Thursday August 24 2017, Daily News Digest

corporate bond credit spreads

News Comments Today’s main news: Walmart getting closer to a deal with Afffirm. AutoFi raises $10M. Zopa reports diminishing losses, rising revenues for 2016. Landbay closes 2.4M GBP round on Seedrs. USAmeriBank goes live on Finastra. Today’s main analysis: After shallow sell-off, corporate credit spreads stabilize. Today’s thought-provoking articles: A call for more considered critiques of P2P lending. What’s behind […]

corporate bond credit spreads

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United States

Walmart reportedly closes in on pilot deal to offer Affirm loans (Retail Dive), Rated: AAA

Walmart reportedly is closing in on an agreement with loan services startup Affirm for a pilot program under which Affirm would offer the retailer’s customers installment loans for purchases, sources familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal.The pilot could start as early as this fall.

Why are retailers so enamored with Affirm? Giving customers the option to take out an installment loan to finance a purchase gives customers more choices, making it more likely that they actually will make the purchase. Millenials and other younger demographioc consumers are often loathe to carry mountains of personal debt that way previous generations have.

However, it also has to do with the inflexible and sometimes excessive terms of store credit cards, which generally charge higher interest rates than the lowest portion of Affirm’s rate range. Still interest revenue and late fees from store cred cards contribute a significant amount of money to retailers’ bottom lines, making it difficult for them to commit to giving their customers more financing choices.

Overall though, retailers, banks and credit card companies are all starting to understand that at a time of massive change in how and where people shop, they need to make it easier for shoppers to close the deal. Mastercard may recognize this as well as Walmart does. The card network aligned with Verifone late last year to begin offering instant installment financing at the point of sale.

You can now buy 0 pants with a subprime loan (The Outline), Rated: A

Affirm may be a relatively new company, but the service it offers isn’t particularly innovative: It’s taking the concept of layaway, a type of no-interest payment plan that became popular during the Great Depression that lets you pay for things in fixed installments and take them home once you’ve paid for it in full, and twisting it for millennials.  Unlike layaway, Affirm delivers your purchases instantly — but the cost of instant gratification is interest rates as high as 30 percent.  The service is basically a cross between credit cards and layaway, combining the worst aspects of both.

Once your Affirm loan is approved, you can choose to pay it off in 3, 6, or 12 months, and interest rates range from 10 to 30 percent. The average customer takes out a $750 loan with a 21-percent interest rate and pays it back in nine months. Compared to credit cards, which have an average APR of 17 percent, and personal loans that typically have interest rates ranging from 5 to 36 percent, Affirm isn’t a particularly good deal.


Wal-Mart Stores To Exacerbate Synchrony Financial Woes With Affirm Deal (Baystreet), Rated: A

Affirm and Walmart have been in discussion about the possibility of teaming up since last year. Talks appear to have picked pace this year as the retailer continues to explore ways of giving customers access to a wide range of financing options to boost sales and shrug off competition posed by e-commerce platforms.

However, the move would also spell trouble for Synchrony Financial (NYSE:SYF) which is the retailer’s exclusive U.S card issuer.

The fact that Affirm offers loans could significantly reduce the number of people who apply for Synchrony credit cards.

After shallow sell-off, corporate credit spreads stabilize (Morningstar), Rated: AAA

Credit spreads in the corporate bond market stabilized last week after a brief sell-off the prior week pushed spreads higher. The average spread of the Morningstar Corporate Bond Index (our proxy for the investment-grade bond market) tightened 2 basis points to +113, and the average credit spread of the BankAmerica Merrill Lynch High Yield Master Index tightened 2 basis points to +398.

Earlier this month, British American Tobacco (BBB, stable) decided to issue $17.25 billion worth of bonds to fund its acquisition of Reynolds Tobacco. This transaction is the second-largest corporate bond deal Page 3 of 22 Morningstar Corporate Credit Research Highlights | 21 August 2017 | See Important Disclosures at the end of this report. Page 3 of 22 Page 3 of 22 Page 3 of 22 Page 3 of 22 Page 3 of 22 Page 3 of 22 Page 3 of 22 issued this year, surpassed only by AT&T’s (BBB/UR-) $22.5 billion transaction, which itself was the third-largest corporate bond deal in history. The proceeds from the AT&T transaction will be used as the final installment for the permanent financing of its pending acquisition of Time Warner (rating: BBB+/UR-). In addition, McCormick & Co. (A+/UR-) had issued $2.5 billion of new bonds two weeks ago to finance its acquisition of Reckitt Benckiser’s food division.

Through the week ended Wednesday, Aug. 16, investors pulled $2.3 billion of assets out of the highyield market. Among the open-end funds, investors withdrew $1.0 billion of funds, and across the highyield exchange-traded funds, there was $1.3 billion of net units redeemed.

AutoFi Raises $ 10 Million Series A To Make It Easier To Get A Car Loan (Forbes), Rated: AAA

AutoFi has raised $10 million in its quest to make it easier to take out a car loan.

The San Francisco-based financial technology company said on Thursday it has completed a Series A funding round, with investors including Crosslink Capital, Ford Motor Credit Company and Lerer Hippeau Ventures.

AutoFi makes a white-label technology platform that allows car dealers to offer faster, online financing to customers. It recently partnered with Ford Motor Credit and is in the midst of launching at select Ford and Lincoln dealerships.

How TD Ameritrade tackles security in Facebook Messenger chatbot (Financial-Planning), Rated: A

A common refrain in financial services these days is that companies need to go where customers are, not wait for people to come to a banking app or brokerage website.

TD Ameritrade is following that advice with a Facebook Messenger chatbot that will give customers instant updates on their portfolios and trades. The bot, unveiled Tuesday, will require the unit of Toronto-Dominion Bank to work through the privacy and security issues financial firms face whenever they communicate with customers via third-party platforms such as Messenger and Amazon’s Alexa.

The Future of Simple (Simple.com), Rated: A

Over the last few years, we have been focused on rebuilding Simple’s technology on our new partner bank, Compass. Our focus on infrastructure and supporting customer growth means we haven’t been fully invested in building new technology that helps people feel confident that they’re doing money right. We have not made good on our promise to change an industry that is failing them.

We have been focused on growth instead of innovation. We have been acting like a bank instead of a technology company. And that changes today.

Today, we are recommitting to being a technology company that is completely focused on product. We are re-designing our team so that everything we do is in support of this focus. We will be ruthlessly dedicated to identifying customer problems and building products that solve them.

SuperMoney’s Auto Loan Offer Engine Will Change the Way You Buy A Car (Supermoney), Rated: A

After debuting its personal loan offer engine at Finovate in April 2017, SuperMoney today unveiled an automotive focused loan offer engine where its lending partners compete in real-time with customized auto loan offers.

The new auto loan offer engine allows borrowers to submit a single, easy, online application and receive multiple auto loan offers back. The tool makes apples to apples comparisons easy when shopping for the best auto financing rates, fees, and terms.

Only 31.6% of car buyers negotiate the interest rate on their loan

A recent survey by the Federal Reserve reported that 76.1% of car buyers negotiated the purchase price with the seller, but only 31.6% negotiated the interest rate on their loan. It gets worse. 27.1% of car buyers considered the monthly payment on their auto loan as the most important factor, but only 6.1% considered the interest rate on the loan as the most important factor (source).

 

 

Lending as a service (LaaS) and why it matters (CIO), Rated: A

Banks today are turning away more loan applicants than in recent memory thanks to stricter regulations and lingering memories of the recent financial crisis. Younger entrepreneurs who have little or no credit history often find themselves rejected from these financing options.

Even when they are accepted, the loan process can be arduous and needlessly complicated, taking longer than business owners can afford. Applications take several visits to the bank, credit checks, records requests and weeks’ worth of back-and-forth communications just to reach the underwriting phase.

The major catalyst for this new lending paradigm has been the rapid pace of online technology innovation over the last decade. Improvements in cloud infrastructure and artificial intelligence systems enable fintech companies to create reliable evaluation and matching systems for loans. Companies can now examine a potential borrower’s financial records in minutes instead of weeks. Thanks to this compressed timeline, approval can now happen in as little as one day.

Instead of multiple meetings with bank lenders over the course of many weeks to compare options, users can often be approved in under a day by a reputable LaaS company.

LaaS platforms such as Ezbob promise to approve a business loan for companies and deliver funds in under thirty minutes. The company’s algorithm examines more than credit scores, evaluating company financials and records to quickly distribute capital to those that require it most.

New Report on Fintech from the World Economic Forum (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Today, the World Economic Forum released a report titled, Beyond Fintech: A Pragmatic Assessment Of Disruptive Potential In Financial Services, that was the result of those and many other discussions they had with leaders from around the world. The report aims to answer the question about whether fintech companies will really change the financial landscape.

Below are some of the key findings from the report:

  • Fintech start-ups have so far fallen short of their ambitions to upend the competitive landscape in finance, driving innovation but struggling to capture market share in mature markets.
  • What fintechs have done is define the direction and speed of innovation across most areas of financial services; they have also set new and higher bars for user experience.
  • Large technology firms like Amazon and Google may represent the largest competitive threat to financial institutions, as their AI and cloud computing services become more central to the sector, and customer data rises in importance.
  • Models of financial services innovation around the world are diverging, benefitting local firms and making it harder to co-ordinate a regulatory response.

Douugh Rises to Challenge with AI-Powered Banking (Paybefore), Rated: A

Banking challenger Douugh has unveiled its artificial intelligence (AI)-powered financial platform, guided by “Sophie”—a 24/7 personal assistant for finances, reports Paybefore sister publication Banking Technology.

Douugh plans to use Sophie to help consumers make better financial decisions by:

  • Connecting a user’s existing bank accounts and credit cards, Sophie will collate, organize and inform on spending habits all in one place;
  • Using Sophie as their own personal banker to perform transactional tasks—such as paying and splitting bills, requesting money, saving, tracking and management of spending and savings goals;
  • Integrating with Alexa and Siri for voice activation.

Rebundling financial services is aspiration of startup Douugh (American Banker), Rated: A

“You are 0% of the way to your retirement goal! You have plenty of time, keep up the good work.”

This message I recently received from the Wela app reminded me to kick my retirement saving efforts into gear. It’s an example of the kind of personalized financial advice many banks and fintechs are trying to provide right now, often with artificial intelligence engines analyzing customers’ account data, predicting future trends and making recommendations.

Based in San Francisco, Douugh strives to use artificial intelligence to help the 25-to-35-year-old set reduce their credit card and student loan debt and make better spending and saving decisions.

Ripple- Just As Good If Not Better (Investing.com), Rated: A

If you could buy a wristwatch that is the same quality as a Rolex or a Cartier for $350, would you wear it?

A company called Filippo Loreti aims to deliver just that. The level of support that the young company is receiving from alternative investors is truly inspiring.

Thanks to the power of the Internet this watchmaker has already raised $6 million in two rounds of funding making it one of the most successful crowdfunding projects in history.

Smart Solutions for Smart Cities (JD Supra), Rated: B

Property “consumers” will be able to compare real-time information on a wide range of variables affecting property assets – for example, energy efficiency, connectivity and traffic noise.  Banks will no longer be the only source of funds, with fast availability of internet peer-to-peer lending speeding up the time taken to put a deal together.

Blockchain or distributed ledger technology raises a number of opportunities in this field, from mortgage valuations, to rental and service charge payment systems. Smart contracts will replace the traditional approach to conveyancing – the main incentives being that the technology will expedite the process, reduce fraud and offer total transparency.

SCORE: Dos and don’ts for crowdfunding small businesses (PostBulletin), Rated: B

To help make a rewards-based crowdfunding effort successful, Dargie offers these dos and don’ts:

Do:

  • Understand the differences between rewards-based crowdfunding, equity crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending.
  • Pick the right platform for your rewards-based campaign.
  • Follow through on your promises. Watchdog groups and state and federal consumer protection bureaus have begun to shift their attention to deceptive crowdfunding campaigns.

Don’t:

  • Fail to manage the expectations of your campaign’s backers.
  • Launch a campaign without the liability protection of a properly formed business entity.
  • Forget about taxes.

“When We Decided to Sell the Company, it Became Apparent that RealtyShares Was the Right Choice” (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Last month, Real estate crowdfunding platform RealtyShares announced it acquired technology-first, marketplace platform Acquire Real Estate.

Now, less than 30-days later, Director of Business Development at RealtyShares and former CEO of Acquire, Josh Klimkiewicz, is sharing more details about the acquisition.

“The mission doesn’t end here. I will join the RealtyShares team as the director of commercial business development to lead that channel as RealtyShares continues to scale. In my new role, I will concentrate on building long-term relationships between RealtyShares and real estate owners across the country.”

Wealth Management vs. Financial Advice: They’re Not the Same (Kiplinger), Rated: B

Wealth management is one of the terms that is most overused, and it’s often misunderstood. But it’s actually pretty straightforward. Wealth management takes things up a notch, with an adviser or advisory team providing a full range of services for the client in three distinct ways.

  1. Investment consulting
  2. Advanced planning
    • Wealth enhancement: This is the use of strategies to deal with cash-flow issues and liquidity concerns, mitigate taxes and maximize growth.
    • Wealth transfer: Advisers look for the most efficient ways to pass your wealth on to your heirs in a way that lets your beneficiaries keep most or all of the money.
    • Wealth protection: For those who are subject to a lot of liabilities, there are strategies that can help protect hard-earned savings and avoid any blind spots.
    • Charitable giving: With proper planning, donating to a charity or charities can be a win-win, maximizing support for a favorite cause while making the most of certain tax advantages.
  3. Relationship management

How to Win an Argument (Mental Floss), Rated: B

To persuasively drive your point home, follow the tips below, provided by online lender CashNetUSA’s SavingSpot blog and spotted by Entrepreneur.

United Kingdom

Zopa Reports Diminishing Loss as Revenues Rise for 2016 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Zopa, the first peer to peer lender to set up shop in the UK, has filed its annual accounts for 2016, and according to their numbers business is looking better.

Top line revenue improved by 61% jumping to £33.2 million for 2016. The operating loss stood at £5.9 million for the year, an improvement over the £8.9 million from year prior.

A call for more considered critiques of P2P lending (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Between RateSetter’s wholesale lending saga and subsequent withdrawal from the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association, Zopa’s heightened loss expectations, and Funding Circlesignalling an end to manual investment, industry detractors are hardly short of fuel for their fires.

And yet we continue to endure spurious headlines that seem to be born of a broad desire to bash P2P, on the basis of seemingly anything.

Anyway. The latest episode of this kind comes courtesy of The Financial Times, which reported on Monday that peer-to-peer lending websites are “struggling to attract UK customers who want to borrow money”.

Source: AltFi

Landbay Closes £2.4M Crowdfunding Round on Seedrs (Finsmes), Rated: AAA

Landbay, a London, UK-based buy-to-let mortgage lender, has closed a £2.4m crowdfunding round.

The funds were raised via Seedrs.

The company, which has raised approx. £7m to date via the crowdfunding platform, intends to use the funds to continue to expand operations and launch new products.

IFAs still most influential source of financial advice (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

INDEPENDENT financial advisers (IFAs) are the most trusted source of external investment advice, but investors are still more likely to trust their own judgement, new research claims.

A survey by property finance firm Minerva Lending found that almost three quarters (72 per cent) of active investors prefer to take the advice of an IFA. However, the vast majority of active investors (77 per cent) said that they would rather trust their own judgement. Three in five (60 per cent) said that they would be more likely to trust word of mouth.

The survey also found that investors still prefer traditional investment advice over newer fintech solutions. Only 12 per cent of the investors surveyed said that they would trust a robo-adviser to offer financial guidance, and just 22 per cent would trust a standalone piece of software.

Should more banks form partnerships with alternative lenders? (Bridging and Commercial), Rated: A

More banks should be forming partnerships with alternative lenders, one business finance provider has stated.

In the bank referral scheme, the UK’s biggest banks pass on the details of SMEs that have been turned down for loans to three SME finance platforms, which then share their details with alternative finance providers.

Almost £4m of funding was accessed by 230 SMEs under the matchmaking scheme.

Chirag Shah, CEO of Nucleus Commercial Finance, felt there were clear benefits to the collaboration between banks and alternative lenders, but also urged for transparency.

Debunking the peer-to-peer lending myths (City A.M.), Rated: A

So let’s look at some of the common arguments raised and try to filter out the fact from the fiction.

P2P will suffer in an economic downturn

Yet the oldest UK platform Zopa – which launched in 2005 – managed to survive during the financial collapse of 2008.

Admittedly the default rates jumped to 4.2 per cent from 0.4 per cent the year before, but figures from Zopa show that investors were still able to earn a four per cent annual return during the financial crash, compared to six per cent in 2007.

P2P platform Landbay commissioned an independent report in 2015 to find out how it would perform in poor economic conditions.

While the loss rate on Landbay’s loans is 0.03 per cent in normal economic conditions, the loss rate was estimated to hit 0.48 per cent if times got tough – that is, if GDP was down 3.5 per cent, unemployment rose to nine per cent, and UK house prices fell by 20 per cent. So even if the economy shrinks, investors would not have lost money.

An interest rate rise will kill the P2P industry

But Lucy Bott, head of customer operations at RateSetter, points out that interest rates on P2P platforms are not set by the banks, but by the supply of and demand for money.

P2P is for young people

He points to a report from Nesta, which found that more than half of P2P lending investors are aged 55 and over, while a third of lenders are aged 35 to 54, and just 12 per cent of investors are under 35.

P2P Lending Sites Not Quite Wooing UK Customers (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Among 1,100 British consumers polled by consultancy firm EY, only 7 percent indicated they had used such a service to borrow money this year. A separate poll of 1,050 Brits by Blumberg Capital revealed just 4 percent of them had utilized alternative lending platforms over the previous year, according to the Financial Times.

Where FinTech firms worldwide attracted $20 billion in investments over the first half of 2016, that number dropped to just $12 billion during the first six months of 2017.

The lower funding amounts could be attributed to banks having joined the peer-to-peer lending landscape, creating their own technologies or joining forces with startups to stay current, thus broadening the competitive field.

China

Fintech in China: What’s Behind the Boom? (Brink News), Rated: AAA

The country makes some of the world’s largest investments in the sector, and it has adopted fintech technologies faster than anywhere else. Companies such as Alipay, Lufax and ZhongAn Insurance have made their names across the globe by using fintech to develop some of the most disruptive business models. These players have enjoyed the fruits of fintech’s unprecedented growth by filling the gaps in China’s structurally imbalanced financial system in an open regulatory environment.

We believe the development of fintech in China has reached an inflection point. From this point, technology will be the key driver of value-chain disruption in an increasingly data-driven industry.

For example, it took four years for peer-to-peer transaction volume to exceed $5 billion in the U.S., while it took only two years in China. Lufax, a Chinese peer-to-peer lending platform founded in 2011, reached an annual loan origination amount of 9 billion yuan in just two years, compared to five years for Lending Club, the biggest peer-to-peer lending company in the U.S.

A global block chain summit was spot inspected, caused shock on ICO market (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

Recently, the Market Supervision Bureau of Shanghai Pudong New District has raided a global block chain summit that is suspected of false propaganda. According to the investigation, 35 companies set up booth to promote technology and financial products on the spot, and nearly 2,000 people attended the summit. The organizer is a Shanghai-based software technology company. The company referred to “bitcoin” technology and has developed a digital cryptocurrency ETP (entropy) on its own, which was traded on its platform.

On the spot, Law enforcement officials ordered the meeting to be halted immediately and interviewed with the parties involved. And in the same day, this news triggered a nearly 200% shock in the value of related tokens on some trading platforms, reflecting the growing risk of the ICO market. Now the company is still under investigation for alleged violations.

European Union

Klarna co-founder seeks to spur European tech giving (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

In the US, technology magnates from Microsoft’s Bill Gates to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg have started a long line of high-profile, high-minded initiatives often aimed at combating disease and helping the poor.

But in Europe, where many of the unicorns — start-ups valued at more than $1bn — are of a more recent vintage, many founders are still thinking of how to make money rather than spend it.

Two years ago, Mr Adalberth had become bored with what he describes as “the constant chasing of the next goal or achievement” at Klarna. So he stepped aside from the group and its relentless attempt to conquer the digital payment world by becoming a bank and attracting Visa in as an investor.

Instead, Mr Adalberth became one of the first of the recent crop of European tech founders to think about giving away money. The result is Norrsken Foundation, which has a triple-pronged approach aimed at encouraging social entrepreneurship. His venture is risky but is likely to be closely watched by the growing ranks of multi-millionaire European founders to see if it can provide some kind of blueprint. “There is a trend in the US to give something back. This trend has come to Sweden and maybe Europe as well,” he says.

Rabobank constructs physical model to understand IT architecture (Finextra), Rated: A

Rabobank has built a 3D model of its own organisation and supporting IT systems to help visualise improvements that can be made as it embarks on its digital transformation programme.

As a banking co-operative operating at both local and regional levels, the Dutch bank runs a complex network of independent IT platforms often performing the same functions depending on local practices.

International

USAmeriBank live on Finastra hosted payments hub (Finextra), Rated: AAA

USAmeriBank selected Finastra’s hosted solution in order to have the flexibility to quickly add new payments rails and services, future-proofing its technology investment, while improving customer service and increasing straight-through processing.

In addition to quick time-to-market and ease of implementation, another benefit of using a hosted solution is a reduction of maintenance effort and total cost of ownership, as the technology and business services are maintained by Finastra.

In the coming months, the bank plans to add US ACH, and eventually real-time payments components, completing the bank’s journey to a fully-outsourced payment processing model.

AI Is the New UI – Exclusive Interview With Jake Tyler, CEO of Finn.AI (Let’s Talk Payments), Rated: A

 

LTP: Give us a high-level paragraph pitch for your company.

JT: The Finn Virtual Banking Assistant is a personal banking and financial management assistant, powered by artificial intelligence.

Finn delivers a personal banker within a customer’s favorite channels, including Facebook Messenger, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, SMS, iOS and Android apps, and web chat. We believe that AI is the new UI.

LTP: In a sentence or two, what specific problems are you solving today?

JT: We help banks connect with customers where they already are (in major instant messaging and voice platforms), adapt to a new paradigm of consumer expectations set by Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook where deep personalization and simple conversational interfaces are the norm, and reduce costs by augmenting human customer care agents with AI.

LTP: What are the biggest challenges you face when building with AI and ML, being nascent technologies? How have you overcome, or are you overcoming, those challenges?

JT: The biggest challenge is data, both quantity and quality. We address this by going deep in one core vertical – banking. We have a large, pre-existing data model in this domain that grows daily as consumers use our assistant. As new banks adopt Finn they are able to leverage this data model to deploy a high-quality assistant with proven features much faster than they would otherwise be able to do.

India

RBI to harmonise NBFC regulations (India Times), Rated: AAA

There is scope for harmonisation of regulations covering non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and the Reserve Bank is moving in that direction, Deputy Governor N S Vishwanathan said today.

He also said there is a need to create some new types of NBFCs to cater to the needs of the growing economy.

Guernsey consultation to update regs governing ‘non-regulated’ financial businesses (International Investment), Rated: A

The 103-page Lending, Credit & Finance Consultation Paper  is aimed jointly at enabling Guernsey to accommodate the growing number of “innovative, often digitally-enabled, financial services which don’t neatly fit into the boxes marked banking, insurance, investment or fiduciary covered by current laws”, as well as to better protect Guernsey consumers and investors, “particularly those who are less financially able, from unscrupulous lending practises”, the GFSC says, in a summary of the LC&FCP‘s contents.

The proposed legislation would replace this existing NRFSB Law.

To read and download the consultation paper, click here.

Asia

He also said there is a need to create some new types of NBFCs to cater to the needs of the growing economy.

Read more at:

The future of banking in Southeast Asia is in Cryptocurrency (Hero Email), Rated: B

There are an estimated two (2) billion people in the world who remain unbanked and underbanked. That’s roughly a quarter of the entire planet’s population who have little to no direct access to financial services most commonly found in banks and formal lending institutions.

In Southeast Asia, approximately only twenty-seven (27%) of the entire region are financially included, leaving the rest with little to no defense in times of economic crises.

Hero will build a blockchain-based credit algorithm and lending platform. Hero will be launching its own cryptocurrency coin called Hero Token through an upcoming token sale.

The majority of populations who suffer from financial exclusion live in emerging countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia and their neighbors in Southeast Asia. A notable fact about this region [SEA] is that it is the fastest growing Internet region in the world and is also the fourth largest.

Backed by an award winning group of experts, the organization started operating in the Philippines in 2015 as PawnHero, offering collateralized loans using an online platform, and since then has been helping thousands of Filipinos obtain access to affordable credit.

There will also be a ‘pre-sale’ wherein people can buy tokens prior to the actual token sale and get bonuses. During the pre-sale, Hero will offer 80% of all tokens to be created for purchase by the public in the Hero Initial Coin Offering under the ticker symbol Hero. The remaining 20% of all Hero tokens will be distributed to early believers, advisors and founders.

To participate in the Hero token sale people can send the following currencies – Ethereum (ETH), ETH Classic, BitCoin (BTC), Ripple, LiteCoin, and Waves from a wallet they directly control to the Hero wallet. Aside from these, extra tokens will be offered to those who commit early. Bounties are provided when the crowdsale ends. All payments received for Hero tokens in connection with this token sale will be held in escrow in a multi-signature address, with a multi-key structure.

For more information go to .

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday August 23 2017, Daily News Digest

Delinquency rates

News Comments Today’s main news: Walmart, Affirm discussing loan offerings to retail customers. Funding Circle has created 80K new jobs. Zopa’s revenue jumped 60% last year. Indonesia fintech investment to hit record high. Today’s main analysis: Consumer debt’s new peak. 3 investments to make before the market collapses. Today’s thought-provoking articles: The rumors of P2P’s demise are greatly exaggerated. Why China […]

Delinquency rates

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United States

Walmart in Talks With Finance Startup Affirm to Offer Loans to Customers (TheStreet), Rated: AAA

Walmart Stores Inc (WMT) is in talks with financing startup Affirm Inc to use its services to offer installment loans to customers with limited credit histories, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The upstart is reportedly nearing a deal with Walmart that could have it offering installment loans to Walmart shoppers as early as this fall. The loans would be focused on costlier items such as tires and other purchases over $200, insiders said.

Consumer Debt Reaches New Peak: Will Losses Follow? (Forbes), Rated: AAA

This week, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York released its quarterly Household Debt and Credit Report.

  • Total consumer debt reached a record $12.8 trillion. The prior peak was $12.7 trillion in 2008.
  • Since the financial crisis, auto loans and student loans have soared. Auto loans are now at $1.2 trillion, up 70% since the depths of the recession in 2010. Student loans have reached an incredible $1.3 trillion.
  • Total credit card debt has reached $784 billion, the highest level since the fourth quarter of 2009. Credit card delinquencies have also started increasing from historic lows.
  • Mortgage debt is growing again, having reached $8.7 trillion. However, it remains below the 2008 peak of $9.3 trillion.
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Student and auto loan data is worrying. The growth rate of both products has been extraordinary. Credit card growth looks nominal (despite the recent press) compared to the continued surge in student and auto loans.

Source: Federal Reserve

These loss rates are driven by poor underwriting in both the student loan and subprime auto markets. But while interest rates on auto loans (especially subprime) are high (and priced for risk), student loan interest rates are typically in the low single digits – not enough to cover the implied loss rate.

Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Tech giants like Amazon and Facebook more disruptive to banks than fintech start-ups (CNBC), Rated: A

Banks are faced with more competitive disruption from tech behemoths than financial technology (fintech) start-ups, according to a report by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Drawing on interviews with finance and tech industry experts, the report found that banks were significantly lagging behind tech giants in the development of technologies like cloud computing, artificial intelligence and big data analytics.

Lenders have instead been turning to tech corporations to provide these functions, the report said. It singled out AmazonGoogle and Facebook as three companies dominating the market in these areas of innovation.

One example the report referred to was Amazon Web Services, which has lured several financial institutions including Aon, Capital One and Nasdaq to Amazon’s cloud computing business.

WSJ’s Greg Ip: US needs more Amazon disruption from CNBC.

RiverNorth: Executing on Providing Income for Investors in Marketplace Lending Loans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

RiverNorth is out with an encouraging note on its fund that invests in marketplace lending platform loans. As of the end of July 2017, RiverNorth’s portfolio consisted of 10,173 loans, with an average loan size of $10,176. The RiverNorth Marketplace Lending (NASDAQ:RMPLX) is designed to provide a high degree of granularity and diversification, and holds a duration of 1.5 with a weighted average FICO score of 708 on the consumer portion of the portfolio. Consumer loans represent a 76% allocation as of July. The Fund’s “subsidized and unsubsidized SEC” net yield currently stands at 11.02% and 9.27%, respectively.

Cloud Lending Solutions Releases Software for Leasing and Asset Finance (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Cloud Lending Solutions, a leader in cloud-based leasing software, announced major advancements to its end-to-end leasing solution, CL Lease™ for Self-Financed Lessors, Externally Funded Leases and Captives. CL Lease™ is designed as a customer-centric, cloud-based lease servicing application enabling lessors to efficiently service equipment leases.

By automating operations, CL Lease effectively manages and tracks multiple assets in a schedule, and can manage your asset disposition process (repossessions, and returns). Its fully extendible integration platform works with collection agents, repossession agents, equipment resellers, and dealers. CL Lease can automatically apply fees, calculate taxes, and collect payments through ACH and credit cards.

Recent economic research into the Equipment Lease and Financing industry indicate that equipment and lease software investment is projected to grow by 3.6% in 2017. The investment outlook for most equipment verticals continues to improve with 2017 seeing long-term leasing volume increasing in 10 of 12 leasing verticals, and recent momentum in first-half 2017 has accelerated in 8 of 12 verticals.

A short list of advancements are:

  • Criteria Based Scorecards – Scorecard evaluations consisting of multiple parties with different legal entity types. Lessors will be able to assign different scorecards to different Legal Entity Type values and evaluate different scorecards for business versus individuals. Scorecard evaluations consisting of multiple parties with different collateral types. In this scenario, financial institutions will be able to assign different scorecards to different collateral type values.
  • Financial Statement Analysis – Enable lessors to be able to spread financials and store electronically, this includes balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements, as well as configure calculations and financial ratios to support financial analysis. CL Lease will enable financial institutions to customize financial statements with custom fields and generate financial statement information, such as cash flow, from configurable statement calculations and allow users to input, generate and analyze financial statements spanning multiple reporting periods.
  • Multi Company, Multi Currency – Support for being able to manage multiple companies in the same CL Lease implementation. Highly useful for companies operating in multiple countries or jurisdictions, CL Lease can support local regional specifications and manage leases across geographical country lines.
  • Credit Exposure Support – Enhanced to enable lessors to calculate direct exposure, direct proposed exposure, indirect exposure and indirect proposed exposure calculations for borrowing relationships, as well as get updates on the exposure for all borrowing relationships on a daily basis. CL Lease will also enable users to update exposure calculations on-demand.
  • Feature Updates – Additional updates include: Contract Restructuring, Debt Schedules, Delinquency Management, Asset Tracking, Financing of multiple equipment, Cash Management, Reporting and Dashboards.

Cloud Lending Solutions Releases Software for Commercial Bank Lenders (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Cloud Lending Solutions, a leader in cloud-based commercial lending and leasing software, announced upgrades to its end-to-end suite of products for its commercial lending clients using: CL Loan™, CL Lease™, CL Originate™, CL Collections™, and/or CL Marketplace ™ and released a new product in CL Portal™. These advancements to the Cloud Lending solution suite are designed to address fundamental challenges found across Global Banking, Community Banks, Credit Unions, Lending Societies, and Global Financial Institutions.

A partial listing of feature advancements:

  • Underwriting Scorecards: Enables FIs to define rate cards consisting of configurable pricing and terms and assign them to configurable risk ratings. They can also define their scorecards, consisting of evaluation criteria, scores, and weights, which can be executed for a specific loan opportunity based on configurable criteria. Results of the scorecard evaluation, pricing, and terms can then be automatically applied to the loan or presented to the user for selection.
  • Financial Statement Analysis/Financial Spreading: Enables FIs to configure and generate financial statements, financial ratios for business and individual borrowing entities associated with a loan opportunity. Further, lenders can leverage the resulting financial statement data and analysis during the loan underwriting process and configure the layout and format of each financial statement, as well as the calculations and formulas that derive the financial statement values and the resulting financial ratios.
  • Risk Assessment and Exposure Lenders can configure risk assessment templates, generate risk scores/grades for borrowing relationships, define risk assessment criteria in scorecards and the risk rating thresholds, and evaluate risk assessments for borrowing relationships automatically or on-demand.
  • CL Portal™ A configurable front-end portal that provides a differentiated borrowing experience for consumer, commercial and small business loans for borrowers, investors and stakeholders; integrates product workflows and document management to create a personalized and unique experience for loans ranging from fully automated consumer loans to multi-entity, collaborative commercial loans.
  • Loan Committee and Communications: Providing a completely virtual committee experience where members can view, discuss, and vote on loan opportunities via their computer and communicate lending communications between team members online with an audit trail. Improves meeting efficiency by automatically capturing meeting minutes and enforcing loan presentation time limits.
  • Advanced Loan Origination provides FIs an ability define each of the stages of their loan origination process for each loan product and each mandatory task(s) required at each stage. Easily define loan origination tasks driven by additional criteria such as risk rating or loan amount and automatically assign each task to loan team members based on their role. This ensures an efficient process by enforcing due dates for tasks and ensuring policy compliance by enforcing task completion at the applicable stage of the loan origination process.
  • Relationship Dashboard Provides a 360-degree view of the customer relationship allowing financial institutions to obtain a comprehensive view of the entire borrowing relationship. Users get a real-time view into relationship documents and document exceptions; monitor, and evaluate relationship covenants, view financial accounts and loan opportunities in progress, and assess relationship risk using risk assessment templates and credit exposure calculations. This is provided in addition to customer relationship management functionality provided by Salesforce.

Importance of digitally transforming credit risk management (Digital Journal), Rated: A

The analysis suggests that banks urgently need to digitize their credit processes. This comes down to economics since lending continues to be a major source of bank revenue, especially with retail banking. It is the retail banking sector that is facing the greatest threat from new digital services, such as credit lenders. An example of such a lender is Kuliza, which is on-line only and deploys artificial intelligence to assess customer loan requests. A different approach is provided by Fusion Bank which uses ‘crowdlending’ to secure loans. A crowdlending platform brings investors (the crowd) together with borrowers and allows the investors (or lenders) to lend small sums of money directly to hundreds or thousands or borrowers, in anticipated of a return on the loan.

An example of how a major bank can embrace what is happening in the market is provided by Premium Credit, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bank of America. To take on the challenge, Premium Credit worked with specialist technology company Arrk Group to create a digital customer acquisition platform. The success of this, for both bank and customer, was to reduce the time taken to process a loan from weeks to a matter of just minutes.

Federal Arbitration Rule Will Harm ‘Little Guys’ (CEI.org), Rated: A

Once again, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is putting forth a rule it presents as going after big banks, but will likely have its most devastating effects on small and startup financial institutions.

Other victims of the rule are likely to be credit unions, community banks, and sharing-economy innovations such as peer-to-peer lending.

As online commercial lending grows, some banks still prefer face-to-face meetings (Biz Journals), Rated: A

Many local banks that don’t already offer online commercial loan applications acknowledge that time may come, but for now in-face meetings still offer a lot advantages to potential borrowers.

Here’s a way for you to get a better handle on debt (MarketWatch), Rated: A

People tend to consider using borrowed funds in two contexts and depending on which context they’re in, people’s attitudes about what purchases they’re willing to borrow for drastically change.

Context 1: ‘How to pay’ decisions

One reason people might incur debt is to take advantage of attractive financing.

Context 2: ‘Whether to buy’ decisions

Another far more common reason people may use debt is because they cannot pay for their purchases with other means. Perhaps they are waiting for their next paycheck, or they have designated their savings to other things (expenses, other purchases, investments).

In a dataset from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that includes spending behavior from 30,242 households, we found that people who spent more on experiencesrather than material goods were also more likely to have greater credit card debt and to have paid more in credit card financing charges. We also saw this pattern in people’s likelihood of taking on a peer-to-peer loan. Using a large dataset from one of the biggest U.S. peer-to-peer lending companies, we found that people were more likely to have peer-to-peer loans for experiential purchases (for example, weddings or vacations) as compared to material purchases (such as swimming pools or motorcycles).

The average American household spends $12,800 annually on discretionary purchases and has $7,200 in credit-card debt. Indeed, a recent surveyfound that 74% of Americans have borrowed to pay for a vacation.

American Dream Leadership Series #2: Eric Sager of Online SMB Lender BlueVine (Forbes), Rated: B

What leader in business do you most admire and try to emulate?

I’ll focus on folks I’ve actually worked with. Francoise Brougher, Sarah Friar and Gokul Rajaram at Square are three people I learned a lot from, and there are certain things I try hard to emulate from each of them. Then of course there is Jack Dorsey, cofounder of Twitter and Square, who always impressed me with how thoroughly committed he was to the mission of helping small businesses succeed, and how that commitment influenced every decision I saw him make.

What’s a piece of advice that turned out NOT to be helpful?

To eliminate weaknesses or development opportunities. The truth, which I learned from both sports and business, is that my value to the team is way more about making the most of my strengths, and that any weaknesses, assuming I’m aware of them, can generally be covered very successfully by others on the team.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle has Supported the Creation of 80,000 New Jobs (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Last week, Funding Circle celebrated seven years of operation.

Today, Funding Circle has helped to provide financing for more than 32,000 small businesses based in the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and the US. Funding Circle reports that 69,000 individuals and institutions are now lending on their platform. The company estimates that their lending service has supported the creation of around 80,000 new jobs (globally).

Funding Circle is boxing its investors in (The Memo), Rated: A

The vision was that ordinary people could loan their hard-earned cash directly to others, who could borrow at far cheaper rates than from the bank.

But today Funding Circle joined Zopa and Ratesetter in abandoning that vision, instead announcing it will stop people from picking and choosing who to lend their money to, instead automatically pooling these investments across borrowers on the platform.

Some have pointed out that these behaviours and changes now mean that these peer-to-peer platforms are now acting much more like a bank or a fund, becoming middle-men managing the investments they’re facilitating.

Online lender Zopa’s revenue jumped 60% last year (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lender Zopa saw revenues leap 60% higher last year as losses narrowed.

The online lender’s revenue rose from £20.6 million in 2015 to £33.2 million last year, accounts filed with Companies House this week show. At the same time, losses narrowed from £8.8 million to £5.8 million.

Why Rumours of P2P’s Demise Have Been Exaggerated (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Are we really saying that an industry that didn’t exist a decade ago is failing because only one in 20 or so Britons have used it over the past 12 months? In fact, that seems like a pretty impressive adoption rate, particularly in an industry such as financial services, where start-ups face all sorts of issues around trust and credibility.

AltFi Data, one of the most trusted sources of analysis on the alternative finance sector, reckons peer-to-peer lenders have so far made advances of £1bn in the UK this year alone, taking their all-time advances close to £5bn. And those statistics are only for consumer loans; add in business finance and the figures are more like £3bn and £5bn respectively.

Brexit claims another victim: Britain’s venture capitalists (Politico), Rated: A

Since the country gave notice it was leaving the European Union in March, a growing list of British venture capital funds has been told they will not receive financial support from the European Investment Fund, an EU agency that provides almost half of the money for the region’s venture capital industry, according to several fund managers who held discussions with the body.

While little-known outside tech circles, the Luxembourg-based fund remains the largest backer of European venture capital, often providing up to 40 percent of funds’ total investments, equal to billions of euros each year.

In Britain, for instance, the European Investment Fund forked out €2.3 billion between 2011 and 2015 to support 144 local venture and private equity funds, or roughly one-third of overall investment for the sector, according to the latest figures available from the agency.

Zopa scales back higher-risk lending due to UK consumer credit outlook (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

ZOPA has reduced its exposure to higher-risk loans due to the UK’s worsening consumer credit outlook, which has led it to lower its projected returns on some investments.

The peer-to-peer lender also said that it is expecting slightly higher losses on its existing loans and an increase in early repayments from borrowers.

Subprime lender Provident Financial is in crisis (Business Insider), Rated: A

Shares in Provident Financial, a UK-based door-to-door lender, lost more than 74% of their value on Tuesday after the company cut its dividend, issued a profit warning, announced the resignation of its CEO, and announced the regulator is investigating part of its business.

Bradford-based subprime lender Provident warned investors it expects to make a loss of between £80 million and £120 million. Provident told investors in June to expect a reduction in profit of £60 million — but still a profit.

Debt collection rates plummeted from 90% in 2016 to 57% after the company changed from using self-employed agents to full-time “customer experience managers.” Customers are also borrowing £9 million a week less.

Interview with Terry Fisher, Founder at Huddle Capital (P2P-Banking), Rated: A

In an already crowded space, Huddle is differentiating itself by it high quality origination and a focus on educating its lenders to help them make better decisions.

What are the three main advantages for investors?

The main advantage for lenders on Huddle is that we are owned and managed by Access Commercial Finance which is an FCA regulated, balance sheet lender. Our belief is that most fintech businesses in the marketplace are too much ‘tech’ and not enough ‘fin’ so we are looking to correct that balance on Huddle.

What are the three main advantages for borrowers?

The main advantage to borrowers is getting speedy access to funding for strong business cases that have been unable to achieve satisfactory funding elsewhere.

What ROI can investors expect?

Currently we have loans that pay lenders from 8% to 16% per annum, depending on their risk appetite.

What were the main challenges launching your platform in a competitive (crowded?) market?

Once your tech works there are only 2 real challenges in this business – attracting lenders and finding borrowers. Fortunately we have got plenty of borrowers both existing and in the pipeline – so our challenge is getting out there in front of more lenders so they can learn about our platform and the benefits of lending through Huddle.

Which marketing channels do you use to attract investors and borrowers?

We are marketing to investors through the usual channels of PPC & SEO, but the primary channel we use is content led marketing, providing educational led content, empowering potential lenders to understand the lending business better and be in a position to make informed lending decision.

Peer-to-peer lending websites struggle (to attract borrowers (Financial Times), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lending websites are struggling to attract UK customers who want to borrow money, despite hundreds of millions of pounds of investment in the sector.

Just 7 per cent of 1,100 people said they had used this sort of service to borrow in 2017, according to a survey by consultancy EY. Separate research from Blumberg Capital, a venture capital group, reported only 4 per cent of 1,050 British adults had used alternative lending services in the past 12 months.

How banks could look into YOUR account to decide if they will give you a mortgage (Express.co.uk), Rated: A

MORTGAGE loans and another types of lending are set to get tougher than ever thanks to a new way banks will measure who is a good candidate – by looking directly into into a bank account to check up on spending.

Alastair Douglas, CEO of TotallyMoney.com, told Express.co.uk he expected the development to become the norm “within one or two years”.

Fintech trade body chief steps down (Financial News), Rated: B

The chief executive of the UK’s fintech trade body is stepping down next week after two and a half years in the role, with a former senior Nasdaq executive standing in until a permanent successor is found.

Innovate Finance, a not-for-profit association founded in 2014 to represent the UK’s global fintech community, said in a statement today that Lawrence Wintermeyer will step down at the end of the month.

Former Lloyds boss Eric Daniels sues to claim unpaid bonuses (Financial Times), Rated: B

Eric Daniels, who ran Lloyds Banking Group when it was rescued by UK taxpayers, is suing the lender with a former colleague to claim £1m of unpaid bonuses linked to its HBOS acquisition, according to a person briefed on the lawsuit.

The former Lloyds chief executive, who left in 2011, filed a claim this month with London’s High Court along with a separate claim filed by Truett Tate, the lender’s former head of wholesale banking.

China

China: Number One Fintech Country In The World? (Coin Telegraph), Rated: AAA

China has not only caught up, but rather leapfrogged major cities such as New York, Silicon Valley and London. Many people are even claimingthat clusters of cities such as the Pearl River Delta in China are becoming the “new Silicon Valley.”

Due to China’s relatively new capital market structure, a lot of legacy systems in place in Western countries just aren’t present yet in China.  On top of that, the major Chinese banks are all state-owned (ICBC, ABC, CCB and BOC). They’ve made a living off lending to other large state owned enterprises (SOEs), which has left a large section of the population, in particular small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) without the proper access to loans and credit.

Source: Coin Telegraph

China has well over 700 mln Internet users, or more than double the entire population of the US.  Combined with a propensity to use smartphones and mobile payments thanks to WeChat and Alipay, Chinese consumers have spectacular adoption rates of Fintech applications in comparison to other nations. For example, 40 percent of consumers in China use non-traditional payment methods such as Alipay, compared to just four percent in Singapore.

Source: Coin Telegraph

With major e-commerce platforms such as Alibaba’s Taoball and Tmall, and JD.com, there has been a need for quick and easy e-payments, which can be done using Fintech applications such as Alipay. Not only has this created opportunities within the payments vertical of Fintech, but also within lending, insurance, investment and wealth management.

Nation sees highest uptake of fintech (China Daily), Rated: A

China ranks top among 20 world markets in terms of fintech adoption, with 69 percent of surveyed consumer respondents saying they are actively using fintech services, 33 percentage points higher than the global average.

China ranks top among 20 world markets in terms of fintech adoption, with 69 percent of surveyed consumer respondents saying they are actively using fintech services, 33 percentage points higher than the global average.

Around 64 percent of fintech users said they prefer using digital channels to manage “all aspects of their life”. And 13 percent of polled consumers said they are regular users of five or even more fintech services, which include money transfer and fintech, wealth planning, deposit and investment, borrowing and insurance.

China’s first independent network bank gets authorized from CBRC (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

On 21st August, Baixin Bank, the first independent network bank in China, announced that they had been authorized by CBRC (China Banking Regulatory Commission).

According to public information, BaIxin Bank was jointly incorporated by China Citic Bank (shareholding ratio: 70%) and Fujian Baidu Borui Network Technology co. LTD (shareholding ratio: 30%). It takes more than one year for Baixin Bank to get the opening approval since Citic Bank’s Board Meeting passed the Bill on Establishment of a Pure Network Banking Company on November 17, 2015.

Li Qingping, the President of Citic Bank, previously said that the two parent companies would not interfere the marketing operation of Baixin Bank. It will provide a platform of banking for common people, enable them to conveniently enjoy finance service. Meanwhile, the bank will take advantages of both Citi Bank’s risk control capacity and Baidu’s innovative technologies like AI, big data and cloud computing, so as to meet the personalized financial needs of customers.

Credit Quality of Internet Companies Susceptible to Finance Business Actions (Financail Buzz), Rated: A

Moody’s Investor Services has opined that the credit quality of Internet companies could be weakened by Chinese technology companies pushing their way into orthodox businesses like finance and banking.

Lina Choi, senior credit officer, and the vice-president of Moody’s said that Internet companies can suffer from potential capital calls and contingent liabilities as a result of loans made to merchants and consumers. The scenario is also affected by wealth management distribution. Incidentally, these are the two main services offered by these online companies.

The first shareholders meeting held today: 13 directors 7 supervisors list of candidates surfaced (EEO.com.cn), Rated: B

Economic Observer learned that on August 22, the first shareholders meeting of Internet Clearing Co., Ltd. will be held in Beijing, after the meeting, the list of directors and supervisors will be officially released.

Compared to the financier, Jingdong Finance, quick money, one wallet of several directors of the rise, the Alipay director of the candidate Wang Zuojiang for the director level.

Tencent nominated director of the candidates Lai Zhiming in the technical and financial aspects have a very strong background.

Ping An paid the nomination of directors Candidate Zhu Yinjia is the only product of all the nominated directors of the professional background of professional payment.

International

3 Investments You Must Make Before Market Collapses (Newsmax), Rated: AAA

Exactly a year ago, in the wake of Brexit, the US 10-Year Treasury rate fell to an all-time low of 1.36%. At that point, bond yields—which move inversely to their price—had been declining for eight years with no end in sight.

Then Trump won the US election; another unexpected twist. An uptick in inflation and a series of rate hikes followed shortly afterward, and the 10-year yield has risen 67% from its lows.

  • Europe

Just a year ago, Europe looked like the last place you’d want to put your money in.

While everyone was applauding the uptick in US growth after the election, Europe recorded higher growth in 2016.

Despite improving fundamentals and strong performance, EU stocks remain relatively undervalued. For example, the Shiller P/E ratio is 55% lower for EU stocks than for their US counterparts.

Source: Newsmax
  • Peer-to-Peer Lending

P2P investors are currently averaging 7.3% returns on 36-month loans. Even those who took the most conservative approach saw returns of 5%.

The likes of Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley now account for over 70% of new capital.

Source: Newsmax

Fiserv Acquires Dovetail Group To Reinvent Payments Infrastructure Worldwide (PYMNTS), Rated: B

Fiserv, a financial services technology solutions provider, announced the acquisition of Dovetail Group Limited to further enable it to help financial institutions around the world transform their payments infrastructure. The new capabilities would be used to meet the evolving needs of wholesale, commercial and retail customers.

Australia

Amazon a bigger threat to banks than fintech: World Economic Forum (Financial Review), Rated: A

The combination of “open banking” regimes and data migrating to the computer cloud will lure global technology giants to create platforms for distributing financial services, a move that will force incumbent banks to compete head-on to control customer relationships or risk becoming mere suppliers of commoditised financial products.

That’s a view of the future set out by the World Economic Forum in a 194-page report on fintech disruption, released in New York on Tuesday, that warns traditional bank distribution models and economics “are at risk of being deeply disrupted by the drive towards platform models of banking”.

It calls out the arrival of internet behemoth Amazon into financial services. Amazon Lending, quietly launched six years ago, offers credit to merchants selling on its platform and uses their sales data to measure risk. It has made loans worth over $US3 billion and is expanding in the US, Britain and Japan, according to a recent report in the Financial Times.

It also points to Chinese tech giant Tencent’s Webank platform, which allows retail customers to purchase products from multiple competing credit and asset management providers, as a plausible model for financial services distribution in the future.

Asia

Indonesia’s fintech investments set to touch record high in 2017 (Deal Street Asia), Rated: AAA

Investments into Indonesian fintech startups are set to hit a record high in 2017 at the current run rate, according to an analysis by venture intelligence platform CB Insights. It is estimated that there will be a total of about 50 deals this year alone.

A recent study revealed that 80 per cent of the Indonesian population does not have a formal bank account, with 203 million Indonesians earning less than $4.50 a day.

In January this year, private lender Bank Central Asia (BCA) launched its VC arm, Central Capital Ventura, committing Rp 200 billion ($15 million) in investments so far.

In P2P lending, notable deals include Amartha raising $30 million in a round led by MCI in March this year. More recently, UangTeman announced a $12 million Series A round led by K2 Venture Capital with participation from Hong Kong-based STI Financial Group and American firm Draper Associates.

Moka is one of the best funded merchant payment startups in Indonesia, counting Convergence Ventures, East Ventures, Fenox VC, and Wavemaker Partners among its investors. Other active firms in this area are Pawoon, backed by Ideabox and Kejora Ventures, and Cashlez, backed by MCI and Gan Capital.

Middle East

UAE-Based Fintech Start-Up Secures $ 700K Investment to Advance Financial Services Access for Underserved Migrant Workers (Fox34), Rated: AAA

NOW Money has secured an investment of $700,000 from two U.S.-based venture capital investors – Accion Venture Lab, the seed-stage investment initiative of financial inclusion leader Accion, and Newid Capital.

The investment comes a year after NOW Money’s initial seed funding, which allowed the company to expand the team and develop the technology and brand. With the latest investment, also a part of its seed round, the team plans to launch the service across the United Arab Emirates and expand into the other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

Funding squeeze lifts ME non-bank lending (Oman Trubune), Rated: A

Middle East investment companies are ramping up their lending to businesses, providing a lifeline for small and medium-sized firms struggling to secure finance from banks that tightened credit after a suffering rise in bad loans.

Industry participants estimate non-bank lenders in the region could provide around $1 billion over the next three to five years, including secured loans, mezzanine debt, preferred shares and convertible loans and bonds.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday August 11 2017, Daily News Digest

small business credit risk

News Comments Today’s main news: Earnest has Barclays looking for a buyer. Kabbage raises $250M. KBRA assigns preliminary Kabbage Asset Securitization ratings for Series 2017-1 Additional Notes. Funding Circle revamps website. Today’s main analysis: Small Business Credit Survey. Today’s thought-provoking articles: How good is POS financing? How the People’s Bank of China is changing online payments. Goldman Sachs on China’s […]

small business credit risk

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

Asia

News Summary

United States

Kabbage Raises $ 250 Million (NewsCenter), Rated: AAA

Fintech company Kabbage completed $250 million in financing from a subsidiary of SoftBank Group.

According to the company, this investment represents the largest equity raise in the online small business lending segment to date and brings Kabbage’s total equity raised to nearly $500 million.

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Kabbage Asset Securitization LLC, Series 2017-1 Additional Notes (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to four classes of additional Series 2017-1 notes (the “Series 2017-1 Additional Notes”) issued by Kabbage Asset Securitization LLC.

Kabbage Asset Securitization LLC (the “Issuer”) issued $525 million of Series 2017-1 Class A, Class B, Class C and Class D Notes (collectively, the “Series 2017-1 Notes”) on March 20, 2017. The Series 2017-1 Additional Notes include $25 million of additional Series 2017-1 Class A, Class B, Class C, and Class D Notes (together with the Series 2017-1 Notes, the “Notes”). The ratings for the $525 million of original Series 2017-1 Notes will be confirmed in conjunction with the issuance of the Series 2017-1 Additional Notes. The Series 2017-1 Additional Notes will have the same terms as the corresponding classes of Series 2017-1 Notes, including same Note Rate, Advance Rate and Legal Final Payment Date. The proceeds of the sale of the Series 2017-1 Additional Notes will be used to provide extra funding capacity for Kabbage.

Source: BusinessWire
Source: BusinessWire

Affirm – A Leading Point of Sale Finance Provider (Nanalyze), Rated: AAA

Not surprisingly, there is a lot of easy money to be made in loans. If we look at the CB Insights list of unicorns, we see 211 of these mythical creatures grazing in a field of rainbow colored grass. If we break these unicorns into categories, here are the top-3:

  • eCommerce/Marketplace – 16%
  • Internet Software and Services – 13%
  • Fintech – 12%

When we drill into the fintech category, we see that just over half of the companies are based in the USA (13 fintech companies). Of these 13 fintechs, almost half are enabling people to spend money they don’t have:

  • Social Finance – $20 billion in loans funded (vs. just $1.45 billion in savings)
  • Credit Karma – Helps you see how much money you can borrow
  • Greensky – Instant credit decisions
  • Avant – Personal loans using artificial intelligence (AI) for credit scores
  • Prosper – Loan money to your neighbors so they can buy more isht
  • Kabbage – Loan money to small businesses at ridiculous rates

San Francisco startup Affirm has taken in a whopping $420 million in funding so far from high profile investors like Andreessen Horowitz, Khosla Ventures, Morgan Stanley, and Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund.

The ability for Affirm to be right there at the point of purchase is what puts them in front of everyone else who is trying to finance purchases. When you select Affirm, then you’re required to create an account after which your ability to pay is assessed.

This is not a revolving line of credit, but rather each transaction is evaluated on its own merits. The transactions are reported to Experian so that you can build up your credit to buy even more isht. For the privilege of instant credit at the point of purchase, you’ll pay between 10% and 30% APR simple interest.

San Francisco fintech is shopping for a buyer, as it scrambles to raise $ 50 million (Biz Journals), Rated: AAA

San Francisco fintech Earnest has hired Barclays (NYSE: BCS) to help it find a buyer and raise $50 million in equity, a “dual track” process that could see the company sold for around $200 million, The Information reports.

A sale of the online lender at that price would be lower than previous valuations, which have been pegged higher after the company raised $200 million in debt and $100 million in equity.

SMALL BUSINESS CREDIT SURVEY  (New York Fed), Rated: AAA

Startups are of particular interest since they account for 34% of all small employer firms and play an outsized role in U.S. innovation and productivity. Young firms are the drivers of job growth in the United States, accounting for nearly all net new job creation and almost 20% of gross job creation. Yet, even as their importance has become more widely recognized, the rate of startup creation has been decreasing for years. And, of those ventures that launch, failure rates are high. Approximately one-third of new establishments fail within their first two years, and half fail within five years.

While funding is the lifeblood of every company, capital is especially critical for startups. To reach scale, startups need to be able to secure expansion capital. The Report on Startup Firms offers detailed intelligence on startups’ financing needs and challenges, asking questions about capital requests, borrowing qualifications, applications and success levels.

This report addresses several important borrower-centric questions:

  • How strong is demand for financing among startups?
  • Are startup firms seeking financing and credit from traditional lenders, or are younger firms attracted to new capital sources?
  • How successful are new firms in obtaining financing, and how do they rate their experiences with lenders?
Source: Small Business Credit Survey

Read the full must-read report here.

PayPal Acquires Swift Financial, Expands Loan Capabilities (The Street), Rated: A

PayPal Holdings Inc. ( PYPL) has acquired online lending firm Swift Financial in an effort to expand the online payments company’s business that offers working capital to merchants, Reuters reports.

PayPal will now be able to offer term loans of up to $500,000 to its larger merchants while taking advantage of Swift’s data and capabilities.

Is regulation really keeping banks from lending? (American Banker), Rated: A

Policymakers pushing to scale back regulation have relied heavily on a core argument — bank lending is being held back by post-crisis capital rules and other restrictions.

Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen has repeatedly said that banks’ lending activities have not been appreciably affected by new rules. In a hearing last month, she pointed to a survey of members by the National Federation of Independent Business which suggested that only a small fraction of small businesses are unable to get the credit they desire.

But loan demand is a difficult thing to measure, in part because it’s hard to count loans that aren’t made. By some metrics, lending demand is down.

But the industry says there is a worrisome trend that those aggregate numbers fail to address, and that is the heightened challenges that banks — particularly larger institutions — face in lending money to borrowers with less than perfect credit scores.

Bill Nelson, chief economist and head of research at The Clearing House Association, said that the new capital and liquidity rules — and especially the Fed’s stress testing program — have made it especially hard for the largest banks to make loans that run a risk of default under economic stress.

Competition rewards student loan borrowers who do their homework (Credible), Rated: A

An analysis of rate requests submitted by students and their families through the Credible marketplace found that when borrowers prequalified with more than one lender:

  • The average difference between the high and low interest rate on 10-year, fixed-rate loans was 1.7 percentage points.
  • Borrowers choosing the loan with the lower interest rate could expect median savings of $2,769.
  • In addition, private student loans funded through the Credible marketplace so far this year carry rates that can be competitive with federal PLUS loans.

When students and families request rates through the Credible marketplace and prequalify with more than one lender, the difference between their high rate and low rate averages 1.1 to 1.7 percentage points, depending on the loan term and type.

 

Vanguard posts unrivaled digital platform AUM (FinancialPlanning), Rated: A

The firm’s hybrid advice offering, Personal Advisor Services, is now at $83 billion in assets under management, according to the firm, putting it in position to be the first digital platform to cross $100 billion.

Since the first quarter of the year, the platform’s assets have experienced a 66% growth increase.

Even during its pilot phase with no paid advertising support, assets for Personal Adviser Services rose from $755 million in 2013 to $10.1 billion at the time of its launch in 2015.

FastPay and Tennenbaum Structure an Innovative $ 80MM Credit Facility for Videology (Newswire), Rated: A

FastPay, a prominent financial technology company that provides lending and payment solutions to digital businesses, along with Tennenbaum Capital Partners, LLC today announced the close of an $80 million international credit facility for Videology. Videology is a leading, global converged TV and video software provider with offices across the United States, Europe, Canada, Asia and Australia.

REAL ESTATE TOPS THE WILLIS ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENT LEAGUE TABLE (All About Alpha), Rated: A

The gist of its new report is that the alternatives asset industry has grown to nearly $6.5 trillion in assets under management.  The world’s largest 100 alternative asset managers make up more than 61% of the pie, with $4 trillion, which represents an increase of 10% in the latter AUM number over the course of 2016.

The survey divided those 100 managers into seven classes, and found that of the ten, the largest share of assets is that held by real estate managers. The full breakdown among the seven classes is as follows:

  1. Real estate – 35% of the whole, over $1.4 trillion;
  2. Private equity fund managers – 18%, and $695 billion;
  3. Hedge funds – 17%, and $675 billion;
  4. PE funds of funds – 12%, and $492 billion;
  5. Illiquid credit – 9% and $228 billion;
  6. Infrastructure – 4% and $161 billion;
  7. Commodities – 1% and $40 billion.

Criticism Heats up on Real Estate Crowdfunding Platform iFunding (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

iFunding, a real estate crowdfunding platform, is getting hammered on Bigger Pockets – a real estate investment forum. iFunding has had a choppy operational history at best. The platform has been peppered with high profile partnerships and then departures. Two unrelated lawsuits, in which the platform allegedly prevailed, certainly did not help. iFunding has not been originating any new deals since 2016 – as far as we know. Now there are allegations of deals gone back and the possibility of insolvency.

Largest FinTech Co. in World Accelerates, Invests in Chapel Hill’s WalletFi (Exitevent), Rated: A

Little Rock, Ark., home to the VC FinTech Accelerator, wasn’t quite as sexy a locale, but the 12-week program was sponsored by FIS, the largest FinTech company in the world. It offered funding as well as access to 30 executives from a variety of major banks and FinTech companies who’d signed on as mentors and advisors.

The decision has been a good one. WalletFi has signed on its first customer and two high profile advisors including the CEO of a publicly-traded bank.

Crop Pro Raises $ 8M in Series A (Coverager), Rated: A

Des Moines-based Crop Pro announced it has raised $8 million in a Series A round led by agriculture investors Finistere Ventures and Seed 2 Growth Ventures (S2G), with participation from specialty insurer GuideOne Insurance . Crop Pro will use the investment to expand its team and speed the development of products and services that bridge the gap between agricultural and financial technologies.

3 Possible Application of Machine Learning in finance (TechBullion), Rated: A

It is becoming extremely hard to correctly determine the eligibility of a loan borrower. Even after careful evaluation of all available parameters, some successful companies and individuals still default their bank loan.

Loan eligibility evaluation tasks will be taken over by the smart machine learning technology. To determine the credit score of a client, machine learning can apply regression algorithms which are accurate.

As the financial world transition to digital currencies and digital transactions, there is going to be no physical theft because the money is virtually held. For this reason, thieves are starting to change tact and are now switching to digital means of stealing money.

When put in place, machine learning begins by gathering and segmenting data into at least three segments to create models which eventually amounts to datasets. These datasets can be obtained from historical information. The machine learning models and datasets can then be used to predict the possibility of fraud occurring in financial transactions.

7 Reasons Why Investing in Real Estate Online is Efficient & Effective (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Forbes reported earlier this year that real estate crowdfunding was a $3.5 billion industry in 2016, up from $1 billion in 2014.

  1. Real Estate Investing Is No Longer (as) Local. With online tools and search algorithms, you can put searching for properties ‘on automatic’ and find properties that match your criteria – locally, nationally or even anywhere in the world. 
  2. Transparency. Many online platforms, in addition to doing most of the due diligence before presenting their investment opportunities, have built-in tools that allow investors to analyze risk, assess property valuations, calculate internal rates of return and loan-to-value calculations, and do market research. 
  3. Availability of Information. This availability of information has spurred some investors to create their own investment groups where they pool (i.e. crowdsource) their collective knowledge to evaluate the investments presented, and often will use other resources and means to further evaluate an investment opportunity.
  4. Document Delivery Is More Efficient.
  5. Convenience. Investors in this century no longer have to drive to view properties because images and virtual tours online make it unnecessary. Technology has taken real estate from the ground to the cloud.
  6. Lower Barriers to Entry. Many real estate investing platforms facilitate investments for  $1,000, $5,000 or $10,000. Through online real estate platforms, investing can be done with just a few hundred dollars per month, as many investments are simply equity trades where investors are buying a stake in a project or stakes in multiple projects within a single portfolio. Even debt-based instruments can be entered into with a small fraction of the investment needed 10 or 20 years ago. A few up-and-coming real estate platforms allow non-accredited investors ways to invest for as low as $100 per month.
  7. Greater Diversification. With today’s online options, an investor can diversify into fix-and-flip projects, rental properties, and debt or equity across residential, multifamily and commercial more easily than even 5 years ago.

Want to Be a Real Estate Millionaire? Here’s How to Invest with a Single Click (Inc.), Rated: B

Fortunately for investors of all types, real estate became the perfect asset class for crowdfunding: stable, tangible, and relatively predictable in its growth and eventual returns.

If you’re looking to get started in real estate in a few hours or less, here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Understand how crowdfunding portals work. There are two classes of investors: accredited and non-accredited.
  2. Ascertain what kind of investor you are. There are two classes of investors: accredited and non-accredited.
  3. Carefully weigh any investment, with the help of an expert. There are two classes of investors: accredited and non-accredited.

Five Hot Atlanta Startups (NewsCenter), Rated: B

Kabbage processes data generated through ordinary business activity, such as accounting data, online sales, shipping and dozens of other sources, to understand performance and deliver fast, flexible funding in real time. Kabbage has raised nearly $500 million in funding, with a whopping $250 million Series F that closed just a few days ago. According to the company, Kabbage has provided in excess of $3 billion in loans to more than 100,000 small businesses across all 50 U.S. states.

According to the company, more than 13,000 customers around the world use PrimeRevenue to optimize their financial supply chain. PrimeRevenue has raised more than $115 million in funding from Battery Ventures, Brown Brothers Harriman, and RRE Ventures.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle Revamp: Online Lender Announces New Look & Feel to Platform (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Thursday, online lender Funding Circle announced it is revamping its platform by offering a new look and feel. The lending portal also announced its new motto, Made to Do More.

Investors Spend £7bn on Alternative Income Trusts (Morningstar), Rated: A

Over the past 12 months to August 2017 investment trusts have raised £9.6 billion from investors in these two ways – known as issuance. Of this, 74% has been within what could broadly be termed alternative income; those assets not directly comparable to equities or conventional bonds and which distribute a structured yield to shareholders.

Issuance in what could be termed conventional income, such as multi-asset or UK and global equity income trusts, totalled £668 million. Finsbury Growth & Income (FGT) led the way with £112 million of issuance. Conventional issuance amounted for around £950 million which was dominated by activity in the secondary market from Scottish Mortgage (SMT) £299 million. Alternative income accounted for the remaining £7.2 billion.

Morrow: stop pandering to banks on robo-advice (Citywire), Rated: A

The regulator should stop pandering towards banks when it develops rules for robo-advice, evestor chief executive Anthony Morrow has argued.

‘If [evestor co-founder] Duncan Cameron and I can build a business to provide financial advice to customers then banks should be able to.

‘The only reason is absolute greed. There is probably an argument to say if, and it is a massive if, interest rates went up three or four percent, would the banks even be bothered because at that sort of rate they would probably still be getting a 2% margin on current accounts which is more than they would make on these new robo-advice things, and with absolutely no risk there,’ he said.

FCA: Advice market reform is ‘on track’ (Money Marketing), Rated: B

In particular, it cited fee transparency and the removal of commissions as steps forward, and that the results of its recent suitability review, which showed that 93 per cent of advice cases were suitable, demonstrated positive results.

The FCA writes: “A market where advisers aren’t driven by commission and are better qualified will provide a better quality of advice for consumers.”

China

This PBoC circular is set to radically change online payments in China (The Asset), Rated: AAA

The new document requires all third-party platforms, such as WeChat Pay, Alipay and others, to connect with Wang’lian (网联), an independent clearing house jointly established by PBoC, other Chinese regulatory bodies and some payments companies.

The new model adopts a centralized clearing procedure where Wang’lian will act as the sole intermediary clearing entity to handle all transactions between payments companies and banks.

According to Chinese media, the document from PBoC requires that banks and payments companies be ready with the internal infrastructure changes required for the new model by October 15. From June 30 2018, all payments and transfers will be processed by Wang’lian.

Data from online transactions, for instance transactions through WeChat’s red packet function, will be monitored by PBoC.

Goldman Sachs: 2017 China ‘s financial technology rise (199IT), Rated: AAA

Click the image to read the report.

The latest monthly report of P2P industry in Chinese first-tier cities: Beijing overtook Shanghai (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

Recently, a third-party institution has launched the Monthly Report of P2P Lending Industry of Chinese First-tier Cities. According to the report, the total number of P2P lending platforms in Chinese first-tier Cities has reached to 1,100 by the end of July, among which 403 platforms are in Beijing, 279 in Shanghai, and 418 in Guangdong Province.

Meanwhile, the total Volume of P2P lending industry in the three areas has reached to $27.37bn, increased by $592m from the last month. The volume of Guangdong Province ranked No.1, which amounts to $9.53bn, with growth rate of 2.01 percent from the last month. The following was Beijing, where the volume amounted to $9.19bn, with the month-on-month growth of 6.69%. And Shanghai reached the p2p industry volume of $8.65bn, which was down 1.95% from the previous month.

China Rapid Finance Limited Sponsored ADR (XRF) to Release Quarterly Earnings on Thursday (Week Herald), Rated: A

China Rapid Finance Limited Sponsored ADR (NYSE:XRF) is scheduled to announce its earnings results before the market opens on Thursday, August 17th. Analysts expect the company to announce earnings of ($0.17) per share for the quarter.

China Rapid Finance Limited Sponsored ADR (NYSE:XRF) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, May 25th. The company reported ($1.01) earnings per share for the quarter.

European Union

Robo.Cash Update: Investments Jump 30% in July (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Robo.Cash, an automated peer to peer lending platform with a buyback guarantee, reports that July was a solid month for the online lender as investments jumped 30%. In the first half of the year, Robo.Cash says that over 700 investors have signed up and 85,720 loans have been originated. In July, 187 investors joined the platform.

Source: Crowdfund Insider

One in five German companies faces charge on bank deposit (New York Daily News), Rated: A

Nearly one in five German companies has faced being charged for parking cash at its bank as a result of the European Central Bank’s negative rate policy, the Ifo economic institute said on Wednesday.

Only 8 percent of all companies eventually accept the charge, with most others escaping it through negotiations or by switching banks, Ifo’s survey of 4,000 companies showed.

International

How Financial Institutions and Fintechs Are Partnering for Inclusion (Center for Financial Inclusion), Rated: AAA

Major Findings

  • The best partnerships between financial institutions and fintechs are a win-win for both partners, as well as for financial inclusion. Mainstream financial institutions partner with fintechs to improve product offerings, increase efficiency, and lower costs – goals with special relevance to low-income customers. By partnering with mainstream financial institutions, fintechs get to scale their technology and can access capital to grow. As a result of these partnerships, low-income customers who are left out of – or poorly served by – the financial sector have greater access to higher quality, more convenient, and less expensive financial products and services.
  • To facilitate productive fintech partnerships, mainstream financial institutions are organizing internally for innovation, strategically integrating systems and staff, and developing contractual agreements to ensure stability and success. Fintech partnerships enable legacy institutions to engage with and learn from new technology in low-risk, low-cost ways. They are also key to allowing incumbents to compete in a world where alternative players, like Facebook and Amazon, are threatening the central role of financial institutions in the lives of customers. By offering better, less expensive, and more innovative products, financial institutions can assert their continued relevance as customer-facing institution.
  • One encouraging and somewhat unexpected finding is that the partnerships between financial institutions and fintechs represent a slow but pervasive financial industry shift toward customer-centricity. Better data management and use, new digital banking products, and greater customer engagement all enable better service for underserved customer segments.

Read the full report.

Crypto vs VISA – Can Denarius Compete When it Comes to Transactions Per Second? (The Merkle), Rated: A

VISA handles on average around 2,000 transactions per second (tps) and peaks around 4,000 tps during high shopping periods. This is just a fraction of their capacity, which is said to be around 56,000 transactions per second.

Paypal, in contrast, handled around 10 millions transactions per day or 115 transactions per second according to data from late 2014.

Today, the Bitcoin network is restricted to a sustain rate of around 7 transactions per second or a little over 600,000 transactions per day.

REAL Launches ICO to Disrupt Global Real Estate Investment Markets (Cryptocoins News), Rated: A

REAL will disrupt global real estate investing by moving it on to the Ethereum blockchain and enabling the average investor to build a real estate portfolio.

Property owners and developers will apply to have their assets tokenized and listed on the REAL crowdfunding website. The REAL team – which is composed of successful entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and developers who have already invested $350,000 of their own funds in the project – will carefully analyze the properties to select the ones that will provide investors with the greatest long-term value, with targeted annual returns of 12-20%.

The REAL token sale will begin on August 31, but investors contributing greater than 100 ETH will have the opportunity to participate in a 24-hour pre-sale on August 24. During the ICO, investors will be able to acquire tokens at the rate of 220 REAL per 1 ETH until the investment cap has been reached.

Australia

DirectMoney closes funding deal (LendIt), Rated: AAA

The Board of DirectMoney Limited (ASX: DM1), (“DirectMoney”, or the “Company”) are delighted to announce the completion of a wholesale funding agreement with 255 Finance.

The agreement is structured around the purchase of $50 million in DirectMoney originated loan assets, with the intent to increase this in the future. 255 Finance will also receive equity in DirectMoney and options that vest based upon specific hurdles being met. Significant growth in both lending volumes and the operational performance of DirectMoney is anticipated as a result of the facility.

Asia

What’s slowing the adoption of straight through processing for payments? (The Asset), Rated: A

One technical difficulty is the need for compatible payments systems across different entities. The ISO 20022 XML format is a standardized and popular format for payments among financial institutions. However, payments under the XML standard still need to be reformatted if the transaction goes through the United States’ Automated Clearing House network.

Regulatory requirements, which can include know-your-client checks and anti-money laundering, as well as risk and control, can mandate that a part of the process is completed manually.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday July 14 2017, Daily News Digest

Visa revenues

News Comments Today’s main news: DBRS assigns provisional ratings to SoFi Professional Loan Program 2017-D. IEG Holdings cites slim margins, weak underwriting as reasons for LendingClub offer. Bank execs say UK sets the standard for fintech regulation. Rocket Internet sells stake in Lendico. Today’s main analysis: Visa’s international expansion. Today’s thought-provoking articles: DBRS Student Loan ABS report (a […]

Visa revenues

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Israel

India

Latin America

Canada

News Summary

United States

DBRS Assigns Provisional Ratings to SoFi Professional Loan Program 2017-D (DBRS), Rated: AAA

DBRS, Inc. (DBRS) has today assigned provisional ratings to the following classes of notes issued by SoFi Professional Loan Program 2017-D (SoFi 2017-D):

— $245,000,000 Class A-1FX Notes at AAA (sf)
— $266,000,000 Class A-2FX Notes at AAA (sf)
— $40,000,000 Class B-FX Notes at AA (sf)

DBRS Student Loan ABS report (DBRS), Rated: AAA

In this commentary, DBRS provides the following:
— A review of Q1 2017 student loan ABS performance and H1 2017 student loan ABS issuance.
— An outlook for future student loan ABS issuance and the trends expected in H2 2017.
— Analysis and highlights of student loan collateral performance.

Download the full report here.

IEG Holdings Highlights the Urgency of LendingClub Correcting its Flawed, Slim Margin “Broker” Business Model and Weak Underwriting Standards (Sys-Con), Rated: AAA

IEG Holdings yesterday announced the commencement of a tender offer to exchange four shares of IEG Holdings’ common stock for each share of LendingClub common stock, up to an aggregate of 40,345,603 shares of LendingClub common stock, representing approximately 9.99% of LendingClub’s outstanding shares as of April 28, 2017, validly tendered and not properly withdrawn in the offer.

IEG Holdings Corporation (OTCQB: IEGH) (“IEG Holdings”) cautions shareholders of LendingClub Corporation (“LendingClub”) against dismissing IEG Holdings’ tender offer. IEG Holdings believes that the LendingClub board of directors should be held accountable by its shareholders for continuing to pursue a flawed, slim margin “broker” business model. IEG Holdings urges LendingClub to enter into negotiations with IEG Holdings, rather than simply dismissing the tender offer.

FLAWED, SLIM MARGIN, LOSS-MAKING BUSINESS MODEL

Despite brokering more than $26 billion of loans since inception, LendingClub still reported a loss of $29.8 million for Q1 2017 and loss of $146.0 million for the 2016 full year. Transitioning to a balance sheet lender likely would significantly increase gross margins, without a significant change in customer acquisition costs.

WEAK UNDERWRITING STANDARDS

A recent media report by Bloomberg indicates that:

  • LendingClub only verified income about a third of the time for one of the most popular loans it made in 2016, and
  • If LendingClub finds errors in a loan application, it may still approve the loan.

LACK OF COMPANY-OWNED STATE LENDING LICENSES

LendingClub doesn’t hold individual state lending licenses and instead utilizes the services of a Utah-based bank. This raises regulatory risks around issues such as the potential breaking of individual state interest rate caps and compliance.

POOR STOCK MARKET PERFORMANCE AND ZERO DIVIDENDS TO SHAREHOLDERS

LendingClub’s share price has decreased 79% since its initial public offering in December 2014, dropping from $25.74 in December 2014 to $5.39 yesterday, after reaching a low of $3.51 in May 2016. In addition, LendingClub has never paid, and has no reported intention to pay, a dividend to shareholders.

IEG Holdings’ Reasons for the Offer

IEG Holdings believes that changing LendingClub’s business model to a balance sheet lender model would enable the company to generate significantly higher gross margins, provide significantly higher long duration cash flow from customers, build increased customer goodwill with customers and enable increased customer refinancing. The longer duration cash flow would provide more flexibility in reducing lending volumes during periods when underwriting risk levels are rising, as the company would be less dependent on brokering new loan deals every day to provide revenue.

  • IEG Holdings intends to encourage LendingClub to undertake substantial costs cuts by terminating excess employees, achieving substantial cuts in advertising/marketing costs and other significant cost cutting measures;
  • IEG Holdings intends to encourage LendingClub to transform its broker business model with low gross margins and high volumes to focus on high gross margin unsecured loans to near prime clients with strong underwriting, company owned individual state licenses and retention of loans on its balance sheet to secure long duration cash flow from longer term loans; and
  • The acquisition of LendingClub shares would be substantially net asset per share accretive for IEG Holdings stockholders and substantially increase shareholder equity.

New partnership turns PayPal into Apple App Store payment option (Banking Tech), Rated: A

This week the company announced a partnership with Apple to allow shoppers pay for their purchases at the App Store using PayPal. The feature will be available for users of a variety of Apple devices including iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Apple Watch, and iPod.In addition to the App Store, PayPal will be a payment option for a variety of Apple services including Apple Music, iTunes, and iBooks.

Finicity and JP Morgan Chase pair for data share (Banking Tech), Rated: A

Data aggregation provider Finicity has signed an agreement with JP Morgan Chase to let the bank’s customers choose data to share with apps.

The companies will use a direct API to allow Chase customers to share information with the apps and services that Finicity supports. According to the firms, this tokenised access will eliminate the need for customers to share their Chase credentials with third-party apps.

Paypal Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:PYPL): Beginning of Market Dominance (Library for Smart Investors), Rated: A

Paypal Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:PYPL) is getting investors attention after the stock touched fresh highs amid a new partnership with Apple.

The stock is up over 43% since the start of the year.

In the first quarter, PayPal saw a jump of 10.3% in monthly active users on year-over-year basis. The total number of transactions also increased by 22.5% in the period.

In the first quarter, Venmo processed $6.8 billion in total payments, a 100% growth on year-over-year basis. Venmo is slated to grow more as the company expands to small businesses.

WEALTHTECH — THE DIGITIZATION OF WEALTH MANAGEMENT (FT Partners), Rated: A

WealthTech companies are targeting inefficiencies that span the entire wealth management value chain, from client prospecting to investing to portfolio management and reporting. Benefits include more efficient workflows, improved client experiences and greater transparency. Regardless of their value proposition, WealthTech companies are seeking to improve overall wealth management and investing.

This report highlights a number of key trends within the broader WealthTech industry such as…

  • Growing number of advisors joining the independent channel
  • Incumbent financial institutions are entering the robo-advice space
  • Increased demand for alternative investments
  • Financial planning trending towards goal-based approaches
  • Higher levels of active risk management
  • Commoditization of portfolio management software is leading to expanded offerings
  • RIA custodians evolving into more holistic roles

Download the full report here.

Wells Fargo trims auto loans as market cools, risk overhaul kicks in (Reuters), Rated: A

Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N) is scaling back and remolding its auto lending business in response to growing stress in the market, as well as a bank-wide push for more centralized risk controls.

Wells, which was the No. 2 U.S. provider of auto loans less than a year ago, has already cut quarterly originations by nearly 30 percent over the nine months leading into March 31, according to a May 11 company presentation. It has also begun consolidating the collections operation in a move that people familiar with the business say could eliminate hundreds of jobs, after a new head of auto finance took the reins in April.

5 Fintech Startups Under the Radar (Bank Innovation), Rated: A

Spotme

This New York City-based startup facilitates micro-loans between borrowers and lenders, allowing users to set up pretty much all the parameters of a loan themselves: users can control the amount, the interest rate, the payback period, and the way they are reimbursed for the loan themselves.

Ledger

Ledger might be able to help out there: this San Francisco-based startup allows users to “open tabs with friends,” boiling down a transaction to just 3 clicks. By connecting with a user’s financial accounts (protected by “military-grade” cybersecurity, according to the company), users are able to aggregate all of their transactions in one place, as well as receive notification about when transactions are due.

Wallio

More and more companies are striving to solve the main problem when it comes to personal finance management services: how do you make a user actually take the financial advice that is being offered?

Wallio starts off the week by giving a user an allocated amount of money they can spend for that week, on whatever the user wants (expenses and savings are already factored into this amount). If a user underspends, great: Wallio will allow that user to put that money towards a goal. If a user overspends, Wallio will simply allocate less money for the user to spend next week.

Samwise

This robo-investing startup allows users to turn their existing brokerage account into an autonomous investing account using machine learning algorithms.

OnePebble

Invest, and make a difference in the world at the same time: that’s the dream of OnePebble, an online investment broker/dealer that puts each investment toward companies “doing good in the world.”

3 Investing Trends to Keep on Your Radar (Morningstar), Rated: A

Trend: Passive products continue to gain assets.

This is the trend shaping the investment management industry today. Asset flows to passive products, both traditional index mutual funds and exchange-traded funds, began in earnest following disappointing active-fund performance during the financial crisis.

Trend: New ways to hire–and pay for–financial advice. 

Robo-advisors provide automated advice for a low annual fee as low as 0.25% or even less. Meanwhile, mutual fund companies and brokerage firms may provide advice for customers who have amassed sufficient assets at the firm. For example, Vanguard Personal Advisor Service charges 0.30% and is available to investors with at least $50,000 in assets at the firm. (The service combines human financial advisors with robo-advisor technology.)

What to watch out for: The profusion of different business models means that the business of selecting an advisor is more complicated than ever. Robo-advisor fees might look like a screaming buy relative to the fees that a full-service human advisor charges, but the robo won’t be able to give you advice on nonportfolio matters like whether to pay off your mortgage or purchase long-term care insurance.

Trend: An increased emphasis on behavioral factors that can affect investor outcomes.

What’s to like: Many robo-advisors have also embedded behaviorial research into their services.

What to watch out for: Behavioral finance is trendy right now, and with any trend comes the opportunity for gimmickry. Beware of advisors who are using behavioral finance as their main hook to snag clients; high-quality advisors have been employing behavioral finance into their practices for years.

US Tax Professionals Tackles the Tax implications of Crowdfunding (Digital Journal), Rated: A

It’s important to understand that all the income a person receives, regardless of the source, is considered taxable income in the eyes of the IRS. That includes crowdfunding dollars.

Even if the campaign only raised the projected $15,000 and no gifts were offered, the money would still be considered taxable income and need to be reported as such on a tax return.

Generally, crowdfunding revenues are included in income as long as they are not:

  • Loans that must be repaid;
  • Capital contributed to an entity in exchange for an equity interest in the entity; or
  • Gifts made out of detached generosity and without any “quid pro quo.” However, a voluntary transfer without a “quid pro quo” isn’t necessarily a gift for federal income tax purposes.

Morgan Stanley digital chief: AI to help advisers, not ‘cyborg bots’ (Financial-Planning), Rated: A

Advisers tasked with processing a “mountain of information” will get a reprieve through artificial intelligence, according to Morgan Stanley Wealth Management’s chief digital officer.

“What we want to do is, with one click of a button, they can take action on that research report to all their clients within minutes, not hours, not phone calls,” Hassan said. “That’s the promise of what we’re trying to build.”

Rival firms have shown they’re headed down a similar path. Like Morgan’s planned offering, the UBS-SigFig service will save advisers’ time through automated messaging to clients on important dates, according to Richard Steinmeier, the head of the UBS Wealth Advice Center.

Congress Should Use Congressional Review Act to Strike Down Ill-Advised Arbitration Rule (Daily Signal), Rated: B

Cutting through the hyperbole that the arbitration rule protects consumers from “unfairness” that would deny them “their day in court,” this rule is in fact highly anti-consumer and harmful to innovation.

This regulation could have particularly harmful effects on FinTech innovations, such as peer-to-peer lending.”

How much money do Arizonans spend playing the lottery? Less than most Americans (AZ Central), Rated: B

Arizonans on average shelled out $100.85 per capita on lottery tickets in 2015, according to the study by LendEDU, based on preliminary data for state government finances collected by the Census Bureau. For Americans overall, the per-capita figure was $206.69.

United Kingdom

UK setting the bar for fintech regulation, bank execs say (SNL.com), Rated: AAA

U.K. authorities have created a world-leading regulatory environment for the burgeoning fintech industry that is being emulated elsewhere, according to bankers.

The Financial Conduct Authority’s “sandbox,” a program launched in 2015 to let companies test innovative ideas under close regulatory supervision, has been particularly helpful, she said.

Meanwhile, initiatives such as FCA-organized hackathons — or “TechSprints” as it prefers to call them — have been particularly appreciated by the industry, according to Sophie Guibaud, vice president of European expansion at Fidor Bank AG, a German online lender that was bought by Groupe BPCE in 2016. These events invite market participants to come up with technological solutions to certain problems, such as financial issues faced by people with mental health problems.

The U.K. is home to more fintech companies valued at more than $1 billion than the rest of Europe put together, according to an April 2017 report by technology investment bank GP Bullhound. Three U.K.-based companies, Funding Circle, Paysafe and Transferwise, have crossed that threshold, and GP Bullhound said that it does not expect London to relinquish its lead, due to its prominence in international financial services.

Comparison site GoCompare invests in mortgage robo-adviser (AltFi), Rated: A

Financial comparison site GoCompare is hoping to transform the UK’s mortgage application process by investing in MortgageGym, a digital mortgage robo-adviser.

Users can complete a free application within 15 minutes on MortgageGym and receive matches within 60 seconds, as well as robo advice and access to live advisers. The website will use automated algorithms to match applicants with the best mortgage providers.

The House Crowd hits £50m via mix of P2P and crowdfunding (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE HOUSE CROWD has hit the £50m funding target it set out to achieve in October last year.

The Manchester-based property platform started targeting institutional money at the end of last year to achieve its first £50m of funds channelled to property and buy-to-let borrowers, through both its peer-to-peer side and its crowdfunding arm.

The firm raised over £15m in the six months to early 2017, while a loan it closed last month added another £600,000.

Fintech CurrencyCloud tapped up investors months before Google raise (Business Insider), Rated: A

CurrencyCloud, which provides a platform to process international payments, raised £9.5 million from its existing investors in December 2016. The company had £10.5 million in the bank at the end of the month, accounts show, suggesting the platform had around £1 million left at the time of the fundraising.

The volume of payments jumped by 110% to 1.5 million but net revenue from currency transactions increased by just 10% to £3.2 million. Meanwhile, administrative expenses rose by 54% to £13.9 million as CurrencyCloud invested in “recruiting staff, developing our technology infrastructure and operations services, and moving to new office premises.”

P2P fund share issues boost investment trust sector (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

FUNDRAISINGS by Honeycomb and the Funding Circle SME Income Fund (FCIF) helped push share issues to record levels in the investment trust sector for the first half of 2017.

Secondary issuances raised £3.3bn in the first six months of the year, trade body the Association of Investment Companies has revealed, up from £1.8bn at the same time in 2016.

FCIF raised £142m in conversion shares in April, the largest total in the specialist debt sector, while the Honeycomb investment trust raised £105m through a ordinary share issue.

Alternative Credit funds drive record cash raise (AltFi), Rated: A

Assets in investment trusts have hit an all time high thanks in part to a huge swathe of secondary issuance in closed-ended funds’ shares.

In the first half of 2017, the most poplar area of the investment trust market was Infrastructure – in terms secondary issuance – raising £1.2bn. This was followed by Alternative Credit at  £514m. Funding Circle SME Income raised the largest total in the sector securing £142m via its C share issue, followed by Honeycomb Investment Trust (£105m).

China

The number of Online Financial platforms in China Exceed 19,000, ranking the first place of the world. (Xing Ping She), Rated: AAA

According to data from National Institution of Internet Financial Risk Analysis &Technology,there are more than 19,000 online financial platforms across China, including over 6000 online lending platforms, nearly 3500 online assets managers, and 800 crowdfunding platforms. The total cumulative volume of internet loans, crowdfunding and internet payment have reached to 70 trillion RMB (US$ 10.33 trillion). Zhou Hongren, director of the National Committee of Internet Finance Professional Technology, claimed that, “No matter in terms of quantity or scale, China has already become the largest international finance marketplace around the world.”

European Union

Rocket Internet Sells Stake in Lendico Startup (Handelsblatt), Rated: AAA

Incubator firm Rocket Internet has sold its majority stake in peer-to-peer lender Lendico to Arrowgrass, Handelsblatt has learned, as the British hedge fund acquired complete ownership of the Berlin startup.

The partners to the transaction agreed to keep the purchase price confidential. Rocket Internet, which specializes in helping online startups get off the ground, most recently valued its 50-percent-plus stake in Lendico at €140 million ($159 million).

Funding Circle Germany Takes a Fresh Start (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Germany is a huge SME and VSME (very small business) credit market. But it is not as mature a market for online marketplace lending as the UK, the US, or even the Netherlands. This partly explains why Funding Circle Germany’s early loan book underperformed. Now the platform is starting afresh to match its market’s reality.

With offices and business in Germany, the Netherlands and Spain, Zencap had originated €35 million in loans to 500 SMEs at the time of its acquisition. Its operations were very small in comparison with the more than $1.5 billion originated by Funding Circle in the US and the UK at the time (meanwhile Funding Circle passed the $3 billion mark).

The second reason for starting afresh, was a need to revisit the credit model. Since January, the new German team has been busy recalibrating and restarting the German operations.

Loan origination resumed at previous level in the first half of 2017 and is expected to grow again in the second half of this year.

Spanish Fintech Industry Comes into its Own (Finance Magnates), Rated: A

The Spanish fintech ecosystem has been a steadily growing force over the past few years, swelling from just fifty financial technology startups in 2013 to well over three hundred in 2017. This rapid surge is only going to continue with this number estimated to hit four hundred companies by 2018.

In terms of the value of the operations, this sector passed rose from just €35 million in 2014 to €206 million in 2016, justifying a 600 percent growth in just two years.

According to the Spanish Association for Fintech and Insurtech (Asociación Española de Fintech e Insurtech – Aefi), companies operating in this space in Spain are going to create a total of 10,000 jobs in 2017 alone.

While the value offintech operations in Spain is increasing, two areas that constitute the most focus are the crowdfactoring or invoice factoring crowdfunding platforms – these saw a total of €120 milion euros in 2016, that concentrate most of the operations domestically, followed by crowdfunding with €43.5 million and crowdlending or p2p lending with €42 million.

International

Visa Expands Its Footprint in Europe (Market Realist), Rated: AAA

In May 2017, Visa announced that in order to give consumers more control and make transactions transparent, the company will create digital card management experiences for its partners. Visa’s partners include financial institutions. Since the new offerings will lead to more transparency, Visa expects to see volume growth in fiscal 3Q17. Market analysts expect Visa to report revenues of $4.36 billion in fiscal 3Q17—a decline of 2.7%.

 

What Can Visa Expect from Russia, China, Japan, and India?

In fiscal 2Q17, there was growth in Visa’s cross-border business due to Russia’s developed economy. Visa implemented ~1,600 point-of-sale terminals. As a result, payment volumes are expected to grow in fiscal 3Q17.

Management thinks that obtaining a domestic license in China is a time-consuming process. Visa is expected to witness lower revenues and payment volumes from China due to discontinued dual branded cards.

Management has a positive outlook on Japan’s economy due to digitization. Japan’s government has become more inclined to use digital and electronic payments.

In fiscal 3Q17, India could be a major contributor to payment volume growth.

Visa has delivered a return on equity of 16.2% on trailing 12-months basis. Other consumer financial peers (XLF) have delivered the following return on equity on a trailing 12-month basis:

  • American Express (AXP) – 25.1%
  • MasterCard (MA) – 75%Discover Financial Services (DFS) – 21.10%

Visa Expects to Benefit from Its European Business

Visa’s (V) acquisition of Visa Europe allowed the company to enhance its global reach. The main agenda behind the acquisition was to bring innovation to the European market. Visa had been working closely with its partners and clients. The company also plans to create new services and products.

Israel

THE SURPRISING COUNTRY LEADING THE FINTECH REVOLUTION (Ozy.com), Rated: AAA

The country that gave the world smart drip irrigation and the Epilady has also been an early and enthusiastic adopter of financial technology, as in mobile banking apps, digital wallets, online lending and other services that manage moola. In fact, a survey of selected industrialized countries shows that:

As for the specifics, 50 percent of Israeli adults use mobile banking apps at least once a month. In the U.S., it was 38 percent; the U.K., 37 percent; in France, 35 percent; and in Germany, a surprisingly anemic 28 percent.

The five largest banks in Israel control more than 90 percent of the market, and as Sandra Octaviani, research lead for fintech at the University of Utah’s Center for Innovation in Banking and Financial Services, notes, traditional banks tend to serve low-risk, highly profitable clients, which creates an opportunity for nimbler fintech firms to swoop in and serve the underserved.

India

RBI wary of first loan default guarantee cover (India Times), Rated: AAA

The Reserve Bank of India is learnt to be wary of peerto-peer lending platforms offering any FLDG, or first loan default guarantee, cover to institutional lenders for any lending they do through these technology startups, said sources familiar with the discussions.

While various lending entities are keen on exploring this space as a cheap source of customers, they often look for a security cover against loans going bad. Experts say such guarantees or covers might go against the intentions of the central bank.

SME Lending Based on Payment History is the Next Big Wave in Fintech (BW Disrupt), Rated: A

ftCash aims to empower micro-merchants and entrepreneurs with the power of electronic payments and loans with zero upfront cost and no monthly rentals. Merchants are able to offer their customers multiple payment methods including credit cards, debit cards, net banking, mobile wallets, PayPal and more.

Nonethless, credit lending is the next big wave of Indian fintech. Lodha explains, “SME Lending based on payment history will be next big wave in fintech. On an active basis, it allows a lender to decide the paying ability of a merchant/business and the recollection of these loans can be done from the payment platform itself. The combination of the payments data along with GST data provides deeper insights into a business. We at ftcash are heavily invested in this idea and believe there is a great potential for scale here.”

Latin America

Venture fund for Latino entrepreneurs, fintech in Mexico  (ImpactAlpha), Rated: AAA

Financial technology, or fintech, startups offering digital payment, remittances and lending services, could capture 30% of Mexico’s banking market within 10 years, according to Finnovista, a fintech accelerator. Six in 10 Mexicans are unbanked. Financial exclusion is a problem but “also an opportunity,” Francisco Meré, the director of Bankaool, one of the first online-only banks in Mexico, told the Financial Times[paywall]. “The cost of engaging a customer through technology is a fraction of using a branch.” Clip has grown to become one of Mexico’s largest digital payment providers (Accion sold its stake in February). Kubo Financieroprovides peer-to-peer lending; Albo, mobile-based banking; and Kueski, a digital micro-lender — all have secured venture backing. More than 150 fintech, or financial technology, firms now operate in Mexico, giving Mexico 35% of fintech companies serving the under- and un-banked in Latin America.

AFLUENTA INCORPORATES THE MEXICAN INVESTMENT FUND IGNIA TO ITS PRESTIGIOUS LIST OF SHAREHOLDERS (AltFi), Rated: A

Afluenta (www.afluenta.com), a leading online credit platform for the people of Latin America, announced the addition of Mexican venture capital fund IGNIA to its group of shareholders. IGNIA is a venture capital fund specializing in investments in entrepreneurial companies with great potential for growth, whose services meet the needs of the emerging middle class.

In Mexico, where local credit to the private sector is below 35% of GDP, compared to 68% in Brazil, Afluenta aims to revolutionize the market with its human approach to credit and investment.

Afluenta connects borrowers with investors who can be individuals or companies, eliminating intermediaries such as traditional financial institutions. Its technology allows investors to receive competitive returns on their contributions in a simple, fast and efficient way, while applicants obtain loans faster, without bureaucracy and at a lower interest rate than in a bank.

Canada

Katipult CEO finalist for the prestigious EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2017 (Digital Journal), Rated: A

Brock Murray, CEO of Katipult, a SaaS company that enables firms to design, setup, and manage an investment crowdfunding, Peer to Peer lending, or investor management platform, has been named a finalist in Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year in the Emerging Technology category in Prairies.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday July 14 2017, Daily News Digest

Visa revenues

News Comments Today’s main news: DBRS assigns provisional ratings to SoFi Professional Loan Program 2017-D. IEG Holdings cites slim margins, weak underwriting as reasons for LendingClub offer. Bank execs say UK sets the standard for fintech regulation. Rocket Internet sells stake in Lendico. Today’s main analysis: Visa’s international expansion. Today’s thought-provoking articles: DBRS Student Loan ABS report (a […]

Visa revenues

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Israel

India

Latin America

Canada

News Summary

United States

DBRS Assigns Provisional Ratings to SoFi Professional Loan Program 2017-D (DBRS), Rated: AAA

DBRS, Inc. (DBRS) has today assigned provisional ratings to the following classes of notes issued by SoFi Professional Loan Program 2017-D (SoFi 2017-D):

— $245,000,000 Class A-1FX Notes at AAA (sf)
— $266,000,000 Class A-2FX Notes at AAA (sf)
— $40,000,000 Class B-FX Notes at AA (sf)

DBRS Student Loan ABS report (DBRS), Rated: AAA

In this commentary, DBRS provides the following:
— A review of Q1 2017 student loan ABS performance and H1 2017 student loan ABS issuance.
— An outlook for future student loan ABS issuance and the trends expected in H2 2017.
— Analysis and highlights of student loan collateral performance.

Download the full report here.

IEG Holdings Highlights the Urgency of LendingClub Correcting its Flawed, Slim Margin “Broker” Business Model and Weak Underwriting Standards (Sys-Con), Rated: AAA

IEG Holdings yesterday announced the commencement of a tender offer to exchange four shares of IEG Holdings’ common stock for each share of LendingClub common stock, up to an aggregate of 40,345,603 shares of LendingClub common stock, representing approximately 9.99% of LendingClub’s outstanding shares as of April 28, 2017, validly tendered and not properly withdrawn in the offer.

IEG Holdings Corporation (OTCQB: IEGH) (“IEG Holdings”) cautions shareholders of LendingClub Corporation (“LendingClub”) against dismissing IEG Holdings’ tender offer. IEG Holdings believes that the LendingClub board of directors should be held accountable by its shareholders for continuing to pursue a flawed, slim margin “broker” business model. IEG Holdings urges LendingClub to enter into negotiations with IEG Holdings, rather than simply dismissing the tender offer.

FLAWED, SLIM MARGIN, LOSS-MAKING BUSINESS MODEL

Despite brokering more than $26 billion of loans since inception, LendingClub still reported a loss of $29.8 million for Q1 2017 and loss of $146.0 million for the 2016 full year. Transitioning to a balance sheet lender likely would significantly increase gross margins, without a significant change in customer acquisition costs.

WEAK UNDERWRITING STANDARDS

A recent media report by Bloomberg indicates that:

  • LendingClub only verified income about a third of the time for one of the most popular loans it made in 2016, and
  • If LendingClub finds errors in a loan application, it may still approve the loan.

LACK OF COMPANY-OWNED STATE LENDING LICENSES

LendingClub doesn’t hold individual state lending licenses and instead utilizes the services of a Utah-based bank. This raises regulatory risks around issues such as the potential breaking of individual state interest rate caps and compliance.

POOR STOCK MARKET PERFORMANCE AND ZERO DIVIDENDS TO SHAREHOLDERS

LendingClub’s share price has decreased 79% since its initial public offering in December 2014, dropping from $25.74 in December 2014 to $5.39 yesterday, after reaching a low of $3.51 in May 2016. In addition, LendingClub has never paid, and has no reported intention to pay, a dividend to shareholders.

IEG Holdings’ Reasons for the Offer

IEG Holdings believes that changing LendingClub’s business model to a balance sheet lender model would enable the company to generate significantly higher gross margins, provide significantly higher long duration cash flow from customers, build increased customer goodwill with customers and enable increased customer refinancing. The longer duration cash flow would provide more flexibility in reducing lending volumes during periods when underwriting risk levels are rising, as the company would be less dependent on brokering new loan deals every day to provide revenue.

  • IEG Holdings intends to encourage LendingClub to undertake substantial costs cuts by terminating excess employees, achieving substantial cuts in advertising/marketing costs and other significant cost cutting measures;
  • IEG Holdings intends to encourage LendingClub to transform its broker business model with low gross margins and high volumes to focus on high gross margin unsecured loans to near prime clients with strong underwriting, company owned individual state licenses and retention of loans on its balance sheet to secure long duration cash flow from longer term loans; and
  • The acquisition of LendingClub shares would be substantially net asset per share accretive for IEG Holdings stockholders and substantially increase shareholder equity.

New partnership turns PayPal into Apple App Store payment option (Banking Tech), Rated: A

This week the company announced a partnership with Apple to allow shoppers pay for their purchases at the App Store using PayPal. The feature will be available for users of a variety of Apple devices including iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Apple Watch, and iPod.In addition to the App Store, PayPal will be a payment option for a variety of Apple services including Apple Music, iTunes, and iBooks.

Finicity and JP Morgan Chase pair for data share (Banking Tech), Rated: A

Data aggregation provider Finicity has signed an agreement with JP Morgan Chase to let the bank’s customers choose data to share with apps.

The companies will use a direct API to allow Chase customers to share information with the apps and services that Finicity supports. According to the firms, this tokenised access will eliminate the need for customers to share their Chase credentials with third-party apps.

Paypal Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:PYPL): Beginning of Market Dominance (Library for Smart Investors), Rated: A

Paypal Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:PYPL) is getting investors attention after the stock touched fresh highs amid a new partnership with Apple.

The stock is up over 43% since the start of the year.

In the first quarter, PayPal saw a jump of 10.3% in monthly active users on year-over-year basis. The total number of transactions also increased by 22.5% in the period.

In the first quarter, Venmo processed $6.8 billion in total payments, a 100% growth on year-over-year basis. Venmo is slated to grow more as the company expands to small businesses.

WEALTHTECH — THE DIGITIZATION OF WEALTH MANAGEMENT (FT Partners), Rated: A

WealthTech companies are targeting inefficiencies that span the entire wealth management value chain, from client prospecting to investing to portfolio management and reporting. Benefits include more efficient workflows, improved client experiences and greater transparency. Regardless of their value proposition, WealthTech companies are seeking to improve overall wealth management and investing.

This report highlights a number of key trends within the broader WealthTech industry such as…

  • Growing number of advisors joining the independent channel
  • Incumbent financial institutions are entering the robo-advice space
  • Increased demand for alternative investments
  • Financial planning trending towards goal-based approaches
  • Higher levels of active risk management
  • Commoditization of portfolio management software is leading to expanded offerings
  • RIA custodians evolving into more holistic roles

Download the full report here.

Wells Fargo trims auto loans as market cools, risk overhaul kicks in (Reuters), Rated: A

Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N) is scaling back and remolding its auto lending business in response to growing stress in the market, as well as a bank-wide push for more centralized risk controls.

Wells, which was the No. 2 U.S. provider of auto loans less than a year ago, has already cut quarterly originations by nearly 30 percent over the nine months leading into March 31, according to a May 11 company presentation. It has also begun consolidating the collections operation in a move that people familiar with the business say could eliminate hundreds of jobs, after a new head of auto finance took the reins in April.

5 Fintech Startups Under the Radar (Bank Innovation), Rated: A

Spotme

This New York City-based startup facilitates micro-loans between borrowers and lenders, allowing users to set up pretty much all the parameters of a loan themselves: users can control the amount, the interest rate, the payback period, and the way they are reimbursed for the loan themselves.

Ledger

Ledger might be able to help out there: this San Francisco-based startup allows users to “open tabs with friends,” boiling down a transaction to just 3 clicks. By connecting with a user’s financial accounts (protected by “military-grade” cybersecurity, according to the company), users are able to aggregate all of their transactions in one place, as well as receive notification about when transactions are due.

Wallio

More and more companies are striving to solve the main problem when it comes to personal finance management services: how do you make a user actually take the financial advice that is being offered?

Wallio starts off the week by giving a user an allocated amount of money they can spend for that week, on whatever the user wants (expenses and savings are already factored into this amount). If a user underspends, great: Wallio will allow that user to put that money towards a goal. If a user overspends, Wallio will simply allocate less money for the user to spend next week.

Samwise

This robo-investing startup allows users to turn their existing brokerage account into an autonomous investing account using machine learning algorithms.

OnePebble

Invest, and make a difference in the world at the same time: that’s the dream of OnePebble, an online investment broker/dealer that puts each investment toward companies “doing good in the world.”

3 Investing Trends to Keep on Your Radar (Morningstar), Rated: A

Trend: Passive products continue to gain assets.

This is the trend shaping the investment management industry today. Asset flows to passive products, both traditional index mutual funds and exchange-traded funds, began in earnest following disappointing active-fund performance during the financial crisis.

Trend: New ways to hire–and pay for–financial advice. 

Robo-advisors provide automated advice for a low annual fee as low as 0.25% or even less. Meanwhile, mutual fund companies and brokerage firms may provide advice for customers who have amassed sufficient assets at the firm. For example, Vanguard Personal Advisor Service charges 0.30% and is available to investors with at least $50,000 in assets at the firm. (The service combines human financial advisors with robo-advisor technology.)

What to watch out for: The profusion of different business models means that the business of selecting an advisor is more complicated than ever. Robo-advisor fees might look like a screaming buy relative to the fees that a full-service human advisor charges, but the robo won’t be able to give you advice on nonportfolio matters like whether to pay off your mortgage or purchase long-term care insurance.

Trend: An increased emphasis on behavioral factors that can affect investor outcomes.

What’s to like: Many robo-advisors have also embedded behaviorial research into their services.

What to watch out for: Behavioral finance is trendy right now, and with any trend comes the opportunity for gimmickry. Beware of advisors who are using behavioral finance as their main hook to snag clients; high-quality advisors have been employing behavioral finance into their practices for years.

US Tax Professionals Tackles the Tax implications of Crowdfunding (Digital Journal), Rated: A

It’s important to understand that all the income a person receives, regardless of the source, is considered taxable income in the eyes of the IRS. That includes crowdfunding dollars.

Even if the campaign only raised the projected $15,000 and no gifts were offered, the money would still be considered taxable income and need to be reported as such on a tax return.

Generally, crowdfunding revenues are included in income as long as they are not:

  • Loans that must be repaid;
  • Capital contributed to an entity in exchange for an equity interest in the entity; or
  • Gifts made out of detached generosity and without any “quid pro quo.” However, a voluntary transfer without a “quid pro quo” isn’t necessarily a gift for federal income tax purposes.

Morgan Stanley digital chief: AI to help advisers, not ‘cyborg bots’ (Financial-Planning), Rated: A

Advisers tasked with processing a “mountain of information” will get a reprieve through artificial intelligence, according to Morgan Stanley Wealth Management’s chief digital officer.

“What we want to do is, with one click of a button, they can take action on that research report to all their clients within minutes, not hours, not phone calls,” Hassan said. “That’s the promise of what we’re trying to build.”

Rival firms have shown they’re headed down a similar path. Like Morgan’s planned offering, the UBS-SigFig service will save advisers’ time through automated messaging to clients on important dates, according to Richard Steinmeier, the head of the UBS Wealth Advice Center.

Congress Should Use Congressional Review Act to Strike Down Ill-Advised Arbitration Rule (Daily Signal), Rated: B

Cutting through the hyperbole that the arbitration rule protects consumers from “unfairness” that would deny them “their day in court,” this rule is in fact highly anti-consumer and harmful to innovation.

This regulation could have particularly harmful effects on FinTech innovations, such as peer-to-peer lending.”

How much money do Arizonans spend playing the lottery? Less than most Americans (AZ Central), Rated: B

Arizonans on average shelled out $100.85 per capita on lottery tickets in 2015, according to the study by LendEDU, based on preliminary data for state government finances collected by the Census Bureau. For Americans overall, the per-capita figure was $206.69.

United Kingdom

UK setting the bar for fintech regulation, bank execs say (SNL.com), Rated: AAA

U.K. authorities have created a world-leading regulatory environment for the burgeoning fintech industry that is being emulated elsewhere, according to bankers.

The Financial Conduct Authority’s “sandbox,” a program launched in 2015 to let companies test innovative ideas under close regulatory supervision, has been particularly helpful, she said.

Meanwhile, initiatives such as FCA-organized hackathons — or “TechSprints” as it prefers to call them — have been particularly appreciated by the industry, according to Sophie Guibaud, vice president of European expansion at Fidor Bank AG, a German online lender that was bought by Groupe BPCE in 2016. These events invite market participants to come up with technological solutions to certain problems, such as financial issues faced by people with mental health problems.

The U.K. is home to more fintech companies valued at more than $1 billion than the rest of Europe put together, according to an April 2017 report by technology investment bank GP Bullhound. Three U.K.-based companies, Funding Circle, Paysafe and Transferwise, have crossed that threshold, and GP Bullhound said that it does not expect London to relinquish its lead, due to its prominence in international financial services.

Comparison site GoCompare invests in mortgage robo-adviser (AltFi), Rated: A

Financial comparison site GoCompare is hoping to transform the UK’s mortgage application process by investing in MortgageGym, a digital mortgage robo-adviser.

Users can complete a free application within 15 minutes on MortgageGym and receive matches within 60 seconds, as well as robo advice and access to live advisers. The website will use automated algorithms to match applicants with the best mortgage providers.

The House Crowd hits £50m via mix of P2P and crowdfunding (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE HOUSE CROWD has hit the £50m funding target it set out to achieve in October last year.

The Manchester-based property platform started targeting institutional money at the end of last year to achieve its first £50m of funds channelled to property and buy-to-let borrowers, through both its peer-to-peer side and its crowdfunding arm.

The firm raised over £15m in the six months to early 2017, while a loan it closed last month added another £600,000.

Fintech CurrencyCloud tapped up investors months before Google raise (Business Insider), Rated: A

CurrencyCloud, which provides a platform to process international payments, raised £9.5 million from its existing investors in December 2016. The company had £10.5 million in the bank at the end of the month, accounts show, suggesting the platform had around £1 million left at the time of the fundraising.

The volume of payments jumped by 110% to 1.5 million but net revenue from currency transactions increased by just 10% to £3.2 million. Meanwhile, administrative expenses rose by 54% to £13.9 million as CurrencyCloud invested in “recruiting staff, developing our technology infrastructure and operations services, and moving to new office premises.”

P2P fund share issues boost investment trust sector (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

FUNDRAISINGS by Honeycomb and the Funding Circle SME Income Fund (FCIF) helped push share issues to record levels in the investment trust sector for the first half of 2017.

Secondary issuances raised £3.3bn in the first six months of the year, trade body the Association of Investment Companies has revealed, up from £1.8bn at the same time in 2016.

FCIF raised £142m in conversion shares in April, the largest total in the specialist debt sector, while the Honeycomb investment trust raised £105m through a ordinary share issue.

Alternative Credit funds drive record cash raise (AltFi), Rated: A

Assets in investment trusts have hit an all time high thanks in part to a huge swathe of secondary issuance in closed-ended funds’ shares.

In the first half of 2017, the most poplar area of the investment trust market was Infrastructure – in terms secondary issuance – raising £1.2bn. This was followed by Alternative Credit at  £514m. Funding Circle SME Income raised the largest total in the sector securing £142m via its C share issue, followed by Honeycomb Investment Trust (£105m).

China

The number of Online Financial platforms in China Exceed 19,000, ranking the first place of the world. (Xing Ping She), Rated: AAA

According to data from National Institution of Internet Financial Risk Analysis &Technology,there are more than 19,000 online financial platforms across China, including over 6000 online lending platforms, nearly 3500 online assets managers, and 800 crowdfunding platforms. The total cumulative volume of internet loans, crowdfunding and internet payment have reached to 70 trillion RMB (US$ 10.33 trillion). Zhou Hongren, director of the National Committee of Internet Finance Professional Technology, claimed that, “No matter in terms of quantity or scale, China has already become the largest international finance marketplace around the world.”

European Union

Rocket Internet Sells Stake in Lendico Startup (Handelsblatt), Rated: AAA

Incubator firm Rocket Internet has sold its majority stake in peer-to-peer lender Lendico to Arrowgrass, Handelsblatt has learned, as the British hedge fund acquired complete ownership of the Berlin startup.

The partners to the transaction agreed to keep the purchase price confidential. Rocket Internet, which specializes in helping online startups get off the ground, most recently valued its 50-percent-plus stake in Lendico at €140 million ($159 million).

Funding Circle Germany Takes a Fresh Start (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Germany is a huge SME and VSME (very small business) credit market. But it is not as mature a market for online marketplace lending as the UK, the US, or even the Netherlands. This partly explains why Funding Circle Germany’s early loan book underperformed. Now the platform is starting afresh to match its market’s reality.

With offices and business in Germany, the Netherlands and Spain, Zencap had originated €35 million in loans to 500 SMEs at the time of its acquisition. Its operations were very small in comparison with the more than $1.5 billion originated by Funding Circle in the US and the UK at the time (meanwhile Funding Circle passed the $3 billion mark).

The second reason for starting afresh, was a need to revisit the credit model. Since January, the new German team has been busy recalibrating and restarting the German operations.

Loan origination resumed at previous level in the first half of 2017 and is expected to grow again in the second half of this year.

Spanish Fintech Industry Comes into its Own (Finance Magnates), Rated: A

The Spanish fintech ecosystem has been a steadily growing force over the past few years, swelling from just fifty financial technology startups in 2013 to well over three hundred in 2017. This rapid surge is only going to continue with this number estimated to hit four hundred companies by 2018.

In terms of the value of the operations, this sector passed rose from just €35 million in 2014 to €206 million in 2016, justifying a 600 percent growth in just two years.

According to the Spanish Association for Fintech and Insurtech (Asociación Española de Fintech e Insurtech – Aefi), companies operating in this space in Spain are going to create a total of 10,000 jobs in 2017 alone.

While the value offintech operations in Spain is increasing, two areas that constitute the most focus are the crowdfactoring or invoice factoring crowdfunding platforms – these saw a total of €120 milion euros in 2016, that concentrate most of the operations domestically, followed by crowdfunding with €43.5 million and crowdlending or p2p lending with €42 million.

International

Visa Expands Its Footprint in Europe (Market Realist), Rated: AAA

In May 2017, Visa announced that in order to give consumers more control and make transactions transparent, the company will create digital card management experiences for its partners. Visa’s partners include financial institutions. Since the new offerings will lead to more transparency, Visa expects to see volume growth in fiscal 3Q17. Market analysts expect Visa to report revenues of $4.36 billion in fiscal 3Q17—a decline of 2.7%.

 

What Can Visa Expect from Russia, China, Japan, and India?

In fiscal 2Q17, there was growth in Visa’s cross-border business due to Russia’s developed economy. Visa implemented ~1,600 point-of-sale terminals. As a result, payment volumes are expected to grow in fiscal 3Q17.

Management thinks that obtaining a domestic license in China is a time-consuming process. Visa is expected to witness lower revenues and payment volumes from China due to discontinued dual branded cards.

Management has a positive outlook on Japan’s economy due to digitization. Japan’s government has become more inclined to use digital and electronic payments.

In fiscal 3Q17, India could be a major contributor to payment volume growth.

Visa has delivered a return on equity of 16.2% on trailing 12-months basis. Other consumer financial peers (XLF) have delivered the following return on equity on a trailing 12-month basis:

  • American Express (AXP) – 25.1%
  • MasterCard (MA) – 75%Discover Financial Services (DFS) – 21.10%

Visa Expects to Benefit from Its European Business

Visa’s (V) acquisition of Visa Europe allowed the company to enhance its global reach. The main agenda behind the acquisition was to bring innovation to the European market. Visa had been working closely with its partners and clients. The company also plans to create new services and products.

Israel

THE SURPRISING COUNTRY LEADING THE FINTECH REVOLUTION (Ozy.com), Rated: AAA

The country that gave the world smart drip irrigation and the Epilady has also been an early and enthusiastic adopter of financial technology, as in mobile banking apps, digital wallets, online lending and other services that manage moola. In fact, a survey of selected industrialized countries shows that:

As for the specifics, 50 percent of Israeli adults use mobile banking apps at least once a month. In the U.S., it was 38 percent; the U.K., 37 percent; in France, 35 percent; and in Germany, a surprisingly anemic 28 percent.

The five largest banks in Israel control more than 90 percent of the market, and as Sandra Octaviani, research lead for fintech at the University of Utah’s Center for Innovation in Banking and Financial Services, notes, traditional banks tend to serve low-risk, highly profitable clients, which creates an opportunity for nimbler fintech firms to swoop in and serve the underserved.

India

RBI wary of first loan default guarantee cover (India Times), Rated: AAA

The Reserve Bank of India is learnt to be wary of peerto-peer lending platforms offering any FLDG, or first loan default guarantee, cover to institutional lenders for any lending they do through these technology startups, said sources familiar with the discussions.

While various lending entities are keen on exploring this space as a cheap source of customers, they often look for a security cover against loans going bad. Experts say such guarantees or covers might go against the intentions of the central bank.

SME Lending Based on Payment History is the Next Big Wave in Fintech (BW Disrupt), Rated: A

ftCash aims to empower micro-merchants and entrepreneurs with the power of electronic payments and loans with zero upfront cost and no monthly rentals. Merchants are able to offer their customers multiple payment methods including credit cards, debit cards, net banking, mobile wallets, PayPal and more.

Nonethless, credit lending is the next big wave of Indian fintech. Lodha explains, “SME Lending based on payment history will be next big wave in fintech. On an active basis, it allows a lender to decide the paying ability of a merchant/business and the recollection of these loans can be done from the payment platform itself. The combination of the payments data along with GST data provides deeper insights into a business. We at ftcash are heavily invested in this idea and believe there is a great potential for scale here.”

Latin America

Venture fund for Latino entrepreneurs, fintech in Mexico  (ImpactAlpha), Rated: AAA

Financial technology, or fintech, startups offering digital payment, remittances and lending services, could capture 30% of Mexico’s banking market within 10 years, according to Finnovista, a fintech accelerator. Six in 10 Mexicans are unbanked. Financial exclusion is a problem but “also an opportunity,” Francisco Meré, the director of Bankaool, one of the first online-only banks in Mexico, told the Financial Times[paywall]. “The cost of engaging a customer through technology is a fraction of using a branch.” Clip has grown to become one of Mexico’s largest digital payment providers (Accion sold its stake in February). Kubo Financieroprovides peer-to-peer lending; Albo, mobile-based banking; and Kueski, a digital micro-lender — all have secured venture backing. More than 150 fintech, or financial technology, firms now operate in Mexico, giving Mexico 35% of fintech companies serving the under- and un-banked in Latin America.

AFLUENTA INCORPORATES THE MEXICAN INVESTMENT FUND IGNIA TO ITS PRESTIGIOUS LIST OF SHAREHOLDERS (AltFi), Rated: A

Afluenta (www.afluenta.com), a leading online credit platform for the people of Latin America, announced the addition of Mexican venture capital fund IGNIA to its group of shareholders. IGNIA is a venture capital fund specializing in investments in entrepreneurial companies with great potential for growth, whose services meet the needs of the emerging middle class.

In Mexico, where local credit to the private sector is below 35% of GDP, compared to 68% in Brazil, Afluenta aims to revolutionize the market with its human approach to credit and investment.

Afluenta connects borrowers with investors who can be individuals or companies, eliminating intermediaries such as traditional financial institutions. Its technology allows investors to receive competitive returns on their contributions in a simple, fast and efficient way, while applicants obtain loans faster, without bureaucracy and at a lower interest rate than in a bank.

Canada

Katipult CEO finalist for the prestigious EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2017 (Digital Journal), Rated: A

Brock Murray, CEO of Katipult, a SaaS company that enables firms to design, setup, and manage an investment crowdfunding, Peer to Peer lending, or investor management platform, has been named a finalist in Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year in the Emerging Technology category in Prairies.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday June 30 2017, Daily News Digest

global developing markets sme credit demand

News Comments Today’s main news: Ron Suber steps down as Prosper president. Pave stops originations and considers strategic options. Square to start lending money. LendInvest cancels P2P authorization application. LendInvest receives highest rating from European agency. Reserve Bank of India finalizes P2P rules. Alipay to enter African market. Today’s main analysis: Alternative data transforming SME finance. Today’s thought-provoking articles: SoFi to offer […]

global developing markets sme credit demand

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Canada

Africa

News Summary

United States

Ron Suber, Prosper President and Industry Legend, Stepping Down (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

After nearly 5 years, Ron has decided it is time to move on from Prosper. He’s been part of two turnaround stories at the company – one in 2013, and more recently as we’ve seen Prosper grow its business following the challenging environment in 2016. It is great to see them back on track, and Ron told me that he is leaving Prosper in the hands of a great CEO and management team.

When Ron recently shared his plans with me he made it clear that he will still be involved with Prosper as a company advisor and “President Emeritus” but he will not be involved in the day-to-day activities.

Over the last several years, Ron has made 21 investments in various fintech companies and he is an advisor to several of these companies.

Personal note from Ron Suber:

This isn’t just another, “I changed jobs” announcement, it’s a next phase of life with eyes wide open called “rewirement” not retirement.

Rewirement will include doing even more of the things I have enjoyed in the past – travel, teaching, learning, coaching/cultivating young entrepreneurs, being the investor/advisor that I enjoyed working with as an entrepreneur, exploring and spending time with you.

Jack Dorsey’s Square Inc. May Soon Loan You Money (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Square Inc., the technology company best known for processing payments for small merchants across the U.S., is now angling to lend to consumers, too.

The initiative, which follows the launch of a consumer-oriented Square prepaid debit card, is part of a broader push from the company to branch out beyond its original products—small, white credit-card readers that merchants plug into a mobile phone or tablet.

Offering consumers financing options for their purchases brings Square into competition with financial-technology companies such as PayPal Holdings Inc., Affirm Inc. and GreenSky LLC, as well as consumer lenders like Synchrony Financial that offer credit cards tied to specific retailers.

It also means Square will be on the hook for consumer defaults, which have recently ticked up at some online lenders and credit-card companies.

Square plans to hold the consumer loans on its balance sheet, but as volume grows it could look to sell loans to outside money managers, as it does with its small-business credits unit.

This Company Is Offering A Month’s Worth of Avocado Toast to Millennials Who Buy a House (Money), Rated: AAA

Inspired by the controversial comments made by an Australian millionaire last month, SoFi, an online personal finance company that targets millennial consumers, will give new home buyers a month’s supply of avocado toast if they purchase a home with SoFi mortgage in July.

For those who qualify, the avocado toast incentive program will be delivered in three shipments right to the recent homebuyers’s doorsteps. There is also an option between regular and gluten-free bread. (Of course, they will still have to toast the bread once it arrives.)

The marketing decision was ultimately in response to a now-viral interview in May that caused global uproar, in which Australian millionaire and property mogul Tim Gurner said millennials should refrain from buying the popular brunch dish if they didn’t want to quash their hopes of owning a home.

Can You Make Payments on Plane Tickets? (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Did you know there are a few ways to make payments on plane tickets if you can’t afford the full price today?

A new startup that offers payment plans for plane tickets is Airfordable.

Airfordable charges a one-time fee of 10%-20% of the ticket price and a down deposit is required. Your credit score isn’t checked, which is a definite plus for several reasons. After that, you make bi-weekly payments. Once the ticket is paid for, your e-ticket and itinerary are released.

CheapAir.com offers monthly payment plans for flights that cost more than $100 by partnering with Affirm. After selecting the flight you want to buy on CheapAir, you will be taken to Affirm’s website to complete the financing request.

Affirm will offer you a 3-month, 6-month, or 12-month payment plan for the plane ticket(s). Your interest rate will range from 10% to 30% depending on your creditworthiness.

Expedia has also teamed up with Affirm to offer payments on plane tickets.

Flightlayaway.com allows you to make payments on plane tickets and cruise tickets.

Flights can only be on layaway from two weeks to twenty weeks. At the end of 20 weeks, all financed flight expenses must be paid to receive your e-ticket and itinerary.

There is a one-time service fee of 15% on domestic flights and 18% on international flights when the flight is booked. And, there is an interest rate of 15% on all flights.

British Airways allows weekly payments on flight + hotel and flight + car packages only.

In America, it’s pretty common to take out a loan to buy a car, or a house, or college tuition. It’s less likely to take out a loan to buy gas for that car, paint for the house, or beer for the college tuition. But what about everything in between? What about $500 drones?

That’s where Affirm, a startup by one of the founders of PayPal, comes in. CEO Max Levchin thinks there’s a financial niche to fill for young people who want expensive things, but don’t have multiple Gs in the bank or on credit to drop on a luxury purchase. Affirm offers small, short-term loans that let customers spread out a big purchase, like a drone or $1,500 couch, over a short period of time. Affirm fronts customers the cash, then collects regular payments in more manageable chunks.

Right now, Affirm is slightly limited to an (albeit wide) selection of online retailers. The stuff you can buy is typical pricey-but-not-luxury products — Casper mattresses, Pottery Barn furniture, Newegg computer parts, clothes from online retailers, as well as drones, phones, and tech you would find in a Sharper Image catalog. In April, the company issued its one millionth loan, meaning that with at least a couple bucks in interest on even the smallest of loans, it’s probably bringing in quite a bit of cash.

Urban Housing Development eFunds (Fundrise), Rated: A

Now, you can invest directly into building new homesfor the next generation of American homeowners.

Funding Circle Strengthens U.S. Leadership Team with Head of Capital Markets & CCO Appointments (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Funding Circle, the world’s leading lending platform focused exclusively on small business, today announced two additions to its U.S. leadership team: Joanna Karger as U.S. Head of Capital Markets, and Richard Stephenson as U.S. Chief Compliance Officer.

Prior to Funding Circle, Stephenson served as chief compliance officer of Silicon Valley Bank. He has more than thirty years’ experience in various senior roles at U.S. financial institutions and law firms, serving as general counsel, chief compliance officer, chief risk officer, head of internal audit and interim chief executive officer at institutions such as Bank of America, Union Bank, Washington Mutual Bank and Mechanics Bank.

Online lender Pave closes to new customers, explores strategic options (American Banker), Rated: A

Pave, an online consumer lender based in New York, has stopped making new loans — a retrenchment that reflects challenges facing the broader sector, according to the company’s CEO.

CEO Oren Bass said in an interview Wednesday that Pave stopped making new loans about two weeks ago.

I’m sick of fintech taking credit union business (CUInsight), Rated: A

Credit unions have been playing a game of catch-up with banks for many years, and now the new kid on the block— Fintechs —are here to present even more of a headache. On December 31, 2016, Prosper Funding had approximately $22.3 million in unrestricted cash and cash equivalents and $32.8 million available for sale investments at fair value.  Their marketplace facilitated $2.2 billion in Borrower Loan originations during 2016, and as of December 31, 2016, $8.3 billion in Borrower Loan originations since it first launched in 2006.

Lending Club ended the year with a servicing portfolio of $11.1 billion, up 24 percent from the same period last year, and delivered $1.8 billion of principal and interest payments to investors throughout the 4th quarter of 2016 with cash, cash equivalents, and securities available for sale totaling $803 million, with no outstanding debt. What’s even more worrisome is that Lending Club’s venture into auto lending is still young and has a lot of potential if it gains serious traction.

Both companies sell consumer lending and deposit products to exactly the same prime-rated consumer credit segment that banks and credit unions do.

Credit unions need to up their game by:

  1. Allowing members to send money and receive money like popular online Venmo.
  2. Stay updated across all devices with real-time push-notifications and transactions.
  3. Credit unions will need to offer various software to their members to help them make better decisions and save massive amounts of time through analytics, accounting, budgeting, prediction, and decision- making software.

How Banks Can Attract More Millennials (ValueWalk), Rated: A

When trying to appeal to this younger generation, it is important to keep in mind that millennials have two main financial priorities; paying off their student loans, and saving for the future. On average, they spend 43 percent of their income to pay down their debts and put away 38 percent of their income as savings for the future. Three out of five millennials would like their bank to be a financial partner as opposed to just another business profiting off of their work. At the same time, only 32 percent of this generation feel their bank understands them. This is largely due to the fact that banks and other financial providers still offer solutions to meet the needs of baby boomers. This means tailoring products to meet millennial needs will create a more mutually beneficial relationship and help to attract younger customers.

New OCC Bulletin on Third-Party Oversight Highlights Fintech Relationships (Lexology), Rated: A

FAQ 7: Is a fintech company arrangement considered a critical activity?

In its response to FAQ 7, the OCC clarified that a relationship between a national bank and a fintech may or may not involve a critical activity, depending on the nature of the specific services the bank or the fintech has agreed to perform. In giving this response, the OCC recognized that third-party relationships are not automatically “high risk” merely because a fintech is involved.

FAQ 10: What should a bank consider when entering a marketplace lending arrangement with nonbank entities?

Although some may read the OCC’s response to FAQ 10 as an endorsement of “bank partnership model” lending relationships between national banks and marketplace lenders, the response includes no explicit mention of these relationships. The response references “marketplace lending or servicing arrangements,” and states that “banks should not originate or support marketplace lenders that have inadequate compliance management processes . . .,” but does not speak to the respective obligations of the parties to these arrangements. Thus, it is conceivable that the bulletin only addresses other types of relationships, such as warehouse lines of credit or loan servicing arrangements. At a minimum, however, the response confirms that national banks should not hesitate to enter into relationships with marketplace lenders as long as appropriate oversight mechanisms are in place.

FAQ 11: Does OCC Bulletin 2013-29 apply when a bank engages a third party to provide bank customers the ability to make mobile payments using their bank accounts, including debit and credit cards?

Until now, a national bank could have taken the position that a third party that merely enabled mobile card payments was not subject to OCC Bulletin 2013-29. To this end, the presence of a third party’s mobile payments application has no effect on the underlying card transaction, and the bank’s involvement is likely confined to deciding whether to promote the availability of the application to its customers. In its response to FAQ 11, however, the OCC clarified that these relationships need to be managed “in a manner consistent with OCC Bulletin 2013-29,” and directed banks to “work with mobile payment providers to establish processes for authenticating enrollment of customers’ account information.”

Pantera Capital to Raise $ 100 Million in Investment for ICO Hedge Fund (Coindesk), Rated: A

Announced today, investment firm Pantera Capital is launching a new hedge fund focused on investments solely in tokens that power public blockchain protocols.

Called Pantera ICO Fund LP, the fund intends to raise $100m, with $35m already raised in support from the firm’s existing investor base, undisclosed new investors, and according to the company, unnamed venture capital firms.

Kabbage headquarters building to get major renovation (Biz Journals), Rated: A

Crestlight paid $35.3 million, or about $167 a foot, according to Fulton County records. It announced the acquisition last week, but had not released the price. Lincoln Property Company Southeast won the leasing and management assignments.

Prologis, Inc. (NYSE: PLD) today announced a strategic partnership with Plug and Play, a global startup ecosystem and venture fund specializing in the development of early-to-growth stage technology startups in the Supply Chain and Logistics vertical.Prologis will provide mentorship and space in its logistics real estate properties to a select group of startups in the Plug and Play accelerator program to pilot new technologies. Prologis joins DHL, Maersk, Panasonic, Hitachi, Mann+Hummel, CMA CGA, Daimler, Deutsche Bahn, Swiss Post, BASF, Union Pacific Railroad and Ericsson as partners with Plug and Play.

Funding Circle’s U.S. head talks about growth and hiring secrets (Biz Journals), Rated: A

Sam Hodges, the U.S. managing director of Funding Circle, spoke to the Business Times about hiring techniques, missed opportunities, and what book had a profound influence on him, among other things.

RealtyShares Names Kristina Wallender SVP of Marketing (BusinessWire), Rated: B

RealtyShares, a leading online marketplace for real estate investing, today announced Kristina Wallender has joined the pioneering startup as senior vice president of marketing, focused on helping the company reach more investors and sponsors.

Wallender joins RealtyShares with marketplace and marketing leadership experience spanning large enterprise businesses like Amazon and early stage companies like Ticketfly, where she was the head of marketing for the past four years. Over her tenure, Ticketfly grew from a small startup to a leading live entertainment brand serving over 1,800 venues and promoters across North America. Wallender also played a key role in Pandora’s acquisition of Ticketfly in 2015, earning her a spot on Billboard’s 40 Under 40: Top Young Power Players in music. As part of the RealtyShares team, she will be responsible for growing both sides of the marketplace.

Google and SoFi Alum Named Okta Security Chief (Fortune), Rated: B

Okta, the Silicon Valley firm behind one of the year’s top tech IPOs, has named a new chief security officer.

The maker of identity management software has appointed Yassir Abousselham, a former executive at Google (GOOG, -2.53%) and chief information security officer at financial tech startup SoFi, as head of security. Abousselham began in the role on June 5th.

Vela Boosted Its Fintech Offerings With OptionsCity Acquisition (Benzinga), Rated: B

Vela Trading Technologies LLC, a fintech company specializing in market data technology, recently announced its acquisition of OptionsCity Software, which offers futures and options trading with analytics solutions.

The deal is expected to close at the end of the second quarter.

dv01 is hiring (DV01 email), Rated: B

We believe smart people can succeed at almost anything, so we encourage on-the-job learning (e.g. trying a new programming language) and real ownership over your work. Our fast paced environment necessitates a desire and willingness to grow both personally and professionally. We see value in effort and output, which is why we encourage all of our team members to take measured risks and never back away from a challenge.

United Kingdom

LendInvest cancels application for P2P authorisation (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

LENDINVEST has confirmed that it has cancelled its application with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to operate a peer-to-peer lending platform.

The online mortgage lender revealed in its annual report, released this week, that it had shelved several applications with the City watchdog, for permission to operate a P2P platform and for credit broking and consumer credit licences.

Social P2P lender rolls out IFISA offering (AltFi), Rated: A

Flender, a Dublin-based, “friendly” peer-to-peer lending platform, is bringing its newly launched Innovative Finance ISA to the UK. The firm was fully authorised by the FCA in May.

RateSetter’s Paul Marston comments on Brexit (RateSetter email), Rated: A

Given the economic uncertainty created by Brexit, it is easy to understand why some small business owners have postponed important business decisions. However, SMEs have some important advantages which position them well to navigate through this period successfully. They can more easily adapt business models, diversify into new activities and implement new ideas.  It will be the business owners who are forward-thinking and act positively and decisively who are most likely to use uncertainty to their advantage.

For SME businesses that see opportunities to invest for future growth, the good news is that there are now real alternatives to the banks in terms of access to finance that can be provided in a simple and straightforward manner. We stand ready to help these businesses realise their plans.

The door is open for business leaders to redefine Brexit so that it is seen as an opportunity, rather than a threat.

China

China leads as fintech adoption doubles in two years, and here’s why (The Asset), Rated: AAA

Financial technology (fintech) adoption has doubled in the past two years, with China leading fintech adoption globally.

The average percentage of digitally active consumers using fintech services is around 33% across 20 key markets – this represents a doubling over the past two years when fintech penetration was recorded to be around 16%. The findings are noted in the EY Fintech Adoption Index, which surveyed 22,000 people online in 20 countries.

The report further shows that China leads the world with 69% of consumers using some form of fintech service, which is unsurprising given the ubiquitous adoption of payment platforms WeChat Pay and Alipay in China. Alipay and TenPay (WeChat Pay) together make up for 92% of the mobile payment market, and mobile payment transactions increased 381% in 2016 to 58.8 trillion yuan, according to iResearch.

An O2O Education System Provider Closed A Round of financing (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

Nobo Education announced they have closed a new round of financing $6.4M. This round was led by National SME Development Fund (THG Ventures), with participation from The Chinese Education Industrial Fund, which is jointly managed by DT Capital and ChineseAll. Previously, Nobo Education was known to have raised pre-A round of $1.79M in June 2016.

Founded in March 2013, Nobo Education is a Beijing-based international preschool education institution as well as new high-tech enterprise. Their core product—— Nobo Education System, an O2O system solution efficiently in kindergarten management, is the only system of education that has independent intellectual property right in China.

According to Nobo Education, among the total raised funds, ¥10M will continue to be used in pre-school education software R&D and service.

CreditEase Wealth Management Toumi RA Achieved Top Performance in First Year (Cision), Rated: A

Toumi RA, China‘s leading Robo-advisory platform built on 11-year expertise of CreditEase Wealth Management, has achieved outstanding performance since its launch on May 28, 2016, generating 2.55%-11.48% of cumulative return through May 31 2017, successfully bucking global capital market fluctuation, geopolitical risks and black swans.

In the past year, Toumi RA’s platinum/diamond members enjoyed an average cumulative return of nearly 7% for different portfolios, among which the risk-level-eight option produced the highest return of 11.48%. For gold members, Toumi RA boosted the level-eight portfolio’s cumulative return by 9.4% and the lowest-risk option by 4.23%.

An overwhelming majority of investors (99.6%) made profits during the first year, according to Toumi RA’s performance report, while only 0.4% of investors experienced lost either because of unfortunate investment timing during market highs or short-term investment during highly-volatile periods.

China’s nude loans fill female students’ pockets but suck them dry (ASEAN Today), Rated: B

In April this year, Xiong took her own life in a hotel far from her hometown in Xiamen. Incapable of repaying a debt of 570,000 yuan (US$82,722), Xiong’s circumstances worsened as online loan sharks threatened to make her nude photos public. She took her own life a few days after her mother received her nude photos.

“Nude loans” involves offering one’s nude photos to secure credit. Nude loans first gained nationwide attention in December 2016. The China Youth Daily discovered 167 women’s nude photos and obscene videos online. These women, many of them in their early 20s and receiving college education, handed over their nude photos and videos as collateral for loans from peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms.

Online lenders’ choice to use nude selfies to enforce repayment reflects the country’s paternal society. Nude selfies are risky enough to prevent female student clients from defaulting because Chinese women are still valued for their chastity.

European Union

LendInvest receives highest rating from European ratings agency (Mortgage Introducer), Rated: AAA

Specialist mortgage lender LendInvest has received the highest possible rating for the quality of its loan servicing from European ratings agency ARC Ratings.

For the third time in as many years the agency has awarded a SQ1 Servicer Quality Rating for LendInvest following a comprehensive annual review of the company, its performance, processes and infrastructure.

Swiss Fintech Loses Big Hitter (Finews), Rated: A

Swiss digital insurance broker Knip has agreed to merge with Komparu, a Dutch technology firm. Together they will operate as Digital Insurance Group (DIG), according to a joint statement.

The founder and CEO of Knip, Dennis Just(pictured below), won’t stay at the company.

Roeland Werring, co-founder of Komparu, will be the Group chief technical officer, while Ruben Troostwijkwill stay on as CEO of Komparu. Ingo Weberwas appointed as CEO of DIG.

Tikehau Capital buys Credit.fr (PE Hub), Rated: A

Tikehau Capital (Paris:TKO) today announced it has completed the acquisition of Credit.fr, the French specialist in crowdlending for small businesses financing, for an amount of €12 million. Incubated since March 2015 by Truffle Capital and under the leadership of Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux, its chairman since November 2015, Credit.fr has rapidly established itself as an essential player in the small and mid-sized companies (SMEs) alternative financing market.

This acquisition enables Tikehau Capital, a leading company active in the corporate lending and private debt market in France, to consolidate and expand its lending platform by bringing its corporate financing solutions to smaller businesses and SMEs. Through Credit.fr, Tikehau Capital will enable its wide network of investors and partners to broaden their investment policy, currently focused on medium-sized and larger companies, to include smaller businesses rigorously selected by Credit.fr teams.

International

Alternative Data Transforming SME Finance (SME Finance Forum), Rated: AAA

The report titled “Alternative Data Transforming SME Finance” looked at 800+ innovative digital SME lenders and digital commerce, payments and service providers in more than 60 countries. Here are some of the key findings:

  • Banks have valuable data, but are often not using it: Banks have a highly valuable repository of SME data, including SME owners’ customers’ daily transaction data that provides reliable real-time visibility into SME cash flows and credit capacity. However, most banks lack the ability to create innovative SME lending models from it.
  • Digital SME lenders are developing new relationships with SME customers and their data: In some cases, non-bank digital SME lenders insert themselves between banks and their SME customers, and forge fundamental changes in SME customer expectations.
  • New SME digital data streams are becoming more readily available and accessible: Digital SME lenders leverage vast and expanding stores of data, including from electronically verifiable, real-time sales, bank account money flows and balances, payments, social media, trading, logistics, business accounting, and credit reporting service providers, as well as a wide range of other private and public data sources used in the SME credit assessment process.
  • There are a wide range of digital SME originator lending business models: The new digital SME lending originator business models that take advantage of the expanding universe of SME digital data vary widely. This report highlights these business models, selected players, and the digital SME data they use. It includes marketplace lenders, tech, e-commerce, and payment giants which are extending SME lending into their non-banking digital ecosystems where they are already dominant. It also includes supply chain financing firms, mobile micro-lenders graduating to SME lending, and innovative banks.
  • Digital SME lending is becoming more of a global trend: 
  • Digital SME lender-bank collaboration is also a growing part of the future of SME finance: Banks may have been blind to digital SME lenders at first, and digital SME lenders may have said they would replace banks. However, both parties now have come to a simple conclusion: there are limits to what each player can do on their own and there is strength in collaborating.
  • Access to data is no longer the problem in SME lending: The digital economy has also given rise to an ever-evolving set of value-added cloud-based services to help SMEs with their finances, business planning, productivity, legal issues, data backup and security, file sharing, web conferencing, website builds, online marketing, business training, e-commerce, payments, loyalty programs, business intelligence, and more.
  • However, access to data for SME lending brings new challenges: With the abundance of alternative data, there are new issues of what to use, how to use it, and how to do this responsibly — while also respecting privacy and other important rights of SMEs.

Download the report here.

Singapore and Denmark Regulators Sign Fintech Cooperation agreement (Finance Magnates), Rated: A

Regulators in Singapore and Denmark are building bridges to assist Fintech companies expand abroad. The Singapore’s Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Danish Financial Supervisory Authority (Danish FSA) yesterday have entered a cooperation agreement to promote innovation in financial services in their respective markets.

The agreement aims to help FinTech companies in both countries to expand into each other’s markets and also provides facilitated introductions when a fintech firm operating in one jurisdiction wants to better understand the rules in the other.

Advances in digital platforms (The Asset), Rated: A

Midway through the month, on June 14, Misys and D+H merged to form a new company called Finastra.

Shortly after the merger, several institutions announced they were working with the newly formed fintech giant. Rabobank selected Finastra to centralize their cross-border payments; SIA, a European provider of payment infrastructure and services, partnered with Finastra to provide real-time instant payments capabilities; and Mexico’s central bank, Banco de Mexico, also selected Finastra to transform its legacy risk management platform.

Investment Roundup: Visa Buys Stake in Klarna; Revolut, Tango Land Financing (PAYbefore), Rated: A

London-based travel card specialist Revolut is close to landing a £50 million (US$65 million) funding round that will value the company at £300 million (US$390 million), according to a report from Sky News. The round will be led by Index Ventures, which acquired an interest in Revolut last year, the report said. Silicon Valley investor Ribbit Capital is also said to be taking part in the round.

Finally, Seattle-based Tango Card, a provider of digital rewards and incentives to 2,000 corporate enterprise customers, has secured a $10 million investment facility from Silicon Valley’s Western Technology Investment.

Australia

Zagga pitches alternative asset class (Financial Standard), Rated: A

A new marketplace lender is hoping to turn traditional investing on its head with a pitch to wholesale and sophisticated investors.

Backed by an Australian Financial Services Licence and an Australian Credit Licence, Zagga hopes to differentiate itself from other marketplace lenders by providing a lending platform where all loans will be secured by a registered mortgage against real property.

To date, Zagga has helped facilitate a number of loans including a $7.15 million loan which was fully-funded within 17 days by 26 investors, and a $1.15 million loan to a husband and wife investor who wanted to top up their super fund before 30 June, funded in a few hours by six investors.

India

RBI finalises peer-to-peer lending norms (The Hindu), Rated: AAA

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has finalised norms for peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms and is expected to release final guidelines in 2-3 weeks, a top finance ministry official said.

According to the official, the P2P lending interface will come under the purview of RBI’s regulation by defining these platforms as NBFCs under the RBI Act by issuing a notification in consultation with the government.

Lendingkart to add marketplace, P2P loans and offer SaaS product: Harshvardhan Lunia (VC Circle), Rated: AAA

You had also mentioned about raising Rs 500 crore in debt.

Apart from the first Rs 500-crore debt fundraising exercise, we will also look to raise another Rs 500 crore in debt. We have initiated talks for this, but the process will take some time.

So, eventually will you be looking to raise more funds from banks and less from NBFCs?
Banks offer us lower-cost loans, but the process is more time consuming. They also operate within certain limitations. NBFCs are quicker with their disbursals.

Do you have plans to increase the ticket size of your loans, which is capped at Rs 10 lakh?
About 93% of our loans are less than Rs 10 lakh, and the Rs 50,000-10 lakh range remains our sweet spot. But, sometimes we do disburse loans of Rs15-20 lakh if there is a strong reference or recommendation. Our USP will be to remain a sub-Rs 10-lakh lender.

Tech is a major component of your business operations. How much of your budget allocation goes towards it?
Almost 25-30% of our budget goes towards technology. The tech team accounts for around 35% of our total manpower while two-thirds of our resources work on the lending business.

Most players tend to be asset-light. What was the business logic and strategy behind going asset-heavy?

That experience led to the decision of Lendingkart having an NBFC of its own, which would allow us to design our own products.

Will you continue to operate the same business model?
Two years down, we will diversify as a marketplace model, and may even get into the peer-to-peer lending space.

In fact, we will start a pilot with one or two players within the next six months. However, this year, the lending will predominantly be from our books. These plans will take a larger form in 2018-19 and 2019-20.

When will you start making profits?
The lending arm of our business will turn profitable by March 2018.

Which are your top performing markets?
Bengaluru, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune and Surat have been our top five performing markets.When will you start making profits?
The lending arm of our business will turn profitable by March 2018.

Asia

InVent takes stake in fintech Digio (Bangkok Post), Rated: A

InVent, a venture capital arm of SET-listed Intouch Holdings, has invested in a fintech startup, Digio, to boost the fast-growing e-payment market.

Digio is the first fintech company in InVent’s portfolio, which will strengthen Intouch’s offerings in the mobile payment business.

InVent has taken a 10% in stake in Digio but declined to say what it was worth.

Canada

A Canadian venture capital firm is funding entrepreneurs to relocate and become citizens (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Sharma is the CEO and cofounder of Extreme Venture Partners, a Canadian VC firm that recently assembled a fundfor paying startup founders and their families to relocate to Toronto.

Upon arrival, they’ll receive seed funding, guidance on beginning their new Canadian life, and the opportunity to get on the fast-track for citizenship. Sharma says EVP is prepared to welcome 30 companies over the next three years.

Upon arrival, they’ll receive seed funding, guidance on beginning their new Canadian life, and the opportunity to get on the fast-track for citizenship. Sharma says EVP is prepared to welcome 30 companies over the next three years.

Issues in Bringing Canadian Fintech to the International Stage (CIGI Online), Rated: A

The aim of this policy brief is to provide a general description of the fintech industry in Canada, and to describe and draw attention to two complementary aspects of developing a fintech strategy for Canada: first, encouraging domestic fintech innovation — through open data and payment systems — and second, encouraging international expansion — through international agreements among regulators and comprehensive intellectual property strategies.

Get the report here.

FLEXITI FINANCIAL WINS BID TO OFFER POINT-OF-SALE FINANCING TO OVER 800 DEALERS ACROSS CANADA (Flexiti Financial), Rated: A

Flexiti Financial, a provider of point-of-sale (POS) financing and payment technology for retailers, today announced that it has won a competitive bid to be the preferred POS financing partner in Canada for the dealers of outdoor maintenance and equipment manufacturers including Husqvarna, Briggs & Stratton, Ariens, Big Dog Mowers, Hustler, ECHO Power Equipment and ECHO Bear Cat. Flexiti Financial now has access to over 800 dealers that sell lawn and garden tools and outdoor power equipment.

Dealers will now have access to Flexiti Financial’s award-winning POS financing platform, which will allow them to provide instant financing on any device, anywhere, and instant credit approval in three minutes.

Africa

Alipay for the first time to enter the African globalization version of the addition of a piece (01Caijing), Rated: AAA

June 26 evening, Alipay announced that it will launch Alipay in Africa to provide services to Chinese tourists. Since then, from the Alipay global strategy has taken a step further.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday May 16 2017, Daily News Digest

corporate bond credit spreads

News Comments Today’s main news: KBRA rates Prosper’s Series 2017-1. SoFi’s bid to become bank pulls FDIC into fintech fray. LendInvest joins Home Builders Federation. Monzo puts API dev on back burner. PBOC sets up new China fintech committee. N26 launches savings accounts with Raisin. Today’s main analysis: Asset volatility diminishing and approaching new lows. Today’s thought-provoking articles: The future […]

corporate bond credit spreads

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Asia

Canada

South America

News Summary

United States

KBRA Rates Prosper Marketplace Issuance Trust, Series 2017-1 (KBRA Email), Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to three classes of notes issued by Prosper Marketplace Lending Issuance Trust 2017-1 (“PMIT 2017-1”). This is a $450.5 million consumer loan ABS transaction that is expected to close on May 24, 2017.

This transaction represents the sixth securitization collateralized by unsecured consumer loans originated through the online marketplace lending platform operated by Prosper Funding LLC (“Prosper” or the “Company”).

Get the full report.

Volatility in the asset markets has been steadily declining and is nearing new lows. One factor helping to suppress volatility is the lack of many surprises in the first-quarter earnings season, which passed with results generally within the range of expectations. From an economic point of view, while GDP was weak in the first quarter, it is expected to rebound in the second quarter.

Following the French presidential election and the general lessening of international tensions, corporate credit spreads have tightened and asset volatility has declined toward its lowest levels.

Source: Morningstar

The average corporate credit spread of the Morningstar Corporate Bond Index (our proxy for the investment-grade bond market) tightened 3 basis points last week to +117, a new low for the year. The last time the index was at this level was September 2014. From a longer-term perspective, the average spread of the Morningstar Corporate Bond Index has been lower less than one fourth of the time since the end of 1999. In the high-yield market, the Bank of America Merrill Lynch High Yield Master Index tightened 5 basis points to +377. The tightening was led by the energy sector, which declined 10 basis points as oil prices continued to rise. Since the end of 1999, the average spread of the high-yield index has been tighter only 17% of the time.

Source: Morningstar

The Future of Lending is Now with Latest TransUnion Prama Offerings (NASDAQ), Rated: AAA

As TransUnion (NYSE:TRU) data from the end of March 2017 suggest, the consumer credit market is as complex as ever. Mortgage delinquency rates: continuing to drop. Auto loan delinquency rates: rising. Personal loan market: growing, but slowing. Access to credit cards: highest since 2005.

Maneuvering through this ever-changing credit landscape is difficult for lenders of all sizes, ranging from credit unions to regional banks to the largest financial institutions. To help navigate through this complex maze, TransUnion today introduced the newest modules in its PramaSMenvironmentBenchmarking and Data Extract.

Prama Benchmarking provides advanced data analytics and visualization capabilities specific to the auto loan, credit card, mortgage and personal loan markets—to deliver relevant insights for each line of business. Lenders will now be able to measure their performance across numerous metrics and filters, and compare it to the industry and their peers.  This information can be used to improve how financial services companies segment, target, acquire, cross-sell and retain customers. The Data Extract module provides self-service access to query against 100 percent of TransUnion depersonalized archive credit data, allowing customers to receive faster delivery of data to support their own analytics—in their own environment with their preferred tools.

Measuring Business Performance Against Peers

Benchmarking provides performance data on metrics such as delinquencies, charge-offs, bankruptcy, average balance and utilization. It offers views of market share in terms of number of accounts, total limit or total balance. The module also lets lenders analyze depersonalized data using dimensions such as APR, origination vintage, credit tier, state or MSA region, account status and consumer credit age.

For instance, a regional bank in Western Pennsylvania interested in growing its credit card portfolio is now able to observe five years of its own data versus other similar banks in their region.

Extracting Data Faster – From a Month or More to Hours

A traditional archive request process – from customer order to product delivery – typically takes 30 days or more. This includes time spent defining and iterating on the customer’s data requirements. “With Data Extract, the process will take less than 24 hours – an enormous time savings,” said Gomez.

With Data Extract, customers gain the following advantages:

  • Self-service – On-demand, point-and-click access to query TU depersonalized archive credit data.
  • Speed – Secure overnight delivery of the dataset.
  • Confidence – Quick access to depersonalized data to support a customer’s own analytics, so they can make faster decisions with more confidence.
  • Control – Create queries according to their data requirements, avoiding the back and forth that is often typical of an archive request process.
  • Flexibility – Quickly obtain depersonalized data for use within their own analytics environment and processes.

SoFi’s bid to become an industrial bank pulls FDIC into fintech fray (American Banker), Rated: AAA

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has so far managed to stay out of the growing battle over how the U.S. fintech sector should be regulated, but that appears likely to end as one of the nation’s largest online lenders announced plans to apply for a specialty banking charter soon.

Social Finance Inc., the San Francisco-based consumer lender known as SoFi, hopes to secure an industrial bank charter. That state-issued charter used to be a popular way to organize a bank, and was commonly used by companies that are not primarily in the financial services industry.

SoFi COO: We have measures in place, extra authentication for our consumers (MSN), Rated: AAA

Joanne Bradford, SoFi COO, weighs in on how companies are protecting themselves on the heels of a worldwide cyberattack, mortgages, student loans and refinancing.

Watch the video segment here.

SoFi: We Will be the First Unbank – Bank (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

SoFi Chief Operating Officer Joanne Bradford was back visiting with CNBC today. Bradford addressed several topics including the recent cyber attack that has public and private entities running for cover around the world. SoFi has not been impacted by the digital attack and Bradford was quite confident that SoFi is better prepared for any malicious attempts to infiltrate SoFi due to their single point of access (unlike traditional banks).

Asked if the Fintech industry is more, or less, vulnerable than traditional types, Bradford explained;

“We are less vulnerable. You only come to SoFi at SoFi.com. We don’t have branches which helps make it more efficient. Less points of vulnerability…but for the consumer it is more about speed and ease of use. Getting things done quickly on your mobile device.”

How to Predict If a Borrower Will Pay You Back (NY Mag), Rated: AAA

Recently, three economists—Oded Netzer and Alain Lemaire, both of Columbia, and Michal Herzenstein of the University of Delaware—looked for ways to predict the likelihood of whether a borrower would pay back a loan. The scholars used data from Prosper, a peer-to-peer lending site. Potential borrowers write a brief description of why they need a loan and why they are likely to make good on it, and potential lenders decide whether to provide them the money. Overall, about 13 percent of borrowers defaulted on their loan.

It turns out the language that potential borrowers use is a strong predictor of their probability of paying back. And it is an important indicator even if you control for other relevant information lenders were able to obtain about those potential borrowers, including credit ratings and income.

Listed below are ten phrases the researchers found that are commonly used when applying for a loan. Five of them positively correlate with paying back the loan. Five of them negatively correlate with paying back the loan. In other words, five tend to be used by people you can trust, five by people you cannot.

Here are the phrases used in loan applications by people most likely to pay them back: debt-free, lower interest rate, after-tax, minimum payment, graduate.

And here are the phrases used by those least likely to pay back their loans: God, promise, will pay, thank you, hospital.

Now, let’s consider language that suggests someone is unlikely to pay their loans. Generally, if someone tells you he will pay you back, he will not pay you back. The more assertive the promise, the more likely he will break it. If someone writes “I promise I will pay back, so help me God,” he is among the least likely to pay you back. Appealing to your mercy—explaining that he needs the money because he has a relative in the “hospital”—also means he is unlikely to pay you back. In fact, mentioning any family member—a husband, wife, son, daughter, mother or father—is a sign someone will not be paying back. Another word that indicates default is “explain,” meaning if people are trying to explain why they are going to be able to pay back a loan, they likely won’t.

Misys rolls AI strategy into trade monitoring software (Misys), Rated: A

Misys has stepped up to the artificial intelligence (AI) plate, today unveiling Misys FusionCapital Detect. The component helps financial institutions spot booking errors, anomalies and unusual activity, accelerating trade validations and reducing exceptions with machine learning.

FusionCapital Detect behaves as a smart personal assistant for validation teams, red flagging probable mistakes that are otherwise time consuming to identify. Users can catch errors that existing tools on the market let through, reducing operational risk and preventing manual mistakes that lead to decisions being made on the wrong profit and loss information and incorrect end-of-day reports.

Being able to validate transactions at T+0 has become crucial in today’s pressurised regulatory environment, including under:

  • The European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR): which makes it necessary to identify errors as soon as possible in order to confirm trades within 24 to 48 hours.
  • The Fundamental Review of the Trading Book (FRTB): which requires daily risk reports – unidentified trade errors will invalidate these reports, breaching compliance.

OpenInvest Secures $ 3.25 Million in Seed Funding Led by Andreessen Horowitz (PR Newswire), Rated: A

OpenInvest (www.openinvest.co), a social impact investing platform for retail investors, announced today that it raised $3.25 million in seed funding. The round was led by Andreessen Horowitz with participation from Abstract Ventures, Wireframe Ventures and SV2. OpenInvest is an accessible online financial advisor that empowers investors to fully align their investments with their values, and then take action to more meaningfully engage companies and drive social change.

According to a recent Morgan Stanley survey, 84 percent of millennials want the companies they invest in to align with their values. OpenInvest meets this opportunity with an innovative platform that allows consumers to invest with their hearts, without having to compromise financial returns. The company’s investment screens include climate change, fossil fuels, weapons manufacturers, gender equality, LGBTQ workplace treatment, deforestation, tobacco, companies funding the Dakota Access Pipeline, and companies supporting President Trump, which can be freely mixed and matched to construct a personalized portfolio. Investors can further customize by including or excluding individual companies, while their portfolio auto-rebalances to maintain diversification and broad tracking of the market.

Lemonade sweetens U.S. insurance rollout plans with California license (Reuters), Rated: A

Lemonade Inc, a tech-driven insurance startup that promises renters and homeowners insurance in as little as 90 seconds and payment of claims in 3 minutes, has won approval from California regulators to sell policies in the state, the company said.

The insurer’s foray into California, the most populous U.S. state, comes amid the company’s push to become licensed nationwide, less than a year after launching in New York. Last month, Lemonade, which sells policies directly to consumers through its website and smartphone app, expanded into Illinois.

Green Dot Hits, OnDeck Misses, And First Data Looks Ahead (PYMNTS), Rated: A

First Data’s New Friends

First Data CEO, Frank Bisignano, noted in the wake of First Data’s earnings release this week that the company remains on track to meet its guidance for 2017 and that he is “confident that the current weakness is transitory.”

First Data will be instrumental in helping drive Alipay expansion into the U.S. market, focusing on firms that use First Data’s Clover platform.

By the numbers, First Data reported adjusted earnings per share of $0.28 and revenue of $1.7 billion.

Credit and retail processing in North America were up 1 percent, and the business, globally, gained 2 percent. Accounts on file, again for North America, grew by 7 percent.

The deal will give Alipay scale roughly equivalent to Apple Pay’s in terms of presence, at around 4.5 million U.S. sites.

OnDeck’s Falling Figures

Reflecting the changes, the company lowered its full-year net revenue outlook to a range of $342 million to $352 million. It previously had forecast $377 million to $387 million.

Annual costs are also slated for a big cut — by around $25 million. Those cuts will be achieved by lowering headcount. About 27 percent of the staff will be cut back from levels at the end of 2016.

By the numbers, losses clocked in at $0.11 per share, slightly more than the $0.10 loss analysts were looking for. Gross revenue rose 48.4 percent to $92.89 million on higher net interest income, beating analysts’ estimates of $90.38 million.

Green Dot Beats the Streets (In a Big Way)

The company posted adjusted earnings per share of $1, which was $0.16 better than analysts were forecasting. Revenue clocked in at $253 million, was up 11 percent year over year and was higher than the roughly $234 million that had been forecasted.

Guidance for the full year was also ticking up — just about in line with the magnitude of the beat, with revenue to range from $830 million to $845 million (both ends of the range were taken up by $15 million). Earnings per share are slated to come in between $1.89 and $1.94, which compares with the consensus of $1.92 as of Wednesday morning.

Green Dot is making pre-paid cards look easy, OnDeck is demonstrating how marketplace lending (or marketplace anything) is really, really hard — and First Data is greatly looking forward to next quarter, when it can report smoother sailing.

US Government Awards $ 2.25 Million to Blockchain Research Projects (Coindesk), Rated: A

The US government has awarded research contracts to three startups working with blockchain worth a total of about $2.25m.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) quietly revealed the grants last week as part of its Small Business Innovation Research initiative.

Who got funded: DHS said that it parceled out a total of $9.7m between 12 companies, three of which are working with the tech. According to a release, each firm got about $750,000 to fund their research.

Here are the companies that got funds for their blockchain-related initiatives:

  • BlockCypher: The startup has been awarded a grant for its “blockchain platform for multiple blockchains, applications and analytics. BlockCypher was the recipient of a $600,000 DHS grant last summer.
  • Digital Bazaar: According to DHS, the company is working on a “verifiable claims project” that utilizes “fit-for-purpose distributed ledgers”. Like BlockCypher, Digital Bazaar was given a DHS grant in 2016.
  • Evernym: This Utah-based business will use the funds to support its research into “decentralized key management using blockchain”, according to DHS.

Lendio is Now Offering Small Business Loans Within Minutes (Military-Technologies), Rated: A

The team at Lendio is pleased to announce that they are now offering small business loans within minutes.

In addition to providing small business owners loans as quickly as possible, Lendio also features a business loan marketplace that lets people find the financing tools they need to help run their business.

Oportun, Inc. (SEC), Rated: A

Opportun has filed for ABS with the SEC.

My Experience Refinancing Student Loans from Pharmacy School (Pharmacy Times), Rated: A

In 2015, I graduated with over $150,000 in student loans from pharmacy school. At the time, it felt like an insurmountable amount of money to pay back, especially considering I took a substantial pay cut to complete a 1-year residency after graduating. The monthly payments were extremely high and to make matters more confusing, I had multiple loan providers between my private and federal loans, with some in my name and some in my parent’s name. The interest rates on these loans varied from 6.5% to 8%.

After finishing my residency, I knew I had to take a close look at my financial situation and make a plan to aggressively start paying off these loans. After extensive research, I decided to refinance my student loans through Social Finance, Inc (SoFI), an institution that offers a number of different loan types through a “nontraditional” approach.

Refinancing through SoFI will save me over $15,000 in cumulative payments over a 10-year term by lowering my interest rate to 5%.

If you’re refinancing with a longer repayment period (10 to 20 years) and prefer stability, a fixed rate may be the better option. Personally, I chose a variable rate loan because the interest rate was significantly lower than the fixed rate loan, and I plan to pay off my student loans long before the end of my 10-year term.

RealtyShares Names Industry Vet to BOD (Commercial Property Executive), Rated: A

Edward Forst, the former president & CEO of Cushman & Wakefield, has become the newest member of RealtyShares’ board of directors.

With Cushman & Wakefield, Forst oversaw 16,000 real estate professionals in 60 countries.

How Can I Pay for Fertility Treatment? (LendingClub), Rated: B

To begin, you’ll want to determine how you’re going to pay for fertility treatment and related care such as medications, genetic testing and egg freezing services.

The good news is that fertility financing is available so that cost does not have to be a barrier to treatment and your dream of becoming a parent.

The flexible payment plans include:

  • One loan for comprehensive fertility care for up to three services: IVF treatment, medication, genetic testing or egg freezing
  • No upfront payments
  • Fixed rates starting as low as 3.99% APR*
  • Manageable monthly payments for a range of budgets
  • Payment sent directly to your providers in one to three business days, so you can start treatment without delay or pressure to distribute funds correctly

How to Invest in Debt (Michael Pellegrino Email), Rated: B

Get a free sample chapter. Password: debt-investor.

United Kingdom

LendInvest joins the Home Builders Federation (Property Reporter), Rated: AAA

Specialist mortgage lender, LendInvest, has announced that it has joined the Home Builders Federation, in a move aimed at supporting property developers to build more homes of every type.

The Home Builders Federation is the representative body of the private sector home building industry in England and Wales and its members are responsible for 80% of housing output each year. The organisation currently supports the LendInvest Property Development Academy, a non-profit, two-day course delivered in five key cities across the UK and intended to create a new generation of property entrepreneurs.

Monzo puts API development on the back burner (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Digital bank Monzo is putting its API developer plans on ice as it faces up to the challenge of launching current accounts for its 190,000 customers.

The news will be a blow to the 2000 people on the bank’s developer Slack channel who have invested time in building integration to the Monzo API.
In the two years since it launched its first hackathon encouraging developers to build products using the API, the bank now counts some 100 personal projects integrating with the toolkit. Despite these efforts, Monzo will not allow developers to publish their current applications.

Peer-to-peer lending rises as Moneywise users seek higher returns (Moneywise), Rated: A

Nearly half (48%) of Moneywise.co.uk readers use peer-to-peer (P2P) lending in a bid to earn higher returns on savings, our latest poll results reveal.

This is an increase from 39% of Moneywise users who said they used P2P lending in August 2016, and 33% who said the same when we asked in February 2016.

The number of Moneywise users aware of P2P has also risen. Just 4% said they’d never heard of P2P lending in our most recent poll, compared to 6% who hadn’t heard of it last August, and 9% who hadn’t heard of it last February.

Seedrs: Andy Murray Invests in Three UK Entrepreneurs, Den, Morpher & Landbay (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Tennis star and Seedrs advisor Andy Murray has invested in three early-stage UK businesses. The Seedrs listed companies include Den, Morpher and Landbay. Murray’s Seedrs originated portfolio now stands at over 20 companies, according to the platform.

Landbay is back on Seedrs once again. The property rental crowdfunding platform has crowdfunded successfully multiple times on Seedrs.  Landbay was one of the very first peer-to-peer platforms to be granted full authorisation by the FCA at the end of 2016. Landbay has raised £2.3 million overfunding to 157% in the round.

Robo Advice – 5 Key Factors to Success (EValue), Rated: A

1 – Engaging the consumer

Currently, a real need exists to increase consumers’ engagement with their financial life and enable easy access to robust financial advice for all. However, for many consumers, the breadth of choice available, when it comes to making financial planning decisions, only serves to create confusion and adds to the complexity often resulting in no decisions being made at all.

2 – Realistic expectation of range and level of returns

This means that not only should the overall forecasts be realistic but each individual scenario, which makes up the forecast, should also be sensible and capable of occurring. Suggesting a potential outcome which, in reality, is impossible is obviously not particularly helpful to consumers when it comes to making investment decisions.

3 – Risk Suitability Assessment

In the UK, it is clear that robo advice needs to meet the same suitability standard as traditional advice. Therefore, any risk suitability tool must be rigorous and robust in order to ensure an accurate measurement of a consumer’s tolerance to risk and capacity for loss.

4 – Personal Advice Given

As everybody’s situation is different, in order for a robo advice proposition to be successful it must be able to provide appropriate personal advice which not only reflects a consumer’s individuality and specific objectives but is also not detrimental to their other financial needs.

5 – Fully automated with appropriate compliance reviews

By automating the advice process so that it can be delivered remotely and driven by the consumer, costs will be cut sharply as a result. At the same time, consistent quality and thorough documentation generated by the process will provide a full and reliable digital paper trail to ensure regulatory compliance.

Robo Advice market eyes pensions, insurance and mortgages (AltFi), Rated: B

The automated financial advice market is set for a decade of strong growth, according to a new report by consultancy Deloitte, which suggests the underlying disruptive technology will spread into more niches than its current wealth management segment.

To date, automated advice has been most prevalent in wealth management – called robo advice – but this is just the tip of the iceberg. In its latest research into the space, entitled The next frontier: The future of automated financial advice in the UK, Deloitte says the UK offers a rich opportunity for automated advice with up to 15 million consumers willing to pay for it.

China

PBOC sets up new committee to oversee China’s burgeoning fintech industry (SCMP), Rated: AAA

China’s central bank said on Monday it has set up a committee to oversee financial technology, reflecting an attempt to bring regulation up to speed with a fast-growing industry that could bring cross-sector financial risks.

The People’s Bank of China said on its website it will gauge the impact of fintech on monetary policy, financial markets, financial stability, payment and clearing.

It will also beef up the use of new technology, such as big data, artificial intelligence, and cloud computing to enhance its capabilities in protecting against and resolving cross-market financial risks, it said in the statement.

P2P Industry News (Xing Ping She Email), Rated: A

People’s Bank of China is going to set up FinTech Committee
Recently, People’s Bank of China (PBC) announced to set up FinTech Committee, aiming at reinforcing the planning and coordination of fintech. PBC is going to do deep research on the influence of fintech on monetary policies, financial market, finance stability, payment and settlement etc. And it also encourages finance sector to use high-tech, such as big data, AI and cloud computing, as regulatory method to improve the ability for identifying, preventing and solving financial risks.

BNP Paribas Group Investigates for Financial Innovation in Asia
On May 5th, executives from security services department of BNP Paribas visited JadeValue, China’s first fintech incubator, to investigate for financial innovation in Asian market. Xeenho Wallet, as one of the incubated enterprise of JadeValue, and a typical example of Chinese modern fintech company, communicated with the European professional financial survey team, and achieved initial intent of cooperation on exchange of P2P industry news.
Xeenho is one of the first P2P funds platforms in China. Based on big data and robo-advice, Xeenho’s risk-control management keeps the Zero Bad Debt in the industry.

European Union

N26 launches savings accounts with Raisin (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

N26 is launching yet another feature to build a modern retail bank for European customers. This time, the company is partnering with Raisin, a German startup also known as WeltSparen. In just a few taps, you’ll be able to open a savings account for money you don’t need.

All your deposits are guaranteed up to €100,000 per bank by the National Deposit Guarantee Scheme as part of the European Union.

N26 is only launching this feature in Germany for now, but Raisin accepts customers from other countries. So you can expect to see this feature in other countries later this year. Similarly, if you don’t want to have your money stuck on a savings account, N26 will launch overnight savings later this year.

Raisin has built an API in order to facilitate the N26 integration.

Rabobank enters digital identity market (Finextra), Rated: A

Rabobank has partnered with Norway’s Signicat to provide a digital identity hub for businesses looking to onboard new customers and sign legally-binding contracts online.

The joint Digital Identity Service Provider (DISP) offers a range of online login, identity, signature and data archiving services under the banner of Rabo eBusiness. Rabobank says it will initially market the programme to energy, telecom and insurance companies, healthcare institutions and financial services providers.
International

Top 10 FinTech Companies Disrupting Banking (Disruptor Daily), Rated: A

Banking and payment financial technology have grown exponentially in just the past few years thanks to tech like blockchain, artificial intelligence, and big data. These crossovers are making for faster, safer processes and lower prices for individuals and businesses alike.

Wyre boasts transfer speeds under 6 hours internationally, significantly faster than the traditional SWIFT or bank wire transfer networks.

Xendit is a payment processing infrastructure provider that covers the southeastern Asia region. Among the services offered through Xendit are bank transfers, card processing, and escrow services.

Xero offers accounting professionals and small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) with more than 600,000 customers a cloud-based accounting software.

N26 allows UK customers to open accounts in minutes, perform withdrawals at any ATM, and pay with the N26 MasterCard.

Beyond making in-person and mobile payments more secure, Circle is also working to reduce the cost of in-person and international payments as well as the time intensity of global payments.

Simple unifies accounts under one card and splits the net interest margin from lending across all of the partner banks in its network to help simplify the customer experience.

Earnest is using data science, design, and software automation to allow their clients to manage their existing finances and debts while opening up new opportunities for well-behaved clients to see better interest rates and more options.

Featurespace has developed and deployed artificial intelligence and machine learning solutions for financial service providers in more than 180 countries.

InstaMed has changed the healthcare payments industry through the use of their easily-integrated, private cloud computing network.

India

i2iFunding plans to increase loans disbursal to Rs 200 Cr in 2 yrs (India Times), Rated: AAA

Peer to Peer (P2P) lending platform i2iFunding said today that it planned to increase the loans disbursed on its platform to Rs 200 crore over the next two years. It currently disburses loans worth Rs 60-70 lakhs a month.

Having strengthened its risk processes, the company is now keen to expand operations, he said. The company also expects business to pick up the RBI issues regulatory guidelines for the sector.

Five Points to Keep in Mind When Investing in P2P Lending (BW Disrupt), Rated: A

But while there has been a major change in the appetite for risk among Indians, P2P lending requires an investor to be thoroughly aware and educated on how to make informed choices when opting for P2P lending. P2P lending is globally growing at a CAGR of 48%. In India, the industry is expected to touch $5 billion by 2020-2021. It’s here to stay and the faster a smart investor understands, learns, and makes the most of it, higher the returns.

  1. Build a Diversified Portfolio
  2. Small Ticket-size, More Loans – One of the biggest advantage of P2P lending is that the average ticket size can be as low as Rs. 1000/-. So invest small amounts in large numbers. And by that we don’t mean putting Rs. 2,50,000/- across 10 loans of Rs. 25,000/- each but to aim for 50 loans of Rs. 5,000/- each.
  3. Compounding Benefit – P2P lending is the only, unique asset class in which investors begin to receive returns – principal as well as interest – through EMI from the very next month of making the investment.
  4. Realistic Expectations, Long-term horizon – Before investing in P2P lending, it is advisable to choose a lending platform after considering the track record of the leadership and their risk management team.
  5. Informed Choices – Before investing in P2P lending, it is advisable to choose a lending platform after considering the track record of the leadership and their risk management team.
Asia

Fintech start-up 4xLabs raises US$ 1.5m in new funding (Straits Times), Rated: AAA

Singapore fintech start-up 4xLabs has raised US$1.5 million (S$2.1 million) in its latest funding round.

The round saw follow-up investment from Dymon Asia Ventures, as well as participation from new investors such as Malaysia-based OSK Ventures International.

4xLabs aims to increase transparency in the market for travellers and money changers with its cloud-based services.

The firm, set up in 2011, offers two platforms: Get4x, a currency exchange-rate aggregator platform for travellers, and Biz4x, a platform that helps money changers better manage their businesses.

Canada

Toronto Financial Services Alliance Says Strengthening Fintech Ecosystem Must Be a Priority (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The Toronto Financial Services Alliance (TFSA) says Canada’s financial service relevance is at risk unless the Fintech ecosystem is improved.

TFSA has published a report specifically on this subject. Entitled, “Seizing the Opportunity: Building the Toronto Region into a Global Fintech Leader,” the report states that the Toronto/Kitchener-Waterloo corridor today benefits from a strong core of financial institutions, top-tier research facilities, a strong talent base and relatively low business operating costs compared with other global Fintech ecosystems.

The report sets out six key areas to target:

  • Collaboration: Closer and more frequent engagement among Fintech startups, well-established financial institutions and the venture capital community.
  • Capital: Improved access to sophisticated seed-level and local later-stage capital for Canadian Fintechs.
  • Regulation: Reduced regulatory burden on emerging Fintech companies, and modernized regulatory frameworks to attract foreign investment and further reflect changing business models, technologies and priorities.
  • Research: Encouraged commercialization of research for financial services to further establish the region as a global leader.
  • Talent: Creation of opportunities and conditions that will attract top talent with experience growing and scaling fintech companies.
  • Awareness: Raising of the region’s profile on the global stage as a Fintech hub.

Power Financial invests C$ 50 million in ‘robo-adviser’ Wealthsimple (Reuters), Rated: A

Power Financial Corp has invested C$50 million ($37 million) in “robo-adviser” Wealthsimple, bringing its total investment in the 2-year-old financial technology company to C$100 million, they said on Thursday.

Toronto-based Wealthsimple provides automated investment advice to consumers and helps manage personalized portfolios based on responses to an online questionnaire about investment goals. It entered the U.S. market at the end of January.

The company said it now has more than 30,000 clients in Canada and the United States, up from 20,000 in late January, investing more than C$1 billion in exchange-traded funds.

South America

Goldman Sachs Sees Big Potential for Fintech in Brazil (NYT), Rated: AAA

Brazil is experiencing a wave of growth in financial technology that will most likely eat into the market share of the country’s huge and long untouchable banks, a new report from Goldman Sachs says.

Entitled “Fintech Brazil’s Moment,” the 45-page research report estimates that the more than 200 financial technology companies in Brazil should generate a potential revenue pool of about $24 billion over the next 10 years. Payments, lending and personal finance are three promising segments, as is insurance, the report found.

The Goldman Sachs economists cited what they called “an oligopolistic market structure” in Brazil where the top five banks, excluding development banks, hold 84 percent of total loans. In retail branch banking, the top five banks have 90 percent of branches. That is up from 71 percent in 2007, the report said, observing that “the market has become more concentrated since the financial crisis” of 2008.

By contrast, in the United States, the top five banks hold just about 20 percent of all branches. In India, that figure is slightly over 30 percent, and in Turkey it is just under 30 percent.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor