Tuesday May 15 2018, Daily News Digest

McKinsey Asia Personal Financial Services Survey Customers and Digital only Banks

News Comments Today’s main news: Prosper loan originations up 27% year-over-year, over $2B co-sponsored securitizations closed. Funding Circle launches new borrower referral incentive. Renren investors seek to block asset sales. PayMate acquires Z2P Technologies. Today’s main analysis: Singapore’s biggest bank vs. China’s tech giants. Today’s thought-provoking articles: 80% of startup money goes to three states. The Sharestates story: $1B […]

McKinsey Asia Personal Financial Services Survey Customers and Digital only Banks

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United Kingdom

China

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News Summary

United States

Prosper Loan Originations up 27% Year-over-Year; Over $ 2 Billion of Co-Sponsored Securitizations Closed (Business Wire) Rated: AAA

Prosper today reported financial results for the first quarter of 2018. Loan originations increased 27% year-over-year to $744 million, driven by strong demand for the company’s personal loan product and stable funding.

Financial highlights include:

  • Total Net Revenue, which includes the non-cash impact related to warrants to purchase preferred stock, was flat year-over-year at $30.5 million in Q1 2018 compared to $30.8 million in Q1 2017.
  • Core Revenue(1), which excludes the non-cash impact related to warrants to purchase preferred stock, increased $11.6 million or 34% year-over-year to $45.7 million in Q1 2018 compared to $34.2 million in Q1 2017.
  • Net Loss decreased by $12.6 million to ($11.4) million in Q1 2018 compared to a Net Loss of ($24.0) million in Q1 2017.
  • Adjusted EBITDA(1) increased $13.6 million to $4.5 million in Q1 2018 compared to ($9.0) million in Q1 2017, the fourth consecutive quarter of positive Adjusted EBITDA(1) generated by Prosper.
Key Operating and Financial Metrics (Unaudited)
(in thousands)
Three Months Ended March 31,
2018 2017
Loan Originations $ 744,127 $ 585,590
Transaction Fees, Net 31,354 26,869
Servicing Fees, Net 7,184 6,154
Total Net Revenue 30,450 30,845
Core Revenue (1) 45,729 34,152
Net Loss (11,401 ) (24,021 )
Adjusted EBITDA(1) 4,520 (9,039 )

80% of start-up money goes to three states — here’s what one visionary is doing to help spread the wealth (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

Baird: And the microfinance industry is — $30 billion a year around the world is lent in $500 chunks to small businesses, near a 100% repayment rate.

Microfinance is a tool. All investing is a tool. Every microfinance bank, every bank is neither good nor bad, they’re amoral. It’s just what are people trying to do with it. I’ve seen microfinance banks that act in extractive ways and their primary goal is extract as much profit out of poor communities as possible. I’ve seen payday lenders do the same thing. I’ve also seen microfinance banks that are very good and say, “Our core goal is building wealth for the community and we’ve structured our business in a way that works for us.”

One percent of start-up investment goes to African-Americans. Two percent of start-up investment goes to women. There are a lot of people who are overlooked.  So roughly 80% of start-up investment goes to three states: New York, Massachusetts, California. If you’re in Ohio or Florida or Nairobi or Mumbai, it’s really hard to get your idea into the system.

The Story of Sharestates: From Startup to $ 1 Billion in 3 Years (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

Now, just over a year later, they have announced they recently crossed the $1 billion mark in originations. The company did so in just over 3 years, having officially launched in February 2015, just before LendIt USA that year. They are the second company in the real estate crowdfunding space to do so and are on our list as one of the ten options available for accredited investors in the marketplace lending space.

Originations in the lending space is only one metric. Any lending company’s survival depends on the quality of the loans they are making. According to the Sharestates’ website, investors have earned an average 10.54 percent annualized return. They also report 0% loss of principal for their investors. As of last year when we checked in the company was profitable which sets them up for continued success going forward. We’ve seen very few companies in the marketplace lending space broadly achieve this goal.

BuildDirect Partners With Affirm (Globe Newswire) Rated: A

BuildDirect, the first technology platform for the home improvement industry, today announced its partnership with Affirm Inc., a financial technology company that provides transparent payment alternatives to traditional credit. Now, U.S.-based BuildDirect customers have easy access to flexible and transparent financing options to pay for home improvement and renovation materials over time. At the point of sale, shoppers will see exactly how much they’ll pay in fixed monthly installments over the term they choose.

Banks struggle to combat the cyber crime bad guys (Financial Times) Rated: A

Digital banking has been a big positive for the financial services industry, though it has opened companies to greater cyber risk; cyber criminals now have a lot more entry points when it comes to getting access to funds illicitly; banks have increased their spending on defense but it isn’t enough as they also need to construct better, more secure systems; the CEO of Standard Chartered writes in the FT that banks can better utilize the data they collect, design tech better and work more closely with governments to catch bad actors.

Blockchains Could Be the Answer to Fairer Lending Systems (Nasdaq) Rated: A

The advancement of blockchain technology, this is poised to change. Through the technology, anyone anywhere in the world can raise financing from peers without having to rely on the traditional credit scores and the often heavily bureaucratic conventional mortgage processes.

Blockchain solutions such as Homelend  are making it possible for borrowers to directly reach lenders without depending on any intermediary and with no paperwork. The whole process is safeguarded by smart contracts to ensure that all parties in the deal adhere to their part of the bargain. According to Aneeza Haleem , a senior account manager at Cognizant Technology Solutions, blockchain-powered peer-to-peer mortgage financing significantly reduces the costs involved in the mortgage process.

Will Wells Fargo hurt Zelle by improving on it? (Payments Source) Rated: A

The irony of the explosive growth of mobile P2P is this: As consumers get more comfortable with paying one another through mobile devices, they’re thinking of P2P less as a service that one should find within a bank’s app.

This is a problem for Early Warning’s Zelle, the bank-run P2P network whose main selling point is its integration with banks. It’s a sharp contrast to rivals such as Venmo, which styled itself on a social media app; and Facebook and Apple, which took their own messaging platforms and blended P2P payments into the interface.

Capital One buys digital identity start-up Confyrm (Fintech Futures) Rated: A

Capital One has acquired San Francisco-based digital identity start-up Confyrm as it seeks to capture the market for consumer identity services.

Financial details were not disclosed, but as part of the deal Andrew Nash, founder and CEO of Confyrm, has become managing vice-president of Capital One’s consumer identity services. No word on what happens to the rest of the staff.

Confyrm was founded five years ago and offers help against online fraud.

Where Bank of America uses AI, and where its worries lie (American Banker) Rated: A

Bank of America spends $3 billion developing and buying technology every year, and about three times that on keeping its existing IT infrastructure going, says David Reilly, global banking and markets technology chief information officer.

As you might expect, some of that goes to artificial intelligence technology. The bank does not disclose how much.

An old-school fraud analytics program might see a customer using a card in a place they have never used a card before and block the transaction.

AI can do better.

The one area where banks and fintechs want more regulation (American Banker) Rated: A

Banks, fintech firms and data aggregators are asking regulators to provide more clarity on how to handle consumer data and who is responsible for leaks when it is shared between firms — a request that’s seemingly a reversal from the deregulatory approach the industry often takes.

The potential liability stemming from consumer data has become a critical concern for the financial industry as more data aggregators and fintech firms rapidly enter the space, seeking access to customers’ bank account information in order to offer loans and other products.

Could US Post Offices Become Banks? Here’s How The Plan Would Work (10 News) Rated: A

Now, there are a couple different ways Congress could build banking into the U.S. Postal Service. The first approach would just cover the basics.

That means offering low-dollar checking accounts and debit cards to low-income earners. That would at least offer basic financial services to all Americans, regardless of wealth. And it probably wouldn’t be too tough politically because the big banks typically aren’t interested in these customers.

But Gillibrand’s proposal would go further, allowing the postal service to also make loans of up to $1,000 with a super low interest rate around 2 percent, even to the poorest Americans. Because many of those loans would be at risk of not being paid back, some experts say the interest rate will have to be higher, maybe 25 percent. But that would still be a lot lower than rates from payday lenders, which often have people pay back three or four times what they borrowed.

Citizens Financial To Launch Online Consumer Bank (PYMNTS) Rated: A

Citizens Financial Group announced on Monday (May 14) plans to launch Citizens Access, a nationwide direct-to-consumer online bank.

In a press release, Citizens Financial said the digital platform will offer FDIC-insured deposits products aimed at serving people who want to save and want the flexibility of an online banking service. The company said it will provide digital deposit services at attractive rates and lower costs to help consumers save more for the future. The platform will be launched in the third quarter and will be available throughout the U.S.

 

Now Is the Time to Refinance Student Loans (Pharmacy Times) Rated: B

Refinancing your student loans from pharmacy school can potentially save you a significant amount of money while providing the convenience of making one payment a month. Keep in mind refinancing may not be for everyone. Individuals with a poor credit history, low salary from a pharmacy residency or fellowship, or those who want to keep the provisions in federal loans may want to closely consider their options before jumping right into refinancing their loans.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle launches new borrower referral incentive (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle is offering £1,500 in Amazon vouchers to anyone who refers a business that takes out a loan of £25,000 or more with the peer-to-peer lending platform.

The UK’s third-largest lender to small businesses said the borrowers may need the cash to grow, refurbish, buy stock or equipment, hire more staff or simply boost their cash flow.

HMRC updates crypto investors on tax confusion (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

However, a HMRC representative has told Peer2Peer Finance News that the tax office will deal with cryptocurrency related tax bills “on a case-by-case basis”.

The 2017-18 tax year saw huge volatility across the cryptocurrency sector, with Bitcoin reaching a high of £13,840 in mid-December before ending the tax year at approximately £4,750 per coin. This has led to confusion among retail investors regarding their tax liability, particularly if they sold out of the market at a high, then reinvested the profits only to see any gains wiped out.

Frederic Nze of Oakam (Lend Academy) Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • What was the catalyst that led to the founding of Oakam.
  • The loan products that Oakam offers.
  • The difference between small dollar loans in the US and the UK.
  • How Oakam is able to find their customers.
  • What percentage of their customers apply for a loan on a smartphone.
  • Why they still have physical stores where people can apply for loans in person.
  • How they have refined their underwriting models over the years.
  • How they are dealing with increased fraud via their online channels.
  • The interest rates they charge.
  • How their customers are able to reduce these rates for future loans.

Technology not size is key to banking success (Financial Times) Rated: A

Antony Jenkins, former CEO of Barclays and now head of 10x Future Technologies, writes in the FT that technology is key to the battle with banks; having technology that is more nimble and focused on the customer will help to better position challengers; UK challengers banks have found it hard to compete against the big names, even with recent consolidation; understanding what the customer needs most and allowing them to access services anytime and anywhere is what firms should focus on.

Fintech most popular sector for HNW investors (Investment International) Rated: B

Capitama’s current registered investors have a total annual investment capacity of £7.6bn. Of this total capacity, investors have expressed an annual investment capacity of £5bn into private equity opportunities, with £2.3bn total annual investment in Debt and Income opportunities. The interest of the registered investors in Philanthropic and Social Impact opportunities currently stands at £300m per year. This is an additional theme on Capitama given the rise in interest in these organisations from wealthy individuals and organisations.

69% of Capitama investors are interested in fintech investment opportunities and 67% want to see software and technology deals. Of the nine different investment types available on Capitama, Growth funding is the most popular, with 83% of Capitama registered Investors interested in this area, followed by Early stage investments (72%), Buy-outs (63%), and Real Estate (47%).

 

 

China

Renren Investors Seek to Block Asset Sales to Chief, SoftBank (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

A group of Renren Inc. investors are trying to block the private sale of company-owned assets to a consortium that includes its own top executive and major shareholder SoftBank Group Corp.

Renren announced the complex deal in April, which it said was necessary to address concerns that the SEC might deem it an investment company — forcing its delisting if it failed to obtain relevant licenses.

The letter accused management of trying to transfer the assets at values equal to or lower than their book value, neglecting their duty to smaller shareholders and misrepresenting certain financial statements. For example, it says the shares in SoFi — one of America’s biggest student loan refinancers — are being sold at a valuation of $269 million when they could be worth double that amount.

US online lending model is unproven, Eisman of The Big Short fame says in Hong Kong (South China Morning Post) Rated: AAA

Steven Eisman, famous for successfully shorting the US subprime market before the onset of the 2008 financial crisis, has said the online lending business model used in the United States is unsustainable, and that losses from Canadian mortgages could widen.

The one pocket of financial market anomaly in the US was online lending, where, he said, the underwriting of peer-to-peer credit was unproven, as selling a loan to investors such as hedge funds and other financial institutions was an unsustainable business model.

“The problem [with P2P lending] is that selling a loan [online] is not the same as selling a book. You buy a book on Amazon and that’s the end of the transaction. When you make a loan, that’s the beginning of a relationship. The question is how you manage that relationship,” said Eisman.

Soft Chinese Tech IPOs Test Next Wave of Listings (Wall Street Journal) Rated: A

More than a dozen technology companies from China are rushing to go public abroad, in an enticing opportunity for investors but one that has generated poor returns recently.

Shares of most Asian tech companies that have listed in New York and Hong Kong since the start of 2017 have notched lackluster performances, with the bulk trading below their initial public offering prices after strong early gains.

European Union

Bondora Go & Grow – Bondora Rolling Out New Product (P2P Banking) Rated: AAA

Go & Grow is designed for the passive investors as hands off p2p lending. One of the main advantages is that Bondora says it is tax optimised.

The Bondora Go & Grow product features a target interest rate of 6.75% which will accrue daily. It runs completly on autoinvest. The investor just needs to join it and pay money into the Go & Grow account (or transfer it from the normal Bondora account). The Go & Grow account promises daily liquidity. There is a 1 EUR withdrawal fee making small withdrawals expensive but for portfolios of 1000 EUR or more and usual investment horizons this fee is negligible.

Three Year Old Fintech Mintos is Profitable (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Latvian Fintech Mintos is reporting a profit in its brief three year old history. According to the company, the global online marketplace for loans has seen their revenue increase more than four-fold in 2017 to € 2.1 million generating a net profit for the year of € 197,000. Mintos says it has experienced significant growth, making it the “peer-to-peer lending market leader for continental Europe” with a 38% market share.

In aggregate, Mintos has topped € 660 million in investments by investors and the company expects the amount of loans funded to reach EUR 1 billion before the end of this year. As of May 2018, Mintos claims more than 58,000 investors using the platform and this number is expected to surpass 100,000 at some point in 2017. Currently, investors may expect an average 12.1% rate of return.

International

The 30 most valuable VC-backed companies in the world (Pitch Book) Rated: AAA

Ridehailing giants Uber and Didi Chuxing, based in San Francisco and Beijing, respectively, lead the list of most valuable private companies around the globe. And moving down the rankings, the pattern set at the top continues. A total of five of the companies are in the ridehailing industry, and 26 of the 30 are based in either the US or China.

 

Source: Pitch Book

What is Libra Credit: Digital Assets as the Future for International Credit (Coin Central) Rated: AAA

Libra Credit is offering a decentralized lending Ethereum-based ecosystem that helps users get open access to credit anywhere and anytime.

As long as a user has digital assets, they will be able to borrow money from Libra Credit by using those digital assets as collateral. Additionally, these users will be able to build an international credit history – a concept that Libra Credit and its partners plan to push to be recognized globally.

Source: Coin Central

Libra Credit plans to charge a fixed 8% annual interest rate charged by Libra Credit, which is party enabled by its partnerships with traditional finance institutions. The rate is competitive with that of other peer-to-peer lending platforms such as Lending Club and Salt, but isn’t tied to the availability of a peer match.

Source: Coin Central

How Misbehaving Australian Banks Are Causing Global Pain (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

Australia’s four biggest banks — Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac Banking Corp.National Australia Bank Ltd. and Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. — have been plagued by a string of scandals. The accusations run the gamut from giving misleading financial advice to trying to manipulate a benchmark interest rate. Simmering public resentment — stoked by a sense banks were gouging fees to fuel record profits and executive pay — boiled over last year when Commonwealth Bank was sued for systemically breaching anti-money laundering rules.

The government has announced tough new penalties for corporate wrongdoing and beefed up the regulator’s powers; analysts have trimmed earnings forecasts and speculate future legislation could force the biggest banks to sell off advice businesses.  All this comes at a time when bank profits are under pressure from a slowing housing market, rising costs and increased competition. Most of the banks are trying to simplify their operations and sell non-core operations.

Citi Inks $ 100 Million Trade Finance Deal With Asian Development Bank (PYMNTS) Rated: A

Global financial institution Citi is expanding its existing partnership with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to share risk in trade finance transactions, reports in The Financial said Friday (May 11).

The ADB’s Trade Finance Program reached a deal worth $100 million with Citi that sees the financial institutions (FIs) sharing risk on trade finance transactions in an effort to bolster support for trade and access to finance across Asia.

 

Australia/New Zealand

FINNIES 2018: Here are all the finalists for Australia’s fintech industry awards (Business Insider) Rated: A

89 companies and individuals were chosen for Australia’s only industry-backed fintech awards, from a record field of more than 200 entries.

Excellence in Business Lending
● Finstro
● Prospa
● Spotcap Australia
● The Invoice Market – tim
● Trade Ledger

Excellence in Consumer Lending
● HashChing
● MoneyMe
● MoneyPlace
● RateSetter Australia
● SocietyOne

Robot financial adviser granted FMA exemption (Radio New Zealand News) Rated: A

The country has its first robot financial adviser after KiwiWealth was given an exemption by the Financial Markets Authority from the current law which requires humans to give financial and investment advice.

But Mr Bishop said it would still have human advisors offer detailed advice and have control of the robot.

India

PayMate Acquires Digital Lending Platform Z2P Technologies to Benefit SMEs (BW Disrupt) Rated: AAA

PayMate, an early pioneer in India’s payments industry and a leading player in electronic Business-to-Business (B2B) payments space, announced today the acquisition of Z2P (Zaitech Technology Pvt. Ltd.), a digital lending platform which provides hassle-free and real-time credit using social and banking data along with proprietary analytics and AI.

The acquisition is expected to be completed by May 2018 and it follows the announcement in February of this year by PayMate of its B2B partnership agreement with Visa.

As a result of the acquisition, PayMate acquires an innovative and proven lending solution in Z2P, which when combined with PayMate’s proprietary B2B payments platform will revolutionize the way businesses manage their payment operations, cashflow, and access to growth capital. PayMate plans to partner with banks and NBFCs to improve the flow of credit to SMEs.

Canada

Last week, Power Financial CEO Jeff Orr told reporters he plans to invest more money in fintech startups as the company looks to find technologies that can be incorporated into its business model and avoid disruptions that have hurt other sectors.

Widely known on the Street for its empire of financial advisers and investment products, Power Financial has spent $320-million in the fintech sector – with more than half the funds being allocated toward online robo-adviser Wealthsimple.

Asia

Singapore’s Biggest Bank Takes on China Giants in Fintech Battle (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

 

Almost 55% of customers say they would consider branchless digital-only bank

Source Bloomberg

Gupta credits his early recognition of the threat to his early days in Citigroup’s transaction banking division, unusual for a bank CEO, who tend to hail from the retail or investment banking arms of their institutions. That background taught him both the nuts and bolts of banking and the importance of technology, Gupta said. He also dabbled briefly but unsuccessfully in the startup world, when he quit Citigroup in 2001 to found an Internet portal in India, around the time the dotcom bubble was bursting.

Latin America

Morgan Stanley Goes After Brazilian FinTech Market (PYMNTS) Rated: AAA

Bloomberg, citing four people with direct knowledge of the matter, reported that Morgan Stanley purchased $14 million in local subordinated bonds from online consumer lender Geru Tecnologia e Servicos. The Geru bonds, which the company issued in December of 2017, have a four-year maturity and pay about 11.2 percent each year, noted the report.

The company is also reportedly in talks with international investors about raising $50 million via an equity round that QMS Capital is handling. QMS has a 10 percent stake in Geru. General Atlantic could also be an investor in the round of fundraising, noted the report.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday September 6 2017, Daily News Digest

fintech bank investment map

News Comments Today’s main news: Upgrade appoints Western Union exec at general counsel. Assetz Capital now claims to be second largest P2P lender in the UK. Perseus has the solution for EU cyber threats. Amartha partners with Jamkrindo in Indonesia. Today’s main analysis: How banks are investing in fintech. Today’s thought-provoking articles: LendingClub CEO Scott Sanborn interviews with […]

fintech bank investment map

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

Australia

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

Upgrade, Inc. Appoints Western Union Executive as General Counsel (Upgrade Email), Rated: AAA

Upgrade, Inc. (), the new consumer credit platform launched by LendingClub founder Renaud Laplanche earlier this year, today announced the appointment of John Dye as General Counsel. Prior to joining Upgrade, John was Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of The Western Union Company. He was also Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Western Union Foundation.

Before joining Western Union in November 2011, John was Senior Vice President, Interim General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Freddie Mac from July 2011. From 2007 to July 2011, John served as Senior Vice President, Principal Deputy General Counsel, Corporate Affairs of Freddie Mac, where he worked on corporate transactions and managed attorneys in the areas of corporate disclosure, securities, intellectual property, contracts and human resources.

Prior to joining Freddie Mac, John spent 13 years at Citigroup Inc. in New York City, where he held senior leadership positions, and served as Senior Vice President and Senior Counsel at Salomon Smith Barney.

Upgrade also hired Louis Shansky, a partner on the securitization team at the law firm of Mayer Brown, as Deputy General Counsel.

Back and Better Positioned than Ever—CEO Scott Sanborn Interviews with Bloomberg (LendingClub), Rated: AAA

  • The macroeconomic backdrop: While macro trends are generally positive—low unemployment, low interest rates, low inflation and low oil prices with an increase in consumer confidence—credit card debt levels are near all-time highs. Today, there is more than $1 trillion in outstanding credit card debt in the U.S.
  • Borrowers are not alone: LendingClub borrowers are not alone in seeking a lower interest rate solution: credit card debt in the U.S. is at an all-time high1 and credit cards tend to carry high interest rates. Sixty to 70% of our customers are currently taking advantage of our personal loans to pay off credit cards which helps them to get on the path to financial success.
  • LendingClub is enabling more new investors access to an old asset: Fifteen percent of our investor base still invests directly through the retail website, with the balance accessing the asset through other means.
  • Institutions want more: In Q2 2017, we had record high subscription from more than 100 institutional investors participating on the platform. Banks were 44% of our overall investor mix last quarter, attributed to LendingClub’s assets offering solid returns with a short duration.
  • Reaching new investors through securitization: More than 20 new investors engaged with LendingClub via the first deal, which demonstrated high demand for the asset.

The Top Fintech Trends Driving the Next Decade (ABA Banking Journal), Rated: AAA

Here is a glimpse at the technologies driving bank innovation today—as well as a look ahead to the technologies coming down the pipeline that will change the way banking is done over the next 10 years.

  1. Digital Lending (here and now) – Unsecured consumer lending is the first market where digital lending has made an impact and is by far the most mature. Today, the two leading consumer lending platforms (Lending Club and Prosper) originate roughly $2.5 billion in loans quarterly. Small business lending has quickly followed and is rapidly digitizing. ABA has endorsed the digital commercial lending solutions offered by Akouba, providing banks of all sizes the use of these platforms to enhance customer service and significantly reduce underwriting costs.
  2. Biometrics (1-2 years) – Passwords are only secure to the extent that they are kept private and cannot be guessed by a keen observer. The problem is that these passwords often rely on observable pieces of our life like our birth date, our children’s names, or our pets (my personal favorite), which are all readily available to criminals using social media and public databases. A 2015 study by TeleSign indicated that one in five people use passwords that are over 10 years old, with 73 percent of accounts being secured by the same password. Compounding this problem is the fact that we now have so many accounts that require a password, that it is impossible to keep them straight.
  3. Customer Data (1-3 years) – Today, customer data at banks is often unstructured—housed in systems that are inconsistent and may not talk to each other. A single customer may have multiple accounts with a bank that are all housed in different systems, with inconsistent identifiers. A number of banks, as well as core processors, are working to reconcile these systems. Some are working to build additional data warehouses that aggregate disparate customer data to create a unified view of customers.
  4. Regtech (3-5 years) – Regulatory reporting is one area that seems ripe for digital disruption. Today, filing call reports is a quarterly activity that requires significant time. It would not be hard to imagine a software solution that was tied into a bank’s back-end systems and prepopulated all of the key reporting fields. Moreover, it would be possible for regulators to receive a steady feed of data from a bank that would give them an ongoing view into the bank and may reduce the frequency with which exams are necessary.
  5. Artificial Intelligence (5-10 years) – One way this could help bankers is by improving fraud detection. Traditional fraud monitoring systems rely on specific non-personal rules (like geography) to detect fraudulent transactions. Machine learning could be applied to analyze the transactions of each customer, flagging transactions that are out of their normal habits.
  6. Internet of Things (8-10 years) – For example, banks may be able to use internet-connected devices to make better loans and monitor collateral. Inventory or livestock for a small business can be monitored in real time. This would allow a bank to monitor a customer’s balance sheet on an ongoing basis, giving it the tools to make better decisions about lending or adjusting credit lines in real time.

The biggest long-term impact that IoT is likely to have is in payments. Connected devices are already able to talk to each other, but will also require the ability to make payments back and forth. Today, this may be as simple as using your smart watch to settle a bill, but could evolve to the point at which your refrigerator pays for groceries that are running low. A number of auto makers are experimenting with enabling cars to make payments.

Scott Zoldi of FICO (Lend Academy), Rated: A

The Chief Analytics Officer at FICO talks about their use of artificial intelligence in credit models, fraud, alternative data, financial inclusion and more.

In this podcast you will learn:

  • Why his background in theoretical physics was perfect for studying fraud and credit risk.
  • What the company FICO actually does and how it interacts with the credit bureaus.
  • What his role as Chief Analytics Officer entails.
  • Some examples of the 130+ patents that FICO has been granted.
  • The importance of being able to explain how a credit model works.
  • How their advanced machine learning models can be explained to regulators.
  • How FICO has been using artificial intelligence for decades.
  • What Scott thinks about the sudden embrace of artificial intelligence in the last couple of years.
  • What he worries about with so many new companies coming into the AI fray.
  • How Scott views alternative data and using new data sources.
  • His thoughts on disparate impact and the use of alternative data.
  • How the FICO XD score helps expand access to credit.
  • How FICO’s fraud product called Falcon became the industry standard for banks.
  • Scott’s views on how a 700 FICO score today compares with the same score 10 years ago.
  • What Scott is most excited about today in his work at FICO.

Citizens Financial Starts Robo-Adviser With SigFig Partnership (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Citizens Financial Group Inc. is the latest bank to start a robo-advisory product as part of its larger push into wealth management.

Citizens, a regional bank based in Providence, Rhode Island, is providing the technology to customers beginning Wednesday through a previously announced partnership with SigFig Wealth Management LLC, which uses algorithms to provide financial advice at lower fees than traditional human advisers.

The minimum initial investment in the Citizens offering will be $5,000, according to the firm. The annual asset-management fee is 50 basis points, or about half the typical cost of a traditionally advised account.

Real Estate Crowdfunding Shows Signs of Maturation (Real Estate Tech News), Rated: A

Last month, crowdfunding giant RealtyShares bought smaller rival Acquire Real Estate. This news was a significant in the multibillion-dollar sector, which is not even five years old. It begged the question as to whether this deal was a product of synergies between two platforms or a case of a larger player protecting its turf by taking a smaller rival off the board?

Whatever the answer, one thing is clear: We are likely looking at the start of a push toward consolidation in real estate crowdfunding. While there are hundreds of platforms now vying for a capital pool that is almost halfway to 12 figures, some clear-cut market leaders have emerged, and a movement toward economies of scale would signal continued maturation. Over the next year or so, it would not be surprising to see companies like FundriseCrowdStreet and Patch of Land join the market for acquisitions, especially as the space continues to establish mainstream legitimacy.

MPL Market Shows Growing Origination Volume, With Tightening Credit Stance (dv01 Digest/LendIt), Rated: A

Looking at origination characteristics for the four largest MPL originators, we see origination volume continue to rise: 21% for 2Q17 over 1Q17, and up 52% over 2Q16. Loan coupons have risen from a 14.20% GWAC for the 2Q16 vintage to a 14.31% GWAC for the 2Q17 vintage, while the two year treasury has rallied approximately 50bps over the course of the year. PTI is relatively unchanged, coming in at 9.05% for 2Q17 versus 8.99% for the 2Q16 vintage.

Average FICO has increased significantly: 703 for the 2Q16 vintage to 711 in 2Q17.

Prosper closed its second $500MM Consortium securitization, PMIT 2017-2, on which dv01 was loan data agent. Data from PMIT 2017-2 is available for accredited investors through dv01’s Securitization Explorer, and is updated monthly.

Download and read the full report (with charts) here.

Debit cards, a trillion in debt, and millennials: What could go wrong? (American Banker), Rated: A

Fifth Third Bancorp is borrowing inspiration from the fintech world as part of its effort to woo millennial customers and compete with megabanks for consumer deposits.

The Cincinnati bank on Tuesday is scheduled to roll out a stand-alone app designed to help its customers pay student loan debt. The app, called Momentum, lets customers link Fifth Third debit cards to student loan accounts held by more than 30 servicers. Customers can have their debit card purchases rounded up to the next dollar, or have a dollar added to every purchase; the money is applied weekly to the balances on designated loans once a minimum of $5 is contributed.

“I see Momentum as being complementary” to apps such as Acorns and Digit, she said. “This [millennial] generation is sitting on $1.3 trillion of [student loan] debt. We wanted to take a relatively simple concept and offer something to help them in their day-to-day life.”

Op-Ed: Regulatory Sandboxes Can Help States Advance Fintech (American Banker), Rated: A

The U.S. captured 54% of the $127 billionin global venture capital invested in 2016. This access to capital has allowed some American fintech startups to succeed despite the regulatory burdens. Yet, the U.S. underperforms in fintech venture capital compared to our share of overall venture capital. In 2016, the U.S. obtained only 33% of the $13.6 billion in worldwide fintech venture capital investment.

I am working with Arizona policymakers to introduce a sandbox in Arizona that would reduce entrepreneurs’ barriers to entry without sacrificing core consumer safeguards. This would be the first state sandbox in the United States.

Op-Ed: Regulatory Sandboxes Can Help States Advance Fintech (Arizona Attorney General), Rated: B

Attorney General Mark Brnovich is calling for Arizona to become the first state in the country to adopt a “sandbox” like regulatory environment that would reduce fintech entrepreneurs’ barriers to entry into local markets in a new op-ed penned for American Banker magazine. Key to creating sandbox regulatory systems is ensuring core consumer safeguards are not sacrificed. Sandboxes have already been implemented in countries such as the United Kingdom, Singapore, UAE, Malaysia, and Australia.

‘Fintech’ Loans: A Sometimes Costly Lifeline for Small Business (KQED News), Rated: A

Che Al-Barri remembers feeling like he was drowning in debt last year. He had taken out a $70,000 loan for his small cleaning company, but was struggling to repay it.

The lender, a financial technology — or fintech — company, automatically collected $331 from his bank account daily, Monday through Friday. The frequent hits depleted his income and took a toll on his business, he said.

For Al-Barri, taking a big loan seemed like a great opportunity at first. Large clients were taking months to pay him, he said, and he wanted to buy equipment and hire employees to expand. But he underestimated how much he would earn, making it very difficult to repay the loan plus the $30,000 in interest he owed.

Stanford study examining Airbnb users and data suggests that reputation can offset social bias (Stanford.edu), Rated: A

new Stanford study analyzing Airbnb users and data suggests measures that enhance a user’s reputation, like stars or reviews, can counteract these harmful prejudices. The results, the researchers said, indicate sites that use reputational tools create a fairer and more diverse online marketplace.

The share economy, also referred to as “collaborative consumption” and “peer-to-peer lending,” has allowed everyday citizens to turn into entrepreneurs, taking advantage of an industry that’s projected to grow to $335 billion by 2025, according to the Brookings Institution.

The researchers in this study focused on a certain type of bias called homophily, a natural tendency to develop trustful relationships with people similar to themselves, and how best to counteract it. The study is part of a broader research project analyzing trust and technology at Stanford.

The 36k-population neighborhood that’s hot for real estate investors (Mortgage Professional America), Rated: A

Data from real estate crowdfunding firm Sharestates says there has been a 650% increase in demand from investors wanting to put their cash into property in Fishtown.

That’s because of an attractive 11.8% return on investment and the ratio of the total loan amount compared with after repair value is 14%.

Cordray Remains Mum About Political Plans in Ohio Speech (Credit Union Times), Rated: B

Speaking at an AFL-CIO Labor Day picnic in Cincinnati, Cordray did not address one of the most—if not the most—crucial issue facing the agency—whether Cordray will resign to run for the Democratic nomination for governor in the Buckeye State.

And when questioned afterward, he declined to comment on his intentions.

The CFPB is working on its most high profile set of rules—those governing the payday lending industry. The bureau is believed to be planning to release those final rules this month.

LendingTree Partners With Benzinga to Award $ 10,000 to Winner Of Fintech Innovation Challenge At The Benzinga Fintech Summit (Baystreet), Rated: B

Benzinga, a leading financial media and events company, announced Thursday that it will team up with the nation’s leading online loan marketplace LendingTree to award $10,000 to the winner of an on-site fintech demo competition at the inaugural Benzinga Fintech Summit in San Francisco September 28.

The Fintech Innovation Challenge Presented by LendingTree will award $10,000 to the company whose product best demonstrates scalable, material innovation to the Summit’s audience.

United Kingdom

Assetz Capital Now Second Largest UK P2P Lender (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Assetz Capital, one of the largest peer-to-peer lending platforms in the UK, has announced it has received full authorization from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).  Additionally, Assetz Capital has claimed second place in the ranking of UK’s largest P2P lenders as it reports lending in excess of £25 million per month on average to SMEs throughout the UK.

To date, Assetz Capital has lent over £316 million to businesses across the UK.

£17m invested into Innovative Finance Isas (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: AAA

HMRC has revealed that 2,000 Innovative Finance individual savings accounts (IFIsas) were opened during the last tax year.
The average investment into IFIsas during 2016/17 was £8,500 which meant £17m was invested collectively.

HMRC also reported that the amount invested in cash Isas had fallen from £58.7bn in 2015/16 to £39.2bn in 2016/17, while investment in stocks and shares Isas edged up from £21.1bn to £22.3bn.

Peer-to-peer Isas failed to gain much popularity in their first year, with just 2,000 Innovative Finance Isa (IF Isas) accounts opened in the tax year 2016/2017, according to the latest statistics from HMRC.

The biggest problem is that many peer-to-peer platforms have struggled to gain approval from regulators to become IF Isa providers. There are currently around 60 firms that have received approval from financial regulators, with most of these only starting to operate within the past few months.

Across the 2,000 IF Isa accounts opened, £17 million worth was subscribed. The average subscription per account was £8,500 – about the same as the average stocks and shares Isa account subscription.

Peer-to-peer platform Abundance claims it sold the majority of IF Isas in the last tax year. It says 1,436 Abundance IF Isas were opened, representing 72% of all IF Isa products opened last year.

Overall, the amount held in Isas in 2016/17 fell to £61.5 billion, compared with £80 billion the previous tax year. This decline was largely driven by a steep fall in the amount held in Cash Isas. In 2015/16, a total of £58.7 billion was held in Cash Isas; in the latest tax year this fell by a third to £39 billion.

Lucky Generals bangs out a new tune for Funding Circle (More About Advertising), Rated: A


The theme of the campaign seems to be “for those made to do more.” Here’s another in the campaign, not quite so striking.

If peer-to-peer lenders lack anything, it is not ambition (The Times), Rated: A

Samir Desai, co-founder and chief executive of Funding Circle, Britain’s largest peer-to-peer lender, says that his business, which has arranged $2.7 billion of loans to small companies, could be lending at least $100 billion within a decade.

Peter Behrens, co-founder of Ratesetter, one of Funding Circle’s main rivals, believes that his platform could double its annual loans within the next two years to £4 billion.

China

China’s fintech firms eye overseas IPOs to fund growth as regulations tighten at home (South China Morning Post), Rated: AAA

The A-share market, due to its profitability requirements, remains off-limits to most Chinese fintech firms, particularly peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms that were once regarded as an important part of the mainland’s reform of the banking system.

The increasing demand for financing has prompted a clutch of fintech firms to kick off their overseas IPO processes, most of which plan to complete fundraising in the next 12 months.

Zhong An Online Property and Casualty Insurance, China’s first online-only insurer, is seeking to raise as much as US$1.5 billion via a Hong Kong IPO.

After five years in business, Zhong An has developed a customer base of about 500 million people.

Views on China’s coin fundraising ban: someone still have an illusion (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

The Chinese regulators’ ban on ICO has heightened, and the financing of various tokens of the virtual currency has been put to death. In a consequence, the ICO asset value has evaporated nearly $20 billion, and more than 100,000 investors may be affected.

However, some ICO initiators still don’t want to stop. ”I don’t think the central bank’s oversight of ICO is going to be that severe,” a charger of the Digital Currency Asset Exchange said, ”and we would wait and see the specific notice of the local financial office and then decide what to do with it.” But in some communities of the ICO, we can see initiators start to announce the withdrawal of investors’ assets.

European Union

Perseus start-up seeks to shield German SMEs from cyber threats (Banking Technology), Rated: AAA

According to fintech incubator FinLeap, which is behind the venture, more than 70% of German companies were affected by cybercrime activities within the last two years, but only one out of ten SMEs holds an insurance policy that covers the resulting damages. Because Perseus offers a platform, it can connect services and offer “best-of-fit” tech solutions.

There is no specific date yet, but it also plans to add an industry-specific cyber insurance proposition to its portfolio of services.

Irish P2P lender GRID Finance rules out UK as part of growth plans (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

IRISH peer-to-peer lending platform GRID Finance has ruled out the UK as part of its current expansion plans.

The business lender announced it had received €3m (£2.7m) of finance yesterday that will help to fund expansion into new markets, but chief executive Derek Butler says the UK market is already very competitive.

He said he was focusing on scaling the business in Ireland first and competing with the country’s two main banks, Allied Irish Bank and Bank of Ireland.

Fintech Pushes EU to Explore Changes to Bank Software Rules (The New York Times), Rated: A

EU banking rules treat software as a cost rather than an investment, forcing lenders to cover expenditure on digital applications with an equal amount of capital.

If expenditure on software, which amounts to roughly half of banks’ total digital investment, were treated in the EU as it is in the U.S. it could free up more than 20 billion euros ($24 billion)in capital this year alone, one banking lobbyist said.

Many European banks have been slow to invest in adapting to rapid changes in the way consumers use technology for finance, with so-called fintech firms starting to steal market share in a variety of sectors from payments to lending.

Timing problem with Klarna and possibly other payment providers (Our Umbraco), Rated: A

There are cases when the authorization callback from Klarna doesn’t get processed until after the user arrives at the confirmation page. The reason is that the callback and the redirect are made almost simultaneously by Klarna, so it’s a bit random which wins.

Workaround: If currentOrder is null, sleep for 500 ms and try again (GetCurrentFinalizedOrder). Repeat for 10 seconds.

CrowdExplorer Wins Fintech Award at Digitale Innovations Competition (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

CrowdExplorer, a marketplace for “Crowd-investing”, has won the special prize for “Fintech” at this year’s “Digitale Innovations” competition.

CrowdExplorer is designed to provide investors with a platform to compare access to the international Crowd Investments. CrowdExplorer has launched with the following four categories: Equity, Real Estate, Loans and P2P lending.

Index Ventures is coming in force to TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin this December (TechCrunch), Rated: B

Index Ventures started as a European firm in 1996, but 20 years on, it has a strong presence on both sides of the Atlantic and has backed startups in 39 cities in 24 countries.

Among well-known Index-backed companies are Dropbox, Slack, Farfetch, Funding Circle, Adyen, Squarespace, Deliveroo, Just Eat, King and Supercell.

Australia

Spotcap launches $ 10,000 Fintech Scholarship program (Finder), Rated: AAA

Online lender Spotcap has this week announced the launch of a Fintech Scholarship program, with $10,000 being awarded to an Australian student attending university in a fintech-related field. The lender launched the program with the aim of supporting local fintech talent and ensuring the longevity of financial innovation in Australia.

Spotcap is also offering one paid internship placement at its offices in Sydney alongside the program.

Tech-tock, the tech clock is ticking (Bluenotes), Rated: AAA

The Bank for International Settlements – known as the ‘central banks’ central bank’ – says the rapid adoption of financial technology or ‘fintech’ and the emergence of new business models pose an increasing challenge to incumbent banks “in almost all the scenarios considered”.

According to the venture capital analysis group CB Insights non-technology companies now invest more in technology than tech companies.

In the firm’s recent report into fintech investments by major US banks, six – Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo — have made strategic investments in 30 fintech companies since 2009.

The key sectors banks are investing in – and this is true across the globe, to differing degrees – are payments, data analytics, personal technology, distributed ledgers and/or digital currencies and peer-to-peer lending.

India

Here’s why smart Investors in India should opt for P2P lending (Money Control), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer loans are the perfect alternative investment instrument for income-seeking investors. It enables you to offer personal loans to borrowers for an array of purposes while eliminating intermediaries such as banks, NBFCs, and unorganised lenders.

Furthermore, a good P2P lending platform can make available all the relevant information on borrowers to lenders, assisting them in assessing the credit profile of a borrower in an efficient manner. It can provide each lender with a customized dashboard with relevant informatics and data to help make an informed decision.

As per our research, lenders on our platform can earn gross returns to the tune of 18 to 24 percent p.a on an average by building a diversified borrower portfolio. These returns are not merely comparable, but often preferable to returns from other investment instruments such as mutual funds, stocks, real estate, bank deposits, and gold. Income-seeking investors who specifically want to diversify their investments get good returns at the end of the day. As a rule of thumb, at least 20 percent of total investments should be in alternative investments like art, commodity, P2P lending etc.

Asia

Peer to Peer Lender Amartha Partners with Largest State Owned Micro-credit Company in Indonesia (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Peer to peer lender Amartha has formed a partnership with the largest state-owned micro credit guarantee company in Indonesia, Perum Jamkrindo. This follows a similar partnership with Bank Mandiri. Amartha is an online lender designed to connect Micro Businesses and SMEs that seek affordable working capital with investors who want to fund their business based on credit risk and expected return. This is a significant agreement for Amartha. Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world and support of small business is vital to the economy.

Jamkrindo is a state-owned enterprise that has been given a special mandate by the Government to guarantee credit and financing, as well as financial transactions particularly in the SME and micro segments. Jamkrindo is the largest credit guarantee company in Indonesia with total guarantee value of more than Rp 270 Trillion and 8 Million credit.

Regulatory ‘Sandboxes’ in Asia Can Foster Fintech Innovation (Brink), Rated: AAA

Two years ago the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK launched the first formal global regulatory sandbox.

There are a few technologies in fintech that haven’t launched but are being tested around the world—these include using bitcoin as a remittance channel, using electronic health records for life insurance underwriting and a financial robo-adviser/wallet that has a holistic view of an individual’s finances.

Things are altogether different in Asia’s developing economies. First, in these countries, the infrastructure is developing. Apart from India, the concept of digital identity is only evolving in countries such as the Philippines and Indonesia. Moreover, in these countries, bureaucracy is generally a bottleneck since multiple government agencies work in silos with differing incentives.

Developing Asian countries need to prioritize different issues depending on their economies. For example, remittances are of utmost importance in the Philippines and Bangladesh.

For example, robo-advisers are a great way to enable the burgeoning middle class to put their savings into equities with a view toward investing and long-term retirement preparation; Thailand has none of those at the moment. There are international brokerages such as interactive brokers that enable robo-advisers to operate in other parts of the world and are licensed in Thailand. However, there are no traditional Thai banks/ brokerages that provide these new services to their consumers. Elsewhere in Asia, Indonesia is a great example of where the regulators have worked with new businesses to create regulations around peer-to-peer (P2P) lending.

Source: Brink

Senturia Capital Announces Partnership With Funding Societies to Expand Alternative Financing Access to Malaysian Businesses (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Private equity fund manager Senturia Capital has reportedly announced a partnership with peer-to-peer financing platform Funding Societies to expand alternative financing access and capital solutions for Malaysian businesses.

MUFG plans ‘fintech’ unit to focus on cashless settlements, automation (Japan Times), Rated: A

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. will launch a financial technologies unit Oct. 1 in collaboration with 32 regional banks nationwide.

MUFG will put up ¥3 billion in capital to start Japan Digital Design Inc., which is expected to develop new services including those for cashless settlements using smartphones at small shops. It will also promote the automation of operations through artificial intelligence.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

July 29th 2016, Daily News Digest

July 29th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today we have a lot of articles about banks and how banks are surfing successfully on the FinTech wave. The bank articles are mostly in the US section but the Australia section has an interesting article as well. Note the 1st article from Bloomberg and the 7th and 8th articles.  In the India […]

July 29th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments

  • Today we have a lot of articles about banks and how banks are surfing successfully on the FinTech wave. The bank articles are mostly in the US section but the Australia section has an interesting article as well. Note the 1st article from Bloomberg and the 7th and 8th articles.
  •  In the India section, you will find an article of quotes from P2P lenders in India which are worth a quick read. And in the UK section a very interesting article, the 1st one, just talking about the profitability of Zopa and Funding Circle, but the real interesting piece are the profitability of LendInvest and RateSetter which are not in the title. And a 2nd article that is also very clear and well thought out.

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

India

Australia

 

United States

Big Banks Turn Silicon Valley Competition Into Profit, (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

It’s not that the upstarts — often called fintech — are failing to gain traction. Internet ventures pitching loans to cash-strapped consumers, small businesses and home buyers, for instance, have posted spectacular growth in recent years. It’s just that banks have a huge lead in lending and are watching the startups closely. As borrowers embrace new services, traditional firms are riding along.

Here are five examples:

LendingClub’s Backers

In May, LendingClub broke out its sales to banks: Community banks and other old fashioned lenders snapped up about 34 percent of the $2.8 billion of loans it arranged in the first quarter, up from an average of about 25 percent during 2015.

Some of LendingClub’s biggest loan buyers have bolstered their war chests or operations with financing from banks. Colchis Income Advisors entered into a credit agreement with Bawag PSK of Austria, according to regulatory filings. Arcadia Funds arranged for two of its Cirrix partnerships to borrow from Silicon Valley Bank. And MW Eaglewood lined up financing for its main LendingClub fund from Capital One Financial Corp. in 2012. Spokesmen for the funds and banks declined to comment or didn’t respond to messages.

Chasing Entrepreneurs

Small businesses can thank internet ventures for simplifying loan applications, speeding decisions and providing much-needed credit when many traditional banks were pulling back in the wake of 2008’s financial crisis. Nonbanks now provide about one-quarter of the $800 billion in loans outstanding to the sector, according to research by QED Investors and Oliver Wyman. But the interest rates aren’t always low.

For a time, banks were content backing the loans. Goldman Sachs was among firms that entrusted more than $300 million years ago to fund lending by On Deck Capital Inc., one of the largest providers of small business loans over the internet.

Now, established lenders are taking a more active role. JPMorgan announced a deal in December, letting it access On Deck’s proprietary credit-scoring system to quickly evaluate applicants before using its own balance sheet to make loans. On Deck, in turn, gets a foothold in the burgeoning “fintech as a service” market. But the arrangement has done little to stop a 49 percent slide in the company’s stock this year.

More recently, established lenders have announced their own online lending portals for entrepreneurs.

Wells Fargo & Co. said in May that its new “fast decision” platform will help it reach a goal of providing $100 billion in new loans to small businesses by 2019. AmEx, which already provides more than $200 billion of funding to entrepreneurs for business purchases on their credit cards, expects a new online-loan portal will let it handle even more of their spending.

Mortgage Apps

Fintech ventures starred in Super Bowl ads this year, with Quicken Loans toutingRocket Mortgage, a platform letting users apply for home loans on smartphones.

The tidal wave is benefiting banks, too. Behind the scenes, many of the upstarts get support from traditional banks. Detroit-based Quicken, for example, raised $1.25 billion for itself and its parent company last year in a bond sale underwritten by JPMorgan and Credit Suisse Group AG. It also used lines of credit from banks to help close $80 billion in home loans that year.

[Comment: 4th was Blockchain, not very relevant to our readers here]

Robo-Advisers

Top Wall Street firms, seeking stable fee income, are now developing their own robotic arms. Bank of America Corp. will unveil an automated investment prototype this year after assigning dozens of employees to the project in November, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg at the time. Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo also have said they would build or buy a robo-adviser.

US consumer agency seeks to overhaul debt collection industry, (CNBC), Rated: AAA

“Today we are considering proposals that would drastically overhaul the debt collection market,” said Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray in a statement. “This is about bringing better accuracy and accountability to a market that desperately needs it.”

According to a summary, the proposal would make sure collectors “substantiate the debt before contacting consumers,” by confirming their identities and the amount owed, as well as checking for any payments made after a default. Consumers frequently file complaints at the agency about receiving calls for debts that do not exist.

In an attempt to “limit excessive contact,” the proposal would cap agencies’ calls to debtors to six attempts each week. It would also create a 30-day waiting period after a person dies for contacting survivors.

Agencies would have to communicate specific information to consumers, such as when outstanding debt is too old for a lawsuit. They would also have to make it easier to both dispute or pay a debt through tear-off coupons on the bottoms of collection notices.

Roughly 13 percent of consumers have a debt currently in third-party collection, with an average amount of $1,300, data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York shows.

In a survey released alongside its proposal, the CFPB found more than three-quarters of the country’s 3,994 debt collection firms are small, with less than 100 employees. Larger firms pull in about two-thirds of the industry’s $12.18 billion total revenue.

The agency also found credit card, student loan and automobile debts in collection typically have balances of $2,000 or more.

Cloudvirga Raises $ 7.5 M to Automate the Entire Mortgage Process, (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Cloudvirga, the company developing the cloud-based intelligent Mortgage Platform® (iMP) designed to streamline the mortgage process, today announced it has raised $7.5M in its series A funding sponsored by Dallas Capital with participation from Upfront Ventures and Tribeca Angels.

“Increased regulations stemming from the subprime mortgage crisis have made the entire process more labor intensive and time consuming than ever, and those are the pain points we’re alleviating with iMP,”

Come Together – Finding Common Ground in Small Business Lending Associations, (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

So where do we go from here? Advancing the marketplace lending industry’s efforts to create a more transparent and efficient financial system is critical as the industry matures.

The good news is that small businesses today – even those with lackluster or thin credit history – can choose from a dynamic set of loan products including term loans (both traditional and short-term), business lines of credit, loans for startup companies, equipment purpose loans, various SBA loans, accounts receivable financing, merchant cash advances, and peer-to-peer loans. This is a far cry from where we were in 2008-2010, when (according to the Huffington Post) more than 170,000 small businesses shut down.

At Lendio, we’re convinced that there needs to be a single, industry unifier – and we feel the SMART Box is headed in that direction. Lendio will now participate in the 90-day engagement period and I’m asking all those who offer loan products throughout the Lendio platform to consider doing so as well.

How Much Lower Will Your Student Loan Rate Be With a Cosigner?, (Wall Street Journal), Rated: AAA

Undergraduates who qualified for private student loans with a cosigner–often a parent–were offered average interest rates of 5.37% versus 7.46% without a cosigner, according to Credible.com, a student-loan marketplace. Rates for graduate students were also discounted to 4.59% on average with a cosigner compared to 6.22% without one.

The figures from Credible.com are based on five lenders’ responses and offers—which included a mix of fixed and variable interest rates—to nearly 8,000 applicants who shopped for student loans on the site over a 12-month period through early June. The lenders include Citizens Financial Group—which is quickly gaining market share in the private student loan market—as well as online lenders CommonBond and College Ave Student Loans.

Approval rates fall dramatically without cosigners. Fifty-one percent of undergraduates shopping for loans on Credible.com received offers compared with 20% of those without a cosigner. Similarly, 56% of graduate students–who lenders have historically viewed as relatively safer borrowers–received offers with a cosigner versus 45% without.

In some cases, it can be cheaper for parents to join their children on a private student loan as opposed to signing up for a parent-only loan from the federal government. The 5.37% average rate undergraduates received with a cosigner on private student loans is nearly one percentage point cheaper than the interest rate on the federal Plus loan for parents that charges 6.31% for the upcoming academic year. Private lenders also don’t charge origination fees, while the Plus loan currently has a roughly 4.3% upfront charge.

Think twice before you co-sign on a student loan, (CNBC), Rated: AAA

But co-signing is risky. It ties you to that debt, meaning you could be responsible for the entire amount outstanding if the primary borrowercan’t — or won’t — pay up. Nearly 40 percent of co-signers found themselves on the hook for at least part of the bill, according to a June survey from CreditCards.com, and 28 percent saw a drop in their credit score from the primary borrower’s bad credit habits.

How Ayasdi’s machine learning is giving banks an analytical advantage, (Tradestreaming), Rated: AAA

“The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.” Banks are increasingly using machine learning to power part of their operations, but the adoption of these new technologies is not uniform.

Top data scientists are employed by financial institutions and working with programming tools like SPCC and R, they filter and analyze huge data sets in order to perform analytical tasks. “No human being can wrap his head around that amount of data,” said Daniel Druker, CMO of Ayasdi, a machine learning company that partners with financial institutions, like Citi and Credit Suisse. Instead, using machine learning algorithms, a computer can surface insights and recommendations from those data sets, while the quants examine and take actions based on those learnings.

According to McKinsey’s 2015 Global Banking Report, banks that have replaced older statistical-modeling approaches to credit risk with machine learning techniques have experienced up to 20 percent increases in cash collections from outstanding loans.

Out of over 20 banks that work with Ayasdi, Drucker said, 100% are either already operating in this stage or actively exploring implementing such technology.

The highest level of machine learning application is the fully automating business processes. Take a life insurer, for example. When a customer applies for a policy, he might be asked to fill out a 40-page long form and get a physical examination. That information is then sent back to the company for approval. The entire process can take over a month to complete.

According to McKinsey, some European banks using these techniques report 10 percent increases in sales of new products, 20 percent savings in capital expenditures, and 20 percent declines in customer churn.

CB Insights has identified 41 companies providing machine learning solutions in the financial industry. Together with the explosion of general applications of  AI, deals and investments in AI companies reached record levels in 2016. Since the beginning of 2016, over 15 fintech AI companies have closed investment rounds.

How Digital Investments Are Changing the Face of Banking, (The financial Brand), Rated: AAA

Investment in digital banking is driving increased customer acquisition, cross-selling and satisfaction while decreasing branch traffic and related costs.

This is confirmed by the J.D. Power research that showed that there is an immediate lift in overall satisfaction when customers use mobile banking (+27 points on a 1,000-point scale), and this impact increases even more when banks provide their mobile banking customers with a highly satisfying experience (+82). According to J.D. Power, “The outlook for Big Banks remains positive, driven by their (big banks) ability to invest in customer-centric innovations (e.g., digital channels, analytics, and branch transformation), as well as their success in growing customer segments.”

Recent disclosures of mobile banking use by the big banks provides a glimpse of the impact of digital investment on mobile use. Of the three largest U.S. banks, JPMorgan Chase leads the way with nearly 25 million active mobile customers as of the second quarter. That was up 18% compared with the same period last year. Bank of America had the second most active mobile users, with 20.2 million monthly active app users, with Wells Fargo reporting 18 million active users.

 

United Kingdom

Britain’s 2 biggest peer-to-peer lenders lost £50 million in the last decade

The two platforms have facilitated almost £3 billion of loans between them but Funding Circle, founded in 2010, has never made a profit, while Zopa, founded in 2005, made a small profit 2 years running, totalling less than £60,000.

Here’s the breakdown of Zopa and Funding Circle’s financial performance, as per accounts filed with Companies House:

  • Zopa: losses between 2005 and 2014 total £21.79 million, according to accounts filed with Companies House, on cumulative revenues of £25.84 million. The platform made a small profit in in 2011 and 2012, totalling £58,648.
  • Funding Circle: cumulative net loss of £28.71 million on total revenues of £20.89 million, according to accounts covering 2010 to 2014. The company has yet to make a profit.

These losses have been funded by investment from venture capitalists: $273 million (£208.1 million) for Funding Circle and at least $56.6 million (£43 million) for Zopa, according to Crunchbase.

Funding Circle, which offers loans to small businesses, declined to comment on its losses when contacted by BI but pointed to comments CEO Samir Desai made to BI last year when we reported the company’s latest financial results. Desai said at the time:

“If you actually look at the core business of doing loans in the UK — strip away the technology investment and all the other extra stuff we’re doing — the business is already profitable in the UK and is moving that way in the US as well. A lot of the investment we’re doing is investing in creating a global business.”

Zopa’s CEO Jaidev Janardana told BI in an emailed statement:

“We have demonstrated that our business model is profitable with two consecutive profitable years in 2011 and 2012. Since then our investors and the business have placed more value on investing in our growth. In doing so we have been able to double our loan volumes last year, deliver positive returns for our customers at the same time investing in talent, technology, and our office.

“This all means we are in the best position to deliver on our strategic plan for continued growth and profitability long-term. Looking forward, I’m glad to say that we expect to be EBIDTA positive in Q4 2016 and profitable in 2017.”

Christian Faes, CEO of the UK’s fourth largest marketplace lender LendInvest, told BI he thinks that loss-making platforms will face increased pressure to turn a profit to “prove that they can.” Remember, the growth that Zopa and Funding Circle are chasing could be disappearing.

LendInvest, which lets investors put money into short-term mortgages for people looking to renovate then sell properties, made a pre-tax profit of £3.1 million in 2015 and £1.1 million in 2014.

A spokesperson for RateSetter told BI: “We have recorded a profit for two consecutive financial years, proving that our model works and is sustainable. We are now investing to scale up, broaden, and deepen our market while continuing to deliver maximum value for investors.”

Is the dream of peer-to-peer lending beginning to fade?, (Thersa), Rated: AAA

Why is this a problem? Because unlike banks, which can make money on captive and repeat business in current accounts, credit cards and remortgages, P2P lenders need to continuously find and process new borrowers in order to earn commission. Should the sluggish times continue, the danger is that P2P lenders may soon be tempted to shoot for riskier borrowers in order to maintain their rate of growth. Remember that these platforms have investors of their own to placate and appease, many of whom will be pushing for decisive action to keep transaction volumes on an upward trajectory.

Finally, there is the question of where the money flows to on these platforms. Nesta and Cambridge University’s research is unequivocal: peer-to-peer lending has helped many thousands of people and businesses access loans in the face of rejection from high street banks. Yet only 20 percent of borrowers using P2P consumer lending platforms are women, and only a quarter earn less than £25k (note that the median wage of workers in the UK is  £27.5k). Although the makeup of borrowers using P2P platforms may simply reflect lending patterns across the financial industry, it challenges the theory that fintech innovations are inherently more inclusive.

The point of raising these red flags is not to pour cold water on the P2P lending phenomenon. Many of these platforms promise users a brilliant customer experience, faster decision making, more choice and – for some – better rates on loans than they can find elsewhere. Indeed, one of the greatest impacts P2P lenders have had is in changing the practices of long-standing incumbents. Take Wells Fargo, which recently launched a rapid turnaround system for small business loans, partly to match the responsiveness of P2P startups. These innovations should linger on even if P2P platforms fade away, and suggests the sector could catalyse positive transformation in financial services without needing to achieve a dominant position in the loans market.

No, this is not to dismiss the real achievements of P2P platforms. Rather, it is a plea to be pragmatic and realistic about what P2P lending – and all forms of fintech for that matter – can ultimately achieve without a more significant structural change in the nature of the financial industry. John Kay, in his brilliantly detailed new book Other People’s Money, rightly reminds us of the fundamental functions of finance: to enable people to save for the future, receive and send money, manage everyday risks, and borrow to invest in a real economy that truly creates value for others.

Ablrate & Access Commercial Finance Tout Origination Partnership, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Asset-backed peer to peer lender Ablrate has released information on an origination partnership with Access Commercial Finance based in Leeds. The arrangement is said to have generated over £2.5 million of loans so far this year. Ablrate launched as a niche P2P lender focusing on aircraft finance but has since branched out into capital equipment and property. Ablrate’s arrangement with Access is thus driving platform growth. Ablrate also offers a secondary market for investors in their loans.

The origination partnership is said to have resulted in sizeable deals for a range of sectors, including an £800,000 funding boost for a previously mothballed Eco Park, near Newcastle. The deal is expected to grow by £1.4 million. The waste management plant in Blaydon suffered following the collapse of Lehman Bros in 2013. The £800,000 in finance  raised through Ablrate and Access is expected to get the plant fully operational by October creating at least 30 jobs.

European Union

BBVA Plans New Management Revamp as Chairman Pushes Digital Bank, (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA is preparing its second management reorganization in 14 months as Chairman Francisco Gonzalez streamlines Spain’s second-biggest lender and accelerates its push into digital banking.

BBVA is pushing to offer more products and services online and via mobile phones as Gonzalez predicts few banks will survive competition from technology companies such as Google Inc. or Facebook Inc.

Vicente Rodero, current head of Country Networks, a unit created last year to boost the results of the group’s lenders in various countries, is set to leave his post. Chief Financial Officer Jaime Saenz de Tejada and Javier Rodriguez Soler, head of strategy and M&A, will be given additional responsibilities.

India

Fintech firms to take profit-first approach, say panellists at VCCircle summit

India’s fintech startups will also learn more from China, owing to similar demographic opportunities and challenges, unlike other industries that primarily learnt from the US, the panellists said. While there are no successful models yet, companies are experimenting with different models that include marketplace, bidding process and intermediary, they added.

Adhil Shetty, founder and CEO of Bankbazaar, said the popularity of the company is that its website received 90 lakh visitors in the month of March alone. Hence, it won’t be an extended arm as the platform offers products from partnering financial services companies as well standalone products.

Gaurav Hinduja, co-founder of Capital Float, which operates a hybrid model by lending online through its non-banking finance company, said these data sets will reduce the time taken from application to disbursal to 10 minutes. He added that social data can be used for verification as well as help in recoveries.

Rajat Gandhi of Gurgaon-based Faircent, which operates a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform facilitating borrowers and lenders through a bidding process, said that credit score would continue to be main criteria for disbursal of loans while data from social media can only be a value-add.

Vaddadi also said that fintech companies are increasing focus on customer acquisition, but added that this will not be done by burning cash.

The panellists also said that chances of default by borrowers are lower for fintech companies as these firms monitor the business performance of the borrower through analytics that can give out an early warning. Vaddadi said his firm has a 0.16% default rate.  [Comment: I do not believe this is true unless the fintechs really download the business’s information regularly and reliably. I am not aware of any company who really does this well. ]

Australia

Global banks: Is fintech a threat or an opportunity?, (Financial Review), Rated: AAA

UBS banking analysts surveyed 27,914 customers of more than 210 banks in 24 countries, along with 61 management teams from banks around the world. Local UBS banking analyst Jonathan Mott along with analysts in London, New York and Tokyo.

The survey found that a growing number of Australians are considering trying fintech services in the next 12 months: 15 per cent of Australian respondents said they will use a fintech money transfer business; 14 per cent said they will use a mobile payment fintech; 9 per cent will use peer-to-peer lending; and 9 per cent said they are likely to use a “robo adviser” for digital financial advice.

According to the management survey, 38 per cent of banks have a fintech partnership and this is expected to rise to 51 per cent over the next 12 months. The report said that in developed markets, bank returns on equity could be lifted from an average of 9.8 per cent to 10.2 per cent, as global cost to income ratios fall.

The survey found a high level of satisfaction from customers in the US and Britain using P2P lending which pointed to the threat to banks being real.
Australia’s largest P2P lender, SocietyOne, said this week it had appointed DDB Group to lift brand awareness through a TV, online, radio and print advertising campaign after the company, which is being led by former Westpac senior executive Jason Yetton, raised a further $25 million in equity in May.

UBS also predicted “the use of robo-advisers looks likely to grow exponentially” by between 70 and 150 per cent over the next year.

Cyber security is an area of concern, with 35 per cent of the customer respondents indicating a lack of trust in security as an explanation for not using fintech mobile payment services.

Author:

George Popescu