Fintech disruptor will benefit from Banking Royal Commission (Motley Fool) Rated: A

Zip Co Ltd (ASX: Z1P) provides online credit for consumers and businesses at point-of-sale through brands zipMoney and zipPay.

Afterpay Touch Group Ltd (ASX: APT) provides a platform that allows retail merchants to offer consumers to ‘buy now, receive now, pay later’ without having to enter into a traditional loan agreement.

Money3 Corporation Limited (ASX: MNY) started out as a a payday lender, which it plans to exit in the next financial year. The company is predominantly involved in providing secured auto loans, which make up around 80% of its loan book.

Westpac made blind pensioner a guarantor without risk advice, inquiry hears (Reuters) Rated: A

Australia’s Westpac Banking Corp admitted on Monday to signing up a legally blind pensioner as loan guarantor for her daughter’s business without warning her of the risks, then threatened to evict her when the business failed.

The testimony, given to a powerful inquiry into the country’s financial sector, came as Australia’s “big four” lenders all admitted to misconduct in their submissions to a third round of public hearings that focuses on loans to small businesses.

Other transgressions included fraudulent loans and double-charging interest, the inquiry heard, a further hit to the sector’s reputation after previous rounds of hearings uncovered widespread abuses in Australia’s financial planning industry.

FinTech Australia announces new CEO (Fintech Australia) Rated: B

Brad Kitschke has been appointed as CEO of FinTech Australia.

 

India

Faircent Gets RBI Nod For NBFC-P2P Certification (Inc 42) Rated: AAA

Gurugram-based P2P lending startup Faircent has received its non-banking financial companies (NBFC)-Peer-to-Peer (P2P) certification from the RBI (Reserve Bank of India).

The accreditation makes Faircent the first P2P lending platform in the country to receive the certificate of registration as an NBFC-P2P by the national regulator.

FinTech firms assisting banks with customer acquisition (Business Standard News) Rated: A

MoneyTap

People earning more than Rs. 20,000 per month can utilise this app to borrow anywhere between Rs.3,000 to Rs.500,000. Offering flexible payback options, MoneyTap allows borrowers to select their own EMI plans.

CoinTribe

Endeavoring to fill the gaps in SME unsecured loan segment, CoinTribe as a loan marketplace makes it easier for banks to confidently enter the uncharted domains.

Lending on peer-to-peer platforms is fraught with higher risks (Business Standard) Rated: A

Peer-to-peer or P2P lending has emerged as an alternative option for investors who wish to earn higher rates of return than what traditional fixed-income instruments can offer. However, lending on these platforms also entails higher risk, which investors need to be aware of before venturing into this relatively new investment avenue.

6 investments with high return (The Economic Times) Rated: A

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending is a relatively recent option and is a form of crowd-funding used to raise loans which are paid back with interest by bringing together people who need to borrow, from those who want to invest. For the funds that you invest, the interest rate may be set by the P2P platform or mutual agreement between the borrower and lender.

Risks: Since this is an unsecured loan where there is no face-to-face interaction, a P2P lender, i.e., the investor needs to be aware of the risks involved such as default on the part of the borrowers.

Asia

Finance: RHB plans to win over SMEs with digital agenda (The Edge Markets) Rated: A

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can no longer avoid going digital if they want to stay relevant. And RHB Bank Bhd, which has a new five-year strategy, is looking to help them do just that.

Jeffrey Ng, the bank’s head of group business and transaction banking, says the digital economy is the biggest trend impacting SMEs, and many of them will require assistance to adopt the technology. Ng was previously head of RHB’s SME division.

For RHB, this means onboarding SMEs into its electronic financial supply chain platforms. Suppliers and buyers can perform payments for goods entirely on the bank’s platforms and receive payments instantly. SMEs that want to offer cashless payments can also do so with RHB’s solutions.

How Vietnam’s Fintech Market Could Reach Nearly $ 8 Billion By 2020 (Forbes) Rated: A

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, 

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday January 3 2016, Daily News Digest

Cross River Bank

News Comments Today’s main news: Online lending enters annul SEC report on rating orgs for first time. Today’s main analysis: Cross River Bank tries new approaches. Today’s thought-provoking articles: China’s new P2p rules could trigger run on deposits. Will India sustain its surge on digital payments? What do 2016 hiccups mean for alt lending in 2017? United […]

Cross River Bank

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United States

United Kingdom

European Union

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China

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News Summary

United States

Online Lending Enters Annual SEC Report on Rating Organizations for First Time (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The Securities and Exchange Commission publishes an annual report on “nationally recognized statistical rating organizations (NSROs).”  These are the agencies that publish credit ratings on certain securities and institutions.  The mandated report has recognized the emergence of online lending for the very first time.

The SEC also noted that several larger NRSOs published commentaries on the emerging online lending sector.

What Do The Hiccups Of 2016 Mean For Alternative Lending In The New Year? (Forbes), Rated: AAA

“Alternative lending is dead,” said Rob Frohwein, co-founder and CEO of Kabbage, “but not because of the hiccups that have occurred in the industry.”

During the year, Lending Club had one piece after another of negative news come out.

Then, in mid-November, it wasreported that Dealstruck, an alternative lender of short- and medium-term small business loans, stopped lending operations altogether.

But while some alternative lenders have run into problems, others remain confident that their model remains the future of lending. And many see the OCC’s proposed FinTech bank charter (the culmination of a review that began in August, 2015) as a sign the industry is both here to stay, and ready to grow up.

Another alternative lender for small businesses that has maintained investor confidence and has continues to grow its lending operations and expand its product offering is BlueVine. The company, which was launched as a modernized option for invoice factoring, recently began offering a line of credit product which now accounts for a sizable part of their business. After funding over $200MM in working capital for small businesses in 2016, they successfully raised $50M in additional funding to expand their efforts.

Through tighter internal controls, self regulation, and closer partnerships with traditional lending institutions, it appears that alternative lending will continue to expand its role in 2017.

N.J. bank keeps turning out new approaches (Banking Exchange), Rated: AAA

After enabling a shake-up of the lending landscape, a small bank in New Jersey has set its sights on payments.

Cross River Bank has about $543 million in assets and just one branch, a small storefront in Teaneck, N.J., that shares a retail center with a mom-and-pop clothing store.

Cross River is essentially a business-to-business bank. It handles the messy, boring parts of banking so its fintech partners can improve customer experience with easy-to-use platforms.

The use of issuing bank partnerships is nearly ubiquitous in digital lending. WebBank is arguably the biggest player by virtue of servicing the largest marketplace lenders: LendingClub Corp., Prosper Marketplace Inc. and Avant. But Cross River is not far behind, acting as the issuing bank for Marlette Funding’s Best Egg platform, Upstart and Affirm. The bank also won the right to issue consumer loans for mortgage giants Quicken and loanDepot.com LLC. Utah-based Celtic Bank is big in the small business space as the issuing bank for On Deck Capital Inc., Kabbage, and Square Capital.

So far, issuing bank partnerships have been extremely profitable. Cross River’s return on average equity exceeds 20%, less than that of its issuing bank competitors but well above the sub-10% ROAE for banks with less than $1 billion in assets.

Gade believes Cross River’s payments activity could double next year, and the bank already has relationships with Stripe and Google Wallet to provide access to the Mastercard Send product.

Cross River currently handles roughly 2 million transactions per month, and there are “a lot of market shares for the taking,” Gade said. He highlighted insurance companies paying out claims, commercial landlords looking to accept payments from tenants and auto companies collecting lease and loan payments as examples.

Issuing bank partnerships currently account for roughly 40% of the bank’s business. Traditional community banking activities, such as commercial real estate and small business lending, account for 40% to 50% of its activity, and the remainder is related to payments. Gade said payments activity could stabilize at roughly 30% of activity, with issuing bank partnerships staying around 40%. The traditional community banking share will shrink but still constitute 20% to 30% of business.

Consumer alleges Funding Circle USA called him for solicitation purposes (Northern California Record), Rated: A

David Vaccaro filed a complaint on behalf of all others similarly situated on Dec. 19 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against Funding Circle USA Inc. and Does 1 through 10 citing the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff alleges that beginning in July 2016, the defendant called his home phone to solicit its services. The plaintiff holds Funding Circle USA Inc. and Does 1 through 10 responsible because the defendants allegedly used an automatic telephone dialing system to call the plaintiff without his consent. The plaintiff also alleges his number is registered on the National Do-Not-Call Registry.

Will 2017 Be the Year We See the First RECF-Bank Partnership? (Equities.com), Rated: A

Lend Academy claims 2017 will be huge year for bank-marketplace lending platform partnerships. If they made this claim last month after a year of such partnerships being announced, that tells me they’re expecting next year to produce even more such partnerships. It’s not a far-fetched notion. There are plenty of benefits to these partnerships, both for the banks and for the MPL platforms.

If Lend Academy is correct and 2017 will see a surge in bank-marketplace lending platform partnerships, it’s quite possible that at least one of these—perhaps a few—will be with real estate crowdfunding platforms. The only question is, what structure will those partnerships take?

The following three structures promise the most benefits to both parties:

  1. Bank-as-Originator – In this scenario, the bank acquires the customer and originates the real estate loan while the RECF platform underwrites it. Retail stores, industrial expansions, or apartment complexes are three potential uses for this type of partnership.
  2. Banker-as-Capital – If the RECF platform acquires the customer and simply needs capital funding from the bank, this is another scenario that could benefit both parties.
  3. White Labeling – In this case, the bank white labels the RECF’s technology to originate and underwrite the real estate loan. A variation of this is to co-brand both the technology and the service to expand the brands of both the bank and the RECF platform.

Financial technology rules are set to change in the Trump era (The Hill), Rated: A

President-elect Donald Trump plans to shake up Washington. The full scope of his proposed changes remains to be seen, but they will certainly affect the financial services industry, especially financial technology.

In 2015, Treasury released a request for information regarding online marketplace lending. In May, the department published a white paperoutlining the responses it received and made certain recommendations for best practices in order to encourage growth and expanded access to credit through online marketplace lending.
The most potentially burdensome requirements are those related to financial inclusion. The CRA is only applicable to institutions insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, so most OCC-chartered financial technology companies would not be covered. This places partnerships between banks and online marketplace lenders, which are popular with banks to supplement their CRA portfolio, at risk.
Project Catalyst is the CFPB’s effort to encourage innovation in a way that benefits consumers and businesses. Recently, the CFPB announced a policy that will provide financial technology companies with the opportunity to have the CFPB review their products and services, as well as their compliance program. After review, the CFPB can provide a letter indicating the agency’s belief that the company is compliant with the relevant laws and regulations. It also states that the CFPB will not pursue any enforcement actions if the company does not make material changes.
While the policy is considered friendly to the industry, the recently released prepaid card rule is not. Its broad definition of “prepaid cards” captures digital wallets that can store money and may deter startups in that space due to the high compliance burden.
The SEC’s crowdfunding rules allow for equity crowdfunding through the internet. Marketplace lenders are securitizing debt, which implicates the SEC. So-called robo-advisers are increasingly common and projected to have $2.2 trillion under management by 2020.

One US agency is under investigation – and it could spell trouble for US fintech (Business Insider), Rated: A

The agency has been hit hard by critics of late, and President-elect Trump’s transition team is investigating the CFPB’s recent performance, according to the Wall Street Journal. At the same time, it remains embroiled in a legal battle over whether its organizational structure is constitutional. If the CFPB is unable to untangle itself from these issues, it could negatively impact its fintech initiatives — and the US fintech industry more broadly. 

 

Finding the Right Ecosystem (Invesment News), Rated: A

The rise of companies utilizing financial technology (fintech) over the past five years can no longer be ignored by traditional wealth managers and established financial services firms.

More and more, boards of directors are demanding that their executives have a comprehensive understanding of the fintech landscape and how these companies could disrupt their business model—and to do this without losing sight of their core competencies.

To tackle this challenge, we recommend:

  1. Zeroing in on a large and robust ecosystem that is still flexible and can encompass the majority of use cases
  2. Prioritizing the capabilities your firm will require in order to compete in the 21st century, understanding how those capabilities can be incorporated into your existing business and whether you need to buy or build those capabilities
  3. Finding the right partner who can help you figure out where to begin
  4. Considering platforms that incorporate fintech technologies that support high touch relationship management – everything from precision advice (the right advice at the right time) to automated approaches to portfolio management

Fintech Advocacy Group Reaches Out To Trump (JD Supra), Rated: B

A financial technology advocacy group has reached out to President-elect Donald J. Trump, encouraging him to create a new position at the Treasury Department to support fintech.

In a letter to President-elect Donald J. Trump, Financial Innovation Now (FIN) suggested the creation of an Undersecretary for Technology position in the Department of the Treasury to “ensure the growth of financial technology jobs in the U.S.” as well as “foster competition and innovation in financial services to better serve consumers and the economy.”

 United Kingdom

‘Expect more big agency firms to back online projects in 2017’ – claim (EstateAgentToday), Rated: A

The head of a new ‘disruptive’ online mortgage service says 2017 will see more major estate agency and other property businesses backing online models, of the kind seen this year with the investment by high-end firm Savills into budget internet agency YOPA.

Back in June Savills revealed it had made an undisclosed investment in YOPA in a bid to buy a stake in digital technology and gain exposure to a wider range of sales and rental sectors than its traditional high-end involvement.

Now Ishaan Malhi, founder and chief executive of online mortgage firm Trussle, says there will be more of the same in the next 12 months. He believes the need for more digital innovation applies across the property industry, not just with estate agency.

What to watch out for in alternative finance in 2017 (altfi), Rated: A

The UK watchdog has promised changes to its much-vaunted crowdfunding regime – changes that are set to arrive in the early stages of 2017. Some of the more unexpected points to be raised – and to keep an eye out for action on in 2017 – include the strengthening of rules surrounding wind-down plans, extending mortgage-lending standards to platforms, the enforcing of additional “requirements or restrictions” on cross-platform investment, and the potential for investment limits in peer-to-peer lending.

Funding Circle, RateSetter and Zopa, each of which has lent over £1.5bn to date, continue to languish under interim permissions. You have to believe that this will change in the first quarter, or at least first half of the year ahead.

2017 should signal the end of referral scheme prognostication, as we should finally be able to gauge the impact of the initiative in practical terms – i.e. how many businesses rejected by the banks for credit will ultimately be funded via the referral scheme in year one?

Brexit and broader economic uncertainty will unquestionably cause tension in certain areas.

Finally, keep an eye out for certain platforms choosing to branch away from retail investment in 2017.

Personal savings top fallback option for UK’s entrepreneurs (BMM Magazine), Rated: B

Research by crowdfunding network Crowdfinders has found that 35% of respondents said they would turn to personal savings to fund their business, closely followed by banks and institutions and friends and family.

However, only 8 per cent of the respondents said they would turn to crowdfunding and just 5 per cent said they would opt for P2P lending.

European Union

Galway companies flourish with financial aid from fellow small businesses (Connacht Tribune), Rated: A

A company specialising in the growing business phenomenon of peer-to-peer lending has revealed that it has raised €688,560 for Galway businesses.

Linked Finance raised 31 loans for 23 Galway-based businesses through Linked Finance’s online lending platform, including Schoolbooks.ie, Sleepzone and Turas Bikes to facilitate business expansion.

Australia

“Two to three” fintechs will remain in future (Broker News), Rated: A

As the number of fintech firms continues to grow, companies will have to reduce costs and become profitable or be forced to consolidate.

Due to these “really high” costs, Poolman expected that the overall fintech market would be whittled down to “two or three” players eventually.

In its most recent accounts filed for January to December 2015, OnDeck showed a $2.9 million loss on $463,000 worth of loans. However, the company was not lending the entire time during this period.

China

China’s tighter P2P rules may trigger unexpected run on deposits (South China Morning Post), Rated: AAA

Tighter regulations on China’s peer-to-peer (P2P) lending sector are potentially putting depositors’ money at risk and could even trigger an anticipated run on deposits in March, with many of the lending platforms facing the very real prospect of liquidation, according to market watchers.

Authorities in Beijing are determined to examine the credentials of some 3,000 P2P lending operators and expel any questionable players by March, following a raft of scandals involving at least 100 billion yuan worth of deposits from millions of residents.

It is estimated that only 200 P2P companies will pass the review process undertaken by authorities, with the remaining players forced to close their operations and repay money to depositors.

Under the new rules, a P2P company has to appoint a commercial bank as its custodian while fully publishing how investors’ money is being used.

Banks, battered by worries about the risks after P2P was hit hard by a series of fraud cases, have shown lukewarm response to the custodian business.

Ezubao, one of the mainland’s largest P2P platforms, was found to have defraud more than 1 million investors of about 100 billion yuan last year.

Under the tighter regulations, authorities will also conduct on-site checks on risk management, scale of businesses, IT infrastructure, investment sources and shareholders’ credibility before granting P2P lenders the go-ahead to continue doing their business.

FinTech Boom: China Going Cashless, Consumers Ditching Banks (Coin Telegraph), Rated: A

China, the largest fintech sector according to the International Trade Administration (ITA), is going cashless. Consumers are moving away from traditional banking systems to more efficient and user-friendly financial technologies.

KPMG, one of the Big Four auditors with over $25 bln in annual revenue, recently released its Fintech 100 list which represents the largest and most profitable companies within the global fintech market across all categories.

China’s Ant Financial and Qudian topped the list, claiming the first and second in rankings respectively. Lufax, ZhongAn and JD Finance also made it to the top 10 list, as Chinese companies accounted for 50 percent of the top 10 Fintech 100 companies.

India

Will the surge in digital payments sustain? (India Times), Rated: AAA

Following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement that Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes would no longer be legal tender from the midnight of November 8, fintech startups, particularly wallets and payment gateways, have seen business surge. Sequoia-backed MobiKwik, for instance, has seen a 200 per cent surge in app downloads and a 20-fold increase in peer-to-peer transfers.

Market leader Paytm, backed by Alibaba, says it is currently processing 5 million transactions a day and added over 14 million users in November. Payment gateway PayU, which acquired Citrus Pay earlier this year, saw daily transaction volume skyrocket 80 per cent, which has settled to 25 per cent compared with pre-demonetisation. Tiger Global-backed Razorpay says volumes are now up 50-70 per cent over pre-demonetisation levels, after seeing an initial spike of 150 per cent.

Snapdeal-backed wallet FreeCharge reported that 1,00,000 Snapdeal deliveries in mid-November were through the wallet, while Flipkart is aggressively marketing its wallet, PhonePe.

With cash still scarce, wallet and other digital payment-enablers continue to see rapid doubledigit growth. But the billion-dollar question is whether this will sustain, once the cash crunch eases, as it inevitably will this year.

Founders are confident it will, primarily because of the unprecedented support from the government.

 

Wallet-led startups say their product is low-cost, does not involve any hardware and can be scaled up rapidly. Of 15 million businesses in the country, only 1 million have PoS machines, making the other 14 million fair game for adoption, apart from other avenues. Payment gateway startups, understandably, beg to differ. “I personally think the concept of prepaid wallets has failed.

A recent RBI report on digital payments mentioned that even in November, only 3 per cent of transactions were through wallets, the rest were through cards. If wallet payment had taken off, it should have been 40:60,” says PayU’s Rau. He argues that it is easier to get customers to use debit or credit cards as they are comfortable with it, than payments using ewallets and mobiles.

Hurdles apart, the sector is likely to see big rounds of fund-raising in 2017, with all the buzz around a cashless economy.

P2P Lending Platform Rupaiya Exchange Secures $ 200,000 in Angel Funding (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Earlier this month, Delhi-based peer-to-peer lending platform, Rupaiya Exchange, announced it secured $200,000 in angel funding from HNIs and investors. Launched in November 2015 by founder Rohan Hazrati, the company stated it aims to connect borrowers and lenders to facilitate peer-to-peer lending in India.

Note ban-hit investors ditch real estate & gold to fund alternative lending cos (India Times), Rated: A

Alternative lending startups have witnessed a spike in lender registrations after the currency ban as people are now looking to park their investments on their platforms rather than in real estate, gold or the stock market.

Sequoia-backed invoice discounting marketplace KredX has noticed a 4-5x increase in lender registrations on their platform since November 8, including from high net-worth individuals (HNIs) and institutional lenders like banks and non-banking finance companies (NBFCs).

Similarly, peer-to-peer lending companies like Faircent, i-lend and AnyTimeLoan.in (ATL) have noticed an approximately 3x increase in lender registrations as other investment channels seem unstable or inaccessible following the cash crunch.

17 startups to watch in 2017 (India Times), Rated: B

Government policy has done a lot to boost the fortunes of peer-to-peer lending platform FairCent in 2016. From RBI’s draft paper with guidelines for the industry to Digital India, FairCent benefited last year and looks to grow further in 2017. “From disbursing Rs 15-20 lakh loans a month, we are now disbursing Rs 1.5 crore a month. India’s shift to digital payments has put us in a sweet spot,” says Rajat Gandhi, founder, FairCent. The company, which began operations in 2014, helps customers get cheaper loans based on their creditworthiness and helps lenders earn high returns from their peers or community.

Bengaluru-headquartered Capital Float considers 2016 a remarkable year for fintech startups. “The sector attracted $150 million in funding. Digital India and demonetisation will only give further impetus to the sector,” says Gaurav Hinduja, co-founder, Capital Float. The company, which started in 2013 with loans to SMEs, has come up with innovative products such as ‘Pay Later’, which gives loans to retailers against data on PoS machines. Capital Float, which primarily handles e-commerce finance, has seen 8x growth in 2016, its biggest so far. From Rs 150 crore loans disbursed in 2015, it disbursed Rs 1,000 crore in 2016. Capital Float tied up with 45 new players, including Amazon, Yatra and Ola.

Payment provider Pine Labs says the volume of online transactions trebled in 2016, even before the grand finale of demonetisation. “From handling about 10% of card payment transactions in India, we have grown to 20%,” says Lokvir Kapoor, CEO, Pine Labs. In terms of volume, it has seen a growth to Rs 10,000 crore a month from Rs4,000 crore in January 2016. With clients that include Armani, Jimmy Choo and Pizza Hut, the company feels there more opportunities to grab in the year ahead. “We have more than 60,000 retailers in India and will be heading overseas. We will be setting shop in Singapore with a partner bank,” says Kapoor.

Indian Demonetization & Rupee Reform: The Uber Moment Fintech Needed? (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Citizens and observers said that it was a “chaotic” decision, a major “disruption” that required citizens to exchange notes or deposit them within about a month and a half, or else lose the cash value.  However, the seemingly radical monetary move may be just what fintech — and a global economy seeing increasing digitalization — needs.  Founder and CEO of Faircent.com Rajat Gandhi claims that it is the “Uber moment of fintech”.

As huge amounts of cash were taken off of the market over the past weeks and individuals were forced to deposit them into banks and ATMs, there will be an increase of reliance on digital wealth management.  With 86 percent of the currency in circulation theoretically out of sight, we should see a shift from “cash is king” to increased digital banking.

Canada

Looking at 2017 from a Fintech Leader’s Perspective (TechVibes), Rated: A

Financial technology overall enjoyed a robust year in 2016 in Canada, highlighted by the creation of several bank partnerships and expansion in the robo-advisor space.

It’s likely that we will see a major fintech exit the Canadian market in 2017 as some of the newly created credit deteriorates in quality due to saturation of the market: both on the consumer and business fronts.

In 2017, investment capital is likely to continue to flow into the fintech space, particularly into lending, as investors clamour over some of the attractive yields available in alternative lending in today’s otherwise low interest rate environment.

We are going to see an increase in collaboration in this space. Between the Canadian Payday Lending Association and the banking associations, we need representation for the alternative lenders operating in the spaces in between – and this is starting to happen.

Is fintech a disruptor or enabler for Canada’s big banks? (The Globe and Mail), Rated: A

According to the search tool Factiva, the term “fintech” appeared close to 90,000 times in the global print media this year versus fewer than 300 in 2007, with many more references on social media. Its usage has actually declined since 2014, suggesting the fintech hype may have peaked.

An influential study by Citigroup reported that fintech investments topped $19-billion (U.S.) in 2015, a tenfold increase from 2010. The consultancy McKinsey & Co. is reportedly tracking more than 2,000 fintech startups, with the global estimate around 12,000.

The early view appeared to be that fintech startups would disrupt incumbent banks and steal their customers, similar to Airbnb and Uber. But the emerging consensus is that banks and fintech startups will inevitably collaborate, combining their respective strengths to deliver a superior customer experience. Not everyone agrees, of course, but the tide of opinion has clearly changed.

MENA

Iran Banking Roadmap: Efficient, Innovative (Financial Tribune), Rated: A

Addressing the Sixth Conference on E-Banking and Payment Systems held in Tehran on Monday, Ali Kermanshah added that the blueprint is set to define an appropriate role for fintech companies in the Iranian banking system.

According to the CBI official, the roadmap requires the development of 12 new platforms for conducting banking operations and covering system support, six platforms for implementing monetary policies and eight platforms for promoting supervision.

International

Crowdfunding & Fintech Predictions for 2017 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

  • Global Online Lending will See More Platform Consolidation including a Major Lender
  • Several Reg CF / Title III Crowdfunding Portals Shutter or Pivot
  • A Prominent Real Estate Crowdfunding Platform will Cease Operations
  • The FCA Review of Crowdfunding Brings More Regulations
  • The UK remains one of the leading economies in the world and the European divorce questioned the entire validity of the EU. But Europe needs Britain and Britain dearly needs Europe. Working things out to mutual benefit is good for all countries.  Politicians that want to punish the Brits for their political intransigence will be over-ruled by those with more foresight.
  • US SMEs Receive a Boost from the Incoming Administration
  • The UK and Singapore will Remain Dominant Fintech Innovation Centers
  • More Later Stage Companies Use Crowdfunding Platforms
  • InsurTech will Gain Momentum
  • Marcus launched small but expect a growing number of credit options and digital banking services to be provided by the emerging challenger bank. SoFi – look out.

Capgemini: Fintech Disrupts Testing and Quality Assurance (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Renu Rajani, Vice President of Capgemini, opined earlier this week that Fintech’s revolution this past year has disrupted trends in testing and quality assurance (QA).

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday November 22, 2016 Daily News Digest

sme overdrafts uk

News Comments Today’s main news: Prodigy Finance funding foreign MBA students at U.S. colleges. Today’s main analysis : UK banks shift overdraft lending toward big businesses. Today’s thought-provoking articles: FinTech ideas banks are stealing. Credit rating agency questions rise of lending algorithms. Ways to mitigate P2P lending risk. United States Foreign MBA students get college loans through Prodigy […]

sme overdrafts uk

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

Australia

China

India

Asia

International

News Summary

United States

Prodigy Finance Is Putting International Applicants Into Top-Ranked MBA Programs In The US (BusinessBecause), Rated: AAA

After several years working for Deloitte, Abhirath started looking at funding options to study an MBA abroad. But most local banks were unwilling to lend internationally and offered only high-interest loans, riddled with clauses and extra costs.

Instead, Abhirath applied for an international post-graduate loan from community lender, Prodigy Finance.

Prodigy Finance’s borderless, peer-to-peer lending model gives international students access to the loans they need to study abroad.

In September, Abhirath, along with Vyom Vats, was chosen for Prodigy Finance’s inaugural scholarship program. They both received $20,000 in additional funding.

Crowdsourced-Debt Financing is Growing (ValueWalk), Rated: A

The consumer online lending market is experiencing difficulty, with increasing delinquency and default. When questions were raised regarding the lack of due diligence in online loans, they were initially dismissed. What could go wrong? Now two years later the answer is clear as defaults are leading to business closures. Business lending for asset-based revolving lines of credit, however, has taken a different path.

Part of causation for the defaults is due to the race to grow, a trend that has reversed recently. Avant cut its monthly lending target in half while Circlebank Lending stopped making new loans entirely, Bloomberg reported. Shakeups have occurred in the C-Suite.  LendingClub CEO Renaud Laplanche resigned in May amid questions regarding faltering loans and Prosper Marketplace CEO Aaron Vermut recently resigned as it cut 25% of its staff, reported a $35 million second quarter loss and closed its secondary market for loans.

Krista Morgan, CEO of P2Binvestor, an online platform providing business lending for emerging companies businesses seeking revolving lines of credit, has taken a different approach.

The two-year-old company, which just received $7.7 million in a second round of angel financing, conducts due diligence on each loan and has skin in the game, investing alongside other investors.

The online lender currently works only with a small group of accredited investors connected to the firm, but plans to expand to offer the investment to a wider range of accredited investors shortly.  Investors can gain exposure to a large $10 million line of credit by only accepting as little as $1,000 of the risk exposure.

Crowd Valley at Cornell’s Fintech Hackathon in New York City (GrowVC Group), Rated: A

From Friday the 11th to 13th of November, Crowd Valley (a Grow VC Group company) joined professionals from EY, Capital One, Addepar and CoVenture as well as students from institutions such as Cornell, NYU Stern and Columbia for Cornell’s annual Fintech Hackathon held at their Cornell Tech location in New York City. The focus of the event was to promote the innovation of applications and technology for two verticals: Financial Inclusion and Anti Money Laundering (AML).

OnDeck To Present At The J.P. Morgan 2016 Fintech & Specialty Finance Forum (PR Newswire), Rated: B

OnDeck® (NYSE: ONDK), the leader in online lending for small business, announced today that Noah Breslow, Chief Executive Officer, and Howard Katzenberg, Chief Financial Officer, are scheduled to present at the J.P. Morgan 2016 Fintech & Specialty Finance Forum in New York on November 30, 2016 beginning at 12:30 p.m. E.T.

United Kingdom

Conrad Ford argues that UK SMEs are still under pressure as banks shift overdraft lending in favour of large businesses (Asset Finance International), Rated: AAA

SMEs remain under pressure as banks continue to shift overdraft lending away from them in favour of large businesses.

There has been a 37% fall in the value of overdrafts provided to SMEs over the last five years from £19 billion to £12 billion* (see graph), whilst overdrafts given to large businesses have increased by 25% over the same period from £19 billion to £24 billion.

SMEs, especially those within the retail and leisure sectors, can find the lead up to Christmas very challenging if they do not have access to overdrafts. This is because firms increase spending in order to stock up ahead of the crucial Christmas trading period but customers often delay invoice payments until the New Year.

Furthermore, salaries tend to be brought forward so staff can be paid before Christmas and overdrafts are often used to cover this cost.

SMEs face growing pressure and difficult choices as the value of overdrafts available to them continues to fall.

AU10TIX Announces Partnership With Startupbootcamp Fintech Accelerator Program (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

AU10TIX, a fully owned subsidiary of ICTS International N.V, announced on Monday it has formed a new partnership with the Startupbootcamp Fintech Accelerator Program as a way to help support fintech startups.

European Union

Weekly industry news roundup – November 21, 2016 (Bondora), Rated: AAA

The Hindu Business Line reported on data released from the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association which shared data indicating that worldwide P2P lending has grown from £2.2 million in 2012 to £4.4 billion in 2015.

For our German readership, Huffington Post released an article which details how P2P platform are the best alternatives for investors looking for higher investment returns and borrowers looking for cheaper credit options than current banking system offers them.

Sweden’s Klarna buys talent from troubled German fintech startup Cookies (Tech.eu), Rated: A

Swedish payment service provider Klarna has agreed to take on the team behind the insolvent Berlin fintech startup Cookies.

While the terms of the acquisition by Klarna were not disclosed, Swedish media reports that the sum is likely low and that it was essentially an “acquihire.”

Australia

Credit rating agency questions the rise of lending algorithms (Australian Financial Review), Rated: AAA

The increased use of algorithms to write consumer loans has been met with scepticism by rating agency experts who doubt the ability of computers to fully assess credit risk.

Speaking at the Australian Securitisation Forum, Moody’s US-based managing director Jim Ahern told the audience algorithms “work until they don’t” when it comes to approving loans.

Algorithms, he said, are only informed by past and recent data and may be unhelpful if there are meaningful changes in the environment.

We need plans for when robots are in driver’s seat (Australian Financial Review), Rated: A

Financial services companies, including technology-oriented fintech start-ups, are emerging to challenge the roles of banks and the large financial institutions. Fintechs are rapidly transforming and disrupting the marketplace by providing digital or “robo-advice” using highly sophisticated algorithms operating on mobile and web-based environments.

However, the rapid pace of ICT development — with A.T. Kearney predicting robo-advisers in the US will manage investment assets worth $2 trillion by 2020 — makes it critical that we plan for a world where technology is in the driver’s seat.

The ASIC position does not go as far as the one adopted by the EU, which provides an explicit “right to explain” and “right to challenge” on decisions made by algorithms. Nor does the ASIC guidance place an explicit onus on the algorithmic provider to explain, in simple terms, the logic behind an algorithmic decision. This might be intentional since algorithms may involve highly complex code and technical considerations well beyond the skill set expected from an average financial services adviser.

China

Mainland Chinese banks lag global rivals in digital investment, says McKinsey (South China Morning Post), Rated: AAA

Mainland Chinese banks are lagging far behind their global rivals in investing in the digital technology needed to compete in a challenging industry landscape with evolving client demand and fierce competition from fintech companies, an industry report said on Monday.

Many mainland banks devote less than 1 to 3 per cent of their income to technology and digitalisation, while leading global banks on average invested 17 to 20 per cent of pre-tax income to embrace the digital era, McKinsey & Company said in a banking report.

Han Feng, an associate partner at McKinsey, said the digital era for China’s banking industry has arrived.

India

P2P lending: the real benefits and ways to mitigate risk (YourStory), Rated: A

A few critical steps, if followed diligently by the P2P platform, can help minimise this risk for lenders. Traditional data like bank statements, salary slips, ITR etc. supported by digital data, online transaction data, and mobile and social data should be carefully evaluated and studied to understand the borrower’s ability, stability, and intention to repay the loan taken.

The CIBIL of the borrower is a must for the platform to be able to evaluate past performance. The identity verification process (physical or through technology) has to be done to eliminate fraudulent applications.

P2P lending platforms should allow lenders to diversify across many loans by factionalising an individual borrower. Diversification is a crucial step lenders must take to mitigate risk. As a lender, you need to check if the platform gives you a diversity of borrowers for investment. It’s always better to spread your  investment across a minimum of 100 loans of different types and risk grades viz. city, risk/returns, loan purpose, gender, caste/community, tenure, loan amount, etc.

Check how strong the risk team is. Who runs the risk department? If required, please speak/write to the CRO. Ideally, the risk team should be of people with a strong track record in risk management and practice. The data science team within the organisation should be responsible and producing analytical work to improve the quality of the decision-making. In India today, not many P2P lending players publish data and statistics about loan purpose, returns, and default ratio on their website. However, serious, long-term players will, because they realise that it’s critical to do so to bring transparency in the system and build lender confidence.

The agreement between the lender and the borrower is “I owe you”  and one can rest assured that the lender has the right to collect what is due to him at any point in the future when say, the country is out of recession or overcomes the impact of a natural disaster. The P2P platform should keep in touch with the borrower and get regular updates on his/her status. Having said that, India’s story looks very positive for the next 10 years.

Asia

Fintech ideas that banks are already stealing (The Middle Ground), Rated: AAA

On the one hand, some forms of Fintech – such as credit card comparison sites and home loan comparison sites – are mostly on the side of the banks. They make most of their money by directing the customers to the banks (more on this below). The banks, of course, tolerate them because they bring in customers.

On the other hand, some forms of Fintech threaten to replace entire segments of the banking business. The P2P lending websites, such as Capital Match and MoolahSense, could well replace banks in the area of small business loans. Most notably, Fintech companies such as Nutmeg have begun to pose a serious threat to the notion of private banking, by replacing the traditional relationship officer or private banker with online wealth management.

Recent developments though, suggest that big banks are taking a third alternative.

And now, Goldman Sachs has become the first bank to launch a P2P lending service. While Fintech lovers often claim that banks lack the innovation and flexibility to match Fintech counterparts, they seem to be forgetting that money is a sort of superpower. The cost of setting up a P2P lending website is peanuts to a bank, and they even have the sheer capital to guarantee loans that go bad.

If a bank launches a P2P site that’s also backed with its own guarantees, it will draw customers from smaller Fintech companies. And unlike those smaller companies, the bank can afford to fail repeatedly.

HSBC is already testing a transaction platform that uses blockchain technology. One of the underlying drivers of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, blockchain is (among other things) a method of verifying transactions.

With blockchain technology, multiple unrelated sources witness the transaction; and it’s not possible for any one party to fabricate it. Think of it as handing money to someone in a dark alley, versus handing money to someone in a well-lit area with 200 witnesses. The latter is fairer and safer.

Fintech sites are filling in many of the problems with traditional banking, but they might be a little overconfident regarding their edge. They might do well to remember second-mover advantage, and that what they’ve build over a decade the banks can pay enough to imitate within the year.

Fintech companies need to pursue that one great quality that banks can’t buy and copy – customer service, and a good relationship with their users. Because if there’s one thing banks – or anyone – can ever own, it’s good service.

Here are the Ten Fintech Firms that Singapore Just Gave S$ 1.15 Million (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

As part of the first annual Fintech Festival, Singapore gifted S$1.15 million to ten different Fintech firms.

The 10 awardees are:

Award         Company Name Prize
ABS Global FinTech Award1 BioCatch S$150,000
MAS FinTech Awards (Singapore Open)2 1st place – fastacash Pte Ltd S$250,000
2nd place – M-DAQ Pte Ltd S$100,000
3rd place – Pole Star Space Applications Ltd S$50,000
MAS FinTech Awards (Singapore SME)3 1st place – Tookitaki S$150,000
2nd place – Turnkey Lender Pte Ltd S$100,000
3rd place – Funding Societies Pte Ltd S$50,000
MAS FinTech Awards (Singapore Founder)4 1st place – CashRun S$150,000
2nd place – Aimazing S$100,000
3rd place – FinChat Technology S$50,000
International

Capgemini launches global fintech initiative (Econotimes), Rated: A

Capgemini, a global leader in consulting, technology and outsourcing, announced that it is launching its global fintech initiative in order to fast-track fintech engagements with its global financial services clients.

The fintech initiative by Capgemini, is aimed to extend beyond the traditional incubator concept to encompass connection, curation, incubation, and investment stages. The initiative will elevate the company as an active participant in the process of validating and evolving the core value propositions of participating companies in collaboration with clients. It will also address challenges in integrating external innovation by bridging gaps in adoption including tech integration, data management, process changes, among others.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor