Monday June 26 2017, Daily News Digest

banks stress test

News Comments Today’s main news: LendingClub on its latest securitization. Atom Bank gets 30M GBP from UK government. Yoyo raises 12M GBP. ArchOver, Escalate partner. Stripe enters 6 new markets. TD Bank opens new branch in British Columbia. Today’s main analysis: Banks pass stress test. Today’s thought-provoking articles: OCC advises fintechs, MPLs. Congressman launches alt lending investigation. BNP Paribas startup camp the […]

banks stress test

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

Asia

Middle East

Canada

News Summary

United States

LendingClub Closes First Self-Sponsored Securitization to Expand Investor Access (LendingClub), Rated: AAA

LendingClub (NYSE:LC), America’s largest online marketplace connecting borrowers and investors, today closed its inaugural self-sponsored securitization deal. The Consumer Loan Underlying Bond (CLUB) NP Credit Trust 2017-NP1 (CLUB 2017-NP1) issued $279.4 million in notes backed by consumer loan assets facilitated through the LendingClub platform. The transaction marks the start of LendingClub’s securitization program as Sponsor, Servicer and Administrator. LendingClub expects to sponsor programmatic securitizations and to use the CLUB structure for future transactions. This is the fifth securitization backed by consumer loan assets facilitated through the LendingClub platform and the third rated securitization of such assets overall.

LendingClub anticipates that programmatic use of the CLUB structure could provide institutional ABS investors with consistent access to securitized assets facilitated through its platform, standardization, consistency, and a more efficient means of financing for the long-term. The transaction was rated by Kroll and includes $162.4 million of Class A notes rated “A- (sf)”, $41.2 million of Class B notes rated “BBB (sf)” and $75.7 million of Class C notes rated “BB (sf)” backed by approximately $337 million of collateral. Each tranche of notes was oversubscribed by a diverse set of investors, most of whom were new to investing in assets facilitated by LendingClub. Citi and JP Morgan acted as lead underwriters. BNP and Jefferies acted as co-managers.

“I’m very pleased with our execution. We’re broadening our platform to tap into a large and liquid ABS market and with this deal we’ve reached 20 new investors, including insurance companies and large asset managers who are looking for new ways to access the platform,” said Patrick Dunne, Chief Capital Officer of LendingClub. “This transaction also demonstrates a capital markets financing alternative for the portfolios of our existing investors, which may provide better pricing transparency and enhanced liquidity.”

Bank Stress Tests Pass, True Lender Contest in CO, GS Marcus hits $ 1 Bn (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

This week, major banks passed their Comprehensive Capital Adequacy Review (CCAR):

Source: Bloomberg, Federal Reserve, PeerIQ

One bank that has recently entered the lending market, GS Bank, reports they have achieved a $1 Bn lending milestone and remain on track to generate $2 Bn in loans by year-end – amongst the fastest growth rates we have seen across the PeerIQ data & analytics platform.

In the wake of emerging bank competition in the prime & super-prime category, non-banks are applying a few strategies:

  • Focus on underserved credit segments where traditional banks outside of a few specialists will not compete (e.g., Fair Square Financial, Loan Depot, various non-QM lenders)
  • Compete on brand and service, rather than rate, by offering a better customer experience and integrated product mix to a targeted customer segment. (e.g., SoFi)
  • Lending-as-a-Service models that enable banks and credit unions to compete with licensed technology (e.g., Upstart, Avant, LendKey)

On the securitization front, three deals from non-bank lenders priced this week including Springleaf ($650 MM), Lendmark ($350 MM), and Marlette ($323 MM).

OCC Offers Advice on Fintechs, Marketplace Lenders (Lexology), Rated: AAA

Defining a third-party relationship as “any business arrangement between the bank and another entity, by contract or otherwise,” the OCC explained that it can include activities that involve outsourced products and services; use of outside consultants, networking arrangements, merchant payment processing services, and services provided by affiliates and subsidiaries; joint ventures; and other business arrangements in which a bank has an ongoing third-party relationship or may have responsibility for the associated records.

Whether or not a fintech company arrangement can be considered a critical activity depends on a number of factors, such as whether significant bank functions (payments, clearing, settlements and custody, for example) are involved or other activities that could have a major impact on bank operations if the bank has to find an alternative third party or if the outsourced activities have to be brought in-house.

The bulletin also clarified that no requirement exists that a third party must meet the bank’s lending criteria in order to establish a relationship.

Banks must also establish appropriate processes and systems to effectively monitor and control the risks inherent within the marketplace lending relationships, the OCC said, from adequate loan underwriting guidelines to cover credit risk management to ensuring the marketplace lender has adequate compliance management processes in place to satisfy compliance risk management concerns.

To read Bulletin 2017-21, click here.

Congressman Cleaver Launches Investigation into Fintech Lending (House.gov), Rated: AAA

Today, U.S. Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II launched an investigation into small business FinTech lending, including online companies that offer payday loan-like products for small businesses and individual consumers.

In a letter from Congressman Cleaver to the Chief Executive Officers of several rapidly emerging FinTech small business lenders, the executives were asked to share information about their company products, fees, and methods when it comes to disclosures and potentially discriminatory practices. The letters were sent to Lending Club, Biz2Credit, Fora Financial, Prosper, and Lend Up. Companies are expected to respond by August 10, 2017.

How To Fix And Flip A Property While Wearing Your Bathrobe (Forbes), Rated: A

In the first quarter of 2017, according to ATTOM Data Solutions, there were 43,615 single family homes and condos flipped. These types of transactions accounted for 6.7% of all homes sold in Q1. Across all markets, flippers averaged a $64,284 gross profit, according to ATTOM.

This other way to invest has to do with another statistic in ATTOM’s report: “Flippers” borrowed an astounding $3.5B in Q1 to facilitate property acquisition and repairs. What’s not widely known is that a majority of this capital comes not from banks, but from private investors.”

  • The platforms source projects from real estate flippers through digital and boots-on-ground marketing.
  • Each platform has underwriting criteria that helps to determine which projects will be selected for funding. Our firm requires the flipper to have completed at least three projects in the last 12 months.
  • If everything checks out, the platform will fund the project and secure a first-position mortgage on the house.
  • Most platforms are “pre-funding” the loan, meaning they’re using their own capital to originate the loan.
  • For your investment, you can earn anywhere between 7-12% annualized return.

However, there are still some limitations.

  • Accredited investors only
  • Startup risk
  • Lack of control

Online Lender Accused Of Linking With Tribe To Get Immunity (Law360), Rated: AAA

A group of Virginia residents filed a proposed class action in federal court Thursday alleging that an internet lending company engaged in a “rent-a-tribe scheme” to allow it to charge illegally high interest rates on its loans while attempting to use a Michigan tribe’s sovereign immunity as a shield from suit.

Lula Williams and four other plaintiffs claimed in their complaint that Big Picture Loans LLC purported to be owned and operated by the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians.

CHOICE Act Helps Sharing Economy and FinTech, but a Senate Bill May Harm It (CEI.org), Rated: A

The U.S Senate should get to work on passing portions of the CHOICE Act, particularly regarding the sharing economy and FinTech. It should also shelve legislation that would harm those sectors.

One example of the latter is a terrible bill from Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Diane Feinstein (D-CA) that would shove any “issuer, redeemer or cashier” of a “digital currency” into the same anti-money laundering regulations as those that govern the big banks. This bill is called the Combating Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Counterfeiting Act of 2017.

Small Business Financial Stability: What is the Role of Mission-Based Lenders? (Huffington Post), Rated: A

Small business ownership’s promise of long-term asset generation is not without tradeoffs. Unexpected shortfalls in revenues or increases in expenses can be devastating to a young business, and recent research by the JPMorgan Chase Institute reveals that small businesses operate with tenuous cash reserves to cover these costs. In fact, the typical small business could only cover expenses for 27 days in the case of a financial emergency. For businesses in low-wage industries, that time window drops to 19 days.

Business cash flow volatility often has consequences for household finances. Most small business owners (76%) respondto cash flow challenges by using personal funds. This could mean drawing from personal savings, foregoing a personal salary or maxing out credit utilization limits, which can damage one’s credit score and impact opportunities to secure future sources of financing. (The majority of small business owners use personal credit scores to apply for business capital.) Accion and Opportunity Fund borrowers generally re-invest business profits into the business rather than the household – 55% of study respondents experienced an increase in business profits in the previous six months but only 30% increased their household savings over the same period.

Often, small business owners find themselves in a cycle of debt after taking out a high-cost loan. In fact, approximately one in four small business loan applicants cite refinancing existing debt as their main reason for applying. Recognizing this trend in their own applicant pool, Opportunity Fund analyzed alternative loan contracts for 104 small business owners seeking relief from high-cost loan debt. Their analysis found that the average loan imposed an annual percentage rate (APR) of 94%. Further, the average monthly loan payment for business owners was nearly double their net income.

What is the role of mission-based lenders?

  • Lending innovation: alternative finance products fulfill an important demand—to keep the doors open in the case of a pressing financial need. Mission-based small business lenders must better meet that immediate need before entrepreneurs turn to costlier options.
  • Financial advising: Among those who participated in Accion and Opportunity Fund’s study, just over a half (54%) used a business financial plan. This illustrates the imperative of increased investment in financial advising that better equips business owners to plan for and manage financial emergencies while building long-term stability.
  • Education: The financial landscape is convoluted and ever-changing, and entrepreneurs need support in navigating their options. Accion publishes 90+ online resources per year to help business owners build their business and financial skills. Opportunity Finance Network’s Venturize campaign, which helps small business owners understand their financing options, generated over 73 million impressions in its first year.
  • Leadership: Advancing responsible lending practices is not just a moral imperative. It’s also a business imperative to ensure client satisfaction and business survival.

Robo-advice and payments are counterrevolutionary, but not fintech lending (AltFi), Rated: A

Worse: because it can easily be adopted by incumbents, robo may not just be un-revolutionary but actively counterrevolutionary, claims a new report by Silicon Valley think tank the Christensen Institute.

Payments is put in the same boat, noting it requires close cooperation with powerful businesses who control important infrastructure. And cooperation means large chunks of fees collected from merchants must be shared.

The report reserves higher praise for the marketplace lending which, it claims, has enormous potential and could even undermine banking majors’ ability to set interest rates.

Nevada Imposes Fiduciary Obligations on Broker-Dealers and Investment Advisers (National Law Review), Rated: A

Broker-dealers and investment advisers with clients in Nevada should review the fiduciary obligations contained in new amendments to the Nevada financial planner statute that go into effect on July 1, 2017.

As a result of the June 2017 Amendments, broker-dealers, investment advisers, and their representatives will now be classified as “financial planners” for purposes of the Nevada Securities Act and will become subject to the following provisions of the financial planner law:

  • Duties—A financial planner has the duty of a fiduciary toward a client. Accordingly, a financial planner shall disclose to a client, at the time advice is given, any gain the financial planner may receive, such as profit or commission, if the advice is followed.
  • Liability—If loss results from following a financial planner’s advice under any of the following circumstances, the client may recover from the financial planner in a civil action the amount of the economic loss and all costs of litigation and attorney fees.[2] The circumstances giving rise to liability are that the financial planner (1) violated any element of his or her fiduciary duty;[3] (2) was grossly negligent in selecting the course of action advised, in light of all of the client’s circumstances known to the financial planner; or (3) violated any law of Nevada in recommending the investment or service.

However, there are still some uncertainties that arise from this determination by Nevada to apply a statute intended for financial planners to broker-dealers and investment advisers. These include the following:

  • Duties—The June 2017 Amendments could be read to create a continuing fiduciary duty after delivering a financial plan. Registered investment advisers now deliver the plan and state that delivery ends the relationship (i.e., no continuing duty).

  • Delivery of Compensation Information—Delivery timing may be slightly off from Form ADV delivery. Form ADV is delivered to a client at or before the opening of the account, while the June 2017 Amendments call for delivery at the time advice is given.

  • Point of Sale Disclosure—It is not clear if the point of sale disclosure of compensation is intended to be different from the level of disclosure currently provided. In this regard, use of the term “gain” can be viewed as involving a different calculation than fees charged.

  • Broader Inquiry—The obligation under the June 2017 Amendments to “keep currently informed, concerning the client’s financial circumstances and the client’s present and anticipated obligations and goals for his or her family” arguably is a greater burden than is currently required.

Reg CF Portal Pivot: DreamFunded Abandons Startups for Real Estate Crowdfunding (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

DreamFunded, a FINRA approved Reg CF portal, has pivoted from its original model of providing access to capital for early stage companies. Today, instead of the next cool startup gracing the pages of DreamFunded there are single family homes up for investment.

Currently, they are in the legal process of getting our 1st Title III real estate debt deal approved, which expects to go live on July 5th, 2017.

Edward Jones Tops Internet Search Ranking (Barrons), Rated: B

The 15,000-advisor firm is dominating its rivals when it comes to pulling those searchers to its sites, InvestmentNews reports, citing a new study from Hearsay Systems and Moz.

Edward Jones spends nearly half of its media investment on digital marketing, Olsen tells the publication. Most of that is geared to the local digital space. Each advisor and branch has a custom microsite—a separate site outside the main company homepage.

Morgan Stanley ranked second in overall click share percentage. It also came out on top in paid searches, or ads. Wells Fargo Advisors and Fidelity Investments came in second and third on that list.

Lendy Expands: Appoints Three New Senior Hires to Team (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Peer-to-peer lending platform Lendy recently announced it has appointed three new senior hires to its growing team. Shane Lewin was named compliance officer, while Shaun Reynolds was appointed development finance support manager, and Pamela Guillamon was appointed international marketing manager.

United Kingdom

Atom Bank gets £30 million from the government as Philip Hammond pledges investment boost (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Startup bank Atom has received a £30 million funding boost from the state-owned British Business Bank (BBB).

British Business Bank Investments, the commercial arm of the BBB, announced it has agreed a £30 million Tier 2 capital facility with Atom, a digital-only bank founded in 2014. The facility, effectively a loan to Atom, will allow the Durham-based bank to lend out more money to small businesses.Startup bank Atom has received a £30 million funding boost from the state-owned British Business Bank (BBB).

Yoyo raises £12m as fintech defies Brexit fears (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Yoyo Wallet, the fast-growing British mobile payments app, has raised £12m from investors including the German retailer Metro Group and fund manager Neil Woodford to finance its expansion in Europe and the US.

Yoyo, which recently passed the milestone of processing more than 1m monthly payments for its 400,000 registered users, has grown rapidly since its creation four years ago as a mobile app to pay for goods in university student unions.

The app is used to handle payments in 1,700 outlets, including over 60 UK and Irish universities; the canteens of several big companies such as JPMorgan Chase; and retailers such as Caffè Nero and Planet Organic.

The latest fundraising, which takes the total Yoyo has raised in three rounds to over £20m, will be used to finance the company’s expansion in the US.

ArchOver partners with Escalate (Bridging & Commercial), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending platform ArchOver has become the first UK lender to partner with commercial dispute resolution service Escalate.

The partnership will increase ArchOver’s ability to provide loans for the SME market, as well as helping borrowers collect disputed payments and enhancing security for lenders.

Escalate will enable ArchOver to recoup any disputed assets being used as security for loans over the ArchOver platforms.

WiseAlpha Set to Complete Crowdcube Round With More Than £1.1 Million in Funding (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

WiseAlpha, a UK online lending platform that gives everyday investors access to high yield institutional bond and loan investments, is set to close its equity crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube with more than £1.1 million secured from nearly 1,000 investors.

The new ISA that pays 6.1% interest on your money – everything you need to know (Mirror), Rated: A

The average interest on a cash ISA is running at 0.4% according to recent figures.

So the news that a new ISA is paying 6.1% is bound to make people’s ears prick up.

Customers can put as much as £20,000 into a Zopa innovative finance ISA.

There are two rates on offer – a “Core” deal paying 3.9% returns and a “Plus” offering that pays 6.1%.

So far this year just 0.08% of loans have defaulted, although in the worst years of the credit crunch as many as 4.21% did.

Most of the time, fewer than 2% of loans actually default.

Investec Wealth launches ‘robo advice’ platform offering active management (AltFi), Rated: A

Investec Wealth & Investment has launched a new online investment platform called Click & Invest, aimed at competing in the fast growing ‘robo advice’ market.

The firm, which is one of the larger wealth management firms and part of the wider Investec group, has more than £32.5bn of client funds under management.  Its new platform aims to differentiation from the majority of robo-platforms “by going beyond algorithms and offering an actively managed investment strategy”, selecting from over 300 actively managed funds.

Individuals are not charged for setting up and creating a portfolio, commission, transferring in, withdrawing money or closing an account. Fees for Click & Invest are 0.65 per cent on the first £100,000 invested, 0.50 per cent on the, £10,000 invested and 0.35 per cent on any amounts invested over £250,000.

Fintech LendInvest’s growth slows due to ‘challenging’ property market and investment (Business Insider), Rated: A

Online mortgage marketplace LendInvest saw revenue growth slow and profits dive last year as it invested for growth and dealt with “challenging” market conditions.

Accounts seen by Business Insider show LendInvest’s revenue grew from £18.6 million to £22.1 million in the year to March 2017. That’s a significant slowdown on the prior year when revenues jumped to £18.6 million from £7.2 million in 2015.

The company made a loss of £1 million in the year to March 2017, down from a pre-tax profit of £2.4 million in 2016. Operating profits shrunk from £3.3 million to £52,000.

Linked Finance talking to AIB about lending deal (Independent.ie), Rated: A

Irish online lending company Linked Finance is in talks with AIB and other major Irish banks about future collaborations, its founder said.

Serial investor Peter O’Mahony, who founded the peer-to-peer lending platform, said the firm had been approached by AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank.

Talks with all three banks are still at an early stage, but O’Mahony said there were a number of possibilities for collaboration.

China

Tencent and Bank of China jointly set up a joint financial and technical laboratory (01Caijing), Rating: AAA

Recently, the “Bank of China – Tencent Financial Technology Joint Laboratory” was established. Bank of China and Tencent Group will focus on cloud computing, large data, block chain and artificial intelligence and other aspects of deep cooperation, build Pratt & Whitney Finance , cloud finance, smart finance and technology finance.

Credit Insurance Meets Fintech: Hong Kong’s Atradius Launches New Digital Platform (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Hong Kong-based credit insurance provider Atradius announced on Thursday the launch of its new digital fintech platform, Atrium. The company describes the portal as an innovative tool that provides customers and distribution partners with real-time data to better understand buyers, credit limits, and risks a company poses.

Chinese acquirers face tougher due diligence (Financial Times), Rated: A

A regulatory probe announced by China into the “systemic risk” of some of its biggest overseas acquirers is both welcome and troubling. Welcome because Beijing is raising a red flag over corporations long known for high leverage and opaque operations. Troubling because it creates big uncertainties, both for the future of Chinese outbound investment and for the several notable US and European brands snapped up in recent years.

The companies included so far in what is being called a “fact-checking” initiative are Dalian Wanda, the property-to-entertainment company, Fosun International, the consumer group, HNA, a diversified conglomerate, and Anbang, an unlisted insurer. Together, these four have bought $56bn-worth of companies in the past five years.

DCM Ventures leads $ 10m Series A in Chinese real estate crowdfunding platform (Deal Street Asia), Rated: A

DCM Ventures has led a $10-million Series A round in Duocaitou, a crowdfunding platform for accommodation industry, according to a company announcement.

Shunwei Capital, which is co-founded by Xiaomi’s chief executive Lei Jun, also joined this round.

To date, it claims total fundraising on the platform has reached RMB4.6 billion ($670 million) from more than 10,000 individual investors.

WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Jiangsu Suning Bank Co., Ltd., a private online bank backed by Suning Commerce Group Co., Ltd., officially launched last Friday.

Like many of its peers, Suning Bank aims to create an online-to-offline bank driven by technology and taking advantage of its 1,576 offline direct-sale stores and thousands of franchise stores to offer payment and banking services to customers. Suning Commerce and Jiangsu Sunrain Solar Energy contributed CNY 1.2 billion and CNY 944 million to the new bank, holding a 30% and 23.6% interest respectively, and the total valuation of the bank exceeded CNY 4 billion.

On June 12th 2017, in presence of the Prime Ministers of both countries, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between China’s National Internet Finance Association (NIFA) and Luxembourg House of Financial Technology (LHoFT), providing a framework to intensify the cooperation between both countries in the area of digitalization of financial services.

Shenzhen Futian district has announced that it is forming a Fintech advisory committee to conduct industrial policy research, giving advice on investment promotion and gather input on regulation issues and industry trends. The committee will include 30 experts and representatives from various sections of the fintech industry.

Additionally, Futian district and Shenzhen Stock exchange also announced the launch of the first FinTech Index in China, which provides a benchmark to track the performance of companies engaged in financial technologies. The index includes all technologies applied to financial services as blockchain, digital payment and P2P online payment. It is based on May 26, 2017, and the base points are 3000.

On June 14, China Asset Management Co., Ltd. (China AMC) and Microsoft Research Asia jointly announced that the two sides will carry out strategic and cooperative research on the application of artificial intelligence in financial services and promote the intelligent transformation of the asset management industry.

On June 14, the Shenzhen Internet Finance Association, Hong Kong’s Internet Professional Association (iProA) and Singapore’s FinLab announced the establishment of the Shenzhen-Singapore-Hong Kong Fintech Hubs Federation.

China’s biggest dairy firm, Yili Industrial Group plans to invest CNY 300 million to set up a small-loans lender in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

Personal credit card issued by the “letter” or will be established (iFeng), Rated: A

Phoenix WEMONEY news on the evening of June 22, Phoenix WEMONEY was informed that the personal credit card issued by the suspension, a number of third-party institutions or will initiate the establishment of “letter of the Union.”

April 20, the central bank credit management bureau director Wan Cunzhi in the “personal information protection and credit management” international seminar, for the first time announced, including sesame credit, Tencent letter, including the first batch of eight pilot personal credit card Of the credit business without a qualified.

Should You Worry About Baidu’s Fintech Move? (Madison.com), Rated: A

About 160 million people in China took out 1.2 trillion yuan ($180 billion) in online loans last year, according to iResearch. The firm sees that figure growing at an annual rate of 50% over the next three years.

iResearch reports that the average overdue rate ranges from 10% to 20%, and is the “main factor that prevents online lending from becoming a mainstream channel in China’s financial industry.”

Baidu’s Financial Services Group (FSG), which was officially formed a year ago, had 25 billion yuan ($3.7 billion) in assets at the end of its last quarter, which accounted for 12% of its total assets.

Fitch believes that Baidu’s credit risk is higher than Alibaba and Tencent’s, since those two companies are more profitable and have stronger cash flows.

But even if Moody’s downgrades Baidu’s debt from A3 to Baa1, or Fitch cuts its current rating from A to A-, the bonds would still be well within “investment grade” parameters.

European Union

BNP Paribas to Setup a 1,000-Startups Campus in Paris, France (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

There are nowadays gazillions of accelerators, incubators and startup labs, but no one comes close to Station F. Here is why:

  • The sheer size of the campus: 34,000 square meters, 310 meters long (the size of the Eiffel tower!), 1,000 startups, 3,000 startup workstations, and a total capacity to host 9,000 people. The building also houses 8 event spaces and many recreational areas, including a tennis court. More than 250 million euros are invested in its construction.
  • More than 17 big brand incubators. Next to BNP Paribas, HEC Business School, Facebook, China-based Serrinnov, online retail group Vente-Privé, VC firm Daphni, industrial group Thalès, South-Korea’s Naver, and more than a dozen other companies from all sectors will run their innovation lab or startup accelerator from Station F to benefit from the emulation and the synergies that the space offers.

For its Station F program, BNP has chosen to partner with a global partner, Plug and Play, a Silicon Valley-headquartered innovation platform with 22 locations around the world. Plug and Play prides itself with a track record of more than 2,000 backed or accelerated startups, including well-known brands like DropBox and SoundHound, and Fintechs like PayPal and Lending Club. Plug and Play invests in over 100 companies every year and connect startups to corporations.

The partnership between BNP Paribas and Station F will extend beyond hosting the accelerator. BNP Paribas will also become a reference bank for the startups and digital workers of Station F. Depending on their needs, these young companies will be able to draw on the wide range of services of the group which covers the whole spectrum from corporate finance and private equity to mobile personal finance.

Stripe refocuses European effort with 6 new markets and expanded payments platform (VentureBeat), Rated: AAA

Stripe has announced a handful of tidbits that underscore the fast-growing fintech startup’s aspirations in Europe.

Thus far, Stripe has only been fully available to businesses in the U.K., Ireland, Denmark, France, Spain, Norway, Finland, and Sweden. But as of this week, another six markets have been added to the mix: Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, and Luxembourg.

Sarego, a New Crowdfunding Platform for Real Estate, Starts with Large Housing Project in Vienna (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

German real estate crowdfunding platform Sarego that uses platform technology from CrowdDesk, private investors may now invest in the first real estate project on the platform. The project  is for the development company Vermehrt GmbH who is crowdfunding one million euros for the energy-efficient renovation and modernization of Gründerzeit-old building in Vienna.

International

FinTech VC Funding Slowing (Forbes), Rated: AAA

US VC funding for Fintech was down by 13% to at $6.2 billion in 2016, much of this attributed to poor performance of lending platforms and a contraction of investment as VCs re-examine where the money is going to be made in FinTech moving forward. It was noted that there were virtually no new entrant digital banks in the US.

The UK attracted $834 million of investment in 2016, down by 38%, mainly attributed to Brexit, though a bumper venture round following the referendum delivered 8 of the top 20 deals attracting $368 million.

New digital challenger banks Atom and Monzo jointly attracted over $150 million in the first half of 2017 highlighting some of the differences between US and UK FinTech when it comes to lending platforms and digital banks.

FinTechs across the payments space continue to grow and MortgageTech / RealEstateTech is emerging and is being watched closely.

Though later stage valuations have appeared to come down, they still look high, and “flat” appears to be the new “up”.

Of the many attributes that VCs look for in startups: market, product fit, disruption and innovation, the key one critical to success is talent:  the founder / CxO and team:

  • Repeat entrepreneur?
  • Domain expertise?
  • Do strategy within a complex highly regulated ecosystem?
  • Marry strategy with detail and execution?
  • Recruit outstanding people that follow?

EY Fintech Adoption Index: China Leads the Pack. USA is Just Average (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

EY has published the “Fintech Adoption Index 2017” that grades the various markets where EY operates so just about most of the developed world. When you think about the giant internet firms in China, and the ubiquity of mobile internet, it just makes sense that China leads the way.

 

Australia/New Zealand

ASIC permanently bans former AMP Financial Planning adviser from financial services (Leaprate.com), Rated: A

ASIC announced that has permanently banned Perth man, David Fong, from providing financial services and engaging in credit activities after it was found that he acted dishonestly in the course of providing financial services and failed to comply with the ‘best interests’ duty.

ASIC decided to ban Mr Fong permanently after finding that he:

  • engaged in dishonest conduct relating to client records and applications for financial products;
  • provided advice to clients that did not comply with the best interests duty, was not appropriate and did not leave them in a better position having received the advice.
Asia

Itochu partners with Sinar Mas on Indonesian fintech (AltFi), Rated: B

Itochu, Japan’s second-largest trading company, has bought a US$50 million stake in an Indonesian P2P lending company as it views Indonesia’s weak financial infrastructure as a fertile harvest for fintech credit services, Nikkei Asian Review reports.

Middle East

A deeper look at the Middle East’s FinTech market (ITP.net), Rated: A

Despite a record-setting 2015 year that saw total global funding to Fintech companies reach $46.7bn, 2016 saw a decline in Fintech investment by 47.2%.

The quarterly report noted that despite VC investments slowing down in the second half of 2016, the year concluded with $2bn invested in Q416 across 200 deals. As a result, VC funding to Fintech companies reached a record of $13.6bn in 2016, up from the $12.6bn reported the year before.

KPMG also highlighted that corporate VC investment in Fintech rose for the seventh year in a row, reaching 145 deals and a total of $8.5bn in 2016.

Canada

TD opens new branch in Richmond, B.C. at Gilbert and Lansdowne (Newswire), Rated: AAA

TD opened a new concept branch in Richmond’s Cadence by Cressey community that marries environmental sustainability and legendary customer service in a uniquely inviting space. The branch, at the corner of Gilbert Road and Lansdowne Road in Richmond, is conveniently located in the new Cadence community which is walkable and close to the waterfront and Richmond’s Olympic Oval.

More comfort, convenience and sustainable attributes include:

  • An inviting, open concept feel encourages collaboration and conversation so customers can get the meaningful, personalized advice they need. When customers come into the branch, there is a mural of the Lansdowne Park Race Track circa 1928.
  • Energy-efficient design sustainably-sourced finishes help reduce the branches environmental footprint and reinforce our commitment to the environment.
  • A customer lounge offers a comfortable space to gather or wait for an appointment with access to tea and coffee.
  • Free Wi-Fi access for customers to use while they wait or to use during an appointment.
  • Digital displays throughout the branch offer customers access to current information, advice and tips to help manage their finances while they wait to see a customer service representative.
  • Sustainable interior elements like responsibly sourced wood finishes, recycled materials and low-energy LED lighting.
  • A flexible, scalable design allows the branch to easily grow and adapt along with the needs of the community.

The branch is also designed to be a full-service advice centre with employees to meet all its customers’ financial needs in multiple languages, including English, Mandarin and Cantonese.

As part of TD ‘s extended hours, the branch is open seven days a week – 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, Monday through Wednesday; 9:00 am to 8:00 pm Thursday and Friday; 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday; and 11:00 am to 4 pm on Sunday.

Fintech Sandbox expands to Canada (Finextra), Rated: A

Today Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) and Boston-based FinTech Sandbox, signed an historic memorandum of understanding (MOU) to collaborate and expand the FinTech Sandbox model into Canada, starting in Ontario.

FinTech Sandbox will open its program in Ontario, which will provide quality data products from 32 industry-leading partners, to qualified start-ups in Ontario.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday May 10 2017, Daily News Digest

DealVector

News Comments Today’s main news: GDR partners with Equifax. OnDeck shares down 3.5%. iBan raises 110K GBP on Seedrs. Hexindai implements FICO. Bitbond receives 5M Euro debt commitment. KPMG acquires Matchi. RateSetter welcomes Aussie banking reforms. Today’s main analysis: KBRA assigned prelim ratings to SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2017-3. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Consumer privacy and fintech. CreditEase CEO discusses the future of […]

DealVector

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

  • KPMG acquires Matchi. AT: “Matchi should be on any bank’s list of platforms to check if looking for a partnership with a fintech innovator.”
  • 7 ways fintech is changing the job market. AT: “Interesting read. Takeaway for alt lenders: If you want to hire great talent, look for people with excellent skills in other industries and ready to make a career change. Look at industries that are dying, diminishing in importance, or where great talent is being replaced by automation. Fintech skill sets are often developed in other places.”

Australia

Canada

News Summary

United States

Global Debt Registry Partners with Equifax (FINalternatives), Rated: AAA

Loan data specialist Global Debt Registry has partnered with global information solutions giant Equifax that will incorporate the company’s income data into its eValidation suite of verification tools for investors and warehouse lenders in the online lending space.

The new partnership will utilize Equifax’s anonymous income data to incorporate additional loan verification data and enable benchmarking and monitoring of income inflation over time, the company said in a statement.

“It’s critical for investors to have the assurance that when they invest in online lending, the loan data is independently, externally validated,” said Charlie Moore, president of GDR.

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2017-3 (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to one class of notes issued by SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2017-3 LLC (“SCLP 2017-3”). This is a $530 million consumer loan ABS transaction that is closing on May 18, 2017.

This transaction represents SoFi Lending Corp.’s (“SoFi” or “the Company”) ninth rated securitization collateralized by a portfolio of unsecured consumer loans.

KBRA analyzed the transaction using the U.S. Consumer Loan ABS Rating Methodology published on March 28, 2017. KBRA’s consumer loan methodology incorporates an analysis of: (1) the underlying collateral pool, (2) the originator’s historical static pool data, segmented by characteristics including credit quality and product type, (3) the proposed capital structure for the transaction, (4) KBRA’s operational assessment of the originator and servicer and (5) the legal structure, transaction documents, and legal opinions.

OnDeck downgraded at Stifel; shares down 3.5% (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

OnDeck Capital (ONDK -3.6%) managed to reverse big early losses and close flat yesterday despite a sizable earnings miss.

It’s moved back into the red today as Stifel’s John Davis downgrades to Hold from Buy, and cuts his price target to a Street-low $4.50 from $6.

Consumer Privacy Should Be Top-of-Mind for FinTech Firms to Avoid Scrutiny (BNA), Rated: AAA

With many people underserved by traditional lending institutions, including the close to 45 million adults in the U.S. who the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau estimates are “credit invisible” or have had past credit challenges, emerging FinTech lenders and online lending platforms (FinTech firms) have established themselves as valuable lending resources for both investors and consumers.

Undoubtedly, the digital footprints (both active and passive) left by consumers online offer valuable insights about those consumers’ preferences and behaviors, which can be useful to FinTech firms in assessing whether to extend credit. But the use of the Internet, which provides unprecedented access to an extraordinary amount of consumer information (some of which might be obtained without a consumer’s consent or knowledge), has raised significant privacy questions that FinTech firms might have to confront in order to overcome inevitable regulatory scrutiny.

In the context of marketplace lending, for example, which can include peer-to-peer lending as well as funding through institutional investors, hedge funds, and other financial institutions, market analysts estimate significant growth in loan origination volumes as well as an expansion in the types of products being offered. The California Department of Business Oversight conducted a survey of marketplace lenders and found that marketplace lenders provided over $13 billion in financing to consumers in 2014, having only provided less than $2 billion in 2010.

FinTech firms should be aware of potential risks about the types of alternative data they collect and the means through which they obtain that data. As the National Consumer Law Center has warned, “the devil is in the details” as the use of alternative data can potentially raise a number of significant legal issues, most notably fair lending and privacy concerns.

Gathering information from social networking systems, in particular, can provide significant information about a consumer’s interests and preferences, as well as the consumer’s location and travel history. While Internet users can furnish actively some of this information through entry of data into a system, a significant amount of information also can be gathered passively through cookies and the tracking of user IP addresses.

With the regulatory uncertainty surrounding the use of alternative data (caveating that regulatory priorities may shift under the current administration of President Trump), FinTech firms should consider carefully assessing what data they are collecting and maintaining to ensure that they are complying with current consumer privacy regulations.

Lending Club and MPL – One Year On from Renaud Laplanche’s Ouster (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Today, I thought it would be useful to take a step back and reflect on what we have learned in the past year.

  1. The industry is bigger than one person – the industry did not fall apart because of his departure.
  2. Investors still need yield and borrowers still like installment loans – The main premise for the rise of marketplace lending is still very much in play today. It is no secret that the growth of the industry over the past five years has been driven by institutional investors seeking yield. Lending Club shared in their quarterly earnings report last week that not only are the banks back investing in loans but they are doing so at record levels.On the borrower side there has been no slowdown in demand.
  3. Banks and marketplace lenders are important partners
  4. Compliance can be a selling tool – The sense I had is that compliance was viewed as a necessary burden and not something that could be a sales tool. That changed a year ago and now an investment in compliance has been viewed as essential.
  5. Finance is just as (perhaps more) important as technology when it comes to fintech – The narrative of marketplace lending has often been about the cost savings and customer experience improvements that can be made through advanced technology. I have seen many presentations that talked about how the legacy technology of banks are causing such inefficiencies and that fintech companies can solve this with better technology. All that may well be true but the bottom line we have learned is that in the lending business we should be focused on finance first. If you get that wrong the greatest technology in the world will not matter.

How technology mitigated a crisis in student loan ABS (American Banker), Rated: A

These programs slow the rate of repayment on Federal Family Education Loans, putting the bonds they back at risk of technical default if the securities fail to pay off at maturity. When Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings raised the alarm early in 2015, eventually putting some $100 billion of bonds under review for downgrade, the market sold off heavily. New issuance ground to a halt.

Yet Navient and Nelnet, the two largest student loan servicers, avoided downgrades on some $18 billion of FFELP bonds. They did so using a strategy that, at first, did not seem promising: extending the maturities of the bonds.

Their efforts were aided by DealVector, an online registry of asset ownership and messaging platform, which helped the two servicers identify holders and collect votes. Over the past year, the two servicers have sent about 165 tranches out for consent; some 60% of those were successful, and about 10% are still in process. The total original face value of tranches passed to date exceeds $18 billion.

Like other kinds of financial assets, FFELP bonds are held “in street name” by a brokerage firm, bank, or dealer on behalf of a purchaser, obscuring their true ownership. This isn’t just a problem for consent solicitations; it also imposes large costs on determining an appropriate price for a security, forming creditor classes, and many other events requiring communication among deal participants.

Real Estate Lender Zeus CrowdFunding Offers Industry’s First Loyalty Program (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Zeus CrowdFunding, the fastest real estate crowdfunding site in America, will offer borrowers a new incentive unmatched in the rapidly growing financial sector: the real estate crowdfunding industry’s first loyalty program. Repeat borrowers with the company can borrow up to 80 percent of a property’s after-repair value (ARV).

The program is called LoyaltyZ, and its mechanics are simple. On a borrower’s first loan with Zeus CrowdFunding, they’re eligible to receive up to 75 percent loan-to-value (LTV) of his or her approved project’s ARV. With each loan that they finish paying back to Zeus CrowdFunding, the borrower will receive one more point on their LTV on their next loan—up to 80 percent of the ARV. On a borrower’s second loan from Zeus CrowdFunding, for example, he or she is eligible to borrow up to 76 percent of the ARV; on his or her third loan, up to 77 percent, and so on. Beginning with his or her sixth loan, a repeat borrower can borrow up to 80 percent of the ARV on every loan.

Zeus CrowdFunding Founder and Chief Acceleration Officer Steven Kaufman says that LoyaltyZ was designed for real estate borrowers interested in completing multiple projects as quickly as possible. No additional sign-up or commitment is required of them.

Fintech Firms Primary Targets for Cybercrime Attacks (Think Advisor), Rated: A

Fintech firms are prime targets for cyberattacks, according to research revealing 130 million fraud attacks detected in just a 90-day period with the growth in attacks outpacing transaction growth by 50%.

Data revealed 50% more cybercrime attacks originating from all of Europe than U.S., the single most attacked nation, and increasing cyberattacks from South America.

The Q1 2017 Cybercrime Report also revealed that attack vectors and patterns are more evolved and malicious, including:

  • Remote access Trojans, which contain a strong footprint in the financial services industry.
  • Identity-spoofing attacks target fintech firms through peer-to-peer loans, global remittance and potential loopholes in new and emerging platforms. ThreatMetrix research showed an 80% increase in digital wallet transactions year-on-year as well as a 180% increase in associated bot attacks, typically used to mass test identity credentials.

According to ThreatMetrix, fraudsters use bots to mass test identity credentials and infiltrate trusted user accounts. New attack trends disclose fraudsters targeting emerging and fintech industries, which they view as more vulnerable to attack.

Read the report on cybercrime here.

Auto Loan Portfolio Marketplace with Automated Decisioning (BusinessWire), Rated: A

defi SOLUTIONS announces the launch of defi EXCHANGE, a secure, online portfolio marketplace where sellers of auto loan portfolios can access multiple buyers and manage the entire sales process. defi EXCHANGE improves efficiencies and profitability by automating and enhancing processes, revolutionizing the way auto loan portfolios are bought and sold.

With defi EXCHANGE, buyers no longer need to build their bulk deal evaluation outside their lending platform in spreadsheets and with manual processes that require extra data scrutiny and attention. Sellers no longer need to provide sensitive consumer data to many potential buyers and then follow up manually. defi EXCHANGE eliminates processing inefficiencies and allows for the complete evaluation and pricing provided by a Loan Origination System.

defi EXCHANGE resulted from the purchase of SellYourBulk.com, the first-ever auto loan marketplace that began operations in 2015.

IBM’s Watson ‘is a joke,’ says Social Capital CEO Palihapitiya (CNBC), Rated: A

IBM isn’t at the forefront of artificial intelligence, Social Capital CEO and founder Chamath Palihapitiya told CNBC on Monday, and he certainly isn’t a fan of IBM’s Watson.

“The companies that are advancing machine learning and AI don’t brand it with some nominally specious name that’s named after a Sherlock Holmes character.”

Digital Banking Inspiration from FinTech Disruptors (Silvercloud), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer payment systems like Venmo gained traction amongst the millennial generation and are beginning to make their way to the broader consumer population as banks consider the appeal in this convenient, paper-free payment approach.

Startups like Branch.co, ZestFinance and MyBucks are using AI and machine learning to offer low-rate payday lending loans. By relying on data and algorithms, these startups believe they offer a faster, more accurate and unbiased way to determine a consumer’s credit worthiness and their corresponding interest rate. Similarly, by removing the loan officer from the equation, these FinTechs can save on costs and ensure a profit from their low rate loans.

The importance of embracing mobile technology is not new in the banking sector. But what is new is how certain FinTech startups like Moven are using the mobile platform to offer services that help consumers better manage their money. Moven, which is an online bank of sorts that works alongside traditional banks, is giving consumers insight into their spending habits — offering them tools to see where their money is going and how they can better prepare for the future. It’s all about transparency and putting the consumer in control of their financial health.

While the technology to create automated investment advice is not new, access to it (by those who are not wealth managers) is. It’s simpler, more accessible and cheaper for the consumer.

Witnessing the success of FinTech robo-advisory startups, and the unmet need they are filling within the market, banks have begun jumping into this market.

If You Can’t Beat ’Em, Join ’Em. Why Banks are Starting to Partner with FinTechs.

Today there are more than 2,000 FinTech start-ups as compared to 2015 when there were only 800. This is why many banks and credit unions have changed their approach; instead of competing with the FinTechs, they are trying to partner with them.

At SilverCloud, we are helping banks and credit unions do just that — give their customers and members the ability to access all the information they need through digital banking channels without ever having to pick up the phone. We are helping banks and credit unions evolve with the demands of customers by providing an engaging digital experience that lowers support costs and drives more revenue through a better experience for the customer and member.

FIN Opposes Elements of CHOICE Act (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Last week Financial Innovation Now (FIN), an alliance of companies which includes Fintech behemoths innovator Amazon, Apple, Google, Intuit and PayPal, spoke out against language used in the Financial CHOICE Act that would repeal debit swipe fee reform. In a letter penned by FIN Executive Director Brian Peters and addressed to US House of Representatives Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, FIN identifies debt reform’s promotion of payment innovation and tech advancement, identifying that “lower debit fees and improved routing choice have meaningfully spurred competition and technological development. Payment innovators are building on this opportunity to deliver real solutions to the marketplace, and more is on the way. This innovation should not be foreclosed.”

A Quick Guide to P2P Lending (IT Business Net), Rated: B

No system is perfect, and like any form of lending, P2P is not without its challenges. Many people are worried about the regulation of the P2P system, since it is fairly new, and laws have not come into effect to control the industry. Additionally, many Americans are worried about financial cyber security with all-online platforms, since data breaches are a frequent occurrence around the globe. Some of the biggest challenges, however, are on a smaller scale. Though P2P lending platforms don’t have the same requirements for borrowers that banks do, credit score can be an issue for some borrowers. It’s currently not possible to use a business credit score, meaning that poor personal credit could affect potential borrowers’ ability to get a loan at a decent interest rate.

Kingdom Trust Completes ‘Consider The Alternatives’ eBook Series (PR Web), Rated: B

Kingdom Trust, a leader in Self-Directed IRA, alternative asset and institutional custody solutions, recently completed its Consider the Alternatives eBook series. The collection of eBooks illustrates the investment potential of the four main alternative asset classes held on the firm’s platform: real estate, precious metals, private lending and private equity.

United Kingdom

iBAN Completes Seedrs Funding Round With More Than £110,000 in Funds (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Tuesday, iBAN completed its equity crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs with over £110,00 in funds.  The online lender was founded last year and launched the initiative in early January with a mission to raise £100,000 for its new crowdlending app, iBAN Wallet.

Interview with Managing Director of LandlordInvest (P2P Banking), Rated: A

LandlordInvest is a UK-based peer-to-peer lending platform for residential and commercial mortgages.

What are the three main advantages for investors?

  1. Security – I personally would not invest in unsecured loans given the risks and the potentially very lengthy enforcement process to reclaim part of the capital, if any at all.
  2. Returns – We offer returns of up to 12%, although we recently funded a loan with a rate of 19% to investors.
  3. Diversification

What are the three main advantages for borrowers?

  1. Manual underwriting – For us, the most important part of our assessment is that the borrower has a verifiable track-record and that the security is enforceable in the event of the default.
  2. Speed – we recently assessed a loan, had it fully funded and completed in two days.
  3. Online application with a simple online control panel

You recently launched an IFISA product. How has the investor uptake been so far and was it a big advantage to be in the forefront of approved providers?

The demand for our IFISA has been good. IFISA account holders, although only around 20% of the total registered investors, account for 50% of all funds on the platform. As such, IFISA account holders usually deposit more than non-IFISA account holders and also invest more.

What was the biggest challenge in launching LandlordInvest and what have been challenges since?

The biggest challenge has been operating under a “real” P2P model, i.e. no pre-funding of loans.

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

We use a multichannel approach including, establishing good relations with the press, having an interactive presence on various forums and blogs, affiliate marketing programs and social media presence.

I hear you are planning a secondary market? Will that work with premium and discounts or at par? What other features do you plan to roll out this year?

We are indeed developing a secondary market and expect to launch it in the beginning of May this year. Investors will only be able to sell loan or loan parts at par. Investors will also be able to sell parts of loans.

£266 bln of SME Turnover Delayed by Late Supplier Payments (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The growth prospects of SMEs are being potentially stalled due to late payments, according to new research of over 1,000 SMEs commissioned by Crossflow Payments, the Fintech platform delivering supply chain finance solutions.

Keypoints from the research:

  • £266 billion is held up as 15% of SME annual turnover is subject to late payment
  • Over half (55%) of SMEs who receive payment late for invoices admit payment is regularly late by ten days or more, as a quarter (23%) of SMEs cite late payment problem
  • 3.4 million jobs could be created by solving the late payment problem, as two in three (63%)
  • SMEs would hire up to five new members of staff if their working capital improved
  • Businesses experiencing Brexit payment crunch, as one in ten (10%) SMEs have also witnessed worsening in payment terms since 2016 EU Referendum
China

CEO Of Chinese Fintech Firm Creditease On The Future Of P2P Lending In China (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Sara Hsu: Do you think that P2P [peer to peer lending] firms like yours are helping to make China’s financial system more market-based?

Ning Tang: The bigger picture is that P2P and fintech help the financial system to become more comprehensive. Fintech helps make the financial system more comprehensive, and helps make bank services more efficient.

Hsu: Many P2P companies have failed. What are some of the risks that P2P companies face?

Tang: There are three major risks. One is the platform itself. Is it legit? Is it legal? In many cases, you see fraud. The second risk is on the borrower, the credit quality side. Even if it’s a legit market place, if it cannot assess risk, it will not be sustainable. The third risk is on the lending side—is the source of capital sustainable?

Hsu: What is the impact of regulations on the industry?

Tang: Our experience is that it will make the industry more stable, healthier, and in the coming 10-20 years, it will be a much better industry.

Hsu: Do you advise other P2P firms in terms of credit risk?

Tang: In terms of pooling data together, we are partners. We made it possible for other market place lenders and new finance companies to access our data.

Hexindai Implements FICO’s Decision Engine (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Hexindai Inc. (“Hexindai” or “the Company”), a fast-growing consumer lending marketplace in China, today announced that it has entered into an agreement with Fair Isaac Corporation’s (FICO) to implement its decision rules management solution, BLAZE ADVISOR.  Implementation of this decision engine will allow the Company to automate the loan origination approval process, greatly shorten the decision-making time, and lower operational risks, all of which should help drive the Company’s risk management to a higher level. The Company expects to launch the system in the fourth quarter of this year.

European Union

Bitcoin lending platform Bitbond gets €5M debt commitment to boost loans (Crypto Ninjas), Rated: AAA

Bitcoin SME marketplace loan platform Bitbond today announced that it received a commitment from Obotritia Capital to fund loans worth €5 million. Additionally, Obotritia invested an undisclosed amount of equity in acquiring a stake in Bitbond.

With the debt commitment, SME loans from European prime borrowers will be funded instantaneously on Bitbond. This will reduce the time it takes for business owners to apply and receive a loan to 30 minutes.

Over 1,700 loans worth €1.4 million were originated through Bitbond since its launch in 2013. 90,000 users from 120 countries registered with the service to date.

International

KPMG acquires Matchi, global fintech innovation and matchmaking platform (Crossroads Today), Rated: AAA

KPMG International has announced the acquisition of Matchi, a leading global fintech innovation and matchmaking platform that connects financial institutions, including banks and insurance companies, with leading-edge financial services technology solutions and companies worldwide.

The Matchi platform includes more than 700 curated fintech solutions and a database of more than 2,500 fintech companies that financial institutions can work with to apply innovative fintech capabilities to solving their business problems and pursuing new market opportunities.

Fintech companies and solutions are reviewed and undergo a curation process in order to qualify to appear on KPMG’s innovative Matchi platform. Financial institutions are able to search for a specific company or solution, or they can use the platform’s proprietary “Innovation Challenge” capability to present specific problem statements to the global fintech market and receive recommendations on solutions from Fintech innovators.  In this way, financial institutions are able to access and unlock the leading edge technology and deep customer insight of the world’s best fintech firms for their own operations.

Since its inception in 2013, Matchi has connected more than 100 leading banks and insurance companies with fintech innovations, including solutions in next generation payments, regtech, blockchain and P2P insurance.

7 Ways Fintech Is Changing The Job Market (Huffington Post), Rated: A

Fintech grew 11 percent in 2016 making it a $17.4 billion industry.

The revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) in Europe takes effect in 2018. PSD2 enables users to allow third parties access to bank accounts.

  1. Remote work becoming more viable – Due to the perks of working remotely, many professionals have also opted to become independent contractors over regular employment.
  2. More payment options for employees – There are now even a variety of ways to get paid due to the rise of payment services and digital currencies. Some companies now offer wages in Bitcoin as an alternative to traditional currencies. Some freelancers based in countries where cross-border payments are difficult even take gift cards as payment.
  3. Fintech-empowered rewards and benefits – Aside from digital currencies, the growth of brand loyalty cards also now gives employers options to reward staff.
  4. New technical skills required
  5. Soft skills are increasingly important
  6. More job cuts in traditional institutions likely – Last year, Bank of America laid off 8,400 jobs as the bank invests more in digital initiatives. Brick-and-mortar banks branches even face closure as online and mobile banking grow. In addition, major developments in artificial intelligence and machine learning now allow for the automation of tasks across business functions. Chatbots are now being used to function as front liners in sales and support. Robo-advisors also challenge the competence of human financial advisers. Job cuts are inevitable as these technologies mature.
  7. More opportunities with startups – Those who are displaced from traditional institutions may look into retooling and transitioning to fintech ventures instead. Fintech is a growth industry and there are a variety of segments to venture into. Currently, most fintech ventures are in payments, investments, lending, and personal finance though others are already working on insurance and foreign exchange.
Australia

RateSetter welcomes Australian banking reforms (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER’S Australian division has welcomed the country’s banking reforms unveiled in the Federal Budget on Tuesday.

Changes imposed in the major fiscal event include a bumper levy on the country’s biggest banks, an “open banking” scheme to give customers greater access to their banking data and measures to boost competition and accountability in the sector.

The Productivity Commission, an independent review and advisory body created by the Australian government, published its recommendations for banking reforms on Monday ahead of the Federal Budget. The organisation suggested that banks build APIs to enable data sharing with customers.

Canada

Flexiti Financial Appoints COO, CRO to Growing Executive Team (Sys-Con Media), Rated: A

Flexiti Financial, a leading provider of point-of-sale (POS) financing and payment technology for retailers, today announced the appointment of Jerome Peeters as Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Colin Franks as Chief Risk Officer (CRO) to its senior executive team. Both positions are newly created and come at a critical time for Flexiti Financial as the company continues to experience rapid growth in the consumer financing space.

Mr. Peeters joins Flexiti Financial from B2B Bank, where he served as Vice-President, Operations and Client Services. Prior to this, he spent four years at Sears Canada in a series of progressive senior marketing and operational roles within Sears Financial Services and the broader company. Before joining Sears, Mr. Peeters was Senior Director, Marketing and Change Management at CIBC, supporting the President’s Choice Financial business.

Mr. Franks was most recently Chief Risk Officer, Canadian Credit Cards at JP Morgan Chase where he managed Risk across several retail partners including Sears, Amazon and Best Buy. Before joining JP Morgan Chase, he spent over nine years at MBNA managing all aspects of the Risk lifecycle and eventually becoming Director of Strategic and Risk Planning.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor