Monday April 16 2018 Daily News Digest

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News Comments Today’s main news: Goldman buys Clarity Services. Zopa to receive 400M GBP valuation. Lending Works surpasses 100M GBP in online lending. ETHLend expands into fiat lending. Today’s main analysis: PeerIQ’s valuation report. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Why you’re not making much on your bank account. The impact of Brexit. Adjusting to new digital demands. UK venture funding takes a breather. […]

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News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

Goldman Sachs Comes to the App Store (The Wall Street Journal) Rated: AAA

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. bought personal-finance app Clarity Money, acquiring a mobile storefront for its growing consumer bank.

The deal closed on Friday for Clarity Money, whose backers include Soros Capital and Citigroup Inc.’s venture-capital arm. Adam Dell—brother of Michael Dell, the personal-computer pioneer—founded Clarity Money and will join Goldman as a partner, a title rarely given to outsiders.

Strong Bank Earnings, LendIt Update, PeerIQ’s Valuation Report (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Wells Fargo’s earnings also beat analyst expectations, but the bank cautioned that these results could change due to the ongoing CFPB investigations. Consumer loans decreased $9.5 Bn QoQ – more than LendingClub or SoFi originate in a year – driven by a $3.8 Bn decline in auto loans, $1.9 Bn seasonal decline in credit card balances, and a $1.8 Bn decline in the junior lien mortgage portfolio.

 

Source: PeerIQ

PeerIQ’s Valuation Report 

Source: PeerIQ
Source: PeerIQ

Why You’re Still Not Making Much on Your Bank Account (The New York Times), Rated: AAA

After a decade of being near zero, short-term interest rates have risen sharply in recent months. Typically, these rates — three-month T-billsLiborcommercial paper — move together because they reflect the same basic economic reality.

Source: The New York Times

Slow but solid growth in the United States since the Great Recession has finally altered the balance between borrowers and lenders. Higher rates mean those with cash to spare now have the upper hand and can demand a higher price to part with it.

That’s how it’s supposed to work. But as any saver can tell you, some short-term rates have barely budged.

Adjusting to new digital demands goes beyond technology (American Banker) Rated: AAA

One of the dominant themes at the recent Oracle Industry Connect conference was that banking customers are not in a state of transition to digital anymore — they are all digital now.

But whether an institution is drawing up plans on how to respond to big tech firms entering the banking market, or engaged in an effort to overhaul legacy systems, Suber said, the guiding emotion shouldn’t be fear. Instead, he said, bankers should embrace a “golden age of fintech.”

Key’s goal is to use digital to enable self-service when appropriate, while gearing the branch towards serving customers with issues best suited for a one-on-one request.

Regions Bank Announces Partnership With Fintech Mortgage & Consumer Digital Lending Tech Platform Lender Price (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Regions Bank announced on Thursday it has invested in and formed a partnership with fintech mortgage and consumer digital lending technology platform provider, Lender Price. According to the bank, the duo will focus on streamlining Regions’ digital process and simplify interaction between banks, borrowers, and bank.

LendingTree considers moving headquarters to Pineville (WBTV Chorlotte) Rated: A

Online loan marketplace LendingTree is considering moving its headquarters from SouthPark in Charlotte to the Cone Mill site in Pineville.

The company released a statement Thursday concerning the possible move.

In the statement the company said that given its considerable growth since the 2016 purchase of two buildings in SouthPark, their headcount projections have expanded significantly, so they are evaluating alternatives, including Pineville.

Wells Fargo could face $ 1 billion penalty for auto and mortgage abuses (CNN) Rated: A

The beleaguered bank warned on Friday that it may revise its first quarter earnings results because of the fine. The bank says that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency have offered to resolve their investigations for that amount.

Wells Fargo (WFC) apologized last year for charging as many as 570,000 clients for car insurance they didn’t need.

An internal review by Wells Fargo found that about 20,000 of those customers may have defaulted on their car loans and had their vehicles repossessed in part because of those unnecessary insurance costs.

DiversyFund Launches New $ 50 Million Growth Fund for Multifamily and Commercial Real Estate Deals (PR Newswire) Rated: A

DiversyFund, a crowdfunding platform that is revolutionizing real estate investing, has launched its Commercial and Multifamily Real Estate Growth Fund. Investors in this fund will own shares of a variety of real estate investments, with 80% of the fund dedicated to commercial and multifamily properties.

Projected returns are between 15% and 20% per year. The minimum investment is $5,000.

Nonprofit Credit Unions Provide Alternatives to Payday Loans (Nonprofit Quarterly) Rated: A

According to the latest factsheet by the Center For Responsible Lending, over four out of every five payday loans are taken out within the same month of the borrower’s prior loan. In other words, the impetus behind making unaffordable loans is to create demand for additional loans based on deceitful lending practices. As the market for payday lending has grown to $40 billion, the profits from these businesses are directly stripped from low-income consumers with few alternatives. While some legislative efforts have reduced the growth of this market, there are still 12 million US households that use payday loans annually, spending an average of $520 on fees to borrow $375, according to a report from the Pew Charitable Trusts in 2017.

Senate Banking Committee Probes Mulvaney’s Leadership at the CFPB (National Law Review) Rated: A

On April 12, 2018, Mick Mulvaney, the Acting Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Bureau) testified before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs regarding the Bureau’s Semi-Annual Report to Congress.  The Senate Hearing comes the day after Democrats in the House Financial Services Committee questioned Mulvaney about his leadership at the Bureau.  A copy of his written testimony is here.

  • Increased Congressional Oversight. Throughout the hearing, Mulvaney stressed his recommendations for greater oversight to hold the Bureau accountable.
  • Payday Lending. Mulvaney noted, however, that he has the discretion to reach a different conclusion about the payday lending rules than his predecessor, Richard Cordray.
  • Data Security.  While data security was an issue that spanned both sides of the aisle, Republican senators focused on the Bureau’s handling of consumer data while their Democratic colleagues focused on Mulvaney’s position on the Equifax data breach.

As to the Bureau’s handling of data, Mulvaney explained that he has instituted a data freeze and commissioned a report about the Bureau’s data collection and protection.  While the data freeze does not apply to enforcement actions, the Bureau plans “to limit data that we take possession of.  . . . instead of having them send it to us electronically, we are going to look at it.”  Mulvaney acknowledged that “everything that we keep is subject to being lost.”  When Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) asked what data had been lost, Mulvaney declined to publicly comment.

 

Some companies are turning their noses up at Softbank’s huge cash offers (CNBC) Rated: A

SoftBank’s massive Vision Fund said in 2017 that its minimum check size is $100 million. But in the financial-technology market, the number appears to be twice as big.

Executives at a half-dozen fintech companies said the Vision Fund has told them it’s looking to do deals where it can put at least $200 million to work over one or multiple investment rounds. These people asked not to be named because their talks with SoftBank are confidential.

Young Consumers Want Financial Advice (Credit Union Times) Rated: A

Analysts from LIMRA and Life Happens have reported that finding in summaries of results from a joint online survey of 2,082 US. adults

Only 7% of the boomers said they were looking for financial advisors; 41% said they already had advisors and were happy with their advisors.

But 18% of the millennials polled, and 19% of the members of Generation X, said they would like to have advisors and were searching.

Fintechs aiming AI at advisers (Investment News) Rated: B

Dream Forward deploys AI chatbots in its automated 401(k) platform, and is now beta testing a mobile-only version that can answer client questions via text message without requiring customers to log into their accounts.

Laserfiche develops automated workflows for advisers and later this year plans to go one step further with “robotic processes” that will automate even more of advisers’ manual, repetitive front- and back-office tasks.

United Kingdom

Zopa to receive GBP 400mn valuation in new fundraising plans: Sky News (Zephyre) Rated: AAA

UK-based peer-to-peer lender Zopa is in advanced negotiations with potential investors to seek around GBP 50.00 million in funding, helping advance the company to one of the largest financial technology (fintech) businesses in the country, Sky News reported.

Citing sources close to the matter, the broadcaster observed the simple loans and smart investment firm could be valued at GBP 400.00 million as a result of the deal, expected to be led by existing shareholders Wadhawan Global Capital.

In the loop: the continuous woes of traditional retailers (Elite Business) Rated: A

Lender Zopa reportedly targets £400m valuation with new fundraising round

Zopa, the peer-to-peer lender, is planning to raise a £125m round, according to Sky News. This will push the company’s valuation to a soaring £400m and is rumoured to serve as a pre-IPO funding round.

UK VC investment dropped in Q1

Worryingly, it seems as if Brexit has left investors clutching their chequebooks tighter in the first quarter of 2018, according to KPMG Enterprise.

Former P2PFA chair joins Zopa (Bridging & Commercial) Rated: B

Zopa has appointed the former Peer to Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) chair Christine Farnish (pictured above) as chair of its P2P board.

Lending Works Surpasses £100 Million in Online Lending (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

UK-based peer-to-peer lender Lending Works announced this week it surpassed £100 million in online lending. According to Lending Works, the milestone comes just a little over a year after the platform surpassed £50 million. The lender also reported that 20,000 customers (over 16,000 borrowers and nearly 4,000 lenders) have used its platform.

2018 Venture Capital investment in UK takes a breather after a bumper 2017 (Business East Midlands) Rated: AAA

Following a blockbuster year of over 8 billion USD invested within the UK bolstered significantly by multiple mega-rounds, – 2018 still managed to achieve a healthy start, with one $100 million round pushing the nation’s tally over 1 billion USD. The UK played host to seven of the top 10 European deals in the last quarter of 2017, but managed to scrape just one of the 10 in the first quarter of 2018. Four of the ten biggest European deals done in the first three months of 2018 were located in Germany.

What happens when fintech valuations come back down to Earth? (Financial Times) Rated: A

No tech subsector has reached stratospheric valuations as consistently as financial technology, or fintech. The heady combination of huge markets, a radical platform shift to mobile, and newly vulnerable incumbent dinosaurs (be they banks, wealth managers, or insurers) has attracted over $30bn of annual investment. After a decade of evolution, 2018 looks set to be the first year we’ll see a herd of fintech firms go public. At least ten have filed or talked about an impending listing this year, including TransferWise, Credit Karma, Adyen and Funding Circle.

 

 

‘YOU KICK IT’ AND THE ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENT INDUSTRY (All About Alpha) Rated: AAA

The Alternative Investment Management Association, the London-based organization representing the interests of the world’s alternative investment industry, has issued a new whitepaper about the impact of the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union.

The United Kingdom has the largest alternative assets industry in Europe, so AIMA is unsurprisingly interested in the consequences of such an exit.

Read the full report here.

Fintech recruits ahead of open banking ‘tsunami’ (Insider) Rated: A

Scottish fintech business The ID Co is on a recruitment drive ahead of an expected ‘tsunami’ with the advent of so-called open banking.

The Edinburgh-based company helps banks make lending decisions by analysing live financial data including online bank statements, cashflow and credit agency records – and was one of the first agitators for open banking.

 

 

 

Time to think outside the bank? (Love Money) Rated: A

Savers subscribed to 8.5 million Cash ISAs in the tax year ending 5 April 2017, down from 10.1 million the previous year, while the total amount saved tumbled by a third to £39.2 billion.

LendingCrowd’s original IFISA product, the Growth ISA, is designed for those who want a quick and simple way of creating a diversified portfolio of secured business loans.

By automatically reinvesting their interest and capital repayments, the Growth ISA has actually delivered an average return for investors of 8.5% – more than three times the rate of inflation – as shown in the chart below.

Source: Love Money

 

China

 

 

Technology and eCommerce Are Now Driving China’s Small Businesses’ to Success (eSeller Cafe) Rated: B

According to the recent survey, Mainland China’s small businesses are the top users of fintech application and in digital payment technologies. More than 84 percent of the survey’s respondents say that at least 10 percent of their overall revenue came via these platforms. Businesses also use fintech to access funds from crowd-sourced funding and peer-to-peer lending.

 

European Union

EU Banks Losing Profits, Lending Ability Because Of Reforms, Report Says (PYMNTS) Rated: A

The Association for Financial Markets (AFME) in Europe wants regulators to curb the development of aggressive bank regulation, according to Reuters reports on Thursday (April 12).

The bank lobby has released a study aimed at reducing regulators’ heavy hand in the financial services market that the group said has made it more difficult for banks in Europe to support the broader economy in the wake of the financial crisis.

The AFME released a report along with PwC which surveyed 13 international banks, accounting for a combined 70 percent of capital market activity around the world, reports said. Analysis found the annual cost of regulation costs $37 billion for 13 banks combined, amounting to 39 percent of total capital markets expenses in 2016.

International

ETHLend Expands to FIAT Lending, Initiating Licensing Process (Finance Magnates) Rated: AAA

ETHLend, a crypto-to-crypto lending platform, has started a process to obtain a license on lending activities in over thirty countries in the European Economic Area (EEA). ETHlend’s initiative will also include other countries as well with its helping expand its current business model (crypto-to-crypto lending) to provide financing in FIAT currencies such as EUR, USD, and GBP against cryptocurrency holdings.

 

Everything You Need To Know About What’s Coming ‘Round The Corner (PYMNTS) Rated: A

In payments and commerce, it’s an eternity. Too long, according to ZestFinance, a company that believes credit needs a machine learning upgrade. Trulioo thinks verification needs to step up so financial institutions can actually “know their customer.” Global cross-border payments between businesses need a major boost to support the trillion dollars worth of transactions they’ve have to support in five years.

Source: PYMNTS

12 Selected Finalists at the 2017 Seedstars World Prize (Tech in Africa) Rated: B

RedCapital from Chile is a crowdfunding P2P lending startup. It offers a platform through which investors get attractive returns at low risk. Furthermore, the SMEs acquire loans at favorable rates. The startup has a risk predictor that allows its investors to realize zero default.

Australia

 

Latitude Financial pledges to grow lending responsibly and profitably (Australia Financial Review) Rated: AAA

Unsecured personal lender and ASX-aspirant Latitude Financial is targeting up to $5 billion of new loans over the next few years as its chief executive Sean Morrissey insists it can grow responsibly amid heightened scrutiny on lending standards.

During a “non-deal roadshow” over the past month, Latitude has met with around 100 fund managers ahead of what is expected to be the biggest ASX initial public offering since Medibank Private in 2014. Latitude’s three shareholders, KKR & Co, Varde Partners and Deutsche Bank, have not yet made a decision on timing for the float, which could value the equity in the group at around $5 billion.

N2N Connect expanding into P2P lending (The Edge Markets) Rated: A

Maintain outperform with an unchanged target price (TP) of RM1.53: N2N announced plans to acquire a 28% interest in Australian-based OurMoneyMarket Holdings Pty Ltd (OMM) through a subscription of new shares for a cash consideration of A$2.8 million (RM8.43 million).

India

Aye Finance receives 30 cr debt funding from Swiss investor (Business Line) Rated: AAA

Online lender from micro businesses Aye Finance said that it has received Rs 30 crore debt funding from from Swiss-based impact investor, BlueOrchard Finance Ltd. The funds would help the MSME lender to further diversify its lending portfolio, reaching out to the long trail of MSMEs in India.

Fintech company Cash Suvidhakeen to enter microfinance biz (Business Line) Rated: A

Cash Suvidha, a start-up fintech company that extends business loans to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups, is looking to foray into microfinance business.

According to Rajesh Gupta, founder, Cash Suvidha, the company is exploring the possibility of either acquiring an existing microfinance institution (MFI) or setting up a separate vertical for its MFI business in the next two-to-three years.

“Rural lending is one area which excites me the most,” Gupta told BusinessLine.

Asia

After rounding off 2017 at a remarkable high bolstered by megadeals, Asia continued to see large deals in Q1 2018. These include two US$1 billion+ megadeals which were struck outside China, with Singapore-based Grab’s Series G financing and Go-Jek in Indonesia’s Series E round.

“Singapore saw a record US$2.68 billion of VC investment in Q1 2018, despite a relatively muted level of activity. It is testament to the maturing of Singapore’s ecosystem that a business such as Grab could be built here to tackle the regional market. In addition, the top deals in Singapore also span across diverse sectors, from logistics, internet retail to biotechnology,” said Chia Tek Yew, head of Financial Services Advisory, KPMG in Singapore.

UOB, China fintech Pintec team up to offer credit services in South-east Asia (Straits Times) Rated: A

United Overseas Bank (UOB) has entered into an agreement with Beijing-based financial technology firm Pintec Technology Holdings to set up a joint venture company, Avatec.ai.

UOB will have a 60 per cent stake in the joint venture, the bank said in a regulatory filing on Monday (April 16).

Avatec will have an issued and paid-up capital of up to S$10 million and will be a subsidiary of UOB.

Alternative finance the option for millennials (Financial Standard) Rated: A

Speaking at the AltFi Australasia Summit in Sydney today, OnDeck chief executive Noah Breslow said he can see the Australian alternative finance industry working with $2 billion in new loan volumes by 2020. He expects the industry to oversee about $700 million in new loans this year.

“Compared to five years ago, 70% of small business owners perceive there are more small business lending options today than there were in 2013. It shows how mainstream this type of financing is becoming,” Breslow said.

Equifax group managing director Asia Pacific, Mike Cutter, said 54% of online lending enquiries come from Australians 35-years-old and under. And Queensland is leading the charge, he said.

Singapore Weary Of Forcing Open Banking On FinServ Market (Pymnts) Rated: A

Singapore is ready for open banking, but regulators don’t want to force it on the financial services market, according to reports in Bloomberg.

Bloomberg highlighted how Singapore’s approach differs from open banking initiatives in Europe and Japan, where regulators have imposed requirements for banks and other financial institutions to support the movement of data between their systems and those of third-party financial service providers. Such was the aim of PSD2 in Europe and Open Banking in the U.K.

Singapore fintech startup Silot raises almost US$ 3m in pre-Series A funding (Business Times) Rated: A

SINGAPORE-headquartered fintech company Silot has raised some US$2.87 million from investors Arbor Ventures and Eight Roads Ventures with the completion of its pre-series A funding.

Arbor Ventures is a global early-stage venture capital firm, while Eight Roads Ventures is the proprietary investment arm of Fidelity International.

OJK to relax muscles in next fintech regulation (The Jakarta Post) Rated: B

The Financial Services Authority (OJK) has adopted a more relaxed view toward the financial technology (fintech) industry, believing that rigid policies may only make them obsolete in the face of fast-growing businesses in the digital sector.The financial regulator already has a policy, called OJK Regulation (POJK) No. 77/2016, which governs peer-to-peer (P2P) lending fintech companies.

Flat loan growth positive for banks (The Edge Markets) Rated: A

After missing loan growth targets in 2017, several Malaysian banks have kept expectations more conservative this year, even as Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) data indicated a moderation in the total outstanding financing growth of 4.1% in 2017 compared with 5.6% in 2016.

 

 

Almost 50 peer-to-peer lending businesses licensed with OJK (The Jakarta Post) Rated: A

OJK deputy commissioner Sukarela Batunanggar said as of April, there were 44 P2P lending businesses that had been granted operational permits by the authority. This figure, he said, was a considerable increase from just 30 P2P lending businesses in January, indicating robust growth in the industry.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor