Thursday December 6 2018, Daily News Digest

Consumer Spending

News Comments Today’s main news: Zopa gets banking license. SoFi cuts mortgage business jobs. KBRA assigns preliminary ratings to CLUB Credit Trust 2018-P3. Money360 surpasses $1B in loan originations and closings. SoftBank is biggest startup story in 2018. Today’s main analysis: Rate hikes pause in 2019. LendingTree Debt Report November 2019. Today’s thought-provoking articles: LendingTree Debt Report November 2019. October was biggest […]

Consumer Spending

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United States

United Kingdom

International

Southeast Asia

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News Summary

United States

SoFi Cutting Jobs in Their Mortgage Business (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Late Friday Bloomberg reported that SoFi was cutting 7% of its staff, or around 100 jobs, in the company’s mortgage department. This is due to a change in strategy as to how they underwrite mortgage loans. Rather than underwrite loans themselves, as they have done since launching their mortgage business back in 2014, they will outsource the underwriting to a partner.

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Consumer Loan Underlying Bond (CLUB) Credit Trust 2018-P3 (AP News), Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to three classes of notes issued by Consumer Loan Underlying Bond (CLUB) Credit Trust 2018-P3 (“CLUB 2018-P3”). This is a $272.40 million consumer loan ABS transaction that is expected to close December 13, 2018.

The transaction has initial credit enhancement levels of 30.87%, 22.80% and 9.70% for the Class A, Class B, and Class C notes, respectively. Credit enhancement is comprised of overcollateralization, subordination of the junior note classes, a cash reserve account and excess spread.

This transaction is LendingClub Corporation’s eighth rated sponsored securitization, fourth of 2018 and the fifth sponsored securitization consisting of prime unsecured consumer loans facilitated by LendingClub’s proprietary technology platform supporting an online marketplace that connects borrowers and investors by offering a variety of loan products originated by issuing banks through the platform, www.lendingclub.com.

Money360 Milestone: Surpasses $ 1 billion in Loans Originated & Closed (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Real estate marketplace lender Money360 announced on Monday it has surpassed $1 billion in loans originated and closed since inception. The announcement comes just 11 months after the lending platform revealed it had hit $500 million.

Rate Hikes Pause in 2019; Performance of Credit Card Borrowers with Personal Loans (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

US Q3 GDP showed 3.5% annualized growth, well above potential growth of 2%. Growth slowed from the blistering 4.2% pace in Q2 due to rising inventories and lower consumer spending:

Source: WSJ, PeerIQ
Source: VantageScore, PeerIQ

LendingTree Debt Report November 2018 (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

Nine months into 2018, Americans had a cumulative $3.93 trillion in non-mortgage debt. About a quarter of that debt is credit cards and other revolving debt, while the remainder is for car payments, student loans and other fixed-rate loans such as personal loans.

In just five years, Americans will have increased their debt by $1 trillion. Consumer debt eclipsed the $3 trillion mark in 2013. By comparison, the previous $1 trillion milestone — from $2 trillion to $3 trillion of consumer debt — took more than 10 years.

43.5% of Purchase Borrowers Received Mortgage Rates Under 5% Last Week (LendingTree), Rated: A

For the week ending Dec. 2, 2018, the share of borrowers with rates under 5% was the highest in two months, which may lend some support to a weakening housing market.

Source: LendingTree
Source: LendingTree

LendingTree’s State Migration Study Finds Americans Are Moving South (GuruFocus), Rated: A

LendingTree today released its State Migration Study on where Americans are interested in moving. The study looked at where people moving out of state are going and discovered that of the 12.1 percent of homebuyers across the country who change states, most plan to head south.

Florida is the No. 1 destination. Florida was the top new destination for 15 of the 50 states.

Texas residents love the Lone Star State. Texas had the highest percentage of residents looking to move within state lines — 93.4 percent of purchase mortgage requests from individuals in Texas were for properties in the same state.

Source: LendingTree

October was Biggest Month for Reg CF Since May 2016 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

October was a big month for Reg CF campaigns, according to the StartEngine Index. In fact, October booked the most money raised using the crowdfunding exemption since the rule became actionable in May of 2016.

According to StartEngine, $10.9 million in funding was raised. Until October came along, this past July held the top spot at $10.7 million. The Index indicates that Reg CF has now raised $151.7 million since inception. The Food & Beverage industry remains the most popular sector to use Reg CF followed by Tech.

Source: Crowdfund Insider

Fintechs’ Take On Installment Payments Explodes Online (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Installment payments have been around for seemingly forever but a new crop of fintechs are offering it with a twist: the ability to pay off smaller purchases in installment payments that in many cases are interest-free.

And it appears to be resonating with scores of U.S. consumers judging from the brisk business installment payment services like QuadPay.com enjoyed during the kick off to holiday shopping season this past Thanksgiving weekend. David Sykes, chief operating officer at QuadPay.com said 35% of online Black Friday sales for one large merchant customer came via QuadPay. On average Sykes said its service accounts for around 20% of all the online transaction from its roughly 500 e-commerce partners.

QuadPay.com makes money via the merchant, getting a cut of the sales generated by its service. That enables it to offer interest-free loans to consumers wanting to purchase everything from Uggs to underwear. Sykes said the average value of the orders on the platform is $150. QuadPay takes 25% of that on day one and then spreads out the remaining payments every two weeks. Because the average installment payment is around $37 there isn’t too much risk of customers defaulting on the loan.  To prevent default it won’t let a customer use the service again if they were ever late with a payment. The executive noted QuadPay approves 92% of all applicants.

How the largest US financial institutions rank on offering the mobile banking features customers value most (Business Insider), Rated: A

In Business Insider Intelligence’s second annual Mobile Banking Competitive Edge study, 64% of mobile banking users said that they would research a bank’s mobile banking capabilities before opening an account with them. And 61% said that they would switch banks if their bank offered a poor mobile banking experience.

Source: Business Insider

Why Wealthfront is offering free financial planning (Financial Planning), Rated: A

Wealthfront is offering its planning services for free, effectively unbundling its software, and giving millions of Americans access to a financial roadmap.

The second largest independent robo is betting the firm can steer users into fee-based accounts after they interact with its software to come up with a financial plan. The freemium software uses the firm’s automated advice engine, Path, according to the firm.

Credit Karma’s Kenneth Lin on building a billion dollar brand (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Building a great service is hard but not impossible. But building a great service and making it available for free — that’s really hard.

Credit Karma seems to have figured out a way to do both. The company, with 85 million members in the U.S. and Canada, continues to roll out free, innovative financial products to its user base. It all began 11 years ago with a simple premise: to provide users with free access to their credit scores. From there, the company has rolled out a bunch of new products, including ID monitoring, tax preparation, a financial chatbot, auto finance, and unclaimed money.

Betterment launches tool to optimize cash savings (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Automated investment advisor, Betterment is rolling out “Two-Way Sweep”, a tool that can automatically “sweep” excess money from customers’ bank accounts into a Betterment account optimized to provide better returns for cash.

What’s behind this new product: Studies show that only one in three millennials is investing in the stock market. That means they’re holding a high percentage of cash. In fact, Betterment sees 30 percent of customers with cash balances of $20,000 on average. This excess in savings earns little to no interest. Betterment’s Two-Way Sweep is intended to take the hesitation out of deploying more money into investments by automating the process.

CommonBond Acquires NextGenVest to Help Reach Generation Z (Lend Academy), Rated: A

CommonBond, best known as a leading provider of online student loans, has made its second acquisition, NextGenVest, an artificial intelligence powered advice platform for Generation Z. NextGenVest helps high school and college students in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia with their college financial needs through a combination of human “money mentors” and AI-powered suggestions delivered entirely through text messages.

OppLoans Named a Best Workplace by Glassdoor for the Second Year in a Row (GlobeNewswire), Rated: A

Chicago-based fintech firm OppLoans has been honored with a Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Award, recognizing the best places to work in 2019. This marks the second year in a row that the personal lender has been named to this prestigious list in the Small & Medium Business category. The Employees’ Choice Awards program, now in its 11th year, is based solely on the input of employees, who elect to provide feedback on their jobs, work environments and companies on Glassdoor, one of the world’s largest job and recruiting sites.

Backstage Capital-Backed CapWay Moves to Atlanta As It Expands Its Digital Banking Offerings (Hypepotamus), Rated: A

According to 2017 statistics from the FDIC, 16 percent of households in Mississippi are unbanked, choosing instead to use “predatory services” like corner store check cashing in their neighborhoods.

Allen founded her first startup, an app development shop, while still in college. After moving to Silicon Valley, Allen realized it wasn’t just rural communities that were underserved by banks. Inner city areas across the country, most of which are home to majority Hispanic and African-American populations, are also affected. An FDIC survey found that more than 15 million adults in the U.S. go unbanked.

In 2016, Allen founded CapWay with co-founder and fellow Mississippian Timothy Lampkin. The mobile-first platform is aimed at younger generations (think older millennials and Gen Z) in those unbanked communities to help them break out of the predatory economy cycle.

Finicity Announces Partnership with Princeton Mortgage for Effortless Digital Mortgage Origination (Benzinga), Rated: B

Finicity, a provider of real-time financial data aggregation and insights, announced today it is working with mortgage banker Princeton Mortgage to automate borrower asset verification for lenders. The agreement will provide Princeton Mortgage loan officers and borrowers with a faster, simpler loan origination experience that reduces both paper chase and headache.

NBKC Bank fintech accelerator participant wins $ 1M (Biz Journals), Rated: B

Onward Financial Inc., a member of the first cohort in NBKC Bank’s Fountain City Fintech accelerator program, won a $1 million award from the Communities Thrive Challenge, which is put on by The Rockefeller Foundation and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

United Kingdom

P2P Lender Zopa Granted a Banking License in the UK (LendIt Fintech), Rated: AAA

Back in 2005 Zopa quietly launched their P2P lending platform in the UK, the world’s first. It was the start of a lending revolution that has moved on to all corners of the globe. Today, a new chapter begins as the company announced that regulators have approved Zopa’s banking license. With that Zopa achieves another first: becoming the world’s first combined peer to peer lending platform and digital bank.

Zopa Says it Will Redefine Banking (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Zopa explained that this is called the “mobilisation’ phase” as regulators put some restrictions in place. A full licence will be granted once it meets the conditions set by the regulators.

Zopa said it will begin its new service next year. The digital bank will include options such as a fixed term savings product protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), credit card and a money management app.

Pointing to a statement by the FCA that just “40% of UK adults have confidence in the financial services industry,” Zopa sees opportunity in becoming a digital bank unencumbered by green-screen legacy tech and unnecessary brick and mortar branches.

Zopa explained it would redefine banking with the following services:

  • Giving customers a fair deal as standard – with no catches like sign-up offers that aren’t available to existing customers or hidden fees and charges.
  • Making sure money management is simple and a real person is available to discuss
  • Going beyond ‘good enough’

Zopa: Bank launch won’t impact P2P rates (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

ZOPA has insisted its peer-to-peer lending rates will not be dictated by the savings products on offer when its bank launched.

It currently offers target returns of 4.5 per cent on its Zopa Core product and 5.2 per cent on Zopa Plus.

Thomas Cook to slip out of FTSE 250 index in quarterly review (The Guardian), Rated: A

Other companies expected to be promoted to the FTSE 250 are peer-to-peer lending platform Funding Circle, the retirement housebuilder McCarthy & Stone and the investment trusts Smithson and Woodford Patient Capital.

Funding the future of the UK PLC (Business Leader), Rated: A

Looking at 2017, we saw some encouraging trends and one of them is in terms of diversity and choice. We saw peer-to-peer lending grow at over 50%. It’s obviously coming from a smaller base as it’s a reasonably new form of lending, but 50% growth is a very strong outcome.

Tandem’s Journey Card strives to better users’ credit scores (Alt Fi), Rated: A

Tandem Bank has announced its Journey Card has assisted nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) of its users to first-time credit or is helping individuals with poor credit history get back on track.

Due to the higher risk users it targets, the credit card carries a reasonably expensive representative APR of 24.9 per cent.

Tandem says it hopes to help the 43 per cent of Journey Card holders who have poor credit history, some of whom have defaulted with other providers.

CrowdProperty Provides Performance Metrics Disclosing Lending Returns Using Brismo Methodolgy (Crowfund Insider), Rated: A

Peer to peer property lender CrowdProperty is now disclosing their performance metrics using Brismo’s (formerly known as AltFi) standardized reporting methodology. CrowdPropert states that it is the first property development platform to incorporate the Brismo process which is described as an independent standard.

UK housebuilders back new online property listing start-up (Financial Times), Rated: A

Some of the UK’s largest housebuilders are backing a new property portal that will launch next year in the latest attempt to challenge the two dominant market leaders, Rightmove and Zoopla.

Barratt Developments, Bovis, Persimmon and Redrow have signed up to list their homes with the start-up Rummage4Property, as have Countrywide and about 30 other estate agency groups.

ARBUTHNOT BACKS MBI TEAM WITH £2 MILLION FACILITY (Arbuthnot Latham), Rated: A

Arbuthnot Commercial Asset Based Lending (ABL) has supported a highly experienced Management Buy In (MBI) team, led by Paul Hampton, with a £2m invoice discounting facility to support Premier House Investment’s acquisition of Ralph Coleman International Ltd (RCI) and provide ongoing working capital, paving the way for the company’s exciting expansion plans.

KAMBO expands its reach with two native apps (Life Pulse Health), Rated: A

KAMBO is expanding beyond desktops to become accessible on our most coveted devices, our smartphones. With the introduction of two native apps, KAMBO’s lending platform will become one of the most flexible and diverse of its kind.

The KAMBO app is now available on iOS and Android, making it the first crypto-lending platform to have an app in the App store.

LendInvest Joins Ingard’s Buy to Let Panel (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Ingard, a compliance network, brokerage, and lending packager specialist, announced on Tuesday online lending platform LendInvest has joined its buy to let panel. According to Ingard, members may now access the lender’s buy to let range direct by registering through LendInvest’s online portal

China

Ping An GammaLab Wins Global AI Machine Reading Comprehension Competition (Markets Insider), Rated: AAA

Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China, Ltd. (hereafter “Ping An” or the “Group”) is pleased to announce that OneConnect, a subsidiary of the Group, ranked first in one of the world’s most authoritative machine-reading comprehension challenges — the Stanford Question Answering Dataset 2.0 (SQuAD). GammaLab Institute of Artificial Intelligence (GammaLab), owned by OneConnect, scored 83.435, close to the human performance level of 86.831, way ahead of other companies in the challenge.

Another scenario is internet arbitration in universal financial inclusion. Small loan companies tend to turn to online arbitration, which is expensive and takes time to resolve, under the current peer-to-peer lending market. With the reading comprehension skill of GammaLab, the arbitrator will finish a case quicker, reducing the cost for arbitration.

International

International P2P Lending Volumes November 2018 (P2P Banking), Rated: AAA

Mintosleads ahead of Zopa and Ratesetter. The total volume for the reported marketplaces in the table adds up to 473 million Euro.

I removed Unilend, as the platform has closed and the company has gone into receivership.

Source: P2P Banking

CORELOGIC LAUNCHES NEW AUTOMATED VALUATION SOLUTION TO HELP STREAMLINE MORTGAGE LOAN ORIGINATIONS (CoreLogic), Rated: A

CoreLogic, a global property information, analytics and data-enabled solutions provider, announced today the introduction of its Total Home Value for Originations AVM solution.

The new Total Home Value for Originations solution is specifically calibrated and packaged to improve efficiencies when performing property valuations during the purchase and refinance loan underwriting process.

Becoming a Digital Leader: 5 Customized Fintech Strategies That Work (Cutomer Think), Rated: A

According to EY study, fintech startups have raised $41.7 billion in the first half of 2018 across the globe. So, what fintech strategies need to be implemented to transform the consumer experience on the market?

  • Consumers first
  • Rebuilding trust
  • Lack of credibility
  • Partnership instead of competition
  • Improving the quality of lives

Nasdaq buys Canadian alternative data provider Quandl (Finextra), Rated: B

Nasdaq has acquired Quandl, a Toronto-based provider of alternative and core financial data. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Australia

Crypto Lending Services Coming to Australian Markets (NewsBTC), Rated: AAA

Helio Lending is the first independent crypto lending company to launch on Australian shores according to reports.

The company claims to be in the position to offer 50% more spending power to clients than they would have by holding on to their crypto assets.

Lakeba Invests in Lodex to Become Latest Capital Equity Partner (CryptoTechNews), Rated: A

Lodex, Australia’s first auction-style loans and deposits marketplace leader, today announced it has secured capital investment from Lakeba Group, an established Australian technology innovator.

India

India catches up with China, records 2nd highest fintech adoption rate: Here’s all you need to know (Financial Express), Rated: AAA

India is finally catching up with its neighbour and biggest competitor China. The country now has the second highest fintech adoption rate of 52%, only behind China’s 69%, which also throws a huge opportunity for India to not only make best out of financial services sector but also to disrupt it.

Southeast Asia

How Japan’s SoftBank and Its $ 100 Billion Vision Fund Became the Biggest Startup Story of 2018 (Inc.), Rated: AAA

UberWeWorkSaudi Arabia. The biggest startup stories in 2018 shared one long and influential thread: Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, its $100 billion tech investment fund, and founder Masayoshi Son.

The Vision Fund is backed by several prominent investors, including Apple and the government of Abu Dhabi, but its largest financial partner is Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund. The country’s government, under crown prince and de facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman, contributed 45 percent of the $100 billion, and in October announced plans to put another $45 billion into a second Vision Fund.

P2P lending can plug Southeast Asia’s US$ 175B business finance gap (Yahoo! News), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending has emerged as a popular alternative financing option for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Southeast Asia. In 2016, P2P lending generated US$115.01 million, which accounted for more than half of total market share of Southeast Asia’s alternative financing market. In an evolving financing landscape, P2P lending complements the services banks provide and support the region in realising its growth and development potential. The very fact that investment in the region’s startups tripled from US$2.52 billion in 2016 to US$7.86 billion in 2017 is a testament of the vast potential in Southeast Asia’s FinTech startups.

Businesses, largely SMEs, benefited from such platforms too. According to a Deloitte report, SMEs contribute to 40% of Southeast Asia’s gross domestic product (GDP) and hiring 70% of the region’s workforce. Despite the importance of SMEs regionally, support is generally lacking, especially in terms of financing. This is due to strict banking regulations imposed after the 2008 global financial crisis, which have made banks and most financial institutions increasingly risk-averse. This is evidenced by McKinsey Global Institute’s report stating that 39 million Southeast Asian SMEs (or 51%) lack access to credit.

Malaysia may issue more equity crowdfunding, P2P lending licences in 2019 (Asia Asset Management), Rated: AAA

Malaysia’s securities regulator may license more operators of equity crowdfunding (ECF) and peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms next year, after current operators raised more than 200 million ringgit (US$48.25 million) for small firms since the industry was legislated in 2015, according to its chairman.

Singapore’s Milieu Insight raises US$ 730K to enhance market research platforms (e27), Rated: A

Singapore- and Thailand-based marketing software startup Milieu Insight has announced that it has raised S$1 million (US$730,000) from a group of private investors including former Rippledot Capital Director, Ravi Ravulaparthi.

Korean Fintech Startup HonestFund Attracts $ 12 Million Series B Investment (PR Newswire), Rated: A

HonestFund (CEO: Sanghoon Seo) has announced that the company, one of the largest marketplace lending players in South Korea, has successfully raised $12 million Series B investment.

Investment was led by Korea’s leading VCs and investment companies, such as Dunamu & Partners, MurexPartners, KB Investment, TL Asset Management, Bass Investment and HB Investment. This brings HonestFund’s total investment to $21 million, making it one of the most valuable Fintech companies in South Korea.

Canada

How experimental tech drives TD Bank’s mobile app (American Banker), Rated: AAA

While many banks have sought to employ experimental technologies when dealing with customers, including predictive virtual assistants, geolocation and advanced data analytics, few have brought all those pieces together to the degree used by TD Bank.

The bank has used such technologies live in production and won significant customer adoption, with its mobile app becoming No. 1 in the finance category in Canada for both iOS and Android. Mobile customers use the app 17 times a month on average, a figure that is growing.

OnDeck to merge Canadian operations with Evolocity Financial Group (Seeking Alpha), Rated: A

OnDeck (NYSE:ONDK) will combine its Canadian lending operations with Evolocity Financial Group, a private, Montreal-based online small business lender, to create OnDeck Canada.

Africa

Peer-to-Peer Lending as a Means of Propelling Startup Growth (Modern Ghana), Rated: AAA

Capital is the livewire of any business, especially for startups and established small businesses. Hence, they are always seeking for some additional funding that is too small for an angel investor to get a return for their effort. Banks also think it’s not worth their time. That’s where peer-to-peer (P2P) lending is working to fill that lending gap. This model may be a solution for many small businesses that are struggling with just tapping smaller funding amounts.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday January 18 2018, Daily News Digest

mobile banking user growth

News Comments Today’s main news: Marcus passes the $2B loan origination mark. Varo Money secures $45M in Round B. Funding Circle’s fund announces Citibank deal. Qudian enters budget auto financing. PeerStreet intros 30-day notes. Today’s main analysis: Investing in Mintos’ secondary market. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Mobile banking is more important than ever. Credit score changes would force banks to help […]

mobile banking user growth

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

India

APAC

News Summary

United States

Goldman Sachs’ Online Lending Platform Marcus Has Originated Over $ 2 Billion in Loans, Deposits Rise to Over $ 5 Billion (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Meeting a prediction from this past June set by Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, online lending platform Marcus topped $2 billion in loan originations. Additionally, Marcus reported online deposits of over $5 billion. Deposits and consumer lending have now been combined under a single brand, thus, in reality, creating a challenger bank for the future.

Overall, Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) reported net revenues of $32.07 billion and net earnings of $4.29 billion for the year ended December 31, 2017.

Diluted earnings per common share were $9.01 compared with $16.29 for the year ended December 31, 2016. Goldman reported a Q4 loss of $5.51 per share. The results were impacted by a tax related expense of $4.4 billion. Without this expense, Goldman said earnings per share would have been $5.68.

Varo Money Closes $ 45M Series B Financing Round (Varo Money Email), Rated: AAA

Mobile banking is more important than ever (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

As we’ve seen for the past few quarters, mobile banking is continuing to rise, but the rate of growth is decelerating as offerings mature.

  • JPMorgan Chase 

    How a 23-year-old Max Levchin got Peter Thiel to invest in PayPal in under 24 hours (Business Insider), Rated: A

    Levchin told Shontell, “I saw [Thiel’s] name on the pinboard, wandered into a class that was taught by him, which turned out to be more like seminar with six people in the room. So it was a very small group of people. One: I couldn’t sleep because it would be obvious, but two, he was actually pretty interesting. So I stayed awake and chatted him up afterwards.”

    That turned out to be a good move. Here’s Levchin:

    “In the inimitable Peter Thiel fashion, we basically spend about 20 minutes talking after his lecture, and he said, ‘Well, what are you doing in Silicon Valley?’ I said, ‘I just got here two weeks ago. Probably gonna start a company.’ He said, ‘Oh, great. We should meet for breakfast.’

    “We met the next day. He said, ‘All right, so what companies are you thinking of starting?’ I had two ideas that I was concurrently thinking about. I described No. 1., No. 2. He said, ‘No. 1 is better; you should do that.’ ‘OK.’ ‘I’d like to invest.’ It was less than 24 hours later. Peter was a committed investor in my new project.”

    Credit score changes would saddle banks with risk to help nonbanks (American Banker), Rated: AAA

    Recently, the Federal Housing Finance Agency has been evaluating whether to allow originators that sell loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to use something other than the currently mandated FICO model. Specifically, the FHFA is evaluating whether originators can also use the VantageScore model offered by a company owned by the three credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

    VantageScore contends that its model will provide credit scores on more than 30 million additional consumers and make 7.6 million of these scores eligible for a loan sold to Fannie or Freddie because of the model’s supposed ability to more accurately assess blemished and dormant credit histories and accommodate thin credit files that most often effect younger consumers. VantageScore also argues that, since the model consolidates data from all three credit bureaus, it eliminates scoring differences caused by data discrepancies. The result, the company maintains, will be expanded home ownership, a more vibrant housing market, more consistent underwriting and faster economic growth.

    The major proponents of the alternative credit scoring model are large nonbank originators and credit reporting firms — companies that make their living from the quantity of loans they originate, not the quality. Their business models shield them from ongoing credit risk and require ever-increasing volumes to achieve scale economies. In short, nonbank originators generally don’t eat their own cooking — either in the form of loans or in the form of securities backed by the loans they originate. Therefore, they have everything to gain from this FHFA change, and very little to lose.

    PeerStreet Announces New Investment Product “30-Day Notes” (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

    On Wednesday, PeerStreet announced the launch of its new investment product, 30-Day Note, to provide increased liquidity for accredited investors at 30-day terms. According to the online lender, the 30-Day Notes product was launched quietly in October as a pilot program, is now offered monthly.

    Axial Members Surpass $ 25 Billion in Closed Middle Market Deals (Axial Email), Rated: A

    Axial, the deal network for the middle market, today announced its members have closed more than $25 billion in deals on 2,000-plus M&A and growth capital transactions since Axial’s launch in 2010. To facilitate these closed transactions, Axial arranged more than 2.1 million private member-to-member deal connections. Nearly one-third (650) of the total transactions closed in 2017.

    In 2017, the revenues of businesses that privately transacted using the Axial deal network ranged from $2.9 million to $610 million, with EBITDA ranging from negative $19 million to $223 million. Top sectors of deal flow activity include Business Services, SaaS, Healthcare IT, Distribution & Logistics, and Manufacturing. Notably, 24% of all growth capital transactions attempted in 2017 were in the Technology sector, more than doubling year-over-year from 10% in 2016.

    Worthy Peer Capital Receives SEC Qualification for 5% Money Market Alternative (Worthy Financial Email), Rated: A

    Worthy Financial, Inc., a modern personal finance company that delivers alternative investment products and digital savings solutions to a wide-range of retail investors, is pleased to announce that its subsidiary Worthy Peer Capital, Inc. has been qualified by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), under Regulation A+, to bring a new liquid peer-debt product to the entire investing ecosystem.

    The new Worthy Bond offers all investors – including non-accredited investors – a 5% fixed return. Although the bonds have a 36 month term, they can be cashed in at any time for those with imminent liquidity needs, thereby serving more as an alternative to traditional money market products. Bonds may be purchased at .

    Democrats Add Momentum to G.O.P. Push to Loosen Banking Rules (The New York Times), Rated: A

    But unlike the $1.5 trillion tax overhaul, which passed along party lines, the effort to loosen the post-crisis rules is somewhat bipartisan. A group of Senate Democrats has joined Republicans to support legislation that would mark the first major revision of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, a signature accomplishment of President Barack Obama that has been deemed “a disaster” by President Trump.

    The bill would allow hundreds of smaller banks to avoid certain elements of federal oversight, including stress tests, which measure a bank’s ability to withstand a severe economic downturn. Under current law, banks with assets of $50 billion or more are considered “systemically important financial institutions” and therefore governed by stricter rules. The bill would raise that threshold to institutions with assets of $250 billion or more, leaving fewer than 10 big banks in the United States subject to the stricter oversight.

    Banks with assets of $50 billion to $100 billion would be immediately freed from those requirements. Financial institutions with $100 billion to $250 billion in assets, such as BB&T and American Express, would no longer be subject to tougher rules after 18 months, although the Federal Reserve would retain the authority to periodically conduct stress tests on those firms.

     

    The One Big Reason It’s So Hard to Refinance Your Student Loans (Money), Rated: A

    More than half of borrowers who applied for refinancing in 2017 were turned down, according on a report released Wednesday by LendEDU, a student loan marketplace that tracked 32,000 applications to eight refinance companies.

    Using data from users of the LendEDU marketplace, the report found that 58% of 2017 refinance applicants were ultimately rejected. And those who passed muster had very high FICO credit scores—the average approved applicant had a score of 764. Nationally, the average credit scoreis 700 out of 850; anything above 720 qualifies as excellent.

    Refinancing companies are currently advertising fixed interest rates that start at about 3.5%. Yet the average on refinanced loans in 2017 was 5.56%, LendEDU found.

    Source: Money

    Bill Gates made these 15 predictions in 1999 — and it’s scary how accurate he was (Business Insider), Rated: A

    Gates’ prediction: “People will carry around small devices that allow them to constantly stay in touch and do electronic business from wherever they are. They will be able to check the news, see flights they have booked, get information from financial markets, and do just about anything else on these devices.”

    No. 3: Instant payments and financing online 

    Gates’ prediction: “Automated price comparison services will be developed, allowing people to see prices across multiple websites, making it effortless to find the cheapest product for all industries.”

    The Top Ten Fintech Predictions for 2018 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

    10. Resurgence of Peer to Peer Lending and the Emergence of A New Asset Class

    We’ve seen coin-backed lending such as Salt Lending. There will be many more platforms that will attempt to solve solvency and liquidity issues with lending in fiat currency backed by coins.

    9. Alternative Internet

    The cost of a simple PayPal transaction might go up dramatically because it was routed through Comcast’s fiber. You may have to pay an additional $3.99 a month for an “Online Banking” package if you want to do online banking…

    8. Banks will rule again

    Most of the online platforms (payments or lending) plus secondary markets are at the mercy of banks. Without a bank charter, you are simply limited on growth.

    6. Baby Boomer Financial, Inc.

    The youngest baby boomers are approaching retirement age. The baby boomer generation is about 75 million people (on par with Millennials) in the US and represents a vast amount of wealth in this country. They want to transact, invest, bank and most importantly transfer their wealth in a responsible way. I predict that there will be Fintech startups specifically addressing the needs of this generation of folks.

    4. Mass Adoption of Zero Latency Payment Clearance/Credit.

    Over the past few decades, we went from a cash society and in-person / in-branch interviews to “same-day” ACH (direct deposit) and next day loan funding. I predict that in 2018, we will see instant credit approval and funding.

    3.  Social Networks Venture Into Credit.

    I am making another prediction that Facebook or Snapchat will venture into extending credit.

    2. Vertical Integration.

    WeWork will get into the Working Capital lending business. And dare I say Indeed, Monster, and LinkedIn, will start lending money based on your resume and activities within your professional connections?!

    BlackRock makes impact a necessity for companies (ImpactAlpha), Rated: A

    Larry Fink flips social impact from a luxury to a necessity for every company. The chief executive of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager with $6 trillion under management, served notice on corporate CEOs their companies “must benefit all of their stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, customers, and the communities in which they operate.” Fink made his point as clearly as possible: “To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society.”

    Would a bank payday loan be any safer? (Daily Journal of Commerce), Rated: A

    Thanks to a recent regulatory change, it now may be possible for banks to offer small, short-term loans that could be a lot less dangerous for borrowers. Whether banks will actually do so remains to be seen.

    Standard Chartered creates fintech investment unit (Fintech Futures), Rated: B

    Standard Chartered has established a new business unit, SC Ventures, to invest in fintechs and other start-ups.

    Christopher Blake Joins Cross River Bank Loan Team (Long Island Press), Rated: B

    Veteran loan officer Christopher Blake joined Cross River Bank, where he’ll serve clients in Long Island, Queens and Brooklyn in the lender’s Commercial and Multi-Family Real Estate division, the company announced Tuesday.

    Freefly has teamed up with three fantastic financing partners (Freefly), Rated: B

    AFFIRM FINANCING

    Ideal for individuals looking to finance their Freefly purchases.

    SCL EQUIPMENT FINANCE

    A flexible lender designed for U.S. business, sole proprietors, and independent contractors.

    GLOBAL FINANCE

    A creative lender with options for businesses in the U.S. and many countries across the globe.

    United Kingdom

    Funding Circle’s fund unveils Citibank deal (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

    FUNDING Circle’s listed fund has inked a deal with Citibank, whereby the financial institution indirectly channels £50m to small businesses through the peer-to-peer lending platform.

    The transaction was announced by the Funding Circle SME Income Fund (FCIF) on Wednesday.

    Under a rather complicated structured finance deal, Citibank’s London branch will advance a senior, floating rate loan of £50m through two Irish special purpose vehicles. The facility matures in December 2026.

    Funding Circle SME Income Fund Limited (London South East), Rated: A

    The Board is pleased to announce that the Company has entered into a formal agreement with Citibank, N.A. London Branch (“Citibank London”) to establish a funding transaction to make loans to ?UK small businesses through the Funding Circle platform?. The transaction will serve to support the Company’s target dividend yield of 6-7% per annum.

    Under the terms of the agreement Citibank London will provide �50 million of funding into the transaction, by entering into a senior, floating rate loan. The Company will contribute a portfolio of existing UK small business loans at par, and in return shall receive ?approximately �50 million of cash to be deployed in accordance with its investment policy, and junior notes.

    Fintech firms struggling to get a foothold with established lenders (The Irish Times), Rated: A

    Banks and other financial institutions remain extremely wary of working with fintech firms, particularly in Ireland where few are willing to give start-ups the endorsement they need to help secure business elsewhere.

    Andrew Patrick White, founder and chief executive of FundApps, a regtech firm that provides compliance and regulation monitoring services to asset managers and hedge funds, said many financial institutions were afraid of fintech solutions because of a fear that they would be used to replace staff.

    “Your grandmother probably has more sophisticated apps on her iPad than many banks have inhouse,” Mr White added.

    Your morning briefing (PaymentsSource), Rated: A

    ‘All-in-one’ cards get another shotCurve has debuted a card in the U.K. that allows consumers to switch a card used to fund a payment after they have left the store. Through the card’s “back in time” feature, card preferences can be changed for up to two weeks, a system the company is selling as a financial management tool. Curve, which is being offered for free with a $60 premium option with more rewards, works like a regular card and is usable anyplace that accepts Mastercard. While all-in-one cards have struggled to gain traction over the years, more than 100,000 people signed up during the card’s testing phase and spent more than $120 million, according to a release.

    OnePlus’ fraud hit: Electronic equipment company OnePlus became the latest to get hit with card fraud, with consumers reporting unauthorized transactions and the company disabling credit card payments but still allowing PayPal transactions. The company is doing a complete audit of its systems and is looking for alternative payment options.

    When we asked, which, if any, Isas have you used over the 2017/18 tax year, nearly a third (32%) said they’d only used a Stocks and Shares Isa.

    This was followed by nearly a quarter (24%) who’ve only used a Cash Isa, and 17% who use a mixture of different Isas.

    This decline in Cash Isa savings is likely to be attributed to poor cash savings rates and the introduction of the personal savings allowance in April 2017.

    Interestingly, Innovative Finance Isas – used for peer-to-peer lending – don’t appear to have taken off, with just 3% of those who voted in our poll only using this savings vehicle.

    Source: Moneywise

    Name Change for Funding Knight as GLI Finance Updates to Sancus Funding (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

    As part of an ongoing strategic update, GLI Finance has renamed peer to peer lending platform FundingKnight to Sancus Funding Limited with immediate effect. GLI Finance, an AIM listed company, has also transferred ownership to Sancus BMS Group Limited.

    China

    Qudian is Moving into Budget Auto Financing (CapitalWatch), Rated: AAA

    The newly listed peer-to-peer lending company in China, Qudian (NYSE: QD), has moved into auto-purchase financing, a new business initiative called “Dabai Auto,” according to the company.

    Launched in late November 2017, Dabai Auto is currently targeting Qudian’s existing high quality users, who have been approved with credit lines, but have not actively transacted in small cash installments. The company also announced that it plans to spend around RMB 100 million ($15.5 million) to promote Dabai Auto through online and offline channels. The offline channels would include Qudian user engagement and delivery centers that are located in the shopping districts of over 100 cities across China.

    HNA-owned P2P lending platform doing business normally, executive says (Global Times), Rated: A

    Payments of investment products on jbh.com, an online peer-to-peer (P2P) platform owned by HNA Group, remain normal and there have not been any capital losses since the platform was set up three years ago, an executive of the company said on Wednesday.

    Payments for all maturing investment products on jbh.com are being made as normal, sina.com.cn reported Wednesday, citing Xia Aobi, president of jbh.com.

    International

    Funding Circle and Lufax: Two High Profile IPOs for 2018 (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

    Neither IPO is a surprise as both companies have indicated their intentions before. But we now have a clearer indication on the timing. First off the rank will likely be Lufax. The South China Morning Post reported that Lufax is planning to do their IPO in Hong Kong in April at a possible valuation of US$60 billion. This would be more than three times the valuation of their previous funding round in 2016.

    The Funding Circle news actually broke just before the New Year with this article from Sky News. They reported that the company was preparing to hire advisors in the first steps towards an IPO. They are supposedly going to interview investment bankers this quarter with a possible listing in London in late fall which would put us in the latter part of the third quarter.

    A successful Funding Circle IPO, one where the valuation rises after it goes public will be very good for the marketplace lending industry in both the UK and the US. We have had little good news here in the last couple of years when it comes to the public markets and I would very much like to see a success story here.

    Investing on the Mintos Secondary Market – Hint One (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

    On the Mintos p2p lending marketplace the majority of investors invest on the primary market into loans, either manually or via autoinvest. But for the 29% of investors that do invest on the secondary market picking loans presents them with a huge choice of about 125,000 offers (no typo, really 125K loan parts on offer!).

    Source: P2P-Banking

    For the shown loans there is a very high probability that they will miss the payment and therefore run an additional 60 days until they are repaid under the buyback guarantee. If that happens the remaining actual loan duration would be 62 or 63 days and the impact of the 0.1% discount on the YTM would be much smaller. The resulting YTM would be somewhere around 11 to 13%. So they would not be a good buy and there are much better offers on the secondary market.

    Source: P2P-Banking

    With two weeks remaining the effective YTM for a buyer is not 36% but rather around 12%. Again there are offers with better YTMs on the secondary market.

    Chinese tech groups undermine banks’ dominance of finance (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

    The recent refusal by US regulators to sign off on Ant Financial’s $1.2bn acquisition of Dallas-based money transfer firm MoneyGram International does not signal the end of the Alibaba-affiliated payments group’s US financial ambitions.

    On one level, the scuppered deal suggests that Chinese companies, whether state-owned or otherwise, will have an ever harder time winning approval for US acquisitions. The move also confirms that the Americans now believe that the definition of national security — their basis for scrutinising overseas deals — embraces anything related to information and data.

    But Ant Financial’s attempted US play also shows how much technology is undermining the dominance of traditional global titans, especially in the financial sphere. It is especially noteworthy that many of the upstart challengers to banks and other legacy companies increasingly either have a Chinese face or Chinese capital behind them. That, in turn, underscores how some Chinese players have leapfrogged into prominence across the world.

    Blockchain is revolutionizing the loan industry – a look at Valorem… (Global Crypto Press), Rated: A

    Smart contracts are providing the solution to the trust issues that are usually the main concerns in the micro loan industry.  Whether it be student loans, cars, or any other kind of micro lending – blockchain technology provides what’s needed to move away from the banks, and towards a peer to peer lending model.

    Volerem Foundation is building the infrastructure to facilitate exactly this.

    India

    Govt should think of new ways to boost sectors like P2P lending: LenDenClub (India Info Online), Rated: A

    Additionally, we also expect the government should think of new ways to boost sectors like P2P lending. Eg.- Enable tax exemption for the lenders on P2P lending platforms, under section 80C. This will result in raising the trust bar and credibility, leading to more and more people investing in such platforms. It will also bring in a good enough capital infusion in the P2P lending space.

    Introducing Syndicates for India (Angel.co), Rated: A

    Today, we are announcing Syndicates for India, a new way for investors in India to invest alongside experienced angels and VC funds that invest in India’s vibrant tech ecosystem.

    To date, over 1,800 startups have raised more than $700M through Syndicates on the AngelList platform, receiving more than $6B in follow-on funding.

    APAC

    Gov’t urged to increase ceiling for individual investment in P2P lenders (Yonhap News Agency), Rated: AAA

    A business lobby of peer to peer (P2P) finance firms said Thursday it has asked financial regulators to raise the annual ceiling on individual investment in P2P lenders.

    The Korea P2P Finance Association has asked the Financial Services Commission (FSC) to increase the limit to 100 million won (US$93,632) per year from the current 10 million won, an association official said.

    ZorroSign Among Top 25 FinTech Companies (PR Newswire), Rated: B

    ZorroSign, Inc., today announced the company has been recognized among the top 25 FinTech companies in Asia-Pacific (APAC) by CIO Outlook. The honor spotlights organizations that are fundamentally disrupting the way companies in the global finance sector do business. ZorroSign offers unique secure eSignature, end-to-end Digital Transaction Management, and post-execution fraud protection solution. With security being on top of mind for financial services providers, ZorroSign Document 4n6 (Forensics) Token technology offers a major advantage to its customers.

    Authors:

    George Popescu
    Allen Taylor

Friday September 1 2017, Daily News Digest

fintech adoption

News Comments Today’s main news: 2,000 IFISAs subscribed last year. Irish credit unions embrace Facebook Loans. Rubique launches new app features. Mexico has a new fintech law. Today’s main analysis: Mobile fintech vs . traditional banks: 15 things winners do well (a must-read). Today’s thought-provoking articles: The Personal Loan is Back. Is P2P lending headed for trouble? China’s $2T of shadow […]

fintech adoption

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Asia

Canada

Latin America

News Summary

United States

The personal loan is back (American Banker), Rated: AAA

The personal loan is hip again.

Well, let’s not get too carried away. Just 4.33% of millennials ages 21 to 34 took out unsecured personal loans in 2015, according to a recent analysis by TransUnion.

Peerform is Back With an Interesting New Investment Partner Random Forest Capital (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Late last year Strategic Financial Solutions (SFS) a leading debt settlement company, acquired Peerform and they have been building out new product offerings.

SFS looked at many marketplace lending platforms before deciding to acquire Peerform. They were impressed by their underwriting and regulatory sophistication, their strong brand presence online, their low customer acquisition costs and how they had been frugal with the capital they had raised.

Enter Random Forest Capital. They are a new investment management firm started last year with a focus on data science and machine learning. They love taking masses of unstructured data and not only making sense of this data but finding new predictive power in this data.

Peerform overhauled their APIs to be able to pull in thousands of data attributes and millions of data points for analysis.

The team at Random Forest was able to build proprietary credit models using this new data which they said was more data than is available from any other marketplace lending platform today. As Kevin pointed out, “the money will go where the data is”.

Random Forest also invests in other asset classes beyond consumer credit. They have positions in secured auto, fix and flip real estate and secured commercial debt – bringing their unique data science skills to each asset class.

Out of the shadows: How fintech is infiltrating the mortgage industry (Housingwire), Rated: A

A study released in the National Bureau of Economic Research maintains that nonbanks, such as Quicken and loanDepot, essentially tripled market share for mortgage lending between 2007 to 2015.

Meet Sophie — the AI assistant that wants to save you money (Business Insider), Rated: A

Called Douugh, the app is designed to be a financial control center. More intriguingly, it employs an intelligent virtual assistant named Sophie to help users fully understand and manage their finances.

Users start by plugging in all their bank account information into Sophie. Once she has access to those, she’s able to use them to map out users’ financial situations. From there, she can categorize users’ spending and see if they’re living beyond their means.

Taylor previously worked at SocietyOne, a marketplace lending platform he cofounded. While there, he realized how much of a problem financial literacy was in Australia and the US. That led him to launch Douugh last year.

Right now, Sophie is in training mode. Taylor said the company will remain in beta for the rest of the year and launch in February once Sophie has been trained on enough data. Eventually, Douugh plans to build out a full suite of financial products and make Sophie accessible via Alexa and Siri, he said.

In the future, Sophie could serve as a kind of personal banker for users, operating on autopilot and making transactions. For example, if Sophie sees that you’re about to be charged an overdraft fee for an account you’ve kept empty, Sophie could transfer a few dollars from another account to prevent it.

LendingTree Announces Starbutter AI as Winner of $ 25,000 Startup Innovation Spotlight (Business Insider), Rated: B

LendingTree®, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, has announced Starbutter AI as the winner of its Startup Innovation Spotlight, a new initiative by LendingTree to showcase the top startup companies in financial technology (fintech) lead generation at LeadsCon.

Starbutter AI is a voice and chat app development company that creates AI-driven chatbots for financial products.

AI-based chat is disrupting lead generation in financial ecommerce, and 2017 has seen a massive shift in the digital landscape toward voice search. Voice search is now 25% of all mobile search and is projected to reach 50% in 3-4 years.

HIGH-FREQUENCY TRADING AND SPOOFING (All About Alpha), Rated: A

Six years ago Michael Coscia placed orders through the CME Group’s Globex platform via a trading algorithm that amounted to “spoofing.” He placed both large and small orders in the copper market, for example, with the large orders (cancelled within milliseconds) designed to create the illusion of market movement in order to create the reality of movements, whence the small order would reap its profits.

In November 2015 a jury convicted Coscia of commodities fraud and sentenced him to three years in prison.

Coscia argued on appeal that Congress’ language on spoofing is void for vagueness, that is, that it fails to provide traders with clear notice of what they are and aren’t allowed to do, and thus is inconsistent with due process of law.

The New York based law firm Cleary Gottlieb has made public a memorandum on the case.

London fintech opens first overseas office in Charlotte at WeWork (Biz Journals), Rated: B

PCI Pal, a London financial technology company focused on call-center compliance, is opening its first overseas office in Charlotte. The company has taken space at coworking giant WeWork’s new uptown location.

Barham says about 30% to 35% of the company’s clients have operations in the U.S., so the firm decided it was time to build out infrastructure here to support them.

BCU goes live on Microsoft Azure with the Temenos Lifecycle Management Suite (Temenos), Rated: B

Temenos (SIX: TEMN), the software specialist for banking and finance, today announces that Baxter Credit Union (BCU) has successfully implemented the Lifecycle Management Suite in Microsoft Azure. The implementation, which included the Collection, Service, and Loan Origination modules, incorporated an upgrade spanning four major releases, as well as the inaugural launch of the Lifecycle Management Suite in the Cloud.

United Kingdom

2,000 IFISAs subscribed last year as consumers eschew low-yielding cash ISAs (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

TWO THOUSAND Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) accounts were subscribed in the last tax year, with retail investors collectively putting £17m in to the tax-free wrapper, official figures show.

ISA statistics released on Thursday by HMRC include IFISA data for the first time for the 2016-2017 tax year. The IFISA was first mooted by then-Chancellor George Osborne in July 2015, as a tax-free wrapper around alternative investments including P2P lending, and was officially launched in April 2016.

The average amount of money invested through an IFISA was £8,500 – slightly less than the average £8,623 put in to a stocks and shares ISA but almost double the £4,622 put in to a cash ISA.

Is peer-to-peer lending heading for trouble? (Which?), Rated: AAA

Two of the biggest peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders in the UK have been beset by problems over the past month, with RateSetter forced to make up a near £9m loan-deal gone sour and Zopa customers experiencing a severe cut in returns. So, is the market for peer-to-peer lending headed for trouble?

RateSetter lent a total of £36m to Vehicle Trading Group from 2014. This was wholesale lending, which meant that Vehicle Trading Group lent that money to other borrowers, including £12m to an advertising firm called Adpod (an unusual choice for a company that offers car loans).

Vehicle Trading Group went bust in May 2017. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has warned P2P firms that lending to other lenders may be in breach of regulations.

RateSetter took over the struggling AdPod in the second half of 2016, but its customers didn’t find this out until shortly after Vehicle Trading Group went bust.

As well as winding down any new lending to wholesale lenders, RateSetter says it no longer issues business loans over £750,000.

Meanwhile Zopa, another well-known P2P website and one of the ‘big three’ players in the market along with Ratesetter and Funding Circle, has warned investors that they may see their returns cut for products with higher projected rates of interest due to a rise in consumer debts going bad.

Which? has been contacted by a member who complained to Zopa after putting £1,500 into Zopa’s higher-risk product, which typically projects returns of around 6% after bad debt. One year later, however, he had made only £42 – less than 3%.

Fintech could be risky if banks don’t cooperate, says the Bank for International Settlements (City A.M.), Rated: A

Banks will need to take measures over the coming years to mitigate the risks of financial technology (fintech), according to a new report from the Bank for International Settlements (BIS).

It noted that while research from McKinsey & Co in 2015 estimated that between 10 and 40 per cent of revenues and 20 and 60 per cent of retail banking profits could be put at risk by fintech over the next 10 years, other market observers saw the developments as more positive.

It also advised institutions to vet any outsourcers through a thorough due diligence process, saying that any risks and liabilities incurred during the operations would remain with the bank.

The new bank: Replacement of incumbents by challenger banks

However, new players could prove just too agile in their ability to push the boundaries of technology, the report warned. In this scenario, new banks or tech companies with a banking branch could steal market share.

The disintermediated bank: Banks have become irrelevant as customers interact directly with individual financial services providers, for instance by using distributed ledger technology

In this case, incumbent banks would no longer be a significant player because there would be no need for a trusted third party or for balance sheet intermediation. Customers could have a more direct say in choosing the services and the provider. This futuristic scenario can be seen in its nascent form in peer-to-peer lending platforms and cryptocurrencies.

China

China’s $ 2 Trillion of Shadow Lending Throws Focus on Rust Belt (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Regional banks in China’s rust-belt provinces are driving the rapid expansion of shadow banking in the country, fueling a web of informal lending that poses wider risks to the financial system, according to a study by UBS Group AG.

By analyzing 237 Chinese banks, many of them small and unlisted regional lenders, Bedford casts a new spotlight on underground financing and the risks it poses to the nation’s $35 trillion banking industry. Shadow loans grew almost 15 percent to 14.1 trillion yuan ($2.3 trillion) by December from a year earlier, equal to about 19 percent of economic output, he estimates.

Accounting for this financing, Chinese banks’ nonperforming loans could be three times higher than the official published level, he said.

Asset Quality

Bank of Tangshan is an unlisted lender in the struggling northeast city of the same name, which produces more steel than any other city around the world. The firm’s shadow loans grew 86 percent last year to a size equal to 308 percent of its formal book, the highest of any bank in China, according to Bedford’s report.

Still, the bank reported a bad-loan ratio of just 0.05 percent last year, the lowest of any bank in UBS’ analysis, exemplifying the “distortion” shadow loan books create in assessing asset quality, Bedford said. Bank of Tangshan representatives didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.

Shadow loans can be used to circumvent regulations capping loans to a single borrower at 10 percent of a bank’s assets, or 15 percent in the case of a group company and its subsidiaries, according to Bedford. For example, he said that Baoshang Bank, an Inner Mongolia lender, has extended shadow loans equivalent to 126 percent of its net assets to one borrower.

Car Finance Penetration Rate in China Expect to Double in Five Years (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

According to a public report, from 2005 to 2015, the ratio of purchasing cars by loan in China has grown rapidly from less than 10% to 25% ~ 30%. During the past ten years, auto finance in China has been developing so fast. And from 2016 to 2017, during the short two years, the car finance penetration Rate continue to rise. Now the rate has reached to 35%~40%, among which the luxury car financial penetration rate is even higher. Furthermore, it is expected to double in five years.

On the prevention of various types of ICO to absorb investment-related risks in the name of the tips (National Internet Finance Association), Rated: B

To protect the legitimate rights and interests of the public, the relevant risk issues are as follows:

First, some institutions at home and abroad use all kinds of misleading propaganda means to ICO in the name of engaged in financing activities, the relevant financial activities without any permission, which is suspected of fraud, illegal securities, illegal fund-raising and other acts. The majority of investors should remain sober, vigilant, beware of being deceived. Once found to have involved in illegal acts, should immediately submit to the public security organs.

Second, due to ICO project assets are not clear, lack of investor appropriateness, a serious shortage of information disclosure, investment activities are facing greater risk. Investors should be calm judgments, be careful to take their own investment risk.

Third, China Internet Finance Association member units should take the initiative to strengthen self-discipline, to resist illegal financial behavior.

European Union

Credit Unions embrace FinTech as loans flood in through Facebook (Independent.ie), Rated: AAA

Credit Unions around Ireland have entered the FinTech arena, with some credit unions reporting a 10-fold interaction with younger adult members since they began rolling out digital loan service initiatives earlier this year.

Since its launch, the “Facebook Loan” initiative has already been a huge success for several credit unions throughout the country – now accounting for up to 15pc to 20pc in loan enquiries per month for some credit unions.

Following an initial successful pilot project, this has now become an established channel for credit unions, with close to half of consumers using the facility to take out a loan never having borrowed from a credit union before.

New European fintech hubs are on the horizon (Business Insider), Rated: A

Sweden‘s deal share of the European fintech investment market is growing for the third consecutive year. Its share expanded 2% between 2015 and 2016 to reach 8%, and currently stands at 12%, meaning it’s already ahead of last year’s figure. The country’s share of deals is also increasing ever-more quickly, from 2% over 2015-2016 to 4% between 2016 and 2017 year-to-date (YTD).

France is also seeing its deal share increase for the third year in a row, and like Sweden, its 2017 YTD share (11%) has already overtaken its 2016 figure (10%). However, its deal share growth has slowed down slightly, from 4% during 2015-2016 to 1% between 2016 and 2017 YTD.

International

Mobile Fintech vs Traditional Banking products: 15 awesome things winners do well (Robosoft Technologies), Rated: AAA

As of 2017, banking executives are completely missing the mark at correctly understanding the rise in popularity for fintech products. It all comes down to the user experience. Banks are misinterpreting and miscalculating the role user experience plays in the overall satisfaction customers have with a banking product.

Fintech vs Traditional banks – attitudes and missed expectations

In 2016, Capgemini Consulting in collaboration with EFMA conducted a global study to gauge customers’ attitudes towards financial service companies – banks and fintech companies alike. As part of the study, the researchers asked customers to rate the most important reasons why they are using financial products coming from fintech companies. In parallel – they asked banking executives to do the same.

The results show a complete disconnect between what consumers want and appreciate about fintech and what banks think consumers appreciate about fintech products.

But what they completely missed is that 80% of consumers rank faster service and good experience as a primary reason why they’re using fintech products (the two being completely correlated). In contrast, only 40% of banking executives believe good service/ experience is critical to fintech’s rise in popularity.

Source: Invoiceinterchange.com

Banking executives do not understand what consumers want.

Consider the following stats to understand the result of banking executives missing the mark on user experience from the Millennial Disruption Index Report:

  • 71% of consumers would rather go to the dentist than listen to what banks are saying
  • 1 in 3 consumers are open to switching banks in the next 90 days if a better product is made available to them
  • All 4 of the leading banks in the US are among the ten least loved brands by Millennials
  • 33% of Millennials believe that in the next five years they won’t need to do business with a bank at all
  • Nearly 50% of Millennials believe that innovation in the banking industry will come from outside the banking industry
  • 73% of Millennials would be more excited about a financial service product coming from Google, Amazon, Apple, Paypal or Square than from their own national bank.

1. Integrated products & services (Mint and YES Bank)

It gets tiring to jump from one product to another at every given moment to get a good feeling of your overall financial life.

That is why Mint.com has managed to grow from nothing to 20 million active users in only 11 years. What Mint.com does is to order and organize your entire financial life in a seamless way to give to a bird’s-eye view of your financial life.

YES bank’s mobile solution, YES Mobile 2.0 is developed keeping in mind today’s customer’s mobile lifestyle. The app offers consumers with a seamless omnichannel experience across platforms – smartphones, tablets and smartwatches. Further, the mobile app also has some innovative features to enable easy transactions on the app. Some of these are:

  • One-touch bill payment.
  • Speech to text capabilities to enable hands-free complaints/queries registration
  • On-the-go bill payments from Wearables including Apple and Android smart watches.
  • Easy transfer of money to phone book contacts, Facebook friends and Twitter followers etc.

2. Personalized recommendations (Credit Karma)

Credit Karma is a simple credit history monitoring tool with an added benefit. Whereas they can use the service for free, they will receive personalized recommendations based on their credit reports, credit card usage and other factors. What is very interesting – and smart – for Credit Karma is that while offering these suggestions they also inform their users of their odds of acquiring a new line of credit – credit card, loans, mortgages and more. And most importantly, the user experience is clean, easy to follow and to act on it.

4. Access credit card balance without logging in (Citibank)

Remember how users ranked “speed of service” as the second most important criteria on why they love fintech products? Citibank actually leads the wave of banking institutions that allow their customers to do just that. Instead of logging in to see the most frequently sought for account information, their mobile app allows users to get a glimpse of their account simply by firing the app.

7. Seamless digital payment option (Apple Pay)

It is literally impossible for banks to create something simpler than this. For readers who are not iOS users, Apple Pay works by double tapping the home button. It then pulls up the Wallet application allowing users to pay at different retailers with the default card on file.

9. Text message notifications (Digit)

Digit is a fintech savings platform which analyzes a person’s checking account balance and spending habits and subtracts a small amount from the account every 2-3 days which is deposited in a savings account.

14. Password entering and password retrieval (Acorns)

First and foremost, Acorns has adopted the widely accepted retail practice of allowing users to unmask their password. This is an acceptable practice which reduces user authentication errors. By simply adding a “show” button, Acorns makes the login experience just a little easier.

In addition, the password reset flow is as simple as they come.

Fintech: beware the fake news (Banking Technology), Rated: AAA

A few years back, the general consensus was that banking as we knew it was over.

Fast forward two years and opinion has arguably swung too far in the other direction. The consensus now is that fintech firms tried to disrupt banks but couldn’t.

If we were to apply Gartner Hype Cycle terminology to fintech in general, we would argue that fintech went from the peak of inflated expectations to the trough of disillusionment in the last two years. If you look at the investment figures, however, the picture is not so clear. While there has been a correction in VC funding, Q2 2017 was the largest quarter of investment yet. Maybe Q2 was a blip, maybe we are heading out of the trough of disillusionment to the slope of enlightenment – or maybe investors are more sanguine about the prospects for fintech, seeing through the hype cycle.

The truth is that fintech is neither going to kill all banks nor is it a fad.

But the pessimism has become exaggerated for four main reasons:

1. Some extremely successful and highly disruptive fintech companies have been born, such as Ant Financial and PayPal (which, if a bank, would be one the ten largest in the US);

2. Adoption rates for fintech products are growing and are already material in many countries around the world (see chart below), meaning that fintech firms are successfully changing customers’ banking habits, which should help lower the cost of acquiring customers in future (a key hurdle for many fintechs);

3. Fintech companies are evolving, pushing further in middle and back office functions, extending the range of services they offer and generally becoming asset heavier and more vertically integrated, putting them in a position to compete more effectively; and,

4. Because the indirect impact of fintech has been massive.

Source: Banking Technology

UAE Remittance Giant Taps Ripple Blockchain for Instant International Payments (CryptCoinsNews), Rated: A

A report by regional publication Arabian Business has revealed that UAE Exchange, one of the region’s earliest remittance operators with some 800 offices across 31 countries, is looking to partner San Francisco-based FinTech firm Ripple to facilitate instant international money transfers.

The remittance operator sees blockchain technology as the solution toward faster and efficient money transfers at significantly lower costs for customers. Ripple uses its bank-friendly public blockchain, the Ripple Consensus Ledger, to link its international partners and facilitate real-time money transfers globally.

FinTech, The Financial Crisis And The Smartphone (Forbes), Rated: A

It is ten years since the Financial Crisis and I am often asked if FinTech was born out of the crisis.

In June 2007 two Bear Sterns hedge funds hit problems, by August BNP Paribas shut down access to hedge funds with sub-prime mortgage exposures, and in September Northern Rock, a UK savings and mortgage bank had a run on it, the first bank to suffer this consequence in 150 years in the UK.

It would be another full year before the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008 and the global financial system melted down.

Chris Skinner, the global FinTech pundit, heralds the beginning of FinTech with the launch of Zopa, a UK peer to peer lender started in 2005. It was the first time he had heard the word FinTech.

US market place lenders Prosper, launched in 2005, and Lending Club, launched in 2006, were out of the gates before any evident signs of the impending crisis.

It appears FinTech was not born out of the Financial Crisis.

India

Rubique Launches New Features On Its App (DQ India), Rated: AAA

The interactive app will now focus on complete digitization of the loan and credit card application process. The most significant new feature of the app is ‘Digital Profiling’ and once the profile is created, all the bank policies and algorithms are run against the user’s profile for tailor-made offers.

The key features of an app:

  1. Digital profiling: created based on the back-end by collecting data through SMS scrapping, network type, device characteristics and certain key data points
  2. Pre-qualified offers: The data engine keeps evaluating the offers available on the platform versus customer profile available & proactively keep notifying users on the eligible offers
  3. Document Upload & instant approval: Aiming towards 100% digitization and create a paperless experience for the user, the app allows user to upload the supporting documents required & Rubique’s unique integration feature which is one of its kind in the entire industry, let user get in principal approval online for his/her requirement making it entie digital
  4. Status tracking: Due to direct integration with financial instituions’ system, user can check the application status in real time
  5. Wish List: The app also allows user can also maintain its wish list related to his/her futue loan & credit card requirement
Asia

Blockchain solution aims to stop trade invoice fraud (GT Review), Rated: A

Trade finance is rife with cases of document duplication and the industry is currently exploring ways in which blockchain can be used to prevent these cases of fraud. Earlier this year, warehousing company Access World experienced a number of cases of warehouse receipt duplication, while the costs of the Qingdao fraud, which also involved multiple warehouse receipts, are still being counted.

Invoice Check from Trade Finance Market (TFM), a Singapore-based fintech company, is one of the early products to launch with this aim in mind. It has been developed over the past year on the Ethereum platform and uses smart contracts.

Canada

Bianca Lopes of Bioconnect Presents Building the Human into FinTech (StartUp Toronto), Rated: A

Latin America

New fintech law: what you need to know (International Law Office), Rated: AAA

On March 23 2017 the draft Financial Technology Law was published. The law will regulate:

  • the organisation, operation, function and authorisation of companies that offer alternative means of access to finance and investment (so-called ‘financial technology (fintech) institutions’ (FTIs));
  • the issuance and management of electronic payment funds; and
  • the exchange of virtual assets or cryptocurrencies.

The Ministry of Finance and Public Credit Comments (SHCP) has sought comments on the draft law from the Mexican banking and financial industries.

Under the law, the main authorities in the fintech field are:

  • the SHCP;
  • the National Banking and Securities Commission (CNBV); and
  • the Bank of Mexico (known as Banxico).

Pursuant to the initiative, the following institutions that undertake financing, investment, savings, payments or transfer activities through interfaces, the Internet or any other means of electronic or digital communications will be considered FTIs:

  • electronic payment institutions – these offer issuance, management, accountability and transfer of electronic payments services. Electronic payment funds include:
    • the amounts or units of an asset that can be assigned a monetary value and are recorded in an electronic transaction accounting ledger; and
    • the amounts accepted by a third party as receipt of an amount of money or respective virtual assets;
  • virtual asset management institutions – these contact third parties through digital means in order to buy, sell or dispose of their own or a third party’s virtual assets and receive virtual assets to make transfers or payments to a person, including another virtual asset management institution. Virtual assets are digital units that have similar uses to the Mexican peso, as determined by Banxico in accordance with certain criteria; and
  • crowdfunding institutions – these serve as mediators to investment seekers and potential investors through digital platforms, such as websites or mobile applications, so that prospective investors can fund applicants through such digital platforms.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The QED Matrix Helps Leaves and Mountains Become Trees

QED Matrix

Nigel Morris is a co-founder of Capital One and has led it to emerge as a multi-billion dollar behemoth. During his time at Capital One, he noticed there is a gap between banks and the fintech industry. To bridge this void, his team rolled out QED Investors in 2007 and was able to bring on board […]

QED Matrix

Nigel Morris is a co-founder of Capital One and has led it to emerge as a multi-billion dollar behemoth. During his time at Capital One, he noticed there is a gap between banks and the fintech industry. To bridge this void, his team rolled out QED Investors in 2007 and was able to bring on board some ex-colleagues from Capital One to build QED; this helped him to ensure the team hit the ground running. QED has invested in multiple startups that have not only become unicorns, but have changed the entire landscape of the financial ecosystem in which they operate. Most notable are Credit Karma, SoFi, Prosper, GreenSky, BrainTree, and ApplePie.

Fintech Opportunities and Hindrances

Morris has seen the best and worst of big banking and fintech startups. He has seen that banks have some really important assets that fintech companies lack: low-cost deposits, regulatory access, top-notch compliance, huge customer base, and high profitability. But they are trying to be everything to everyone and this is where fintech companies are gaining ground. Fintech companies, rather than offering everything, offer a specific product or service that banks haven’t developed or cannot develop because that is just not part of their DNA.

On the other hand, Fintechs have been extremely nimble and have evolved into dominating spaces that have been vacated or neglected by banks, online consumer lending and small business lending being prime examples. However, banks have accepted the hard truth and have started striking partnerships with fintech lenders.

Morris is of the opinion that both sectors had been operating in silos. Though both have “complementary sets of skills,” they have only now really started communicating and exploring opportunities together. This lack of being able to meet on common ground was more of a cultural issue than anything. Startups do not understand or appreciate the hierarchy and sometimes bureaucratic structural setup of banks, and banks obviously are extremely wary of aligning themselves with unwieldy trigger-happy startups that can land them in a regulatory mess. So this communication gap is the biggest hindrance that both sides need to overcome to make this partnership work.

Bridging the Bank-Fintech Gap

In their endeavor to bridge the gap, QED has taken massive strides in the last six months by striking groundbreaking partnerships–one with Fifth Third in Cincinnati and another with Scotia Bank in Toronto. This partnership is beneficial for all three parties involved: Banks, Fintech companies, and QED.

Fifth Third has invested heavily in QED portfolio companies like GreenSky, ApplePie Capital, and AvidXchange. The focus of the Scotia relationship is in Latin America as they have a tremendous presence in LatAm and Central American countries outside of Brazil. They are exploring multiple opportunities together in those markets and should be able to announce a groundbreaking deal soon.

The QED Matrix

Nigel Morris believes that differentiating between fintechs and banks on a single perimeter is not feasible or sufficient. That’s why he came up with the QED Matrix.

The matrix has been developed on the lines of the BCG matrix (which is used for analyzing business units). The QED Matrix is used to show the trade-offs in the business model structure of the financial service institutions. The gist of is that each quadrant has its strengths and weaknesses, so entities moving towards the center are in the best shape.

The Matrix is based on two spectrums:

  • Resilience is a function of factors like brand capitalization and product suite diversification;
  • Flexibility concerns both infrastructure and decision making, and also includes organizational design, technology, culture, talent, and much more.

Classifications of each quadrant:

  • Mountains – Firms listed as mountains are high in resilience and low in flexibility. They have resilience because businesses have product diversity, brand, capital reserves, distribution networks, and low cost of capital. But low in flexibility due to institutional inertia, low growth, technical debt, and focus on regulation and cost reduction.

Examples: Citibank, Fifth Third Bank, Suntrust etc.

  • Boulders – Firms under this quadrant represents low resilience and low flexibility. Low resilience due to lack of capital reserves or product diversification of larger banks. They also lack in flexibility due to legacy infrastructure, weak talent pipeline etc.

Examples: Regional banks, Credit unions, Community banks.

  • Trees – Trees represent high resilience and high flexibility. High resilience due to factors like product diversification and loyal customer base and high flexibility due to clutter-free organizational structure, less technical debt, and open access to talent.

Examples: SoFi

  • Leaves – Firms under this quadrant represents low resilience and high flexibility. Low resilience due to product concentration and lack of stable low-cost capital. High in flexibility due to simple organizational structure, technology infrastructure, etc.

Examples: GreenSky, Avant

Analysis

Obviously, Trees represent the best of both worlds. But the thought process behind the QED Matrix is for banks and fintechs to realize where they are in the matrix and what type of partnerships should they pursue to ensure they remain relevant in the twenty-first century. So a boulder should look to partner with leaves so that its customer base can be monetized properly. Leaves should look to partner with mountains so that they have access to cheaper capital and a diversified offering and customer base. Whatever the situation, QED is sitting in the middle of the matrix. It is not only a capital provider to fintechs, but also the creator of a platform for dialogue with banks; this should help it become the first choice for entrepreneurs looking to build a sustainable fintech business.

Read about Nigel Morris’s LendIt USA 2017 keynote titled “If I Were to Start a Bank Today, This is What It Would Look Like.”

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Monday November 7 2016, Daily News Digest

cross river bank spreads

News Comments Today’s main news: OnDeck continues to experience loss in Q3 despite origination record. Today’s main analysis : PeerIQ analyzes Cross River Bank. TransUnion reports low delinquency rates and strong balance growth in credit markets. Today’s thought-provoking articles: The credit scoring blind spot. How FinTech will impact finance in the next decade. ACCC wants to prevent banks […]

cross river bank spreads

News Comments

United States

  • OnDeck shows $12.9m loss in Q3 2016. GP: ” As we have seen for the last few quarters OnDeck has moved from selling loans to holding them on the balance sheet for longer. This strategy continues and for now provides short term losses, in principle, to be offset by long term larger profits. They have about $85mil in cash and equivalents so at a rythm of $15mil in loss per quarter that’s another 6 quarters left. I wish OnDeck would demonstrate and explain when this strategy is going to turn around in their models. On the other side losing $15mil on $71mil in revenue is a little high perhaps. I hope they can make it profitable within 2-3 years.  “AT: “This could be seen as a short-term blip. Sales went down as gross revenues went up, but the company is also investing in technology and analytics, which indicates a long-term strategy for growth.”
  • Cross River Bank is no ordinary bank. AT: “We’ve reported on this already, but PeerIQ takes a look at CRB in their newsletter, including charts showing the bank’s improved ROE positioning. The question here for banks is, can they follow Cross River into alternative lending and be more profitable than ever before?”
  • CFPB ruling won’t change anything. AT: “The structure of CFPB as likely been mended, but that won’t stop the battle from continuing. You’ll likely see more on this issue in the future as Washington continues to talk about regulation of MPL.” GP: ” I also stronly believe that the CFPB structure will be solved one way or another and will have no impact on CFPB’s activity. The ruling on CFPB’s structure is just a witty anecdote. “
  • Credit markets spurred by strong balance growth and low delinquency rates. AT: “This is another indication that the credit market is looking good even for marketplace lenders. Maybe especially for MPLs.” GP: ” This is a great indication that the credit market is healthy. When a market is healthy it’s much easier to build a business. It will become much more interesting when the credit market will be less healthy and that is what online lenders should prepare for.”
  • TD Ameritrade gets a robo-advisor. GP: ” As we wrote in the past, online lenders should learn from the dynamics of the robo-advisor market. I believe they behave in very similar ways.”
  • Wish raises another $500m in new financing. GP:”This is an online shopping app. This makes me think of point of sale financing.”
  • The credit scoring blind spot. GP: ” A very interesting analysis pointing out that credit scores ” are not designed to provide an absolute statement of risk but rather a relative assessment within a population of borrowers.””
  • Kroll assigns final ratings to SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2015-1. GP: ” first term ABS securitization of unsecured consumer loans for SoFi. Very interesting.PeerIQ has repeatedly pointed out that SoFi has the best rated and lowest priced securitizations. Why ? Is it all about belief in their underwriting or just the fact that they focus on super prime borrowers ? “
  • A bill has been introduced that would create a FinTech sandbox in the U.S. AT: “Whether this bill passes or not, I see the U.S. establishing some type of regulation for FinTech.” GP: ” We hope the bill passes !”
  • How Citibank is tackling the FinTech problem.
  • MPOWER reaches new funding milestone and celebrates zero-interest loans. GP: ” We have covered MPower this past spring and we are glad they are seeing such nice traction.”
  • MPOWER secures Series A funding. GP: ” With traction comes funding, very well done. “

United Kingdom

International

Australia

China

Asia

Latin America

Russia

Israel

News Summary

United States

OnDeck posts $ 12.9m loss on quarter despite origination record (altfi), Rated: AAA

OnDeck, the New York Stock Exchange listed online lender for small businesses, has published its financial results for the third quarter. The company increased its loans under management by 44 per cent year-over-year to $1.1 billion, while bolstering originations by 27 per cent to $613m. Gross revenues rose by 15 per cent to $77.4m.

OnDeck operates a hybrid lending model which involves keeping some loans on balance sheet while distributing others via an institutional marketplace, often for a mark-up. But the platform’s marketplace sales have been trending downwards in 2016, in keeping with a wider decline in investor appetite across the industry.

The firm’s cost of funding during the third quarter of 2016 decreased to 5.7 per cent, down from 5.8 per cent in Q3 2015. Operating expenses were $49.4 million, up 16 per cent over last year as the company continued to invest in its technology and analytics capabilities.

OnDeck’s common stockholders lost $16.6m in the third quarter, compared to net income of $3.7m across the same period in the previous year.

Cross River Bank – Not Your Ordinary Community Bank (PeerIQ Email), Rated: A

Currently, community banks are in a secular consolidation trend owing to a low spread environment, and higher regulatory fixed costs, such as capital and liquidity rules, tighter Bank Secrecy Act/AML obligations, tighter FDIC de novo charter requirements, and new consumer protection requirements.

Indeed, per FDIC, from 2000 to 2008 there were over 1,000 community bank de novo charters issued. Post-2008, bank formation has slowed to a handful of charters per year. Industry consolidation across the 6,000+ extant community banks is expected to continue.

Cross River Bank was one of the few new charters and was founded in 2008 by CEO Gilles Gade, a former banker at Barclays and CFO of a mortgage lender.

CRB is also an early adopter of new financial technology innovations. It has partnered with payments companies including TransferWise, Stripe, Ripple, and CoinBase. CRB is reportedly developing an online-only digital bank dubbed ‘Almond Bank’ with a focus on millennials.

In prior newsletters, we made the argument that banks can improve their ROE position by purchasing or financing whole loans using Discover Financial Services as a case-study.

Here we test the hypothesis further:

While the broader banking industry consolidates and struggles to earn their cost of capital, Cross River Bank has expanded NIM (net interest margins) and lowered funding costs over time.

Exhibit 2 shows the increasing basis between NIM and cost of funding since June 2012. The improved NIM and declining cost of funding provides a powerful motivation for non-bank lenders to entertain bank acquisition, and also the converse, for banks to seek partnership or origination of consumer loans.

Below, we have listed some statistics to put growth and value in perspective:

  • Cross River Bank has experienced a ~70% CAGR in Net Operating Income since 2012 around when CRB increased MPL origination activities.
  • Total assets have grown from $10 Mm to nearly $500 Bn in assets since inception, while maintaining high levels of equity and asset quality.
  • Maintaining an ROE of 20% over 10 years will generate a 6.2x increase in book value.
  • 9-month revenue more than doubled to $55MM from $26 MM last year.

CFPB structure ruled unconstitutional, but powers likely to remain intact (CI Marketplace Lending), Rated: A

Marketplace lending firms should still prepare for scrutiny and the possibility of challenges brought against them by the CFPB. This is despite a recent ruling that the agency’s structure is unconstitutional, which has raised questions about the government body’s future.

Richard Eckman, partner at Pepper Hamilton law, believes that the CFPB’s future is far from over. He says of the ruling: “It sounds more ominous than it really is. It was more about the structure of the CFPB and that in its current form, it has a single director who can’t be removed without cause, so is therefore technically unconstitutional.”

Of concern is the lack of controls and checks on the CPFB that are incumbent on other US government bodies. However, this could change as a result of the ruling.

At the moment, for example, there are a real lack of checks on the CFPB and this case may provide opponents of the agency with greater ammunition. The CFPB is not subject to an appropriation process, for example, that may now be pursued by Congressional actions and the financial industry – which has been concerned about the CFPB’s extensive powers since its establishment.

For the marketplace lending sector, the recent ruling may have provided hopes for a dissemblance of the CFPB’s powers and perhaps therefore less scrutiny. But the CFPB is still most likely going to pursue platforms if it spots any sign of wrongdoing.

Healthy, Well-Functioning Credit Markets Spurred on by Strong Balance Growth, Low Delinquency Rates (MarketWatch), Rated: A

Balances continue to rise and delinquencies remain muted across all credit products, according to TransUnion’s TRU, +1.17% Q3 2016 Industry Insights Report. The report, powered by PramaSM analytics, points to a healthy, well-functioning consumer credit market, which has seen continued growth across diverse products such as the mortgage market and the personal loan space.

More than 15 million consumers had a personal loan in the third quarter of 2016. The number of consumers with a personal loan grew by 1.5 million between Q3 2015 and Q3 2016. The report also found that personal loan balances surpassed $100 billion for the first time in Q3 2016, with $17 billion of balance growth occurring in the last year.

Despite surpassing $100 billion, total personal loan balances experienced the slowest third quarter growth rate since Q3 2013. In the third quarter of 2016, balances grew 20.9%, down from 24.9% in Q3 2015 and 25.5% in Q3 2014.

FinTech lender share of originated personal loans has more than tripled since 2013. FinTech originations reached 26% of all personal loans in Q2 2016, up from 8% in Q2 2013 and 16% in Q2 2014. Originations are viewed one quarter in arrears to ensure all accounts are reported and included in the data. In total, more than 3.57 million personal loans were originated in the second quarter, down 0.5% from 3.58 million in Q2 2015.

FinTech Lenders’ Share of the Personal Loan Market

Q2 2010   Q2 2011   Q2 2012   Q2 2013   Q2 2014   Q2 2015   Q2 2016

2%            3%           5%            8%           16%          27%          26%

In Q2 2016, near prime originations declined 4.7% and prime originations declined 2.7%, while both subprime and super prime originations grew by 3.2%, compared to Q2 2015. A prior TransUnion analysis found that FinTechs were outpacing traditional lenders in personal loans originated to near prime and prime borrowers. “The decline in near prime and prime originations reflects the challenges faced by some FinTech lenders,” added Laky. “Offsetting this, banks and credit unions are expanding in the super prime risk tier, while traditional finance companies continue to expand in subprime.”

TD Ameritrade Adds Low-Cost Robo Advisory Services (ETF Trends), Rated: A

To help investors better adapt to various market conditions and craft a diversified investment portfolio, TD Ameritrade will provide a low-cost robo-advisory service that offers intuitive and easy-to-use investment advice.

The new TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios is an automated, low-cost advisory service for digital-first investors. There will be five portfolios, all designed by Morningstar, to provide investors with a diversified strategy based on low-cost exchange traded funds from Vanguard or BlackRock’s iShares. The minimum investment is $5,000 to open an Essential Portfolios account with a 0.30% fee per year.

The low minimum investments in the robo-advisor program may be a good way for starting investors to begin saving today as many human advisors require large minimum balances. The robo-advisory is seen as an easy step for investors to gain more in-depth financial advise without having to hire a financial advisor, allowing users to access their accounts from anywhere with a smartphone or personal device.

Some advice and guidance is better than nothing. Research has shown that people who have a financial plan with specific goals are 85% confident they will reach their retirement goals, compared to 28% that do not, according to TD Ameritrade.

Using a slider bar to change monthly contributions or target dates, investors are able to further customize their recommended strategies. Through the various adjustments, users may find varying details on asset allocations, expected returns and some limited historical returns.

TD Ameritrade joins a number of custodians in adding their own robo-advisories. Charles Schwab launched its retail robo-advice, Intelligent Portfolios, in March 2015. Fidelity Investments came out with its Fidelity Go in July 2016. Others money managers in the space include Vanguard Group, BlackRock Inc., Morgan Stanley and Bank of America.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.

Investors will choose a robo portfolio based on their investment goals and their general investment time frame, selecting from options like retirement, wealth-generation, education or other. A range of risk exposure is also provided from least to most risky options.

Making another $ 500M Wish (The Daily Pitch email), Rated: A

Shopping app

The credit scoring blind spot – Macroeconomics (Wain Street), Rated: A

In February 2016, about six months after rating a securitization, Moody’s found “faster buildup of delinquencies and charge-offs than expected” in the pool of Prosper loans backing the ABS. Experts had noticed deterioration months earlier…pundits discerned a signalinsights followed—macro trend…credit cycle…borrower stress. But then in July, Moody’s decided there was “absence of substantial deterioration”.  So, what about that borrower stress?  Well, it’s back.  In its October 8-K filing, Lending Club observes “Higher delinquencies are more evident in 2015 and early 2016 vintages, which coincides with an uptick in consumer indebtedness in the U.S.”.  And the pundits are considering the evidence.

WAIN Street’s analysis of over a million loans originated by a leading marketplace lender between January 2012 and June 2016 shows that median credit scores have been flat and even increased slightly since Q1 2014.

First, don’t blame the credit scores.  They are not designed to provide an absolute statement of risk but rather a relative assessment within a population of borrowers.  The actual level of defaults is influenced by economic conditions.  Not convinced.  Just look at default rates for various credit score bands before, during, and after the Great Recession.  For the same credit scores, defaults nearly doubled during the Great Recession.

Third, link individual  borrowers to economic conditions.  We assigned each loan to a Local Economic Vitality band based on data current as of the origination date and examined the loan mix for the eighteen quarters. The proportion of loans originated to borrowers from economically stronger locations peaked mid-2014 and has been declining since then.

Kroll Bond Rating Agency Assigns Final Ratings to SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2015-1 (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns ratings to one class of notes issued by SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2015-1 LLC (“SCLP 2015-1” or the “Issuer”). This is a $189.37 million unrated consumer loan ABS transaction that closed on August 21, 2015 and as of the October 17, 2016 payment date has a current note balance of $143.8 million. At the request of SoFi Lending Corp. (“SoFi” or the “Company”), KBRA is issuing public ratings for SCLP 2015-1 on November 4, 2016.

SCLP 2015-1 represents the first term ABS securitization of unsecured consumer loans for SoFi. Since the closing of SCLP 2015-1, SoFi has sponsored four unsecured consumer loan securitization in 2016, each has been rated by KBRA. SoFi currently originates personal loans through its state licenses or complies with certain requirements where a state lending license is not required.

THE U.S. WANTS A SANDBOX TOO (K&L Gates), Rated: A

On September 22, 2016, Republican Congressman Patrick McHenry from North Carolina announced the introduction of H.R. 6118, the Financial Services Innovation Act of 2016 (the “Bill”). McHenry is the chief deputy whip and vice chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. According to the press release, the bill was introduced as part of the “Innovation Initiative” that McHenry co-launched earlier this year with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a fellow Republican from California. On October 19, 2016, the Bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit. Before the Bill becomes law in the United States, it must be past by both chambers of Congress and signed by the President. With this Bill, America joins, among others, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, and Malaysia in establishing FinTech regulatory sandboxes.

In its current form, the Bill takes a two-prong approach to constructing a regulatory sandbox. First, it creates a government-wide FinTech oversight regime, and second, it codifies an exclusive no-action relief mechanism for financial innovators.

Citibank’s plan to fight the fintech revolution (CNBC), Rated: A

Fintech is revolutionizing the world of finance, and traditional banks worldwide are reacting — boosting mobile services and shuttering branches to trim costs — all in an effort to stay in the game.

Over the past decade, venture capitalists, private equity firms and a number of other big players have been pouring money into fintech start-ups. Since 2010, more than $50 billion has been invested globally in almost 2,500 companies as these innovators redefine the way we bank, according to Accenture. In the United States alone, revealed a Citibank report, investing increased from $1.8 billion in 2010 to $19 billion in 2015.

Although only about 1 percent of North American consumer banking revenue has so far migrated to these new digital business models, claims the report, that number is expected to increase to about 10 percent by 2020 and 17 percent by 2023 as consumer behavior continues to shift toward digital ways to save, spend and move money.

Citibank, for one, formed Citi Fintech in November 2015, a division consisting of a number of employees from tech companies such as Amazon and PayPal. Its first mission: an upgraded app that uses voice and facial recognition to eliminate the need for passwords. Although Citibank won’t disclose any of the details, a spokesperson there did confirm the app is on point to roll out before the end of the year, is partnering with a number of fintech start-ups and was testing its voice recognition feature using Amazon’s “Alexa” program.

Their approach is to embrace the latest financial technology, not fight it. “We talk to fintech’s all the time,” said the Citibank spokesperson.

MPOWER Reaches $ 100M Milestone, Celebrates by Awarding Zero-Interest Loan (PRWeb), Rated: B

MPOWER Financing today announced that it has exceeded $100 million in loan application volume, offering thousands of high-potential students a way to access and complete their undergraduate or graduate education at top U.S. universities. To celebrate this milestone, MPOWER awarded a zero-interest loan to one of its borrowers.

Nitish Gupta, the student granted a zero-interest loan, shares a background and experience similar to many of MPOWER’s borrowers. A graduate student in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math) field, Gupta was turned down several times for loans in his native country of India because the banks failed to recognize his promising future, instead focusing on co-signers, on collateral, or on his not-yet-established credit history. Yet within a week of completing his application to MPOWER, Gupta’s loan was approved based on dozens of factors, including his future earning potential.

MPOWER designed its loans to serve high-potential students like Gupta who may not fit within traditional credit assessment models. MPOWER borrowers attend top universities and hold high post-graduation employment potential but may not yet have an established U.S. credit history.

MPOWER Secures $ 6M Series A Funding from Institutional Investors (PRWeb), Rated: B

MPOWER Financing today announced that it has secured $6M in its Series A equity round, led by Zephyr Peacock India Fund III and followed by several other institutional backers, including initial investors 1776 Ventures, Goal Structured Solutions (GS2), and VilCap Investments (Village Capital), as well as newcomers DreamIt Ventures, Fresco Capital, and University Ventures.

This latest funding allows MPOWER to create solutions for a greater number of students, offering more loan approvals to qualified candidates. MPOWER plans to use the capital to enhance its technology platform and expand its outreach efforts in emerging markets.

United Kingdom

Abundance launches UK’s first green Innovative Finance ISA (BusinessGreen), Rated: A

Abundance has become the first investment platform in the UK to open an Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) targeting green energy projects.

The IFSA, which has been open to new subscriptions since April in a pre-launch phase was formally launched late last week. It enables investors to lend tax-free to renewable energy projects via Abundance’s peer-to-peer platform.

IFSAs first launched in April this year, and Abundance was one of the first peer-to-peer lending platforms to receive an approval to offer the investment vehicle.

Under Abundance’s IFISA investors will be able to invest in a host of clean energy projects.

Report: UK P2P Property Lending Delivers Returns from 2.25% to 12.7% (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Independent ratings agency 4thWay is out with an interesting report on the peer to peer property lending market in the UK. This sector of alternative finance has been very popular due to the asset class and the solid returns. Even in light of Brexit turmoil, P2P property lending remains a robust and growing opportunity for investors.

According to the report, today there are 12 P2P lenders that specialise in property.  Combined, these platforms have lent £1.6 billion since 2013. Returns have ranged from 2.25% to 12.7% and lender losses have been placed at zero at 11 out of the 12 platforms. 4thWay explains there have been cases of bad debt but lenders have not lost their money largely due to the investment being secured by the property. Overall, lenders have lost just £15,000 out of £1.6 billion lent (0.0009%). Only one platform, Funding Secure,  has experienced losses of 0.02% –  spread over three years. 4thWay states this is easily offset by interest of 12.7% per year.

The report says that lending decisions are underpinned by underwriting processes with “sensible” maximum loans-to-value of 70% to 80%. Average loans-to-value (LTV) are considerably lower. In some cases, lenders can specifically choose loans with a maximum of 50% LTV. An example of this may be found through Proplend. Interest rates remain high as lenders are cautious and thus demand a premium.

 

Latest Insights into the UK Fintech Investment Market. (TechBullion), Rated: A

Fintech Week 2016ranked the UK first amongst the world’s leading Fintech hubs. Last year, professional services firm EY listed the UK as the most fintech-friendly country, with the industry employing over 61,000 people and generating £6.6bn in revenues. For investors, the country provides a fertile ground for fintech entrepreneurs and start-ups. The UK fintech investment growth is driven by the availability of business capital, supportive regulations, tech talent, and position of London as a global trading base.

The availability of funds in the UK is good for fintech start-ups. According to a study by Let’s Talk Payments  over $5.5 billion of investments were made in the financial technology sector from July 2015 to January 2016. The UK leading fintech investors include Index Ventures, Seedcamp, Balderton Capital, The London Co-Investment Fund, Northzone, Octopus Ventures, Accel, and 83North, Draper Esprit, Anthemis Group, Passion Capital, Notion Capital and General Atlantic.

The fintech industry is served by many angel investors who have the required experience and skills to understand fintech business. Also, private equity investors are many, with more than 130 funds registered.

The UK has the best fintech policy environment in the world, with a very supportive regulatory regime. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has reduced barriers to the entry of new fintech players, with UK-based start-ups benefiting from tax breaks and funding schemes designed to foster growth. For instance, R&D tax incentives are available to firms that employ few people.

Fintech accelerators, too, play an important role in shaping investment environment in the UK. There are many Fintech start-ups accelerators in the UK willing to give support in the form of affordable office spaces, starting capital and mentorship. These accelerators in the UK include Seedcamp accelerator, Barclays accelerator, and Fintech-Innovation-Lab accelerator, Techstars Accelerator, Level39, Tech City UK and Dot Forge Accelerator.

International

Why FinTech Startups Will Not Win If They Play Like The Banks (Fintech News), Rated: AAA

My recent experience with FinTech Startup Revolut has shown me that the banks can still sleep quietly for a while as Fintech Start-ups will in fact not be in measure to disrupt the industry if they don’t also change the rules of the game…

So what went wrong with my Revolut account… I used my multi-currency card abroad to pay for goods in Euro. I received a VAT refund in Euro that was to be re-credited to my Revolut account. But today, when I logged into my account, I noticed that the refund had been re-credited in Sterling, with someone taking a hefty spread in the process…

What clients of FinTech Start-ups want is a completely different approach that puts them at the center. They want services that are not only answering their needs, but that are also:

  • simple to use
  • fast
  • convenient

Banks on the other hand are struggling to make sense of big data. Because it lives on several databases and systems that are hardly integrated, because they did not think of asking clients the right to use this data twenty years ago when they signed them up, and because of plenty other valid reasons, mining through this data is a difficult, near impossible, task.

Clients are attracted to FinTech Start-ups because of the glitter this new lawyer of technology provides. They see the novelty in the approach and they believe something has changed…

Clients love the new simplicity – no more endless paper form to sign, all is done with a click on a fancy app interface and they even work with pictures of you, your ID card or proof of residence taken through your smartphone!

Clients love the increased speed – they can do it here and there, through the internet and 4G mobile connection, wherever they are, no more need to visit a branch in person.

Clients love the convenience – FinTech Start-ups provide the same services as traditional banks, often even better, and at a fraction of the price they normally pay their bank.

What should have happened instead at a Fintech Start-up?

First, the FinTech angle should have kicked in immediately:

The data analysis should have been instantaneous, with artificial intelligence reading the support chat channel and picking up that I was growing more and more upset by the interaction with the customer service representative.

Social Media listening should have also indicated real-time that I was starting to tweet about my problem and my frustration at the lack of understanding from the customer service representative, and that I was starting to drag influencers in the discussion.

Finally, the CRM system should have spitted out a customer profile showing that over the past 4 months:

I had increased my volume of transactions significantly (so I was on my way to become a “good” client) that all transactions I had done were in Euros and that there were no transaction in GBP (so there was possibly something abnormal with those two transactions in GBP).

So, in other words, the customer service representative should have assessed what was my issue with Revolut (i.e. refund process did not work properly), should have assessed the most practical and easiest way for Revolut to address my need (i.e. fix the refund by compensating the difference) and should have asked me how Revolut could still increase my client satisfaction (i.e. reinforce their client promise and turn me into a champion of their brand to drum up more business).

Client-centric champion Amazon would have paid back the 2.92 GBP in a split-second and would have probably issued a compensation voucher to make up for the bad customer experience. This would have reinforced my trust in their brand and would have led me to sing their praises on the social networks, bringing them additional clients attracted by this positive client experience sharing.

Race to Attract Fintech Talent Accelerates with Worldwide Regulatory Revamp (Crytocoins News), Rated: A

The British regulators, undoubtedly running while others seem to have just began walking, announced a raft of new measures to shake up banking based on recommendations by the Competition and Markets Authority. The most relevant for Fintech is an emphasis on Open Banking, giving access to traditional bank provided APIs and customer data so that they can provide direct services.

The CMA, however, fell short of what some had asked – the breaking up of giant banks as only a handful of them dominate the market, making banking an oligopoly or, even, a cartel which, at times, operates capriciously with little, if any, recourse as the closure of CoinJournal’s banking facilities illustrates.

The race has now been joined by the Swiss which announced a new proposal for light-touch fintech regulations. They are to create a “sandbox” for companies to experiment in a customized regulatory environment together with a fintech license, allowing new entrants to hold up to just above $100 million, making it easier to compete with traditional banks.

The race, however, is not limited to just the west. Abu Dhabi is also making its run with an announcement that they are to launch a Regulatory Laboratory through a new fintech legislative framework. Similar to a sandbox, it makes it easier to launch new innovative products and experiment with market reactions.

The United States is also on the move with the banking regulator appointing a senior lawyer to run a new “Office of Innovation” for Fintech. The primary task of the new center will be the designing of a fintech licensing framework to streamline regulation across the 52 states. Such discussions have now been ongoing for months, with the speed of movement probably decided by the outcome of the election.

The overall picture, therefore, seems to be one of a global understanding that finance is rapidly changing due to new technologies such as blockchains, smart contracts, APIs, and the internet.

How Fintech will revolutionise finance in the next decade (e27), Rated: A

Huy Nguyen Trieu is currently the CEO of The Disruptive Group, a business builder and advisory firm in finance. The firm aims to build and help the next generation of large-scale financial companies by combining a good understanding of financial services and technology disruption.

Prior to founding The Disruptive Group, Huy has navigated between startups and large organisations. He founded Ukibi — a precursor to Linkedin — in 1999. After five intense years, he joined international banks where he built high-growth businesses for over a decade, culminating in his last position as Managing Director at Citi.

Apart from writing his personal blog, Disruptive Finance, he is the Fintech Resident Expert at Oxford and a board member of Fintech Hong Kong.

1. Can you share with us your experiences and motivations behind launching The Disruptive Group?

The Disruptive Group was shaped by my experiences over the last eighteen years. I’ve worked in very large international banks but have also been very involved in the startup scene as a mentor, investor as well as a startup CEO.

3. You mentioned that you are a strong advocate for the potential of fintech. Could you elaborate further on your views?

In 1990, I co-founded Ukibi, which was essentially LinkedIn, but five years before LinkedIn. Despite having great investors, people and a superb product, it wasn’t enough to get significant traction. This experience taught me the importance of timing.

Over the last few years, I’ve applied this approach to finance and it is very clear that finance is being revolutionised because of technology. Although we are only at the beginning, there have been incredible results. For example, Zhong An sold online insurance to more than 300 million people in two years. Twenty per cent of the US adult population uses Credit Karma — a company that had no clients five years back.

In addition to innovative startups, we will start to see some real transformations in finance. The whole value chain will be transformed and there will be new entrants. At the same time, this will be a great way to bring finance to those who couldn’t access it — both in the West and in emerging markets.

Finally, we will start to see whole new services, which we never imagined. It will be much more than bringing new technology to old finance. It will be about creating new ways to manage finance – in exactly the same way that Facebook was not just a mere evolution of existing services.

4. Having been involved in fintech across Europe and Asia, how would you access the potential of fintech across these markets?

I would say that there is a more mature ecosystem in Europe today — especially London. That’s because it started earlier, but also because you have a very established financial capital in London that became a de facto Fintech capital for Europe. Hence, there are definitely a lot of projects, ideas, and emulation happening in Europe. However, the financial infrastructure is also very mature, meaning that startups have to compete with existing products coming from very large companies, which is not easy.

One of the main challenges in Asia would be the heterogeneity of the markets, especially from a regulatory standpoint. Today, in Europe and the USA, you could access a large market without having to be regulated on a case-by-case basis. In Asia, there isn’t a common regulatory framework yet. I think this would help a lot for the development of fintech.

5. Vietnam’s fintech industry is still in its early stages. How would you evaluate Vietnam’s fintech potential, and how does it compare to the international scene?

Despite being in its early stages, Vietnam has huge potential. Only a third of the population has a bank account, but on average, people have more than one mobile phone each! So there is definitely great opportunities to build fintech in Vietnam. There have been some very good traction in Vietnam. For example, we look at the case of  Timo and Momo. That should hopefully attract more and more entrepreneurs to that space.

The examples of London and Singapore show that there are a few keys to building a successful fintech momentum. This includes the ecosystem, talents, money, government and regulations.

Of course, not all countries are in the same position as the UK or Singapore, but a lot can be done to build a thriving ecosystem for new financial services. I don’t know enough about Vietnam to properly compare, but I am definitely looking forward to knowing more at Echelon.

Australia

Australian Government Eyeing Big Banks to Prevent Blockchain Monopolization (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), an independent arm of the Australian government that aims to regulate competition in the market and uphold national consumer law, has been closely eyeing four big banks to prevent attempts of monopolizing the blockchain industry in fintech. The banks include the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac, National Australia Bank, and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group.

According to Reuters,  ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said the government regulatory body has not yet examined any cases of Australia’s “Big Four” banks purchasing smaller fintech companies or acquiring blockchain technology.  However, in the interest of fair marketplace competition, Sims alluded to the fact that any major proposed deals by the banks would face ACCC scrutiny.

Startup entrepreneurs, however, suggest that the ACCC’s attempts at regulation may harm rather than help small businesses.

Larger companies such as Apple, on the other hand, have leaned toward regulation of big banks in the blockchain industry, especially when they are attempting to enter a new market.

For now, the ACCC has yet to find the big banks in violation of laws protecting marketplace competition.  We will see how far the banks can push the boundaries.

China

Chinese peer-to-peer lender Lufax sees IPO helping local, overseas growth (Reuters), Rated: A

Lufax, China’s biggest peer-to-peer lending and wealth management platform, sees a potential listing helping to fund expansion at home and abroad, though it has set no specific timeline for a deal, Chief Executive Officer Gregory Gibb told Reuters in an interview on Monday.

Valued at $18.5 billion when it raised $1.2 billion from a group of investors in January, Lufax picked four banks to prepare a Hong Kong initial public offering that could raise $5 billion, sources said previously. Giant Chinese insurer Ping An Insurance (601318.SS) is its biggest investor.

China’s Online Insurer ZhongAn Launches Fintech Incubator (Insurance Journal), Rated: B

ZhongAn Online Property & Casualty Insurance Co. Ltd., China’s first online insurance company, has launched a fintech innovation company.

The company, called Called ZhongAn Information and Technology Services Co. Ltd. (also known as “ZhongAn Technology”), will explore innovation for its parent company, ZhongAn, and its external partners.

ZhongAn Technology will focus on innovation in four main areas: artificial intelligence, blockchain, cloud computing, and data driven.

Further, its services will be rolled out on a blockchain cloud platform.

Asia

Framework to be developed to boost ‘fintech’ services (The Japan News), Rated: AAA

Megabanks and regional banks have started creating a framework to safely provide their customers’ information to burgeoning start-up companies that offer new services called fintech, a combination of financing and information technology.

The framework aims to prevent personal information from being leaked and give a further sense of security to customers.

Banks, fintech companies, the Financial Services Agency and experts established a review panel earlier this month and will compile a report by the end of this fiscal year.

Although the FSA can request financial institutions, including banks that are subject to its supervision, to carefully manage the information they have, it only loosely regulates and supervises fintech companies at the moment.

Banks have asked fintech companies through contracts for thorough information management and sharing responsibility when personal information is leaked. They aim at easily cooperating with fintech companies by drawing up unified security standards industrywide.

Singapore fintech snags top Indian bank as client (AsiaOne), Rated: A

A HOMEGROWN fintech has snagged India’s largest bank has its client, using technology to create spending analyser tools for card customers at the State Bank of India (SBI). The move is a good sign that fintechs are moving beyond Singapore, noted the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) in a statement issued by the fintech, Percipient.

Senjo Group Relocates to Fintech Hub Singapore (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Privately held investment firm Senjo Group has relocated its corporate headquarters to Singapore in recognition of Singapore’s growing influence in the Fintech sector. Representatives said the business-friendly environment and focus on financial innovation was key in their decision to lease the entire 56th floor of One Raffles Place. Senjo was only recently set up in 2015. The company was launched to manage a portfolio of payments processing, cross-border remittance, foreign exchange, trade finance, e-commerce, mobile payments, commodity trading and factoring businesses.  Senjō also has regional offices in Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Luxembourg and the UK, and operations in most major markets.

Korea Fintech Center Signs MOUs With 500 Startups & Silicon Valley Forum (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

The Korea Fintech Center has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOUs) with two Silicon Valley organizations, 500 Startups and Silicon Valley Forum.

500 Startups is described as a global venture capital company and startup accelerator. It has supported 1,700 startups in over 50 countries. Silicon Valley Forum has reportedly hosted over 150 conferences and demo days. It also has a global network of more than 20,000 in 40 countries. The new MOUs marked South Korea’s fifth accord with foreign countries in regards to fintech. Other MOUs were from Britain, Australia, France, and Singapore.

Singaporean Government & Banks to Award S$ 1.15 million to FinTech Companies (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

The Government of Singapore is inviting startups, tech companies, investors, and banks to its inaugural Singapore FinTech Festival between November 14-18. Events will include a Hackcelerator Demo Day, the FinTech Awards, and a speakers expo. Finalists competing in the FinTech Awards had been busy implementing their solutions to fintech company and financial institution obstacles by June to compete for one of ten awards, ranging from S$ 50,000 to S$ 250,000 for a total prize pool of SG $1.15 million. Nearly 40 startups and companies are finalists, including Citi and OCBC Bank.  The festival is expecting over 6,000 attendees.

Singapore’s FinTech Festival is another step in the country’s push to establish itself as Asia’s leader in fintech and a global hub for the industry.

Latin America

Uber Teams Up With Fintech Bank Bankaool to Launch Its First Debit Card in Latin America (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Friday, Uber and Mexican fintech bank Bankaool announced they have team up to launch Uber’s first ever debit card in Latin America. The online transportation network company revealed that the Uber Bankaool card has been available since October 21st and offers users who do not have a credit card an e-commerce new payment option.

Russia

Moscow Hosts Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference, Largest Russian State Bank to Participate (Coin Telegraph), Rated: A

On Nov. 10, representatives of IBM, Microsoft, QIWI and Sberbank will gather in Moscow to discuss challenges related to the digitizing of the FinTech sector and its transition to Blockchain.

Representatives of IT, financial system and entrepreneurship will learn more about operational Blockchain projects in Russia and abroad.

There are many reasons to attend the annual Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Russia in 2016, including cases of implementing public and private Blockchains in banking, logistics, real estate and media, as well as issues connected with cryptocurrency regulation.

Israel

RBS to Host Fintech Hackathon at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (Finance Magnates), Rated: A

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) in partnership with Google Cloud Platform and Intel are set to host a 48-hour Fintech Hackathon in Israel from November 15th to the 17th. The event will be taking place at the fintech accelerator dedicated to connecting Israeli startups with global financial markets – The Floor – located inside the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange building.

During the RBS Fintackathon, the bank’s team will set out various challenges and give entrepreneurs from Israel the opportunity to shape, design and build solutions for one of the UK’s largest financial institutions.

The RBS notes that people with ideas from all over fintech world are encouraged to participate.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor