Monday July 31 2017, Daily News Digest

credit card issuers

News Comments Today’s main news: RateSetter tops 2B GBP in lending. P2P Global Investments holds steady. P2P Finance Association reports new lending growth. One of China’s largest P2P lenders quits. BNI Europa invests 15M Euro in Creditshelf. Marqeta, Visa partner on global payments. Prospa secures $20M debt facility. Today’s main analysis: Bank and credit card issuer charge-off trends. Today’s thought-provoking articles: […]

credit card issuers

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Middle East

Africa

News Summary

United States

Earnings Season Continues—Bank and Card Issuer Charge-Off Trends (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

As PeerIQ observed last quarter, we continue to see a “tale of two cities”–a divergence in charge-off rates of card issuers and large money center banks.

Discover reported a 55% increase in loan loss reserves citing re-normalization of credit performance, an increased supply of consumer credit, and an increase in consumer leverage. We also see observe increases in loan loss reserves from Synchrony Financial (30%), American Express (26%), and Capital One (13%).

Source: PeerIQ, Bloomberg

Outlook for Consumer Lending 

The backdrop for consumer lending businesses is strong. Although delinquencies have picked up, originators remain compensated for taking on credit risk. The ROE for Discover and American Express are both over 20% as compared to C, JPM, WFC, and BAC where ROE remains stubbornly low in the 6 to 11% range. Also, consumer loan demand continues to grow (total loan requests on Lending Tree increased 48% year-over-year to 5.4 Mn).

The biggest challenge to the above state-of-play is the latest scale entrant to the retail banking business–Goldman Sachs. GS’s new lending business, Marcus, is on pace to originate $2 Bn in loans this year–the fastest growth rate of any lender that PeerIQ tracks.

Inside seven plans for a faster U.S. payments system (American Banker), Rated: AAA

A task force convened by the Federal Reserve has released its evaluations of 16 proposals to build a faster U.S. payment system. The plans were judged by the task force’s consulting firm, McKinsey & Co., based on how well they satisfied 36 criteria related to speed, security and other attributes.

EastWest ties up with PLDT unit (Inquirer.net), Rated: A

Gotianun-led EastWest Banking Corp. has teamed up with FINTQ, the technology arm of PLDT and Smart’s Voyager Innovations, to offer consumer loans through digital lending platform Lendr.

With this partnership, consumer-focused lender EastWest will make available personal loans and auto loans through Lendr by the fourth quarter of this year. Eventually, the offering will also include EastWest home loans, small and medium enterprise (SME) loans and credit cards.

Providing well-rounded financial advice and servicing through automated technologies (CGI.com), Rated: A

While robo-advice may account for only a fraction of the total assets under management today, it is a technology that is here to stay—but not in the way that has dominated news stories. Rather than supplanting the financial advisor with technology, firms need to leverage new multi-channel automation to empower their advisors to focus on value-added, relationship-building activities. In this paper, we look at how wealth management players can focus on getting to the right combination of human advisors and automated investment advisory solutions in a hybrid model that seamlessly integrates the two.

Read the paper here.

Overstock’s TØ Has Already Built a Platform for Trading Regulated ICOs (Coindesk), Rated: A

US retail giant Overstock.com has been waiting for the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to tell the world exactly when a crypto token is a security.

Then, earlier this week, tØ got the news it had been waiting for when the SEC finally published the results of a landmark report in which it clearly laid out its rationale for why some tokens are still securities.

Long a detractor of a practice called “naked short selling” – where traders methodically bid down the price of stock by selling shares they haven’t first procured, Byrne set about using blockchain to cut out everyone who stood in the way of buyers and sellers.

BLOCKCHAIN AND INITIAL COIN OFFERINGS: SEC PROVIDES FIRST U.S. SECURITIES LAW GUIDANCE (Pepper Hamilton LLP), Rated: A

For those who hoped that the SEC would allow cryptocurrency and ICO markets to evolve unregulated, their hopes were dashed by the report and the bulletin. The SEC did not outlaw ICOs by any stretch of the imagination, but it did indicate that, depending on the facts and circumstances, an ICO may indeed involve an offering of securities. In that case, organizations that proceed without registering with the SEC or that structure the offering in such a manner so as to qualify for an exemption from registration will violate federal securities laws. The remedies for such a violation include rescission of the offering, cease-and-desist orders, fines and penalties, bans from participating in the securities industry, bans on serving as an officer or director of a public company, and, in the most egregious cases, referral to the local U.S. Attorney for possible criminal prosecution. So, whether an offering involves a “security” is a very important initial determination.

Inside the development of Erica, Bank of America’s AI-powered bot (Tearsheet), Rated: A

However, when Bank of America got a sense of the vision for its AI-enabled “digital assistant,” called erica, it didn’t take the bank long to gather the resources necessary to make her real.However, when Bank of America got a sense of the vision for its AI-enabled “digital assistant,” called erica, it didn’t take the bank long to gather the resources necessary to make her real.

The bot is now in the beta testing phase.

Fintech Apps and Banking Mobile App Development for Startups (Upwork), Rated: A

Paypal is the world leader in processing payment apps today. The app for Android and iOS devices provides the same functionality as the online Paypal.com service.

A good choice for small businesses Due.com lets users benefit from a convenient digital wallet, invoicing service and fast operations handled at low transaction rates.

iZettle also efficiently serves small businesses. What this fintech app does perfectly is that it allows small business owners accept cash and credit card payments from a smartphone or tablet. With additional cash drawers and receipt printers from iZettle one can also provide customers with printed or online receipts.

Another interesting example of a successful fintech app is Mobikwik. Now with the base of 50 million users Mobikwik offers a user-friendly digital wallet, which has become a real substitute of a physical purse for its users worldwide.

In regards to the ways of making personal loans an easier experience for users, LendUp offers just one of them. It’s a web application (also available for mobile) that lets users from selected US states apply for a short-term loan 24/7.

Citi Mobile is one of the leading mobile apps for iOS and Android mobile devices introduced by Citibank. According to Business Insider, the app has significantly grown in popularity mainly due to addition of FICO scorefeature.

Rating the Robo-Advisors (Barrons), Rated: A

By tech start-up standards, robo-advisors are already approaching middle age. Betterment, the pioneering robo-advisor and still the largest of the independent firms, turned seven in May. It now has $9.1 billion in assets under management.

Lawmaker Queries Alt-Lenders With Concerns Over ‘Trapped’ Small Biz Borrowers (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (D-Mo.) has reportedly sent letters to five alternative SMB lending companies with questions regarding borrower protections, anti-discrimination efforts, transparency and other factors.

Cleaver is reportedly seeking details of the companies’ business models and products offered to small businesses, how those products are originated, information on fees and rates and whether these businesses offer borrowers a repayment plan based on future credit card receivables, reports said.

The lawmaker is also seeking information on how these lenders handle transparency and whether they make disclosures to SMBs the same way they do to consumers as required under the Truth in Lending Act. He is also asking about whether these firms pull a consumer credit report for small business lending.

The SEC’s ICO crackdown will help in the long-run. (The Financial Revolutionist Email), Rated: A

But unless your plan was to make a quick billion in ICOs in time to ring in 2018 with Payments deal activity is en fuego.

Also in payments land, 

What is “working capital”? And how can it help my small business? (OnDeck), Rated: A

For many business owners, it makes sense to borrow funds to create a liquid cash cushion to operate their business to the best of their ability. Before you decide to borrow, you need to understand what your working capital needs are and to make sure numbers make sense for you and your business.

3 Reasons Why the Finance Industry Needs VR (UploadVR), Rated: A

The finance industry is one of the most data-driven trades, and by visualizing and analyzing data in VR, early adopters can get a leg up on the competition. Not only can VR improve the way data is viewed, but it can also improve the level of communication through the use of a shared virtual office (SVO). This is immensely important because, in the high stakes world of finance, a mistake or lapse in communication could cost millions of dollars.

The Biggest Trends in Home Mortgage Loans We’ve Seen This Year (Huffington Post), Rated: B

Typical of hot real estate markets, there’s a cycle. Home prices rise, people catch on and want in, and then they decide to sell. Soon, even more people jump in the market and serious sellers make their sale, causing inventory to thin. Buyers get wise to the overheated marketplace and decide to wait until the prices come down. The sellers who are eager to make a buck overprice their houses and when they don’t sell, they become income properties. As a result, the rental markets fill up with income properties, and the inventory continues to thin out.

We are at historic lows for mortgage rates, and they are not going to spike that drastically in the next year that it would preclude you from getting a solid thirty-year fixed rate loan.  The important thing is that you do NOT overpay for a home.

GE Alum Brings Discipline to High-Growth Financial Firm (CFO), Rated: B

After 16 years at General Electric, Chris Capozzi was still a young man. That was because he’d joined the company upon graduating from Boston College, where he earned a degree in finance and management information systems.

Eventually, one of the alumni introduced Capozzi to Stone Point Capital, which had just become a major investor in Freedom Financial Network, a privately held financial services firm. Everything clicked with the company’s co-founders and co-CEOs, Bradford Stroh and Andrew Housser, so Capozzi moved across the country to start work as Freedom’s CFO at the beginning of this year.

What kinds of opportunities are you focused on?

Secondly, we’re in the process of developing a securitization platform to complement our existing sources of capital and further expand our investor base, which will enable the growth on the marketplace lending side. Initially the plan is to securitize unsecured consumer loans, very similar to what other marketplace lenders, like SoFi and Avant, have done.

United Kingdom

Peer-to-peer lender RateSetter passes £2 billion lending milestone (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lender RateSetter announced on Monday that it has passed £2 billion in loans over its platform, with more than £1 billion of the total made since the beginning of 2016.

About £1.3 billion of the total lent has gone to individuals, with £700 million going to businesses. The company now has 423,000 customers, the majority of whom are borrowers, more than any other UK peer-to-peer lender.

P2P fund holds steady on dividend (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Onerous banking regulations will continue to hamper growth in regulatory capital‐intensive lending asset classes, according to the investment managers of the £821m P2P Global Investments trust.

The fund is moving away from a pure P2P play, instead transitioning more into direct lending and other Alternative Credit niches. Its manager MW Eaglewood is also merging with Pollen Street Capital, which while still on-going, is expected to close later this year subject to regulatory approval. Pollen Street is also the manager of £359m Honeycomb investment trust which invests in direct lending assets.

Source: AltFi Data

P2PFA reports growth in new lending as LendInvest departs (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

CUMULATIVE lending among the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) members in the second quarter of 2017 fell slightly to £8.39bn, due to LendInvest’s departure from the trade body.

However, new lending among the members has still grown significantly year on year, the P2PFA said on Friday.

The number of investors in P2PFA member-platforms has now hit 185,652, the trade body said, while the number of current borrowers has risen to 435,267.

UK P2PFA: Peer to Peer Lending Rises in Q2 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Q3 2016

Q4 2016

Q1 2017

Q2 2017

Folk2Folk

£139,344,302

£161,408,804

Funding Circle

£1,524,427,000

£1,830,397,245

£2,158,457,107

£2,455,740,443

Landbay

£42,948,000

£43,142,119

£43,975,419

£46,515,723

LendInvest

£776,112,000

£855,354,293

£971,875,952

Lending Works

£33,636,000

£39,368,050

£48,864,686

£58,441,220

MarketInvoice

£754,325,000

£837,793,900

£918,450,994

£1,018,021,696

RateSetter

£1,442,743,000

£1,604,406,564

£1,815,320,079

£1,995,142,453

ThinCats

£196,907,000

£211,446,000

£226,981,000

£242,540,000

Zopa

£1,731,685,000

£1,926,038,724

£2,172,561,894

£2,409,257,844

Total

£6,502,783,000

£7,347,946,895

£8,495,831,433

£8,387,068,183

The LendInvest bond promises to pay investors 5.25% with two payments a year until 2022 (This is Money), Rated: A

Alternative property lender and investment platform LendInvest has launched a five-year bond paying 5.25 per cent a year for investors with a minimum of £2,000.

In an era of one per cent savings rates and where yields ranging beyond 5 per cent are hard to come by in the equity markets, this deal is sure to whet the appetite of many investors – particularly as it comes with twice-yearly payouts.

LendInvest’s Christian Faes On Why Property Investing Is Still Going Strong (Forbes), Rated: A

According to Christian Faes, CEO and co-founder of LendInvest, the retail bond serves a number of purposes – it allows the business to diversify its funding and expand its capacity to lend to property professionals, but also creates a new entry point into property for investors.

He explains:

[The retail bond] is launching at a critical time when demand in the UK’s residential property market continues to outstrip supply. There’s a serious lack of capital available to professional property investors who buy, build, refurbish and renovate homes for UK streets. Our model allows us – and by extension our investors – to support these people and small businesses.

Faes says that it is difficult to pin down what a typical LendInvest investor looks like; the investor base ranges from those looking to build a portfolio of property loans on the firm’s online investment platform all the way up to pension funds, infrastructure funds and banks.

Fintech company DueCourse goes into administration (Manchester Evening News), Rated: A

Manchester fintech company DueCourse has called in administrators.

This comes less than a year after the cloud-based invoice financing service for SMEs was boosted by a £6.25m investment, the largest seen outside of London for a fintech firm.

Bosses said the money will be used to expand and grow its software with plans to raise a further £10-15m to grow its services worldwide.

Abundance Tops £50 Million in P2P Invesment into Renewable Energy Projects (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Abundance Investment, a UK based peer to peer lending platform in the renewable energy sector, has just topped £50 million in investment, according to a company report. Management said the “huge” popularity of its IFISA and three highly popular renewable projects from tidal, geothermal and energy efficiency technologies helped to fuel the recent growth. Abundance says three projects have attracted more than £10 million of new investment in less than 2 months.

  • Atlantis tidal energy debenture has sold out raising £4.3 million,
  • Green Deal bond will close in 4 days’ time and has raised £3.95 million to date
  • United Downs Geothermal project has raised 60% of its £3.8 million target (£2.7m) in less than a week.

New products and milestones for ethical P2P platforms (AltFi), Rated: A

Investors looking for ethical options now have more choices when it comes to peer-to-peer lending.

Lending platform Downing Crowd has launched two regular access crowd bonds, with one for a renewable energy generation and storage company.

Cash management and peer-to-peer lending could boost your balance sheet (Director), Rated: A

With inflation on the rise but interest rates at an all-time low in the UK – and some high-street banks even raising the prospect of charging commercial customers to keep deposits – companies’ savings may actually be losing value in real terms.

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em

Over the past few years a new way to potentially beat the banks has emerged – one that plays them at their own game. Called property-backed peer-to-peer lending, it gives companies the opportunity to be the lending bank themselves.

One of the fastest-growing products of this type is Choice, offered by Octopus Investments, an experienced investment company that manages more than £6bn of assets.

Working with a growing roster of challenger banks, Octopus can offer a savings product that currently provides an interest rate of more than one per cent.

This week in MoneyWeek: banks are back (MoneyWeek), Rated: A

Banks have been out of favour for the last ten years after they almost brought the global financial system to its knees.

So why would anybody invest in them? Oddly, one reason is “the failure by politicians to enforce a key promise” – that no bank would ever become “too big to fail” again. “In every developed country”, says Jonathan, the big banks have just got bigger. The “never again” promises have been replaced with “complex rules to strengthen bank capital, thus reducing the chances of collapse”. Another reason is that “banking has changed for the better” – governance has improved and customer satisfaction has shot up.

Why Banks Can’t Help But Help Fintechs (Fintech Weekly), Rated: B

It remains to be seen if any bank can ever do what the music industry is in the process of doing – taking back “their” industry by becoming the pre-eminent innovators. Such a thought might be laughable right now. But a word of caution on laughing too soon – if they do realise how to leverage their enormous power, accept that legacy systems must be overhauled and replaced wth the truly innovate, and execute such a strategy well, would you bet against them retaining and entrenching their dominance?

For now and the foreseeable future, most banks prefer to sit back and avoid risk. Really the risk lies in doing nothing and inviting a slow death by a thousand cuts. OK, yes, you can talk about record bank investment in fintech, cooperation between banks and fintechs – again, this is only helping fintechs move in on bank stomping ground.

China

One of China’s biggest P2P lenders quits ahead of clampdown (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

China’s pending regulatory crackdown on the $120bn peer-to-peer lending industry has claimed its first scalp before it has even begun, with one of the biggest players saying it will wind up its business in an industry full of bad loans and no profits.

P2P lending, in which borrowers are matched with investors via online platforms, has mushroomed in the past five years, with China boasting more than 2,100 such platforms, but so too have scandals. Last year was marked by multibillion-dollar scams in China and a governance scandal that rocked New York-listed LendingClub.

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Beijing this month said it would delay regulations that will bar online lenders from guaranteeing principal or interest on loans they facilitate, cap the size of loans at Rmb1m for individuals and Rmb5m for companies, and force lenders to use custodian banks — a requirement only a fraction of the industry has met so far.

Three more Chinese banks join Swift’s global payments innovation (Banking Technology), Rated: A

Three local Chinese commercial banks have joined Swift’s global payments innovation initiative (gpi), bringing the number of Chinese banks involved to 16, the most in the world, according to Xinhua.

The new trio are Yinzhou Bank and Bank of Ningbo in eastern China’s Zhejiang province; and the Bank of Jiangsu, in the eastern Jiangsu province (and just south of Zhejiang).

Embrace the cardless era, CUP launched the electronic account cloud flash, or its Jedi fight back (TMT Post), Rated: A

A few days ago, UnionPay cloud flash together with Apple Pay launched promotional activities; early June, CUP also joined nearly 10 million businesses to create “62 CUP cloud flash to the whole people Sheng Hui.” Looks, CUP is imitating Alipay, WeChat to pay the subsidy routine.

Can you imagine using your Jingdong or US group (the new US big) account, you can pay through the UnionPay POS machine? Do not scan, do not have to swipe, do not open the APP, just need to close the POS machine and verify the fingerprint can be completed to pay.

The point is that you do not need to use the bank card account directly, but through the Jingdong or US group to pay the account, you can use the phone in the UnionPay POS machine to complete the payment.

European Union

BNI Europa invests EUR15 million in Creditshelf (Finextra), Rated: AAA

In Banco BNI Europa (“BNI Europa”), Creditshelf has succeeded in acquiring another strategic partner to help it provide financing to small and medium-sized undertakings (SMEs).

The online marketplace that specialises in SME financing, and the Bank, which operates throughout Europe, have agreed that Banco BNI Europa will invest up to 15 million Euro in the credit platform over the coming months.

Your Banker Is Always In: Sweden Rolls Out the Robots (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Aida is the perfect employee: always courteous, always learning and, as she says, “always at work, 24/7, 365 days a year.”

Aida, of course, is not a person but a virtual customer-service representative that SEB AB, one of Sweden’s biggest banks, is rolling out. The goal is to give the actual humans more time to engage in more complex tasks.

Besides Aida at SEB, there’s Nova, which is a chatbot Nordea Bank AB is introducing at its life and pensions unit in Norway. Swedbank AB is adding to the skills of its virtual assistant, Nina. All three are designed to sound like women, based on research suggesting customers feel more comfortable with female voices.

International

Marqeta & Visa Ink Global Partnership to Power Payments & Loans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Visa (NYSE: V) and Marqeta, a payment card issuing platform that can provide consumers with immediate loans, has announced a global partnership to propel innovations in commercial and consumer payments in lending. Visa has also made a strategic investment in Marqeta and led a $25 million funding round that included the participation of previous Marqeta investors including Commerce Ventures, 83 North, Granite Ventures, IA Capital, and CommerzVentures GmbH, as well as new investor CreditEase in China, one of the world’s largest alternative lender.

15 ‘RegTech’ Investors Every Fintech Startup Needs to Know (Entrepreneur), Rated: A

  1. Octopus Ventures
  2. SeventySix Capital
  3. Summer Capital
  4. Carrick Capital Partners
  5. EQT Ventures
  6. Insight Venture Partners
  7. JMI Equity
  8. Aquiline Capital Partners LLC
  9. Sageview Capital
  10. Accel Partners
  11. Warburg Pincus
  12. HarbourVest
  13. Digital Currency Group
  14. TTV Capital
  15. Balderton Capital
Australia

Online lender secures $ 20m debt facility (Australian Broker), Rated: AAA

Digital online lender Prospa has secured a $20m debt facility from the Australian arm of a US-based commercial finance provider, Partners for Growth (PFG).

Fintechs target millennials with online financial services (The Australian), Rated: A

Millennials are likely to fall into three categories:

• Inheritors: With wealthy parents, they are major consumers while they wait to inherit.

• Strivers: Coming from a more modest background, they are studying, saving and working hard with ambitions for promotion. They will borrow to support their lifestyle, not unlike inheritors.

• Given-ups: They are more likely earning a low salary but continue to consume as much as the other two categories. Buying a house is not on the agenda, so they do not see the point in saving.

And 71 per cent of millennials, according to Viacom’s Millennial Disruption Index, would rather go to the dentist than to the bank.

India

i2ifunding looks to break even by second half of FY20 (DNA India), Rated: AAA

i2ifunding.com, a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform, today said it aims to break even by the second half of 2019-20, given its robust growth in the last two years and promising outlook in the next two years.

It has a vision to scale up this disbursement up to Rs 200 crore over the next two years, i2ifunding.com said in a statement.

Fin-tech startup Finomena shuts down after failing to raise funding (The Indian Wire), Rated: A

Finomena, a startup which provided small ticket loans to students and young professionals, has shut down after failing to raise pre-Series A funding round.

The company is now no longer accepting new users on its website.

FinMomenta to introduce new products; targets SMEs (Deccan Herald), Rated: A

After working in a bank for many years, Brahma Mahesh and his friend decided to do something in the burgeoning FinTech space. They zeroed in on lending, as only 5-6% of the population is covered by banks and NBFCs. Mahesh, along with four other co-founders, started FinMomenta last year, and launched its first product ‘Tachyloans’, a peer-to-peer lending platform in May this year.

FreeCharge’s acquisition is proof that the Axis of Indian banking is changing (Quartz), Rated: A

In the next five years, almost 50% of the world’s financial services are planning to acquire fintech startups, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. Collaborations, too, are expected to increase, with eight out of 10 companies waiting to partner with these new players, the report added.

Some 67% of senior Indian financial sector executives believe their business is at risk following the rise of fintech firms, and 95% of them were willing to explore partnership with them, a separate report by PwC released this April revealed.

On July 27, Axis Bank, the country’s third-largest private sector lender, acquired FreeCharge, a payments application and mobile-wallet company, for Rs385 crore ($60 million). This is the first such deal in the sector, potentially setting off more such transactions in the future, believe experts.

These serial entrepreneurs are offering bank products through an Ola-Uber model (YourStory), Rated: A

Five-month-old fintech startup Cashcow, which provides banking services and products to a customer at his doorstep, has expanded its operations to seven cities including Delhi, Kolkata, Pune, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Chennai. 

Joining fintech company Rubique as a chief product officer in 2016 introduced him to Manish Aggarwal, his future co-founder, who was leaving the startup at that point.

According to the founders, Cashcow is a platform providing banking services and products to a customer at his doorstep.

Can Regulatory Sandbox Nurture India’s FinTech Innovation? (CXO Today), Rated: A

The Indian financial services sector is undergoing major changes today. With more than 600 startups in the space of lending, payments, insurance and trading space, Fintech startups are not only spearheading innovation, but are also prompting traditional banks and financial institutions to explore new technologies and investing heavily in digital service delivery channels.

However, fintech startups unlike others face additional challenges of operating in a heavily regulated industry and have stiff competition as their key competitors are well established banking players. To overcome this challenge, experts believe, adopting a “Regulatory Sandbox” based approach where the regulator works closely with emerging Fintech firms make better sense.

Asia

Finca launches Pakistan’s first ever digital wallet (Daily Pakistan), Rated: AAA

FINCA Microfinance Bank, one of the fastest growing microfinance banks in Pakistan, has announced a movement to make digital commerce and payments free in the country.

SimSim, a mobile payment platform, was introduced in partnership with Finja – an internationally funded FinTech startup – at a launch event Thursday night at Mohatta Palace, Karachi. The event was attended by major industry stakeholders, government officials, artists, tech enthusiasts and media figures.

SimSim will give people access to frictionless payment options directed towards a diverse pool of merchants.

Middle East

Bahrain’s FinTech Sector Loses Ground to Dubai (Cryptocoins News), Rated: AAA

Africa

FINTECH Association of Nigeria debuts to support development of the financial technology industry (PR Share), Rated: AAA

Over 25 FinTech companies attended the recent inaugural meeting of FTAN – FinTech Association of Nigeria – which principal objective is to serves as a platform for the development of the financial technology industry in Nigeria and to be a forum for the exchange of ideas and dissemination of information by and between various stakeholders in the industry. 

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

July 7th 2016, Daily News Digest

July 7th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments United States EarnUp raises a $3mil seed round to help 200 million consumers smooth their loan repayment experience. Could EarnUp be a good lead source for lenders ? Or a good alternative data source ? A great table of MPL raises and valuations from CrunchBase, who claims that data hints at future down […]

July 7th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

  • EarnUp raises a $3mil seed round to help 200 million consumers smooth their loan repayment experience. Could EarnUp be a good lead source for lenders ? Or a good alternative data source ?
  • A great table of MPL raises and valuations from CrunchBase, who claims that data hints at future down rounds for marketplace lenders. However, we have recently seen BizFi, Promise Financial and more raising good rounds at decent terms. Perhaps there is a difference between fund-raising for mature MPLs and fund-raising for challenger Alt Lending 3.0 start-ups.
  • Very interesting 1st hand data from Morningstar about the state of US consumer debt, including trends and statistics. Credit Cards charge-off rate chart, 90 days delinquent data per asset class.
  • 500 Startups shares fintech investment trends chart and data and discussed government policies that could and should enable fintech innovation.
  • Through the survey of France’s P2P and MPL lenders, a great analysis of the lessons learned from Lending Club’s crisis.
  • Securitization trends in Marketplace Lending. A must read.
  • Acquiring borrowers is difficult. Acquiring borrowers at purchase decision time is easier. Focusing on point-of-sale partnerships to generate credit demand is a very interesting direction which is, therefore, popular and gaining ground. A quick article as a reminder of this interesting direction.
  • Royal of Canada dumped 99.5% of their LC stock in Q1 2016. Interesting timing.

Australia

  • Getting SME lender’s loan data is at best difficult. In a space where we talk about transparency, SME originator’s data is a good example of the opposite. RateSetter stands out for publishing their data which lead to a nice summary, mostly figure based, article. I am not sure if this data is from RateSetter Australia only or includes other geographies.

United Kingdom

  • A small article, that is not well researched, not well documented, but asks a question that is worth exploring a lot more “How can p2p lending companies fail, and what happens in that case ?” . The quick and dirty answer is: if they are setup right, where the operations and the loan books are separate with backup servicing, the only effect is that new loans stop being generated. We would love to publish a long article on this matter.

European Union

 

United States

Paying Loans Sucks – FinTech Startup EarnUp Lands Million To Intelligently Automate Payments, (PR Newswire) ,Rated: AAA

 EarnUp, a consumer-first fintech platform that intelligently automates loan payments, announced its launch today with $3 million in seed funding.  Blumberg Capital, Kapor Capital, Camp One Ventures, Fenway Summer Ventures, and other leading angel investors provided seed capital to accelerate the platform’s development and expand user access with a mission to improve consumer financial health. Forbes recently announced EarnUp as a winner of the prestigious Financial Solutions Lab in partnership with JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) and the Center for Financial Services Innovation. Though still in private beta, EarnUp already manages hundreds of millions of dollars in consumer loans on its platform. More information is available at www.EarnUp.com.

“Millions of Americans suffer financial stress from income volatility, where their income doesn’t match up with when loan payments are due,” said Matthew Cooper, co-founder of EarnUp. “Our product solves this issue by effectively budgeting for the consumer. We help put money aside as it comes in, giving people peace of mind in knowing the money they need will be there when loan payments need to be made. We give control back to the consumer.”

There are over 200 million Americans with debt and a typical household may have income and expenses hitting their bank accounts over 20 times a month. This financial chaos causes incredible stress for consumers, who may struggle to come up with even the minimum loan payments on time. EarnUp works by automatically putting a few dollars aside for future loan payments whenever consumers can afford it, then sending those payments and making sure they are applied in a way that reduces debt faster.

EarnUp has been bootstrapped to date and the $3 million in seed financing represents the company’s first institutional funding.

Data hints at down rounds, but not wipeout, for marketplace lending, ( TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Comment: This is bad news for entrepreneurs. VCs usually have terms that protect them in a down round.

Private valuations across the lending space, where available, showed marked appreciation in 2014 and 2015. SoFi, for instance, was valued at $3.5 billion as of July, up from about 1.4 billion in early 2015 and $400 million in early 2014.

Those are post-money values, but the appreciation is well in excess of the sums invested. Avant showed a similar rise, with its post-money valuation doubling in less than a year. And Prosper more than doubled in less than a year, hitting a $1.8 billion valuation in April of last year.

Alternative lending currently looks like the reverse of the standard VC model, in which private markets are where one builds a business, and public markets are where one gets a lucrative exit.

That said, while we can expect down rounds near-term, it’s not clear VCs will lose their shirts in marketplace lending forays, particularly those who were mid- or early-stage investors.

High VC ownership levels mean that even a lackluster exit could return all or more of invested capital. Even after LendingClub’s stock plummet, for instance, VC’s post-IPO stakes would be worth more than the $392 in disclosed investments before going public.

You can find the report here if you register.

Nonhousing consumer debt levels are increasing, with student-loan debt leading the charge, according to the Federal Reserve. Student-loan delinquencies more than 90 days past due have risen since late 2011. With the proliferation of postcrisis loans made to students, especially to those attending for-profit colleges with focused specialties, Morningstar Credit Ratings, LLC expects to see challenges in the sector.

Credit Card and Mortgage Delinquencies at Lows Since the crisis, credit-card and mortgage delinquencies have

Since the crisis, credit-card and mortgage delinquencies have improved, with the balance more than 90 days delinquent declining, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. After  seaking at 8.9% in the first quarter 2010, mortgage delinquencies have come down considerably from their highs, resting at 2.1% at the end of the first quarter. Credit-card delinquencies have also dropped, with the current level of 7.6% nearly half the 13.7% recorded in the first quarter of 2010. Low interest rates made it easier for consumers to either refinance or stay current on their debt obligations.

Meanwhile, after little change over the past few years, auto- loan delinquencies have edged higher, as competition among underwriters led to an increase in subprime auto loans. While we expect to see an uptick in auto delinquencies given the larger subprime component, overall auto-loan delinquency rates remain at relatively low levels. If unemployment remains in check, those auto-loan delinquency gains should be within reason, while we expect credit-card and mortgage delinquency rates to remain low.

New data that has been released since publishing solidifies the trend of consumer spending improving after a typical slow start of the year, with 1Q16 GDP growth at 1.1%.  In addition, consumer confidence has strengthened.

Eye on the Road: Student and Auto Loans Bear Watching Consumers are adding to their household debt levels, with student-loan debt leading the way behind mortgages. Postcrisis, students enrolled in for-profit colleges in record numbers, with dreams of a future career. For many, those dreams never materialized, and they were left saddled with heavy student-debt obligations that they were unable to meet. This pool of nonpaying indebted students contributed to the student loan delinquency rate rising steadily since the end of 2012. While the pace of student-loan delinquencies has slowed, Morningstar Credit Ratings views the sector as vulnerable to declines in employment as the delinquency rate remains near record levels despite a generally healthy job market.

Fintech Investment is Exploding — 5 Ways Governments & Ecosystem Builders Can Help, (500 Startups), Rated: AAA

Quarterly financing to VC-backed fintech companies has been growing immensely:

But investment is not flowing freely everywhere.  For example, in 1Q2016, Chinese fintech companies received $2.4 billion in funding (albeit primarily from two mega-deals), while the rest of Asia received only $0.2 billion.  Meanwhile in Europe, deal count increased but the amount of capital invested did not.  Even when the investment flows, the performance often does not.

Fintech’s 3 Ecosystem Challenges
1. Regulatory regimes are often ill-suited for fintech. Regulations in the finance sector are often unclear or highly complex, and regulatory processes and agencies may be slow.

2. Traditional financial institutions may hold down fintech startups, intentionally or unintentionally. Not long ago in the U.S., many banks did not even entertain meetings with or extend invitations to fintech startup founders.

3. Customer preferences may not be ready for certain fintech solutions. Customer acquisition is very difficult in fintech. Banks in the US spend over $500 to acquire a single user, and over time many startups will get there as well.

5 Ways Goverments Can Help

1. Create a “regulatory sandbox” that provides startups the opportunity to test new ideas without immediate threat of regulation.
2. Offer fast and transparent regulatory review of potential new fintech products or services.
3. Create a support system or kit to help fintech startups meet regulatory requirements.
4. Roll out consumer awareness initiatives to increase demand.
5. Encourage traditional financial institutions to invest in or partner with fintech startups — preferably non-exclusively.

The Lending Club Predicament & The Lessons Learned, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Lending Club’s problems should make the sector reflect on the governance issues that arise from the mixed business models that some crowdfunding platforms have evolved into.

Banks lend their own money and take risk on their balance sheet; hence, they must meet regulatory requirements such as Basel III. Asset managers manage other people’s money and invest on their behalf; hence, they are regulated as financial advisers. Platforms must clearly choose their business model because it has regulatory consequences. It also has an impact on the market valuation of the company. Marketplaces are currently much more highly valued by investors than banks. Even before the scandal, Lending Club’s stock was valued rather like a bank’s stock. Eventually, mixed business models potentially lead to conflicts of interest of the type observed at Lending Club.

Lending Club lost its way a long time before the scandal and the subsequent dismissal of Renaud Laplanche. By progressively marginalizing retail investors and letting investment funds securitize Lending Club’s loans on their own terms, Lending Club de facto surrendered the control of the platform to the very same established finance that P2P Lending was supposed to present an alternative to. This change of course created a detrimental layer of complexity, and potentially of systemic risk, in what was supposed to be a simple and direct relationship between private lenders and borrowers.

Beyond the image problem, the impact of the incidents has been small. European institutional investors are still very much interested in marketplace lending, as can be seen from two recent announcements: a$100 million loan program through Funding Circle by the European Investment Bank and €70 million multiplatform crowdlending fund by Eiffel Investment and French insurers Aviva and AG2R La Mondiale.

Marketplace Lending Securitization Tracker, (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Marketplace lending securitization volume topped $1.7 billion this quarter, up 14.8% from Q1, with cumulative issuance reaching $10.3 billion. YTD issuance of the sector stands at $3.2 billion as compared to $1.8 billion from prior year, a 77% increase. Q2 saw a total of 6 deals: 3 are backed by student loans, 2 by unsecured consumer loans, and 1 by SME loans. SoFi issued its first rated unsecured consumer loan deal and received an industry first ever AAA rating from Moody’s on its recent student loan transaction.

MPL securitizations are moving towards rated and larger transactions. The second quarter was the first to have all deals rated by one or more rating agencies. Further, the growth in average deal size continued, the average deal size grew to $267 million in 2016 as compared to $64 million in 2013.

New issuance and secondary spread tightened by quarter end, a good sign for the industry. Across all segments in MPL, Q2 2016 saw moderate spread compression in senior tranches of newly issued deals and widening in junior tranches as compared to Q1 2016.

Numerous factors, including lending platform rate increases, and spread tightening in both primary and secondary markets, look to improve future deal economics. The increase in rates from platforms increases excess spread and improves the economics of securitization for residual holders. The demand for

The demand for higher standard of due diligence, transparency and analytics will be the norm. With the recent Lending Club headlines, ABS investors are demanding greater transparency and validation to enhance trust.

A total of 6 deals were done in Q2 and spanned several marketplace lenders and categories. Here is the breakdown from Q2 2016:

  • 3 student loan securitizations (Earnest, SoFi, CommonBond)
  • 2 unsecured consumer loan securitizations (Avant, SoFi)
  • 1 SME securitization (OnDeck)

Despite Citi stopping the securitization of Prosper loans, they continue to be the leader in marketplace lending securitizations followed closely by Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse.

Cited as factors for an improving securitization market are increasing platform rates and spread tightening in both primary and secondary markets. A detailed analysis of specific securitizations are outlined in PeerIQ’s report.

Why mobile point of sale (MPOS) Is Gaining Ground in FinTech, (Tech.co), Rated: AAA

Comment: in our market context I would think that lenders would like to acquire/partner/sign up with Point of Sales solutions to extend credit in physical stores.

One such story goes of Swedish payments giant Klarna that recently announced that they were moving beyond its online services into physical stores, which it will accomplish by partnering up with mobile point of sale (MPOS) and e-commerce company Sitoo.

We are approaching a near future where the value chain for payments as we know it will be forever altered and new constellations will surface. More specifically, we expect to see more payment providers partnering up with POS companies to add value to their services and to diversify their position. There’s also a strong possibility that we’re likely to see some of the more aggressive payment providers outright acquiring POS-companies to accelerate growth and control a larger chunk of the value chain.

Royal Bank Of Canada Sold A Lot More LendingClub Corporation Common (LC) Stock, (Fidaily), Rated: A

Royal Bank Of Canada says it sold 35,334 shares last quarter decreasing its holdings in LendingClub Corporation Common by 99.5%. Its investment stood at $1,000 a decrease of 99.7% as of the end of the quarter.

 

Australia

The average RateSetter business loan, (Finder), Rated: AAA

United Kingdom

If Funding Knight went bust how safe is peer-to-peer lending?, (The Telegraph), Rated: AAA

A peer-to-peer website has been rescued after falling into administration, offering a lifeline to 900 savers who faced being unable to get their cash back.

Funding Knight was promising investors returns of up to 12pc for lending cash to small businesses.

Many feared that they would lose their money when the company ran out of cash and went into administration last month.

However, last week  the firm was rescued by GLI Finance, an investment firm, which said savers cash was safe and could be withdrawn at anytime. GLI has also invested a further £1m in the business.

Despite Funding Knight savers being assured that their cash is safe by the new owners, the incident has raised concerns over the safety of peer-to-peer lending.

Any funds they lend through a peer-to- peer website are not covered by the government-backed Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), which protects bank savers up to £75,000.

A spokesman for the Peer-to-Peer Association, a trade body of which Funding Knight is not a member, said:

He said: “We have been consistent in calling for, and embracing, regulation of the sector and requires robust adherence to its published operating principles, including the publication of platform loan books in full and clear information on all fees and charges to investors and borrowers.”

“Peer-to-peer lending offers overall a lower risk profile than some other forms of investment with less volatility, but it is not entirely without risk.

“Within the peer-to-peer lending sector, there are a number of different asset classes each with their own risk-return profile.”

 

 

European Union

Why Funding SMEs Within The EU Capital Markets Union Action Plan Is Challenging, (Seeking Alpha), Rated: A

European banks are caught in a conundrum because they still have to clear up their bad loan portfolios, which their US counterparts have largely dealt with. This situation, together with stricter capital requirements, and a challenging policy environment with low or negative interest rates, has led to a double whammy affecting both banks and SMEs. Additionally, credit information is still very fragmented in the EU, as shown by our CFA Institute member survey on the Capital Markets Union from May 2015.

Author:

George Popescu