What Happened at the Money 20/20 2018 Conference in Las Vegas?

Money 20/20

Its a good thing that everything that happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas, which is where the Seventh Annual Money20/20 Conference took place on October 19-21, 2018. With the goal to “fearlessly take on the mission of creating a simpler, fairer, faster and more inclusive financial system for individuals, businesses, and society as a whole,” the three-and-a-half […]

Money 20/20

Its a good thing that everything that happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas, which is where the Seventh Annual Money20/20 Conference took place on October 19-21, 2018. With the goal to “fearlessly take on the mission of creating a simpler, fairer, faster and more inclusive financial system for individuals, businesses, and society as a whole,” the three-and-a-half day event included more than 500 speakers and 15 agenda themes.

Themes included :

  • Payments and Platforms
  • Banking and Personal Finance
  • AI and Deep Learning
  • Cybersecurity and Fraud
  • Alt Lending and Credit
  • Blockchain and Crypto
  • Digital Identity and Biometrics
  • And much more

While this is going to serve as a brief overview of the Conference, some of the notables who spoke, and bigger announcements, there will be special interest on Alternative lending and credit. We’ll also look at the all-important payments race.

A lot of the coverage is available on YouTube where Money20/20 has its own channel, so, if you missed the conference, you still have free access to some of the information.

Day One

Apple Co-founder Steve Wozniak is always a good bet to help you get a financial conference rolling. The business legend’s assurances that the claims that artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, along with other forms of technology, are going to cut into human productivity are unwarranted helped to establish an ongoing theme that tech is necessary for the broader inclusiveness of our collective financial future.

Jennifer Bailey, VP Internet Services for Apple Pay, detailed some of the expansions of the new iPhone X, which include face ID security.

Other notable speakers from the first day of the conference included John Collison of Stripe, Michael Mebach, CPO of Mastercard (who spoke on how to build a seven-trillion-dollar middle class), Anand Sanwal of CB Insights, and Bill Ready of PayPal.

Day Two

Day Two’s lineup of speakers was headed by none other than Virgin’s own Richard Branson, who told a remarkable story about how he created Virgin by renting a plane and selling seats to the other passengers scheduled to be on the American Airlines flight that was delayed. Sallie Krawcheck, Ellevest’s CEO and co-founder, had some valuable remarks on diversity, and Vanessa Colella, head of Citi Ventures and CIO of CitiGroup, shared some keen insights on partnerships.

Possibly the speaker from the conferences second day who made the biggest impression was Nikolay Storonsky, CEO of Revolut. The way money is moved is changing rapidly, but if Storonsky is correct in his predictions, it may change even faster. He predicts that in 10 years, two or three large fintech players will take 95 percent of banks’ business marking an industry overhaul akin to how Amazon bypassed the retail industry and Uber took on taxis.

Day Three

Patrick Gauthier, VP of Amazon Pay, spoke to Tracey Davies’s central theme when he talked about the use of technology to make things simpler and more natural between the merchant and the consumer. Harley Finkelstein, CEO of Shopify, pointed out that middlemen will not be totally going away in the financial realm of the future, but they will have to “provide a disproportionate amount of value for their profit margin in the future.”

Other notable speakers included Asiff Hijri, president and COO of Coinbase, who framed the crypto world well when he spoke of the two base use cases of the space, the store of value of bitcoin and the ability to build apps on top of Ethereum, while noting that we’re still looking for that breakthrough app. His quote “Fintech before crypto, and the promise of a stablecoin…is like mobile before the iPhone came along” might be one of those “remember when” moments.

NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal also spoke on the third day of the conference. Now an advisor and advocate of Steady, the platform which helps Americans find work, says his partnership with these efforts is driven by recollections of a past where the only investments that paid off were those he embarked on in order to help others.

Day Four

Much of what happened on Day Four is listed below, including the Uber/Barclays and the Grab/Mastercard partnerships, but the day also had some other mentionable happenings.

Marisol Menendez, head of open innovation for BBVA, introduced the overall winner of the 10th annual BBVA Open Talent competition, the reward going to Sedicii; founder Rob Leslie accepted the award. Sedicii provides a service that identifies data between two organizations without exposing the underlying data.

Also, adding some hope for the financial sector in general, Ripple’s Co-Founder and Executive Chairman Chris Larson stated that he thinks digital assets can help guard against another financial crisis by solving some of the key problems of global liquidity. He also predicts that a fluid digital asset (he thinks it will be XRP, of course) will make more fluid the trillions of dollars that are tied up due to the “clunkiness” of current systems.

Focus on Alternative Lending and Credit Cards

As instant payments and expanded remittance options gain more prominence in the world of payments and commerce, an app designed to speed up the remittance process, designed via Visa APIs, took top honors at the conference.

American Express and Amazon announced a partnership, which will produce a no-annual-fee business card. Cardholders (Amazon Prime members) will get to choose if they want to receive five percent rewards on any Amazon purchase (Whole Foods included) or 90-day payment terms, a reward that might benefit small businesses with cash flow issues.

Goldman Sachs’s Marcus Platform announced a new wealth management offering designed to make the financial market more inclusive for average Americans. The offering will focus on online savings accounts and personal lending, the end game being to educate customers on some of the ins and outs of the financial sector.

Grab Financial and M and A Mastercard announced a partnership that will make prepaid cards available to underbanked and underserved customers in Southeast Asia in order to bring them into the financial realm and allow them to conduct business globally.

Gregory Wright, CPO and SVP of Experian, touched on a common theme from the conference, that of businesses going forward by putting consumers first. He reinforced the platform’s focus on putting the consumer at the center of the lending decision by giving the consumer more control over his or her data to allow them to make a more informed lending decision. The goal is for lenders to make better decisions at lower risk while giving more consumers access to credit.

David Richter, global head of business and corporate development for Uber, joined with Curt Hess, CEO of BarclayCard US, to announce the unveiling of the Uber Visa card. A native app specifically designed for the Uber platform, the app will make it more engaging and enjoyable for Uber riders and Uber eaters to experience the platform. The card will also offer real-time notifications of rewards and balances, rather than customers having to wait a month for a statement as credit cards traditionally do.

Other Noteworthy Announcements

  • ViSync took the grand prize in the conference’s hackathon challenge. According to a Visa spokesperson, their entry, an app designed to help send remittance payments overseas, should make it easier for migrant workers to send money back to their home countries.
  • FICO announced an “Ultra” FICO rating. The new device will consider how people manage their checking accounts and will incorporate things like overdraft history to determine credit scores. The goal is to help younger people and others with little or no credit and people who are rebuilding their credit after a couple of setbacks.
  • Tracey Davies, president of Money20/20, also announced the Rise Up! program, the pilot of which took place at this event. Rise Up! seeks to increase inclusion into the financial sector on all levels. This pilot program, which will expand to other demographics in the future, focused on gender (women make up 50 percent of the population, but only 20 percent of leadership roles in the financial sector.). Of the 300 women who applied to the program, only 35 were selected. Those who were selected were privy to special seminars and one-on-one access to various leaders from the financial space.

The Payments Race

Knowing how we build points of sale, I wonder if the organizers of the original event knew just how apropos the payments race would be to the overall message of the Money20/20 events. Whether they did or not, the event serves to draw a good picture of how we use and interact with different forms of currency in our daily lives.

Closely resembling the scavenger hunt of the television series The Amazing Race, five participants were given six days to make it to Las Vegas for the opening day of the convention. They drew to see which host city will host most of their scavenging, and then they all have to make it to their city and then to Vegas. Along the way, they got points for things like the number of states they visited and the different modes of transportation they use.

The catch is this: Each participant was only allowed to use one form of payment; the options were

  • Team Checks
  • Team Cash
  • Team Credit Cards
  • Team Devices (Apple Pay and such)
  • Team Crypto

The episodes—all of which can be seen on YouTube—show the obstacles in trying to perform these tasks with only the given form of payment.

As you can imagine, Team Checks had a hard time of it, and they had to rely on the goodness of many others to navigate their journey. Team Cash didn’t face as many obstacles, but travel required some finagling as they got deeper into the trip. Team Crypto had some transportation issues early on, but also relied on the kindness of others to make the necessary accommodations.

Team Credit seemed to have the most ease traveling—they just rented an RV and drove—and the representative from Team Devices said after it was all over that using only devices proved to be easier than she thought it was going to be; she did have to go to some pretty significant lengths to rent a car.

In all, the little series of videos showed the importance of various forms of payment and that we still haven’t gotten to the point where we can survive conveniently on one single form of payment; still, everything from the conference seems to speak to the reality that we’ll get there.

And how did the race turn out? Well, I haven’t seen an actual crowning, but Team Crypto was the first to get to the Las Vegas sign, which was basically the finish line—I haven’t seen anything that mentioned how each fared at the number of states visited or modes of transportation used. If Team Crypto did prove the winner, it was their second straight title.

The event will return to Vegas next year, the dates being October 27-30, 2019.

Author:

Written by Paul Keenan.

Tuesday February 13 2018, Daily News Digest

china asset-backed securities

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi’s adjusted 2017 profit was $126M. Funding Circle lent over 117M GBP in January. CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund invests in Fair. FT Partners advises Yapstone on $71M Series C round. LendingKart raises Rs1,129 crore. Today’s main analysis: Why China isn’t worried about the slowdown in asset-backed securities. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Goldman’s fintech approach to […]

china asset-backed securities

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Canada

MENA

News Summary

United States

Fintech SoFi blames missed earnings on borrowers skipping payments, increased hiring costs (San Francisco Business Times), Rated: AAA

SoFi said it made an adjusted profit of $126 million after pulling in revenue of $547 million for all of 2017, but did not break out figures for the fourth quarter.

(MarketWatch), Rated: A

SoFi Turns Losers Into Winners (and Investors) with the So Money Sweepstakes (PR Newswire), Rated: A

From February 12th through 16th, SoFi will award $25 in a SoFi Wealth account to 200 losers of HQ Trivia each day. To enter for a chance to win, all people need to do is Tweet to @SoFi on Twitter with a screenshot of their HQ loss screen and the hashtag #SoMoneyEntry. In addition to the $25, winners will also receive SoFi’s new card game, “So Money,” featuring playful questions that aim to encourage people to talk more openly about their financial lives.

Goldman Sachs is taking a fintech approach to grow its consumer lending business (Econsultancy), Rated: AAA

Two of the biggest proofs of Goldman’s transformation were its launch of GS Bank, a internet bank with a $1 deposit requirement, and Marcus, an online consumer lending platform through which well-qualified consumers could obtain personal loans of up to $30,000. GS Bank has since been merged into Marcus, which now serves as Goldman’s consumer brand.

As QZ pointed out, “Goldman thinks it can make $1 billion in extra revenue from its consumer lending business over the next three years, as much as it expects for its trading operations.”

As detailed by the Wall Street Journal, Goldman is reportedly in talks with Apple to offer buyers of Apple devices financing at point-of-sale. “Customers purchasing a $1,000 iPhone X could take out a loan from Goldman instead of charging it to credit cards that often carry high interest rates,” the Journal explained.

This type of financing is big business: by one estimate, $80bn of the $200bn consumers borrowed using retailer-affiliated credit cards or point-of-sale loans went towards big-ticket items including electronic gadgets.

Source: Econsultancy

The Future of Banking (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The Use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) Will Increase

Artificial Intelligence (AI) will have a major role in banking for both the short-term and long-term. First, we will see AI help banks with fraud mitigation. Today, most fraud is detected through computer patterns that alert a fraud team who would then take the necessary steps to try to prevent or mitigate the threat. Now that technology has made access to money fast and easy, the transaction volume has increased exponentially.

Banks and Non-Banks Will Form Closer Partnerships

By tapping into a non-bank’s customer base, it will lower the bank’s cost of acquisition while providing more value for the customer. Banks will also realize that non-banks provide them with valuable data from their customer bases that they can leverage to provide a customized banking experience as well as a source for additional revenue streams.

There Will Be More Competition in the Digital Banking Space

Whether it’s JPMorgan Chase with Finn, or Greenhouse by Wells Fargo, big banks are entering into the digital banking space full force with the hope of attracting young consumers. Then you have digital banks like Ally, USAA and Capital One 360 who truly made a major effort in 2017 to attract millennials by tweaking their product, tone, messaging and branding to make sure they start penetrating that segment. We will continue to see that this year.

You still have niche financial products like Sofi that focuses on student loans or Stash Invest that focuses on investing, which are playing in the digital banking space.

Lastly, you have neobanks like Moven, GoBank, Simple and Varo who will continue to flourish and grow, but will be threatened by giants like Amazon, Google and Apple.

Cybersecurity will Get an Upgrade

After the highly publicized and damaging Equifax security breach that affected approximate 145 million Americans, we will surely see a modernization and upgrade of cybersecurity.

We spoke with the creator of the Chase Sapphire Reserve about millennials and the other challenges she’ll confront at JPMorgan (Business Insider), Rated: A

JPMorgan Chase, on the other hand, recently announced plans to expand its network. It’ll add 400 new branches in 15 to 20 new markets over the next five years — an investment spurred in part by the savings from the recently enacted tax law.

JPMorgan has, of course, culled some branches over the years, but far fewer than its peers — just 484, or 8.6%, since 2012, compared with cuts of more than 30% by its competitors Citigroup and Capital One over the same period.

BI: How does what happened with the Chase Sapphire Reserve phenomenon translate to the rest of the Chase consumer business?

Codispoti: The fact that we were able to break some myths with millennials. When I first took the job there was kind of this general consensus in the market that millennials wouldn’t pay a fee for a credit card or wouldn’t be interested in premium products — it just isn’t true. So I think we’re kind of breaking those myths when we think about banking and home lending as well.

We’ve shared in the past that we’ve had some extremely successful initial tests with the Sapphire Reserve customer, offering them a home lending offer of 100,000 points if they completed a home-lending mortgage with us. And 50,000 points for those who upgraded to Chase Private Client and deposited $100,000 into an account. We saw extraordinary results, greater than we ever expected. So clearly this is an engaged customer base, they love the Reserve brand. It transcends card into other areas of their financial life.

Citi Ventures’ Vanessa Colella: ‘No one runs innovation, it’s all about unleashing it’ (Tearsheet), Rated: A

As one of the largest financial institutions in the world, Citi takes its innovation efforts seriously. Combining internal and external models of collaboration with a disciplined corporate venture arm, the financial services giant ensures that it has a lot of coals in the innovation fire.

Real Estate Investment Platform, Sharestates, Continues Impressive Growth Launching New Marketplace in Arizona (AltFi), Rated: A

Today, Sharestates, an online real estate investment platform, announced today their inception into the Arizona Banking Department roster of lenders as Sharestates Investments LLC, NMLS ID number 1538766. With this launch, Sharestates will be offering their loan products to the real estate speculation and development community in a statewide effort.

As a part of Sharestates’ launch into the Arizona market, the company will be attending the 45th Pitbull Hard Money Conference located at the We-Ko-Pa Resort and Conference Center in Scottsdale, Arizona. The event will be held March 14-15, 2018 and members of the Sharestates team will occupy booth #417.

Sharestates has funded more than 895 individual loans, providing an average return on investment of 10.42%.

Realty Mentors Launches Its New Investment Advisory Business (Realty Biz), Rated: B

Realty Mentors announced a new investment advisory business. According to the article in Crowd Fund Insider.com, the company which is a commercial real estate diligence and underwriting company and is an affiliate company of CreditVest is claiming to be the first of its kind to launch in the commercial real estate crowdfunding industry.

When it comes to the real estate crowdfunding industry, their services will encourage new investors to enter the market because they will have the benefit of an objective and independent third party advising them.

Vishal Garg of Better Mortgage (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Our latest guest on the Lend Academy Podcast also thought it was crazy and decided to actually do something about it. Vishal Garg is the CEO and Founder of Better Mortgage and a few years back he missed out on buying his dream home because of the clunky and slow mortgage process. So, he started a company to completely turn this process on its head.

Stock Market Volatility & Your Retirement, Who You Gonna Call? Robo Or Human Advisor (Forbes), Rated: A

Spooked investors looking for reassurance beyond the panic in the headlines have two options to turn to. They can call up a financial advisor, or they can go on the Internet. Artificial intelligence, or fintech’s application of AI, robo advisors, are viewed by many as the future of affordable and effective retirement and investment advice. These algorithms are seen as thetechnology that will disrupt, if not replace, human advice.

Most robo advisor websites provide real-time quantitative information about the market’s performance. But information alone is not necessarily what people are looking for when they are faced with uncertainty. Market performance is public, but the impact on retirement investments is profoundly personal.

That observation touches on the key difference and perhaps the strategic advantage of human advice versus advice by algorithm alone. Clients, which for now are primarily of the human variety, are looking for someone to help them cope and to care as much as they do, as well as someone who has the discipline and expertise to provide perspective to what is otherwise presented in the news as chaos.

Klarna Announces Progressive Parental Leave and Benefit Policy for U.S. Employees (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Global payments provider Klarna (www.klarna.com) has implemented a new parental leave and benefits policy that offers all of its U.S. employees who become parents a comprehensive package that includes 20 weeks of leave at full pay, a flexible, part-time work week “ramp-up period” on their return and a two-year child care subsidy.

As of January 1, 2018, Klarna’s full-time and part-time female and male employees who become parents—either biologically or through adoption—are eligible to receive the new parental leave and benefits. In addition, applicable benefits of the new policy will be extended retroactively to U.S. employees who became parents in 2017.

The new Klarna parental leave and benefits policy for U.S. employees has three core components:

  • Parental Leave: The new parent may take 20 weeks of leave at full pay, and with full health and welfare benefits, during the child’s first two years.
  • Ramp-Up Period: Upon returning to work, employees will have the option to return to work on a part-time schedule.
  • Child Care Subsidy: Upon their return to work, Klarna will provide new parents with a child care benefit during the child’s first two years that will subsidize parents up to $250 per month to defray costs.

Trump Administration Plans To Defang Consumer Protection Watchdog (NPR), Rated: A

Within weeks of coming on board, Mulvaney has worked to make the watchdog agency less aggressive. Under his leadership, the CFPB delayed a new payday lending regulation from going into effect and dropped an investigation into one payday lender that contributed to Mulvaney’s campaign. In another move that particularly upset some staffers, the new boss also dropped a lawsuit against an alleged online loan shark called Golden Valley Lending. The suit says the lender illegally charges people up to 950 percent interest rates. It took CFPB staffers years to build the case.

Bonenfant sent NPR a screenshot from the Golden Valley website. It says on her $900 loan, her scheduled payments in less than 12 months will total $3,735, or more than four times what she borrowed.

Bonenfant has so far paid more than $3,000 to Golden Valley and rung up more than $1,000 in overdraft fees at her bank.

The lawsuit was moving forward until Mulvaney came on board, when it was suddenly dropped.

Federal Rent-a-Bank Bill May Harm Financially Distressed Consumers (Pagosa Daily Post), Rated: A

Recently, it was announced that the U.S. House of Representatives is likely to vote, the week of February 12, on H.R. 3299, the so-called “Madden fix” bill which would preempt state interest rate caps and open the flood gates to online predatory lending. The bill is spearheaded by U.S. Reps. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) and Greg Meeks (D-New York).

There are signs that some online lenders are making large numbers of loans that consumers will not have the ability to repay:

  • News reports show that delinquencies and charge-offs at marketplace lenders are rising.
  • One lender has had so many of its loans fail, that it had to repay investors for their losses in consecutive securitizations of the loans it bundled up and sold to Wall Street.
  • One online lender reportedly failed to verify a borrower’s income for a full two-thirds of its loans in 2016.
  • Moody’s credit-rating firm likens this industry to mortgage lending in the years leading up to the 2008 financial crisis in that “the companies that market the loans and approve them quickly sell them off to investors,” relieving themselves of the risk of the loan later going bad.
  • Many marketplace lenders make very large loans of $30,000-$50,000 or higher, and even 36% is a very high rate for such loans. Many states have tiered rate caps in recognition that interest becomes more unaffordable the larger the loan. Iowa, for example, caps interest at 21% for loans over $10,000.
United Kingdom

Funding Circle lends over £117m in January (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle has announced that it lent more than £117m last month to UK businesses.
The largest portion of funding went to businesses in the South East (22.1%), followed by companies based in London (16.2%), the Midlands (14.4%) and the South West (11.7%).
The property and construction sector received the largest part of the funding (17.6%), followed by professional and business support (13.5%) and retail (11.9%).

Referral schemes: make money from your friends and family (Love Money), Rated: B

People using peer-to-peer platform Funding Circle can net £50 if they recommend a friend or relative who goes on to lend at least £2,000.

Normally, Zopa investors can earn up to £50 if the person they recommend lends £2,000 with the platform. They’ll receive £50 too.

FSB launches new FinTech funding platform for SMEs (Tamebay), Rated: A

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has launched a new fintech platform to provide small businesses and self-employed people with greater access to funding to help them grow and develop their enterprise..

The average amount a small business applies for from an alternative finance provider was found to be £39,000 in the survey, with equipment purchases and working capital for short-term operations or late payments being among the top reasons for businesses seeking finance.

LendInvest Announces Launch of Product Transition Process to Support Developers Throughout Their Projects (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On Monday, LendInvest announced the launch of its new process for development finance borrowers to transition seamlessly between products. According to the online lender, the Product Transition process allows existing borrowers to transfer easily between specialized loans that are tailored to support them at each stage in their development project.

Mobile banking start up Fiinu launches Seedrs crowdfunding campaign (AltFi), Rated: B

Banking start up Fiinu has today launched a crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs,as it seeks £500k in seed funding to support its development and an application for regulatory approval from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

China

CreditEase FinTech Investment Fund to Invest in Automotive Financial Technology Company Fair (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

CreditEase, a Beijing-based leading FinTech conglomerate in China, announced today that its venture fund, CreditEase FinTech Investment Fund (“CEFIF”), recently joined a group of prestigious investors to support California based Fair’s strategic expansion. Other investors in this round of financing include Siemens-backed next47 global venture fund, BMW i Ventures, Millennium Technology Value Partners, 137 Ventures, G Squared and Upfront Ventures.

Fair is a mobile technology platform that allows customers to lease and return a car with flexible terms entirely by using a smartphone.

Why China Isn’t Worried About a Slowdown in This Lending Market (WSJ), Rated: AAA

China’s market for asset-backed securities—which bundle up car loans, mortgages, consumer loans and other receivables into bondlike products—surged in 2017, led by issuers including the financial affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and other nonbank lenders. Total issuance of such instruments, which are mostly denominated in yuan, jumped 90% to over $220 billion last year from 2016, according to S&P Global.

The country is now the world’s second-largest market for securitized assets after the U.S., where issuance reached $510 billion in 2017, it said.

In the past couple of months, however, issuance in China of securities backed by unsecured small consumer loans has slowed sharply. This came after Chinese financial regulators took steps to curb a proliferation of internet lenders making microloans, small, short-term loans that typically carry high interest rates. These small loans represent roughly 40% of all consumer loans backing asset-backed securities in the country, according to S&P.

Around $1.3 billion worth of securities backed by unsecured microloans were issued in January 2018, down from $3 billion in the same month a year ago and versus a peak monthly issuance volume of nearly $7 billion last autumn, according to data provider Wind Info.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

China: WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

WeChat has permanently banned over 1000 “cash loans” mini programs which violated its verification and operation rules. Xinhuanet has reported that there were multiple mini programs about “loans” on WeChat (e.g. unsecured loans and quick loans), ranging from 200 to 100,000. Complaints about the illegal credit products reached over 1,000 on one of China’s leading complain platform Ts.21.com

Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) announced that it would amend the relevant regulations on virtual banks.

Official documents show that the original guidelines require that a virtual bank incorporated in Hong Kong must hold at least 50% of its shares by an officially recognized and reputable bank or financial institution. The new ordinance recommends that non-financial institutions could register an “intermediary holding company” first when setting up a virtual bank, and then use the company to controls the virtual bank. This means that the authorities in Hong Kong have lowered the entry threshold on the financial qualification of virtual bank applicants. Non-financial institutions, including technology companies, can also apply to own and operate virtual banks in Hong Kong.

This week, LähiTaksi, a Finnish taxi company from Helsinki, announced that it would soon accept Alipay payments.

European Union

Robo firms signal their advice intentions (Money Marketing), Rated: A

Robo-advisers will increasingly move towards hybrid models over the next year, combining the human touch with machine learning, experts predict.

Scalable Capital, the Europe-wide robo firm, which has received financial backing from investment giant BlackRock, has just started offering telephone and face-to-face advice for clients who want to progress beyond an initial free session.

Nutmeg and Moneyfarm have both signalled plans to move in a similar direction, while Wealthify, which saw Aviva take a majority stake last year, won’t rule out taking this step in the future.

International

The Most Important FinTech Innovations that Will Change Our Lives in the Near Future (Interesting Engineering), Rated: AAA

It is largely evident that we are looking at inevitable digital disruption in financial services. The traditional banking system is yet to see any major technological innovation in lending whereas the FinTech firms have made huge investments in the same area. China moved96% of its e-commerce sales without the services of a bank. A report by Cisco pegs the peer to peer lending volume in China at approximately $66 billion, for the US that number stands at $16.6 billion, and for the UK it is $5.4 billion. Clearly, the opportunities aren’t fictional, and technology will guide this paradigm change.

American FinTech giants include Stripe, a San Francisco based firm valued at $5 billion, Credit Karma, another Silicon Valley-based FinTech firm valued at $3 billion.

The UK lags behind the US by quite a distance, but is second overall with $5.4 billion investment in the same time frame, thus confirming its position as one of the world’s leading FinTech hubs. Its FinTech bigwigs include TransferWise, DueDil, AstroPay, GoCardless and Digital Shadows.

FT Partners Advises YapStone on its million Series C Financing Round (FT Partners), Rated: AAA

FT Partners is pleased to announce our role as exclusive strategic and financial advisor to 

Source: FT Partners

Read the full transaction profile here.

ETHLend alters terms to encourage use of its own digital currency (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

CRYPTO-BACKED peer-to-peer lending platform ETHLend has reached more than £2m of loans as it announces new incentives to encourage users to transact with its LEND token.

Borrowers can post any digital currency as collateral and loans can be made in Bitcoin or Ethereum or LEND. But ETHLend now wants more people to use the LEND token as the means of exchange so it has said anyone providing funds in LEND won’t have to pay any transaction fees.

There is also a 50 per cent discount when the LEND coin is posted by borrowers as collateral.

Australia

DirectMoney a leading ASX gainer after revealing Alceon investment (Proactive Investors), Rated: AAA

DirectMoney Ltd (ASX:DM1) is an ASX leading gainer intra-day on news of a strategic investment by alternative investment manager Alceon.

The investment comprises an initial placement of $600,000 at $0.042 per share and is equivalent to a 3.1% interest.

India

Lendingkart raises total of Rs1,129 crore after latest funding round (livemint), Rated: AAA

Rs565 crore

What is it? The amount raised in equity funding by Lendingkart Technologies, a fintech start-up that provides online loans to small businesses. The latest fund raise, announced on Monday, takes the total amount raised by the Lendingkart Group to Rs1,129 crore.

Tell me more: Lendingkart’s latest funding round was led by Singapore’s Fullerton Financial Holdings, and also saw participation by existinginvestors, namely Sistema Asia Fund, Bertelsmann India Investment, Mayfield India, India Quotient and Saama Capital.

India fintech seeking to raise at least US$ 87m to grow tech capabilities (Business Times), Rated: A

AN Indian fintech company is seeking to raise over US$87 million of equity funding to expand its technological and analytics capabilities.

Lendingkart Technologies will be doing so through series C capital-raising, with the initiative led by Singapore’s Fullerton Financial Holdings, along with participation from existing investors.

Canada

Payday Loan Use Among Heavily Indebted Borrowers On The Rise (Payment Week), Rated: AAA

Payday loan use among heavily indebted Ontarians continues to escalate, as Ontario in 2017 involve payday loans, up from 27% in 2016.

The average number of payday loans outstanding at the time of insolvency declined to 3.2 in 2017, after peaking at 3.5 loans in 2014. However, the average payday loan size in 2017 is $1,095, an increase of 12.4% from $974 in 2016.  One in ten (9%) loans are $2,500 or more, up from 6% in 2016.

The average insolvent payday loan borrower owes $3,464 in payday loans, or $1.34 for every dollar of monthly take-home pay, on top of $29,997 in other unsecured debts. They are using payday loans to keep up with existing debt repayment.

Borrowell Gives Birth To New TV Campaign (Borrowell Email), Rated: A

Borrowell is making its first major foray into television with a 30-second spot that launches today, called “Home Birth.” Created by Toronto-based agency Conflict, the commercial aims to raise awareness of Borrowell’s free credit score monitoring service.

MENA

Saudi startups have wider funding options amid huge fund volumes (Saudi Gazette), Rated: AAA

In an interview, Nawaf Al Sahhaf, CEO of Badir, said financing options for these startups include without limitation Venture Capital firms, angel investors, accelerators, and incubators in addition to new alternatives such as crowd funding or even P2P lending platforms.

Venture Capital funding is an essential piece of the startup jigsaw.

Venture Funding is unique, however in its characteristic. I define a startup as a company that is looking to receive funding from a venture capitalist. This means that they meet several basic criteria for growth 1) a strong founding team 2) a solution to a clear and identifiable problem 3) a clear path to monetization and most important 4) a scalable product that has a regional if not global market.

All of these criteria are essential to be eligible for Venture Funding. Many of these criteria may not be applicable or sufficient for alternative funding channels including debt, bank funding or grants.

UAE ranked third for Islamic Fintech start-ups (Gulf Today), Rated: A

The UAE is ranked third in an analysis of Islamic Fintech start-ups, according to a survey by Bloomberg Intelligence, issued today. Malaysia and the United Kingdom are ranked first and second.

Crowdfunding and peer-to-peer (P2P) financing could be a game-changer in Islamic finance, it suggests, giving wider reach and potential to close the gap for small and medium enterprises, SMEs, which generated about 60 per cent of UAE GDP in 2014, with Dubai’s regulator introducing the first tailored regulation for crowdfunding in the GCC.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor