Tuesday August 29 2017, Daily News Digest

Global fintech

News Comments Today’s main news: Has Float shut down? Ford to use alternative data for credit scoring. OnDeck Capital, Scale Operations Management finalize partnership. Money Dashboard raises 1.33M GBP. Mintos adds Georgian ID Finance loans. Today’s main analysis: HNA raises billions from shadow banks. Today’s thought-provoking articles: SoFi personal loans help people pay off over $5B in credit card […]

Global fintech

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United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

Asia

Middle East

News Summary

United States

Rumor: Online Lender Float Has Shut Down (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Online lending platform Float has allegedly shut down. Crowdfund Insider has heard from several different sources the digital platform has called it quits. Earlier today, Crowdfund Insider attempted to contact the platform but no response has been forthcoming.

Ford to Look Beyond Credit Scores in Sales Push (Fox Business), Rated: AAA

The company says it is looking at ways to increase loan and lease approvals for applicants with limited credit histories. These consumers are often denied credit because they lack a history of managing debt and as a result have low credit scores. Ford’s credit division plans to review new data to try to determine whether these customers, as well as those with more robust borrowing histories, are likely to repay their loans.

Ford’s U.S. sales are down 4.3% during the first seven months of the year compared with the same period a year prior, while total U.S. new auto sales are down 2.8%, according to Edmunds.com. Wells Fargo & Co.’s auto lending volume fell 45% in the second quarter from a year earlier due to tightening underwriting standards. Ally Financial Inc.’s auto loan originations fell 8.5% for the same period.

Ford Credit is among the largest U.S. lenders to say that it is looking at using alternative methods of underwriting, beyond the traditional factors that are mostly centered around credit reports.

SoFi Personal Loans Help People Pay Off More Than $ 5 Billion In Credit Card Debt (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Today SoFi announced its members have cumulatively paid off over $5 billion dollars in credit card debt using SoFi Personal Loans, getting them out of debt faster and at lower interest rates.

Members who used SoFi Personal Loans to pay off credit cards reduced their effective interest rate by 42% on average. They also saw their credit scores rise by 17 points on average due to reduced credit utilization, a key component of credit scores.

Credit card utilization has been steadily rising since the 2008 financial crisis. Americans’ credit card debt eclipsed $1 trillion this year, according to Federal Reserve data, and the average credit card APR inched up to an all-time high of 16.14 percent, according to CreditCards.com.

SoFi offers an array of options for Personal Loans, letting members find their rate, choose their loan amount (up to $100,000), and choose their term (three, five, or seven years) through a simple, fully-online application process. Loans are funded in less than a week on average. Though SoFi Personal Loans can be used for lots of purposes, more than 70 percent of SoFi members report using them for credit card refinancing and loan consolidation.

On Deck Capital Finalizes Funding Partnership with Scale Operations Management (Digital Journal), Rated: AAA

At one point in recent history – the internet was the wild west of commerce and industry. It seemed as if anyone with a computer and an idea could start a company from their home office. Two decades later, way after the dot com bubble burst; it is clear that the internet is becoming saturated and more competitive.

The competition for attention has led to increases in advertisement costs.

Doing business online went from a luxury to a necessity and budgets went from small to large.

Andrew Ukpabi, Founder of Scale Operations Management – a business management company with 15 Million in client assets under management; believes that this trend in the short term will only grow and he explains cheerfully how this has impacted the growth of his company:

“I’ve been on a signing spree lately. In the last week I’ve signed deals with CRMS’s, chargeback mitigation platforms, and processing companies.”

The partnership with On Deck Capital (ONDK) a NYSE listed company that boasts 4 Billion in funding to more than 40,000 small business customers in the US, Australia, and Canada; is the latest in his signing spree.

NEPC SURVEYS E&F MANAGERS ABOUT ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENTS (All About Alpha), Rated: A

NEPC, the investment consulting group that caters especially to endowments and foundations, has posted a survey about what such institutions think of marketable alternatives.

This broad category “marketable alternatives” includes direct hedge funds, funds of hedge funds, liquid alternatives, and global asset allocation.

Where are these allocations headed, near future? Not quite two-thirds of the respondents (65%) planned to maintain their current level of allocation in such investments. Sixteen percent plan to make a “modest change” increasing the allocation. Symmetrically, another 16% plan to make a “modest change” in the opposite direction. Only 3% plan to decrease the allocation “substantially,” and no respondents plan to increase it substantially.

As to what they have done over the past year: 18% have increased their allocation to such alternatives, 32% have decreased it, so the remaining half have kept it where it is.

Source: All About Alpha

There is a split on the question of the classification of marketable alternatives within a foundation or endowment’s portfolio, one that reflects a series of evenly divided binary choices. Not quite half (48%) of respondents say they have a dedicated allocation to this asset class, and that’s the end of the issue for them.

So that leaves 52% who do something else. A little more than half of them (about 28% of the whole) say that they have marketable alternatives both within a dedicated allocation and as part of an allocation to another class.

Should SoFi be granted a bank charter? Rep. Waters isn’t so sure (HousingWire), Rated: A

SoFi outlined in the application that the purpose of the charter is to provide its customers a FDIC insured NOW account and a credit card product. The bank will offer no other products or services.

In response to Waters’ comments, a SoFi spokesperson said, “We’re happy to discuss our application with Rep. Waters and other interested parties, and confident the FDIC will conduct its review of our application expeditiously and in accordance with the law.”

The Independent Community Bankers of America also sent a letter to the FDIC over the application, urging the FDIC to reject the application.

ICBA also stressed that Congress should close the ILC loophole, stating it not only threatens the financial system but creates an uneven playing field for community banks.

1 Popular Way Millennials Are Cutting Back on Living Expenses (and Why There’s Nothing Wrong With It) (CheatSheet), Rated: A

Co-living has been a popular option among young people just out of college. And now businesses are also jumping on the co-living bandwagon, hoping to make some quick cash from this idea.

The act of sharing housing, work, and commuting space is second nature to millennials. Co-living is just one more option young people have to stretch their resources and meet new people if they so choose.

Research shows more millennials are living with their parents than with a spouse. Living with parents is the No. 1 living arrangement among millennials, according to Census Bureau research. In 2016, 22.9 million (31%) young adults lived with their parents.

One company that joined the co-living movement is WeWork, which originally started out offering co-working spaces to individuals and companies. WeWork branched out to co-living spaces, called WeLive, in 2016.

Some co-living buildings, such as PodShare, even provide free food and fully furnished apartments, further helping their residents keep costs down.

Thinking of going the co-living route? Here are some of your options in three major cities.

Chicago

Los Angeles

New York

Malkiel Provides Investment Advice For IRA Allocations (Financial Advisor), Rated: A

Although the top leading robo-advisor firms grew by 65 percent in eight months to $19 billion assets under management in 2014, according to Financial Advice Market Review (FAMR), robo-advice is limited to assembling a group of stocks and bonds to avoid risk in a portfolio.

CAN WE ALL PARTICIPATE IN THE NEXT UNICORN? (All About Alpha), Rated: A

With the passage of the Title III portion of the JOBS Act, this paper tries to address a very critical question: can non-accredited investors find and invest in the next unicorn?

AltFi Data [2015], a data aggregator of equity crowdfunding, published a report on equity crowdfunding from 2011 through June 30, 2015 using the five most significant online platforms based on origination volume. These include Crowdcube, Seedrs, SyndicateRoom, CrowdBnk and Venture Funders. There were 431 investment crowdfunding rounds from 367 companies. The UK report indicates that crowdfunding has revolutionized the funding of small and medium sized enterprises involving both professional and small retail investors. It is reported that 62% of crowd funding investors describe themselves as retail investors with no previous investment experience.

3 Keys To Earning Up To 7% With Peer-To-Peer Lending (Forbes), Rated: A

Lending Club, the world’s largest P2P platform, has served over $55 billion in new loans in 2017. That’s a 40% growth in loan volume compared to last year.

Now, the likes of Goldman Sachs serve about 70% of all peer-to-peer loans.

P2P lending is still a place to earn market-beating yields of up to 7%. But private investors are now competing against the world’s biggest financial institutions.

  1. Spread Your Risk and Invest No Less Than $5,000
  2. Use Automated Rebalancing Tools – NSRInvest.com is a registered advisor that offers managed accounts to P2P investors. Investors can link their Lending Club and Prosper accounts to the website and have NSR experts invest for them based on their loan selection criteria.

Depending on the selected strategy, NSR users have outperformed the market by as much as 2.6% (average is 1.5%).

  1. Enhance Your IRA with P2P

Tell Us Who Your Favorite Fintech Companies Are: Forbes Fintech 50 Call For Nominations (Forbes), Rated: B

If you own or work at a fintech firm that you think is worthy — or if you’re a fan of one — please tell us about it. The only stipulations are that it be a venture-backed startup with operations in the United States. That means no publicly traded companies or their subsidiaries and no privately held established firms.

If you are submitting a company for which you’re an owner or employee, please use this form.

If you’re nominating a startup of whose inner workings you have no knowledge, please fill this out.

The deadline for both sets of submissions is Friday, September 15, 2017. If we have more specific questions, we will be in touch.

United Kingdom

Money Dashboard Raises £1.33M in Equity Crowdfunding (Finsmes), Rated: AAA

Money Dashboard, an Edinburgh, UK-based personal finance management app, raised £1.33M in equity crowdfunding.

1708 investors have participated in the campaign via Crowdcube acquiring an equity stake of 9.55% in the company.

The company had a target of £1m at a pre-money valuation of £12.6m.

Half of UK businesses lack confidence in government’s Brexit strategy (Consultancy.uk), Rated: A

Now, a recent survey conducted by peer-to-peer finance platform Market Invoice found that 54% of 3,000 businesses polled said the government had lost its way in talks with Brussels and that Brexit Secretary David Davis lacked preparedness, while only 5% felt he was doing a good job.

Maintaining stability in the sterling was meanwhile considered important by just 7%, reversing a KPMG study of businesses performed earlier in the year. In response to the falling pound however, the UK is projected to lose as many as 40,000 investment banking jobs post-Brexit.

A total of 20% of firms voted against further financial support spent on marketing, and aim to reduce it in the nearby future. A 54% majority of small businesses have not yet witnessed Brexit leaving a negative impact on the hiring plans, as only 2% are predicted to reduce exposure to EU nationals with a further 6% being more reluctant to hire from the bloc.

Startup Accelerator Level39 Launches Cyber39 (LendIt), Rated: B

Level39 has launched Cyber39, a program focused on fighting cyberthreats in London.

China

Chinese Dealmaker Raises Billions From Shadow Banks (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

A Bloomberg News review of more than 100 investment documents and corporate filings sheds light on how HNA has financed its remarkable run of deal-making, which has included acquiring multi-billion dollar stakes in Deutsche Bank AG and Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc.

The documents, pieced together from fund prospectuses and disclosures to China’s Administration for Industry and Commerce, show how HNA has employed a network of trusts and asset management products, in addition to more conventional financing, to fund everything from takeovers to day-to-day expenses. Among the key findings: Units of the group have pledged more than $10 billion of unlisted shares to non-bank lenders and, in some cases, have paid interest rates on shadow debt that far exceed China’s benchmark rates for bank loans and bond issuance.

The documents, pieced together from fund prospectuses and disclosures to China’s Administration for Industry and Commerce, show how HNA has employed a network of trusts and asset management products, in addition to more conventional financing, to fund everything from takeovers to day-to-day expenses. Among the key findings: Units of the group have pledged more than $10 billion of unlisted shares to non-bank lenders and, in some cases, have paid interest rates on shadow debt that far exceed China’s benchmark rates for bank loans and bond issuance.

HNA’s parent company said in a response to questions that financing from non-bank institutions makes up a “small” portion of the group’s overall funding and that its credit limit from Chinese banks has increased by more than 100 billion yuan ($15 billion) this year. The company said its debt-to-asset ratio has dropped for the past seven years and added that HNA Group’s profitability and asset quality have been improving.

Source: Bloomberg

Taken together, the documents suggest that HNA’s main units have increased their use of shadow financing in absolute terms over the past two years.

China’s regulators preparing new rules for digital coin offerings (Reuters), Rated: A

Chinese regulators are preparing new regulations on digital coin offerings and may ban them until the rules are in place, the financial magazine Caixin reported on Monday, as interest in the new fundraising channel grows rapidly in a regulatory grey area.

Digital currencies, also called cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin and a growing stream of alternatives, allow anonymous peer-to-peer transactions without the need for banks or central banks.

China’s top insurers ploughing billions into fintech (SCMP), Rated: A

China Life and Ping An Insurance, the country’s two largest insurers, have both been focusing heavily on investment in technology, and now it appears artificial intelligence (AI) may becoming more important than sales agents across the sector, as premium income continues to soar.

The nation’s largest insurer China Life still has 1.58 million agents, while number two Ping An has over 1.1 million, and both have previously made much of the fact they plan to expand those sales forces in future.

China Life said last Thursday it had teamed up with internet search firm Baidu to form a fund to invest 7 billion yuan (US$1 billion) in AI-related technology companies and internet finance operations. China Life will plough 5.6 billion yuan into the venture, with Baidu covering the rest.

European Union

Mintos Marketplace Adds ID Finance Loans Issued in Georgia (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

ID Finance, an emerging markets focused Fintech company, is now listing investment opportunities on the Mintos marketplace incorporating prime personal loans issued under its Solva brand in Georgia. Solva is a fully owned ID Finance subsidiary in Georgia that has disbursed 28,000 personal loans worth €12 million since late 2016.

The loan originator will offer a buyback guarantee for loans that are delinquent for more than 60 days. The share of non-performing loans for Solva is said to currently be at approximately 4%. ID Finance will keep at least 10% of each loan available on the Mintos marketplace on its balance sheet so its interests are aligned with investors.

PSD2 – What will happen in January 2018? (AltFi), Rated: A

With the inception of financial digitalization, we’ve seen new firms such as Goldman Sachs adapt their strategy to cover retail and embrace fintech, firms such as Citi and BNY Mellon have ventured into open banking and finance APIs and Vanguard has created a digital behemoth of their robo-advisor.

Open Banking is still a new concept and, as new concepts go, it will be refined by trial and error. Some banks are farther along than others, with e.g. BBVA already in commercial use with several APIs. Yet the roll out of new “API Markets”, as they are often called, will see a learning experience from both the bank providers as well as those looking to utilize them.

Swiss fintech launches first-ever mobile app for alternative investments (Opalesque), Rated: A

Opalesque Industry Update – Fundbase has announced immediate availability of Fundbase Mobile, a revolutionary application for qualified investors to source alternative investment products. With Fundbase Mobile, investors will have access to a globally diversified universe of high quality alpha producing alternative investments at their fingertips.

The majority of Fundbase users expect to improve their fund sourcing process with Fundbase Mobile by spending more time logged in, searching funds. Pancho Vanhees, of TFAL Investments, a Luxembourg-based investor, believes the mobile app will improve their systematic processes and quickly identify top performing emerging hedge fund managers while on-the-go.

Why Only Initial? Worldcore Aims to Use ICO to Conquer Blockchain Competitors (Coin Telegraph), Rated: A

In the past week alone, prominent investor Mark Cuban and entrepreneur Kim Dotcom have both signalled their involvement in ICOs.

Worldcore aims to undercut banks, banking disruptors such as TransferWise and FairFX, and soon the technologically innovative operators heavily involved with cryptocurrencies.

Offering both payments and consumer spending options such as a prepaid debit card, the company is already accepting Bitcoin as a funding option, the first step in a Blockchain rollout which will occur incrementally over several years as the technology improves.

Biometric account access in the form of face and voice recognition replaces passwords, while Blockchain offerings themselves will take the form of a payment gateway reminiscent of Ripple.

Worldcore’s fee structure, for example, is noticeably more complex than that of Bitcoin-based prepaid cards from Bitwala, ANX and others.

Fintech Can Contribute to the Quality of Country’s Financial Center (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

The Federal Council of Switzerland is out with a note regarding Fintech. Federal Councillor Ueli Maurer is apparently doing a swing through the Swiss Fintech scene to improve awareness and relationships.

Maurer is expected to visit Fintechs in Zurich and Zug – a fact finding mission to garner updates on current tech topics, risks, opportunities and challenges.

The Federal Council believes that a dynamic Fintech ecosystem can contribute significantly to the quality of Switzerland’s financial center – something that is strategically important. It can also boost its competitiveness around the world.

Credissimo – Contender for European FinTech Awards 2017’s Title of ‘European Innovator 2017’ (Digital Journal), Rated: B

Credissimo is the only Bulgarian company featured in the European FinTech Awards 2017 where it is nominated for the “Alternative Finance” category.

This prestigious nomination places Credissimo amongst lead European companies where it will compete with the largest FinTech organizations for 2017’s European Innovator award.

International

Alternative finance market in robust health, despite slight summer downturn (Opalesque), Rated: AAA

Opalesque Industry Update – The world’s first global Crowdfunding and Marketplace Finance Index (CAMFI) shows that the industry exhibited a slight downturn in July, dropping from 94.11 in June to 90.32 in July.

Key points:

  • The global crowdfunding and marketplace finance industry exhibited a slight downturn in July
  • Segment-wise, the Reward Sub-Index was the major cause of the July decline
  • Attribute-wise, the main declining driver was the market Scale measures
  • Industry Scale continued to shrink, most evidently in the Reward segment
  • Industry Efficiency improved significantly, with both Debt and Reward segments demonstrating growth
  • Industry Transparency underwent no noticeable changes
  • Debt has stayed relatively stable, which is expected given it is such a large and diverse market
  • Equity has seen had a significant downturn in trading
  • Rewards has had the biggest downturn, with significantly fewer campaigns, backers and amounts of money raised for each campaign during the July period

Despite the slight downturn demonstrated in June and July, data from TAB shows that the industry is growing rapidly year on year:

  • In 2014, campaigners in the UK raised over $2 billion via crowdfunding platforms. In 2016, they raised over $3.96 billion.
  • China is demonstrating huge growth, with companies raising $134 million via crowdfunding platforms in 2014. In 2016, they raised $2billion.
  • France is also seeing significant growth, with companies raising $70 million in 2014, and $159 million in 2017 to date.
  • In 2014, companies raised $5.4 billion in debt finance globally, increasing to $12.7 billion in 2016.
  • In 2014, companies raised $345 million in equity finance globally, increasing to $766 million in 2017 to date.
  • Rewards finance raised via crowdfunding globally has increased from $680 million in 2014 to $1.1 billion in 2016.
  • The Real Estate industry raised $1.2 billion via crowdfunding in 2014. In 2016, it raised to $3.8 billion.
  • The Capital Goods industry raised $751 million in 2014. This year to date, it has raised $1.4 billion.

Funding & Deals On Pace For A Record Year (CB Insights), Rated: A

Last quarter set a record for funding to VC-backed fintech companies, which raised $5.2B across 251 deals (as highlighted in the CB Insights Q2 2017 Global Fintech report). At the current run rate, deals are on pace to increase 5% this year, while investment dollars are on pace to grow 19%.

The quarter also saw new unicorn births, with 5 companies reaching new valuations of $1B+: online lending site Tuandaiwang (valued at $1.5B at the time of its unicorn round), invoice and payment company AvidXchange ($1.4B), online investment platform Robinhood ($1.3B), health insurance startup  Clover Health ($1.2B), and cloud-based communication platform Symphony Communication Services ($1B).

Source: CB Insights

Funding to global VC-backed fintech companies set a quarterly record in Q2’17, rising 83% to reach $5.2B. Deals experienced less dramatic growth, but still increased 2% from the previous quarter, reaching a five-quarter high of 251.

Source: CB Insights
Australia

Car finance drives P2P growth in Australia (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

CAR finance is one of the driving forces behind the growth of P2P lending among brokers in Australia.

According to new research from RateSetter’s Australian business, one fifth (20 per cent) of all broker-led loans on the platform are used for car and vehicle finance, with an average loan value of AUS$13,186 (£8,077).

Meanwhile, home improvement loans account for 19 per cent of the platform’s broker-led activity, with an average loan value of $14,299, while 12 per cent of loans are used for debt consolidation, and seven per cent are used for education.

Business borrowing accounts for nine per cent of total broker loans, but has the highest loan values with an average of $28,094 per loan.

CARS AND RENOVATIONS DRIVING GROWTH OF P2P LOANS IN THE BROKER MARKET (LendIt), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lending is gaining traction amongst Australian brokers, with RateSetter today announcing that it has reached the milestone of 2,000 brokers accredited with the peer-to-peer lending platform. Lending volumes through the broker channel, largely driven by car and home improvement loans, are doubling approximately every six months according to RateSetter.

Vehicle financing is the most popular reason brokers are choosing peer-to-peer loans for their clients, followed closely by funding for home improvements and loans to consolidate high-interest credit card or other bank debt.

The milestone also coincides with RateSetter passing $150 million in loans facilitated since launching in 2014. Across both the broker and direct channels, lending has grown 50% in the last 5 months alone, after passing the $100m milestone in March.

An analysis of RateSetter’s loan data found that brokers are helping their clients finance loans worth an average $16,871, with an average loan term of 44 months at an average interest rate of 8.37% p.a.

Source: LendIt
Asia

Here’s How Chinese Tech Giants Including Tencent And Ant Financial Are Plowing Into Southeast Asia (CB Insights), Rated: AAA

Here’s a summary of the investment and M&A moves of the five Chinese internet giants within Southeast Asia:

Didi Chuxing: Chinese ride-hailing startup Didi Chuxing was the first among the Chinese tech giants to enter Southeast Asia, when it invested in Singaporean ride-hailing startup Grab’s $350M Series E round in 2015. It invested again in Grab in 2017, in its $2B Series B round.

JD.comThe Chinese e-commerce giant made an investment in leading Indonesian travel booking platform Traveloka this past year as part of its ongoing fund-raise, participating in $150M of its ongoing $500M round, along with Sequoia Capital, Hillhouse Capital Group, and East Ventures. Expedia contributed $350M.

TencentTencent recently invested in Indonesia’s Go-Jek, a company most widely known for its on-demand motorbike service. But Go-Jek is strategically similar to Tencent in a notable way: Like Tencent’s WeChat, Go-Jek is also developing a “super app” of sorts, which includes the ability to order food, massages, and other services, in addition to the development of its own mobile payments product called Go-Pay. In 2013, Tencent launched MNC Tencent, a joint venture with Indonesia’s MNC Media (not pictured in timeline). According to media reports, this venture was launched with the intention of pushing Tencent’s WeChat in the country. More recent reports claim that this JV hasn’t seen much traction.

Alibaba: Alibaba’s most recent investment into Southeast Asia was a $1.1B investment into Indonesian consumer-to-consumer e-commerce site Tokopedia in August 2017. This investment comes after months of rumors that JD.com was planning an investment into the company. Alibaba has also invested twice into Tokopedia’s competitor, Singapore-headquartered e-commerce site Lazada. First, in April 2016, it invested $1B in Lazada, valuing it at $1.5B. In June 2017, it upped its existing 51% stake to 83%, giving Lazada a valuation of $3.15B. It announced that this investment would leave its investments into the e-commerce site at a little over $2B.

Ant Financial: Ant Financial, Alibaba’s financial investment arm, operates Alipay and has made its fair share of investments into the region, across different countries and on different terms. In 2015, it invested in Singaporean cross-border trading platform M-DAQ. In 2016, it put money into Thai fintech company Ascend Money to help grow its digital and offline payments and financial services business. 2017 brought an entrance into the Philippines, with an investment into Globe Telecom-owned fintech company Mynt, and into Malaysia, where Ant Financial set up a joint venture with CIMB Group-owned Touch ‘n Go, which operates a smart card that works on transportation payments, like tolls and public transportation. According to reports, the joint venture would allow Ant Financial to build an e-wallet for Malaysia.

Source” CB Insights

Thai proptech startup Seekster raises seed funding from Digital Ventures, 500 Tuk Tuks and dtac Accelerate (e27), Rated: A

Seekster, an alumni from the dtac Accelerate programme batch 5, announced today it has raised an undisclosed seed funding from Digital Ventures, 500 Tuk Tuks and dtac Accelerate.

The startup is a company that connects properties to cleaning and maintenance service providers. While there are many on-demand cleaning companies, Seekster targets the commercial sector and SMEs. The startup says it facilitates about 5,000 to 6,000 jobs per month in Thailand.

Furthermore, the startup also announced it has inked a deal with real estate company Ananda Development to provide maids and technicians for its condos.

Middle East

Robo-advisory: Show me the money (Khaleej Times), Rated: AAA

Robo-advisory services describes a range of algorithm driven models that help sift and select investment options for individuals based on the investors’ requirements and risk appetite. Similar to P2P lending, this technology platform brings the customer closer to the investment. It enriches the information available through graphic rich dashboards and content that allow the investor to see how the portfolio is performing over time as well as versus benchmarks.

Deloitte’s report, The Expansion of Robo-Advisory in Wealth Management suggests that by 2020, the assets-under-management or more simply the amount of money invested via robo-advisors will be somewhere between $2.2 trillion to $3.7 trillion. By 2025, the number is expected to rise to $16 trillion or roughly three times the amount handled by the world’s biggest asset management firm, BlackRock.

Source: Khaleej Times

What I Know about the right time to crowdinvest: Eureeca’s Chris Thomas (Wamda), Rated: A

Unlike other crowdfunding platforms, Eureeca specializes in equity investment. If crowdfunding is the umbrella term for debt funding or reward funding, crowdinvesting describes the equity side of crowdfunding. At Eureeca, entrepreneurs and investors are put through a stringent vetting process before it is determined who can join the platform. For its first class of companies, Eureeca chose 60 businesses out of 3,000 applicants. With more than 14,000 active investors, the average investment amount is $5,800.

As the first company to obtain a crowdfunding license from the Dubai International Finance Centre, Eureeca – in the person of Thomas – laid out for Wamda everything from the right time for entrepreneurs to crowdinvest to what they should expect from the process.

Crowdfunding should not be your second or third choice. It should be the first place you go to try and fix your funding requirement. In the Middle East, the concept is still being socialized. Crowdfunding is essentially the online mechanism for raising money. If you are raising $100,000 or $10 billion, join a platform to see what they can do and you’ll be surprised at the support. By bringing the fundraising online, you reduce the amount of time and effort you put in and increase your reach to potential investors, including access to crossborder investments.

It works best for businesses with a consumer-facing element. People need to have an emotional connection with your business. It’s not going to work for a steel factory in Ras al Khaimah [an outlying emirate in the UAE]. If you have a product that’s already being distributed and there are people who know and love your product, they are the ones that can be converted from lovers of your business to investors in your business.

Regular fundraising prep applies. Be sure that you have a strong network and that you are constantly building your contact list.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday August 28 2017, Daily News Digest

artificial intelligence

News Comments Today’s main news: Blend lands $100M investment. Funding Circle achieves ISA manager status. Hive raises over $8M. Innovate UK invests 700K GBP in Paybase. China Life, Baidu launch $1B internet fund. Klarna’s profits increase 138 percent. Today’s main analysis: Bank of America Merrill Lynch to implement AI. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Congresswoman asks FDIC to hold public hearing on […]

artificial intelligence

News Comments

United StatesFlipkart, Amazon pose new competition for fintech lenders.

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Canada

News Summary

United States

LendingClub Hit with Lawsuit (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

LendingClub (NYSE:LC) has been hit with a lawsuit that names former CEO Renaud Laplanche alongside current and former board members and former CFO Carrie Dolan. The complaint, filed in the Court of Chancery in Delaware, states;

“Throughout the period December 11, 2014 and continuing through May 9, 2016 (the “Relevant Period”), the Individual Defendants breached their fiduciary duties to LendingClub by failing to institute adequate internal controls regarding financial disclosures, related party transactions, and data integrity and security, all while causing LendingClub to represent in the Registration Statement and a series of subsequent filings that such controls were sufficient.”

The suit has been filed by two shareholders; Kelvin Farley and Jay Fink.

Waters Calls on FDIC to Hold Public Hearing on SoFi’s Application for Bank Charter (House.gov), Rated: AAA

Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services, sent a letter to Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Chairman Martin Gruenberg, calling for the FDIC to hold at least one public hearing on Social Financial, Inc.’s (SoFi) application to establish an Industrial Loan Company (ILC).

In the letter, Ranking Member Waters states that changes in the financial services industry and financial regulation necessitate a public hearing to examine the policy and legal implications of granting federal deposit insurance to ILCs generally, as well as to obtain greater input on the unique risks posed by granting it to a financial technology (fintech) company like SoFi.

I am writing to request that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) hold at least one public hearing on Social Finance, Incorporated’s (“SoFi”) application to establish an industrial loan company (“ILC”) to provide FDIC-insured Negotiable Order of Withdrawal (“NOW”) accounts and credit card products. As you know, because de novo ILC formations have been affected by regulatory and statutory moratoria for several years, the FDIC has not approved a deposit insurance application for a new ILC charter for some time. Since the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank Act”), changes in the financial regulatory regime and financial services industry justify a public hearing to examine the policy and legal implications of granting Federal deposit insurance to ILCs generally, as well as to obtain greater input on the unique risks posed by granting it to a financial technology (“fintech”) company like SoFi, a number of which I will discuss in more detail below.

Appropriate regulatory oversight of any ILC is an essential prerequisite to approving any application for deposit insurance backed by taxpayers. The FDIC has previously acknowledged the importance of strong oversight of any insured bank and its parent company when discussing oversight of ILCs.[1] In reaction to a number of concerns previously raised on the regulation of ILCs, the FDIC even went so far as imposing several moratoria on its ability to approve ILC applications for deposit insurance in 2006 and 2007 to, in the words of former FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair in testimony before the House Financial Services Committee, “allow the FDIC to carefully weigh the safety and soundness concerns that have been raised regarding commercially-owned ILCs. At the same time… the moratorium provides an opportunity for Congress to consider the important public policy issues regarding the ownership of ILCs by commercial companies.”[2]

While some experts have touted the possibility that fintech firms can help promote financial inclusion, others have underscored the challenges posed for our current regulatory regime to oversee these types of companies and have underscored the need for policymakers to carefully evaluate the consequences of allowing them access to deposit insurance and the Federal Reserve discount window.[11] Thus, Federal regulators have taken a varying degree of actions focused on fintech companies and services. For example, while the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”), under its “Responsible Innovation” initiative, has proposed a Special Purpose National Bank Charter for fintech companies (“fintech charter”)[12] questions have been raised about whether the benefits to consumers for this new charter will be widely and fairly shared, and whether there is adequate legal authority, let alone a clearly defined and modern regulatory framework, for such a fintech charter.[13] Indeed, a lawsuit has been filed by state banking regulators challenging the OCC’s authority.[14] As should be the case with the OCC and its proposal to use its authority to federally charter fintech companies, the FDIC should thoroughly consider the implications of offering access to the deposit insurance fund for ILCs that will result in expanding the type of institutions to it, like fintech firms. Fintech firms, whose operations cross state and international boundaries, and may exist entirely online, were undoubtedly beyond original congressional intent in permitting ILCs to access deposit insurance and it is appropriate for stakeholders to weigh in on whether it is appropriate for these firms to have this access without proper oversight of their parent companies.

The chartering of a fintech company as an ILC also raises a number of consumer protection concerns that the FDIC should consider. For example, the California Reinvestment Coalition (“CRC”) has opposed SoFi’s application on the basis of concerns with the institution’s Community Reinvestment Act (“CRA”) plan, as well as its intended approach to financial inclusion, fair lending, and consumer protection.[17] CRC notes that SoFi’s business model targets “students from elite universities that have strong earnings and wealth potential,” and offers products and services “designed to exclude working class households.” CRC also notes that SoFi’s CRA plan is grossly inadequate, considering that: (1) SoFi’s assessment area will be limited to areas in Utah, but the company will accept deposits and operate nationally; (2) SoFi’s current core products are not designed to serve the “convenience and needs” of low- and moderate-income (“LMI”) communities in which the bank would operate,[18] but rather are focused on serving SoFi’s members; and (3) SoFi’s CRA plan does not encompass measurable commitments to lending, investments, and services for LMI communities.

The full letter is here.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch has become the latest bank to implement AI (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML) has 

Bo Brustkern and Emmanuel Marot (Lend Academy), Rated: A

On this episode of the Lend Academy Podcast I brought together both CEOs to talk about this merger; what it means for their respective customers as well as the industry as a whole.

In this podcast you will learn:

  • The original idea that led to the founding of both companies.
  • The strengths of both companies and why they are a complementary fit.
  • Why they decided to come together and merge companies now.
  • The scale and profitability of the combined company.
  • The unique aspects of the LendingRobot Series investment offering.
  • The platforms that the LendingRobot Series invests on.
  • The different funds that make up the Lending Robot Series.
  • The choices for non-accredited investors on the combined platform.
  • Their value proposition today for investors.
  • Who the target customer is today for the combined company.
  • How the two brands will operate going forward.
  • What the combined company will look like in 12 months time.
  • Where marketplace lending is going in the future.

LendKey, Earnest Alter Student Loan Refinancing Rates (LendEDU), Rated: A

Two student loan refinancing companies, LendKey and Earnest, have changed their student loan refinancing interest rates in recent weeks, according to LendEDU.

Effective August 10th, LendKey’s variable interest rate range for their student loan refinance product was altered slightly. LendKey, a leading lending partner of both banks and credit unions, now offers a variable rate range between 2.67 and 6.31 percent for student loan refinancing.

This new variable rates for LendKey mark an increase on both the low and high ends of the range. Previously, the online lending partner offered a variable interest rate range between 2.52 and 6.16 percent since June.

Online Mortgage Lender Blend Lands $ 100 Million Investment Led by Greylock (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Blend has landed a significant funding round to the tune of $100 million. The funding was led by Greylock Partners with participation by Emergence Capital. Existing investors joined in the round as well.

Wells Fargo, U.S. Bancorp Turn to Startup to Speed Up Mortgage Applications (WSJ), Rated: A

Wells Fargo & Co. and U.S. Bancorp have signed deals with mortgage-software startup Blend Labs Inc. to move more of their loan applications online.

Ethereum-Based Invoice Finance Platform Hive Raises Over US$ 8 Million (Coin Journal), Rated: A

The Hive Project, which intends to build the world’s first cryptocurrency-based invoice financing platform, has raised 2,087 BTC, or over US$8.9 million, from 2,234 investors through its initial coin offering (ICO).

Using invoice finance, the business “sells” its outstanding invoices at a small discount to a financier. The business immediately receives up to 85% of the value of the invoice instead of having to wait the usual 30 to 90 days to get paid by customers.

Hive uses the Ethereum blockchain and smart contracts to assign a unique fingerprint to every invoice issued. These invoices are then tokenized and published on a blockchain, and made available as a shared source of liquidity for factoring and invoice financing.

Debate on Regulatory Reform (PeerIQ), Rated: A

JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon in his annual letter would agree that the banking system is safer and stronger today. Nevertheless, Mr. Dimon believes that economic growth and lending is below potential. For instance, JPM estimates $1 Tn in loans could have been generated in recent years generating an additional 50 bps in annual GDP growth thru regulatory reform.

The specific regulatory reform areas Mr. Dimon identified include:

  • Simplification of the annual stress-testing process
  • Release or enable banks to deploy excess capital towards small business loans, lower middle market, and near-prime mortgages
  • Rationalization of supplementary leverage ratios and operational risk capital
  • National servicing standards for the mortgage servicing market
  • Federal Housing Administration (FHA) reform
  • Complete securitization standards to encourage private capital and reduce exposure to taxpayers

Role for 3rd party risk infrastructure to strengthen markets

Large banks are increasingly playing the role of financial intermediaries that connect non-banks to the capital markets. Banks are providing liquidity facilities (“lending to the lenders”) and capital-light securitization programs. Although Yellen is right that lending continues to grow, critically, the nexus of credit formation–including for a majority of personal loans, auto loans, student re-fi loans, and even mortgages–now takes place between a consumer and a non-bank.

Under this new landscape, the soft underbelly of the credit markets has shifted from bank wholesale funding to non-bank wholesale funding. And when investor confidence seizes, the transmission mechanism connecting policy to the real economy can break down. Spreads widen, funding costs increase, and markets freeze exactly when policymakers seek to ease financial conditions.

Q&A with Head of Alternative Lending at Fintech Marqeta (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Recently, Crowdfund Insider published an article about Marqeta signing a partnership with Visa on payments and loans. The marriage is designed boost innovations in commercial and consumer payments and online lending. Visa also made a strategic investment in Marqeta at that time to the tune of $25 million. Total investments in Marqeta now stand at over $70 million.

Isn’t this just all about borrowers getting a better interest rate [and investors earning more]?

Candace: Lenders are looking to increase renewals (repeat borrowers are easier to sell than new borrowers), beat out the stackers (top of wallet, top of mind) and decrease risk (new data on spending reduces risk for future loans). On the heels of 2016, these have become as important as the interest rate for the lender.

For the borrower, speed to funds has become increasingly important, and distributing loan funds to a  card allows a way to immediately spend the funds without waiting for the funds to be deposited into the borrower’s bank account.

If Credit Cards drop their rates then they can become competitive. For Visa to partner with Marqeta – isn’t it just how the debt is carried? For the consumer / business, they are indifferent?

Candace: The rates apply to the underlying loan per the agreement between the lender and the borrower, not to a prepaid card that is used to assist with making purchases. The prepaid card bears no interest charge. The terms for the loan (from which the loan proceeds are distributed to the card) continues as agreed upon between the lender and the borrower. That debt does not change.

How Riskalyze Won The Hearts Of Financial Advisors And Upgraded The Advice Industry (Benzinga), Rated: A

Ahead of Riskalyze CEO Aaron Klein’s speaking engagement at the Benzinga Fintech Summit in San Francisco, Benzinga caught up with him to learn more about how the company is upgrading financial advice.

BZ: How did you go about identifying this need for financial advisors? What kind of research did you do?

What’s interesting is that we invented a new space. There was no risk-alignment platform that helped advisors do that. There were questionnaire products that answered half the question, there were a few portfolio analysis tools that would answer the other half, but we invented the concept of the risk number. We can help advisors pinpoint the client’s risk number and then we score portfolios using that number.

Klein: I’ll talk about the two different sides of the coin. A lot of the innovation was figuring out those sides of the coin and bridging the two together. On the one hand, we took some concepts that had really never made it out of academia and into everyday use. They’re centered around the economic framework called prospect theory, which won the Nobel Prize for economics in 2002. We took prospect theory and built a bunch of proprietary technology on top of it to understand how to move up and down a client’s personal financial spectrum to understand when they prefer risk and when they prefer certainty.

Once we do that, we built a mathematical formula behind the scenes that lets advisors turn that into the client’s risk number. That’s how the client-side works.

On the flip side, we need to match that up with a portfolio. So, the inputs for that piece of the technology are largely market data. We effectively take daily pricing data for nearly a quarter-million securities — every U.S. stock, ETF, mutual fund, variable-annuity sub accounts, SMA third-party money managers, proprietary non-traded strategies, all kinds of different products. We take all the data for those, we have new data streaming into our systems every night on those securities.

 

This Week In Retail: Funding, Finance And Tech (PYMNTS), Rated: A

This week in retail, we’ve seen news coming in from multiple sides, including that of Apple’s projected increase in smartwatch salesU.K. online lender Prodigy’s funding news for expansion into the U,S.,  Walmart’s two new partnership announcements, and the news that the CFPB is ordering American Express to pay out money to those hurt by unfair practices.

American Express is in the hot seat this week as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) ordered the credit card company to pay out a very large amount to consumers in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It’s being confirmed that over a 10-year period, American Express  provided inferior card offerings to people in those territories than what was being offered in the U.S.

Here are the numbers:

  • $240 million | Amount Prodigy Finance raised in its venture capital equity funding round
  • $96 million | Amount CFPB ordered American Express to pay out to affected Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands consumers
  • $200 | Starting point for potential Walmart installment loans

5 Trends That are Changing the Millennial Economy (Huffington Post), Rated: A

According to statistics from the U.S. census bureau, Millennials make up about 83 million of the nation’s current population. The unique experiences of the Millennials will shape the way we buy and sell, forcing companies and businesses to adjust their business strategy for decades to come.

For example, a growing number of Millennials are choosing to live with their parents. They have been reluctant to buy items such as cars, music, and luxury goods. Luxuries that used to be important for previous generations are not as important for Millennials. They are reshaping the real estate market and are responsible for the growth of the sharing economy.

A recent survey of Interns conducted by Goldman Sachs in 2013, found out that 30% of millennials do not intend to purchase a car in the future. 25% said they will only buy one if there is a need for it, otherwise they are indifferent. Another 25% said buying a car is important but not a big priority. 15% said purchasing a car is extremely important. And the last 5% do not feel strongly about it.

recent report shows that student loans have increased by 84% over ten years with an average student having a loan balance of $29,000.

How to choose and switch to a better bank for you (WPXI), Rated: B

Online banks are now offering much higher rates on savings accounts — significantly higher than the current rates at traditional, bigger banks. So with that in mind, why not just move your savings to take advantage of the bigger return?

To give you some context, online bank ally recently increased the rates on its savings accounts to 1.15% — while the rate on a regular savings account at Bank of America currently sits at only 0.01%.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle receives ISA manager status (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle has received ISA manager status from the HMRC, Peer2Peer Finance News can reveal.

Approval was granted in July, less than two months after the platform won full FCA authorisation.

However, the platform has no immediate plans to launch its IFISA product, telling customers earlier this week that it intended to roll out the tax-free investment wrapper “before the end of the tax year.”

How Funding Circle is helping small businesses face the challenges of Brexit (Prospect Magazine), Rated: A

Fast forward to today, we’ve originated over £3.2 billion worth of loans through the platform. In the UK, that lending has helped create about 60 thousand jobs, and the £2.5 billion of loans has created about £5 billion of GDP or gross economic value added, according to an independent survey by the Centre for Economics Business Research.

In fact, we think we make up about 2 per cent of the total money that’s going to gross-lending small businesses. And if you actually look at the money going into the economy, we make up about a third of net new lending— which is the preferred Bank of England measure. We did about 300 million versus 600 million in the entire banking system in the first half of this year.

Say a small business decides to come to you: what is it they’re getting that they don’t get with a bank?

We turn around loan applications specifically within 24 hours. We are better in that we give better service; everyone can find an account manager.

We’re cheaper, in that our prices are very, very competitive, and often we’re often providing cheaper loans than businesses would be able to get at the bank. We also don’t have the overheads that banks have.

We all know that Brexit is going to shake up the financial sector. What can Funding Circle do to help businesses rise to the challenge?

Net lending by banks fell by 220 million in Q4 last year. Ours actually rose to 167 million.

On top of that, we’ve also had large insurance companies like Aegon, which is a big Dutch insurer, commit to fund £160 million in year one, but actually committed over a four-year period to purchase our loans. The fact a large foreign insurer would want to do that shows that actually, despite Brexit, there’s a vote of confidence in the UK economy, particularly in small business.

FinTech startup Paybase gets £700,000 from Innovate UK (UK Tech), Rated: AAA

London-based FinTech startup Paybase has received a grant of almost £700,000 from innovation agency Innovate UK.

Expected to launch later this year, Paybase has developed an ‘end-to-end solution for payments, compliance and risk’, which can be accessed through a unified API.

Why P2P is still the crowd despite passive lending (AltFi), Rated: A

There’s been much collective gnashing of teeth over the last few months at the evolution of peer to peer lending, as practised by ZopaRatesetter and most latterly Funding Circle. The big bone of contention has been a shift amongst all three – with FC falling into line just a matter of days ago – to a passive lending model. This means that lenders on said platforms now lend passively to a full slice of borrowers rather than picking their borrowers individually. To the critics this implies that the traditional peer to peer (P2P) model is slowly dying out. If you’re not lending to your peers, don’t you just sound like any other finance business such as a bank?

I’m not convinced by this criticism. Collectively a crowd – many peers – are still lending to another crowd, but just in a format that looks closer to a passive, collective fund basis rather than one on one. There is no bank balance sheet lurking around and the ‘crowd’ still sets the rate at which it’s happy to lend. Credit scoring has always been a feature of all the platforms, whether they be ‘pure’ P2P or passive P2P. Someone, somewhere at the centre of the online marketplace needs to set the lending criteria and make decisions about who to lend to.

What about peer to peer? (Library of Things), Rated: A

In this week’s bonus episode co-founder Emma looks at the sharing economy, peer to peer lending, and explains why Library of Things have chosen to operate from a physical space.

Listen to the podcast here.

How Risky Is Borrowing Money Online Through Peer-to-peer Lending (FX Daily Report), Rated: B

It is almost true that borrowing money from traditional financial institutions is a thing of the past.

It has been observed that P2P online lending platforms are not the source of the problem or the risk. However, it seems to be the ease with which loans are available that causes the problems.

Online P2P lenders also offer student loans. It is very important to realize that student loans these days are available everywhere. But what is ultimately the truth is that the loans are burdensome. Any student that avails of such a P2Ponline student loan emerges as a graduate burdened with a heavy debt.

If an individual wants to apply for a P2P online loan, it is best to start with checking credit reports. It is a good idea to fix any errors that may be found on these reports. Otherwise, the interest rates may be hiked up. It is also a good idea to do some research prior to applying for the loan. It is worthwhile to find out as to which lender offers a lower rate of interest even if they fall outside the ring of online P2P lenders. Never decide on which loan to pick up by looking at the monthly amount to be paid. The total amount that you are going to repay and the time period of the repayment are the more important factors to be considered. This gives the total cost of the loan.

China

Big banks strike partnerships with technology companies as part of fintech wave (South China Morning Post), Rated: AAA

Bank of Communications, the nation’s fifth biggest lender, joined with Suning Holdings and its financial affiliate Suning Finance as strategic partners last week, the latest of the big five banks to ally with internet firms.

So far, all big-five banks, accounting for more than one-third of China’s banking assets, have allied with technology giants.

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China allied with e-commerce major JD.com for cooperation in sectors including fintech, retail financing, corporate credit and asset management. Agricultural Bank of China agreed to work together with dominant search engine operator Baidu. Bank of China and Tencent Holdings jointly set up a fintech lab, focusing on cloud computing, big data, block chain and artificial intelligence.

Earlier this month, mid-sized Industrial Bank and JD.com’s financial affiliate JD Finance launched a debit card in Beijing and most cities in affluent Zhejiang province.

China Life and Baidu to launch $ 1 billion internet fund (Reuters), Rated: AAA

China Life Insurance Group Co and Baidu Inc will form a 7 billion yuan ($1 billion) private equity fund, targeting internet and other technology investments, China Life’s listed arm said on Thursday.

The Baidu Fund Partnership will be capitalized by China Life through a special partnership, which will contribute up to 5.6 billion yuan, China Life Insurance Co Ltd said in a Hong Kong Stock Exchange statement.

Baidu, the Chinese language internet search provider, will contribute as much as 1.4 billion yuan.

Ant Financial’s “TechFin” vs JD Finance’s “FinTech” (ASEAN Today), Rated: A

Alibaba’s Ant Financial Services Group and JD Finance are at loggerheads in the Chinese, and increasingly, global e-commerce scene. In 2015, JD Finance recommended the use of “FinTech.” In December 2016, Ma Yun coined the ”TechFin” as a rebuttal, and as a show of thought leadership.

Ant Financial’s unveiling of “TechFin” shows the firm’s focus on building technology rather than financial products.

Critics believe there is not much difference between TechFin and FinTech. Critics believe Ant Financial coined TechFin to gain a foothold from the conceptual standpoint; a counteroffensive to JD Finance’s aggressive marketing of FinTech. This is inevitable considering “FinTech” as a term already achieved credibility within the finance and other related industries.

Ant Financial and JD Finance are more complementary than competitive

Onlookers see Ant Financial and JD Finance as longstanding rivals. JD.com’s recent sale of JD Finance for US$2.1 billion in cash was seen part of a deal to spin off its burgeoning finance arm and raise its game against Ant Financial.

Ant Financial focuses on the traditional model of the Internet while JD Finance focuses on product innovation, for a start. Each business model has its advantages.

Ant Financial also seeks to leverage on Ant Check Later (花呗), a virtual credit card, to open up a whole new road map for credit distribution in Internet finance. In contrast, JD Finance aims to boost user’s consumption through its products. Its Jingxiaodai (京小贷) appeals to merchants who need fuss-free and almost instant access to credit.

European Union

Klarna just posted some impressive half-year figures — profits soar by 138 percent (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

The Swedish e-invoicing giant posted 2,05 billion Swedish crowns ($254,2m) in revenue for the first two quarters of 2017. Meanwhile, operating profits jumped to 228 million ($28m) from last year’s 96 million ($11,9m), reports tech site Di Digital.

Yesterday, Breakit reported that the company is teaming up with Stripeto boost growth in the U.S.

Credit Suisse Eyes 2018 Launch for Blockchain Loans Platform (Coindesk), Rated: AAA

A group of banks led by Credit Suisse is eyeing the launch of a commercial platform for blockchain-based syndicated loans, according to reports.

The group involved finished the second phase of their testing in March.

Using smart contracts to reduce those turnaround times could increase the market’s appeal to potential lenders and investors, according to Aidoo.

Worldcore Payment Institution Announces ICO (Coin Idol), Rated: A

Worldcore announces an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), as part of their wider expansion plans.

The company envisions to become a worldwide reference for the financial tomorrow, by integrating its successful payment solution into the blockchain sector of economy.

Worldcore ICO starts on October 14 of 2017. In total, a maximum supply of one billion WRC tokens at $0.10 USD each, will be available for purchase.

Corlytics named by Allen & Overy in its regtech programme (Finextra), Rated: B

Magic Circle law firm, Allen & Overy, has named Corlytics as one of the eight companies selected to move into its Fuse programme. Fuse is a newly launched innovation space where its lawyers and technology firms team up to develop legal, regulatory and deal-related improvements.

International

Ten Fintech Conferences to Attend This Fall (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

FinovateFall

When: Sept 11-14, 2017
Where: New York City Hilton Midtown
Link:  /> Discount code: F17FALLLAT

LendIt Europe 2017

When: Oct 9-10, 2017
Where: London
Link:  /> Discount code: LENDACADEMYVIP

American Banker’s Digital Lending & Investing

When: November 2-3, 2017
Where: New York, NY
Link: 

AltFi Global Summit

When: November 7, 2017
Where: Amsterdam
Link: 

Marketplace Lending & Alternative Financing Summit 2017

When: December 3-5, 2017
Where: Dana Point, CA
Link: 

This event is put on by the Opal Group and is the only west coast event this fall. This is its second year and while I did not attend last year I heard it was a good event with a focus on the investor side of marketplace lending.

Digital Banking – Old Wine in New Bottle? (Fintech Weekly), Rated: A

There was a time when digital banking was perceived as synonymous with online banking and mobile banking. Financial services industry, along with other sectors, is experiencing an explosion of digitization thanks to smartphones, tablets and access to affordable high-speed internet. The number of smart phone users is expected to equal the number of bank accounts in near future as all mobile users link their bank accounts to their smart phone and get onboard with mobile-based digital wallets and savings platform.

Given this, it is imperative to take a fresh look at whether digital banking means the same as it did a decade ago – both for banks as well as customers – especially since there does not seem to be a consensus on the definition of ‘digital banking’.

Customers today do not have the patience to navigate through multiple screens. They do not want to fill the same KYC details over and over for each product. Presenting paperwork at the branch to support an online application is a big no-no. They expect to resume the application they started on Smart phone on their home computer and may want to talk to the customer care executive on phone while doing that. They do not want to be bothered with cold calls and random sales pitches; they prefer to see only personalized and contextual cross-sell offers with direct purchase links. In short, digital customer today wants one-touch, one-click, personalized and integrated user experience across channels.

On the flip side, while customers enjoy the convenience of digital banking for routine tasks, they also want to continue using the branch when they need some face time with a seamless switch between digital and personal interaction. They do not want to forego the privilege of walking into the local branch despite being able to do all their banking via the web or smartphone.

Australia/New Zealand

Fintech startup shares $ 7m of investment (NZ Adviser), Rated: AAA

Since its launch in June, fintech startup Ilumony has reported more than $7 million in financial investments. Of the $7 million, it has charged no fees for advice on $1 million worth of customer KiwiSaver money.

India

Fintech lenders have new competition: Flipkart and Amazon (The-Ken), Rated: AAA

Though Flipkart launched in 2007, it was only in 2013 that e-commerce really took off in India. That was the year Amazon entered India through a marketplace model, and Flipkart too launched its own marketplace model.

From selling smartphones, books, and apparel to customers, the two of them now started offering warehouses, packaging, and logistics to sellers.

No Flipkart or Amazon for EzCred; this startup wants to pursue offline shoppers (India Times), Rated: A

When ecommerce companies like Flipkart and Amazon wanted to expand to the nooks and corners of the country, they borrowed the idea and recently started offering “No cost EMI” option on selected products. Taking a step further, you now have many fintech companies that have lined up on ecommerce platforms to offer loans to consumers.

Launched in January 2017, EzCred is an alternate lending startup which offers loans to consumers who walk into shop at offline stores.

“Offline is a much larger play than online. A majority of transactions are still done offline,” says Maheshwari.

The startup now has plans to roll out an app for customers to enable them to apply for loans directly. The platform has a credit assessment system which enables the startup to assess the borrowers’ repayment capabilities. This involves various data sources like the borrowers’ CIBIL score, bank statements, information provided by customers, which are then matched with the credit policy of EzCred.

India’s draft data protection law to hinge on user consent; will be ready only next year (Factor Daily), Rated: A

A draft data protection law, which is at the core of the Indian government’s stance that Aadhaar does not violate citizen privacy, will have user consent as its mainstay with a few exceptions.

The draft legislation is expected to be ready in about a year.

This was revealed in interviews with a member of the committee set up by the government to come up with the draft framework — B N Srikrishna, a former Supreme Court judge who is heading it, and a second person with knowledge of the committee’s thinking.

P2P lenders may be allowed to operate offline (The Hindu BusinessLine), Rated: A

In a bid to impart vibrancy to the fledgling peer-to-peer (P2P) lending space and also further the cause of financial inclusion, the Reserve Bank of India is believed to be looking at allowing players in the sector to have an offline presence besides an online one.

On-the-ground presence may help the platforms reach out to those who are currently not being served by banks/non-banking finance companies and also help break the vice-like grip of money lenders on local lending, especially in rural areas and small towns.

Asia

Why e-commerce firms could replace banks as the region’s leading lenders (Southeast Asia Globe), Rated: A

Peer to peer lending (P2P lending) first entered the wider public’s consciousness when it rose from the ashes of the global financial crisis in 2007. By cutting out traditional intermediaries, such as banks, the lending platforms, were able to offer borrowers lower interest rates and lenders higher returns. They were populist alternatives to the casino capitalism that had brought Wall Street to its knees.

According to a 2015 report by Deloitte, in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand there exists “a clear disparity between what SMEs want and expect from banks and what the banks can deliver”. In Indonesia, the report found as few as 6% of SMEs were able to access bank loans.

Recent statistics from the Asian Development Bank show that the situation is similar in Myanmar, which the bank says suffers from a $2 billion shortage in available credit, a shortfall that Brad Jones, CEO of Wave Money, attributes to the country’s excessively cautious banking regulations.

According to data from Singapore-based venture capital fund Dymon Asia Ventures, less than 0.1% of loans in the region currently originate from P2P lending sources, compared with 10% in China and 2-3% in the UK and US. There is, therefore, sufficient growth potential for the Southeast Asian P2P lending market.

Peer-to-peer lending bears risk of bad debt (The Jakarta Post), Rated: A

Despite the rising trend of peer-to-peer (P2P) lending in Indonesia, an economist believes that online-based businesses have increased risk of bad debt if the lenders ignore the importance of supervision.

The credit application mechanism in P2P lending is risky. There is no integrated costumer blacklist data-base like in the banking industry, said Samuel Aset Manajemen economist Lana Soelistianingsih said in Jakarta on Friday.

Moreover, she said P2P lending offered annual interest rates of up to 18.5 percent to investors, adding that such aggressive offers could increase the risk of business failure.

Canada

FLINKS PARTNERS WITH MERCHANT ADVANCE CAPITAL (Betakit), Rated: B

Flinks, a financial API for banks and credit unions, announced a partnership with Merchant Advance Capital, an online lender for small and medium-sized businesses.

Merchant Advance Capital partnered with Flinks to reduce loan approval time for its customers. Flinks will allow Merchant Advance Capital to connect its app directly with customers’ banks, allowing the company to validate account ownership, account balances, and transaction histories.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor