Thursday February 28 2019, Weekly News Digest

Annual fintech financing Singapore

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi to roll out crypto trading with Coinbase. Walmart now offers Affirm loans. Funding Circle fund ups the ante on buyback strategy. Orca launches IFISA. LendDenClub cross 1 million borrowers, lenders milestone. Today’s main analysis: 2019 securitization update. How marketplace lending is a growing and dynamic global market. (A MUST-READ) Today’s thought-provoking articles: The 2009 […]

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Annual fintech financing Singapore

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United States

Fintech Startup SoFi to Roll Out Crypto Trading Via Partnership With Coinbase (CoinTelegraph), Rated: AAA

Fintech startup SoFi — known for its online lending services — is partnering with major United States-based crypto exchange Coinbase to roll out crypto trading support, according to a CNBC report Feb. 26.

Millennial online lender SoFi to offer zero-fee ETFs, an unexpected rival for index fund giants Vanguard, iShares (CNBC), Rated: A

The race to zero-fee exchange-traded funds has found an unlikely competitor: Online lending and personal finance platform SoFi, which has filed for two index ETFs that will waive management fees for the first year. In making the move to zero-fee ETFs, the online lender is crashing an ETF party dominated by Vanguard and BlackRock‘s iShares.

FTC orders SoFi to stop misleading consumers (MPA Mag), Rated: B

The Federal Trade Commission has ordered online lender SoFi to stop lying about how much borrowers can save by refinancing with the company.

Digital lender founded by ex-SoFi CEO raises $ 65M to fuel expansion (American Banker), Rated: A

The new company founded by Mike Cagney, the former embattled chief executive of Social Finance, plans to announce a $65 million funding round on Wednesday, bolstering firm’s expansion into other financial services, including wealth management.

With the new venture, Cagney is using some of the strategies from his tenure at SoFi — like diversification into areas typically only occupied by traditional banks. However, the new company, Figure, is focusing on different customers, and it’s taking steps to avoid scandals similar to the ones that saw Cagney step down from the SoFi helm.

Walmart teams with Affirm to offer point-of-sale loans (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Walmart will offer its customers point-of-sale loans for the first time — both on its website and in nearly 4,000 U.S. stores — under a partnership with the Silicon Valley lender Affirm.

Under the deal, Walmart shoppers will be able to get Affirm loans of three, six or 12 months to finance purchases ranging from $150 to $2,000. The loans are already being offered in Walmart stores, and they will be available to Walmart’s online shoppers in the coming weeks.

Affirm’s latest partnership brings its alternative financing to Walmart’s US stores and website (TechCrunch), Rated: A

The companies announced this morning that Affirm’s financing options would be made available in more than 4,000 Walmart Supercenters across the U.S., and will roll out to Walmart.com in the weeks ahead.

The offering will go live across Walmart Supercenters nationwide, except in Iowa, West Virginia and Puerto Rico, and will be soon available on Walmart.com.

Loan app Affirm CEO breaks down new Walmart partnership (CNBC), Rated: A

Loan app Affirm CEO breaks down new Walmart partnership from CNBC.

ABS Vegas – 2019 Securitization Update; Square Charter Status (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

In regulatory news, Square’s ILC charter application has received opposition from 37 community groups. The groups are concerned about Square’s CRA activities and have asked the FDIC to bolster Square’s CRA requirements. Before this letter from community advocates, nearly all of the 15 letters the FDIC received were in favor of Square’s bid. Square is the furthest along the path to getting an ILC charter and its experience will determine whether other FinTechs follow its lead.

Structured Credit Investor magazine explores the challenges facing the maturing marketplace lending sector. Issuers need to distinguish between the borrower experience that they provide and manage liquidity. The article also makes the point that the sector is ripe for consolidation, although we haven’t seen any M&A yet.

2019 Securitization Update

The first two months of 2019 saw 5 securitization deals totaling $1.7 Bn in new issuance. The issuance volume represents a 23% drop over that seen in the first two months of 2018, as the market recovers from the volatility in equity and credit markets seen at the end of 2018. Total securitization issuance now stands at $46.2 Bn, with 147 deals issued to date.

Source: PeerIQ

The Housing Market’s 10 Year Challenge — Comparing The Housing Market of 2009 to Today (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

When the real estate bubble burst in late 2008, many Americans saw their home values fall drastically, but a lot has changed in the 10 years since — housing prices have rebounded from their lows during the Great Recession. And though prices are now starting to cool, in many cases, home values have even exceeded their 2006 highs.

On average, median home values have increased by nearly $50,000 across the 50 largest metros in the United States since 2009.

Metros where housing prices have recovered the most since 2009

San Jose, Calif.

Median home value 2009: $638,300
Median home value 2017: $957,700
Median home value change: $319,400
Median unemployment rate change: -6.4%
Median household income change: $32,991

San Francisco

Median home value 2009: $591,600
Median home value 2017: $849,500
Median home value change: $257,900
Median unemployment rate change: -5.4%
Median household income change: $27,889

Los Angeles

Median home value 2009: $463,600
Median home value 2017: $617,100
Median home value change: $153,500
Median unemployment rate change: -5.0%
Median household income change: $11,467

Source: LendingTree
Source: LendingTree

Gen Xers Carry the Biggest Auto Loan Burden; Study Finds (One World Herald), Rated: A

According to the loan comparison website, the median balance of Gen Xers who have auto loans is $18,741 is higher than other age groups. It is 9% more than baby boomers’ $17,185 median balance. This is higher than millennials’ $16,200 and 37 percent more than the lowest median balance of $13,666 held by Gen Z.

Personal Loan Interest Rates for February 2019 (Nerdwallet), Rated: AAA

Personal loan interest rates, whether you’re considering a loan from a bank, credit union or online lender, generally range from about 6% to 36%. The actual rate you receive depends on factors such as your credit score and history, annual income, existing debt and where you get the loan.

Online lenders offer the lowest starting interest rates on personal loans to borrowers with good to excellent credit.

Source: Nerdwallet

LightStream and Marcus both require a minimum credit score of 660. LightStream accepts joint applications, and one applicant can have a credit score lower than its minimum. SoFi has a slightly higher credit score requirement and requires at least $45,000 in annual income.

Elevate Credit (ELVT) Posts Earnings Results, Meets Expectations (Fairfield Current), Rated: A

Elevate Credit (NYSE:ELVT) announced its quarterly earnings results on Monday, February 11th. The company reported $0.09 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.09, Bloomberg Earnings reports. The business had revenue of $207.29 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $212.42 million. Elevate Credit had a return on equity of 15.72% and a net margin of 1.59%. Elevate Credit updated its FY 2019 guidance to $0.55-0.65 EPS.

Source: Fairfield Current

Hunt Real Estate Capital buys RealtyMogul’s proprietary loan underwriting program (Housing Wire), Rated: A

Hunt Real Estate Capital, which offers financing for all types of commercial real estate, will soon have a new underwriting system to help it originate those loans, as the company is buying a proprietary loan underwriting system from RealtyMogul.

Elevate’s Joan Kuehl Named Dallas ORBIE CIO of the Year (The Progress), Rated: B

Elevate Credit, Inc. (“Elevate”) today announced that Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer Joan Kuehl has been named the Large Enterprise CIO of the Year by the Dallas ORBIE CIO of the Year Awards. The award honors chief information officers who have demonstrated excellence in technology leadership.

A Recession Coming? Small Business Lending Platform Kabbage Says It’s Prepared (Forbes), Rated: A

The world is bracing for a recession, with the latest data showing  in the U.S. expect it to occur by the end of 2021

If those predictions prove true, it will be the first major economic downturn for some of the nation’s leading fintechs. Born out of the ruins of the recession, these startups have enjoyed nearly a decade of success buoyed by strong economic growth, a bull run in the stock market and low unemployment.

Here’s more on the  AJC Top Workplaces midsize companies (AJC.com), Rated: B

Kabbage has been named to the list for five consecutive years and this is its first year in the top five. The private financial technology company, founded in 2009, has 489 global employes and 367 at its U.S. headquarters in Atlanta. Flexibility at work and perks, such as a daily catered lunch and snacks, are among reasons employees appreciate working for Kabbage. Wellness benefits include fitness classes, health equipment onsite, biweekly meditation classes, CPR training, an annual flu shot clinic and sponsoring sports clubs. It also fully pays health benefits for individuals and provides annual bonuses and a 401(k) match. Through its sabbatical program, employees of five years can receive six weeks of paid time off and an additional $6,000. In 2018, Kabbage participated in the Atlanta PRIDE parade and also took a stand against gun violence after the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School. Workers in 2019 will build a Habitat for Humanity home as part of its Kabbage Kares program, which also has supported PAWS Atlanta, Easter Seals and the Epilepsy Foundation.

Diversifying a Self-Directed IRA Made Simple with New Offering from CrowdStreet (The Progress), Rated: A

CrowdStreet, an online marketplace for direct equity investment in commercial real estate (CRE), today launched a streamlined, investor-friendly approach to investing qualified retirement account funds into commercial real estate offerings. This new option makes it easier than ever for individuals to access CRE investments with their self-directed IRAs (SDIRA), thus reducing their investment exposure to a volatile stock market and achieving more independence in managing their investments.

Liquid P2P and Interest Radar Announce Strategic Partnership (Liquid P2P), Rated: A

Liquid P2P and Interest Radar are pleased to announce that they have entered into a strategic partnership. The two third-party investing services for online peer-lending giant Lending Club will combine strengths under a single platform to deliver a more comprehensive automated tool with a patent-pending liquidity solution.

Direct Lending Investments Suspends Investor Withdrawals (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Earlier this month Brendan Ross, the CEO of Direct Lending Investments, Inc., sent a letter to investors notifying them that they have suspended withdrawals and redemptions effective February 8, 2019. Lend Academy was able to obtain a copy of this investor letter, dated February 11, that provides some color into what happened. The reason given was the delinquency of a large holding, VOIP Guardian, a telecom receivables factoring company.

Fintech deal will provide access to midsize businesses in U.S. (American Banker), Rated: A

Add HSBC to the list of banks partnering with commercial online lenders.

The bank on Tuesday announced a partnership with Neptune Financial, a San Francisco online lender that focuses on businesses with $10 million to $100 million in assets. The bank estimates that, with the access it will get to Neptune customers, the deal represents a $1.5 trillion opportunity.

Venmo debuted a limited-edition rainbow-colored card (Business Insider), Rated: A

Venmo, the PayPal-owned peer-to-peer (P2P) giant, debuted a limited-edition rainbow-colored version of its physical card product. The card will function the same as regular Venmo cards, allowing customers to pay wherever Mastercard is accepted, split costs and tips, withdraw funds from select ATMs, and manage their Venmo balance, but it will only be available for as long as supplies last, according to Venmo.

Source: Business Insider

Why digital identities will be so important in the next few years, according to Mastercard’s vice chairman (CNBC), Rated: A

The pace with which we are moving toward the internet of things is “very rapid” but we “can’t have the internet of everyone without the inclusion of everyone,” according to the vice chairman of payments giant Mastercard.

“You have to start focusing on how does the human get involved, and that’s going to be through having a digital identity,” Ann Cairns told CNBC’s Karen Tso on Monday at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Credit Karma’s Dana Marineau: ‘We want users to think of us as more than just free credit scores’ (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Today’s marketer on the hot seat is Dana Marineau, Credit Karma’s vice president of brand, creative and communications. People love Credit Karma for its free credit scores, but the company provides so many other free tools. Dana’s team is tasked with elevating the brand beyond just free credit scores, as a place to get help with financial decisions and achieve financial progress. She brings a 15 year experience at EA, working on many of the top sports games in the business.

Why this small bank created a separate, digital-first brand (American Banker), Rated: AAA

When Midwest BankCentre, a community bank in St. Louis, launched the digital-first Rising Bank in February, it joined the ranks of other financial companies —generally large players such as JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and MUFG Union Bank — that have created separate, digital-only brands. Unlike them, the $1.9 billion-asset Midwest hopes to keep a community bank feel at the internet-only unit.

The Future Is Plastic: Fintech Unicorn Brex Launches New Credit Card For E-Commerce Merchants (Forbes), Rated: A

Brex, a San Francisco credit card startup that reached a valuation of $1.1 billion late last year, 22 months after its founding, is launching its second product, a physical credit card for e-commerce companies. Its first card, targeted to venture-backed tech startups, has attracted more than 3,000 customers by providing higher spending limits and simplifying the application process.

YieldStreet raises $ 62M to democratise alternative investments in shipping, real estate and more (TechCrunch), Rated: A

YieldStreet — which provides a platform for making alternative investments in areas like real estate, marine/shipping, legal finance, commercial loans and other opportunities that in the past were only open to institutional investors — is today announcing that it has raised $62 million in a Series B round of funding.

Guaranteed Rate Leads Mortgage Executive Magazine’s List of Top Loan Originators in America (GlobeNewswire), Rated: A

For the seventh consecutive year, Guaranteed Rate has the most loan originators of any lender on Mortgage Executive Magazine’s annual list of the “Top 200 Mortgage Originators in America,” including the number one originator.

Guaranteed Rate led the way with 36 originators ranking within Mortgage Executive Magazine’s Top 200, including three of the top five. Shant Banosian of Boston, Mass., was named the nation’s 2018 Top Originator by funding $536 Million in total loan volume.

Americans Focus On Debt Management But Lose Focus On Retirement Savings (Forbes), Rated: A

Our minds are wired to prioritize the near-term over the long-term. We shouldn’t be surprised that a new survey by 

U.S. banking regulator fights NY lawsuit over fintech charters (Reuters), Rated: A

The U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has asked a Manhattan federal court to dismiss a lawsuit by a New York financial regulator over its plan to issue banking charters to fintech companies, saying the lawsuit is premature.

Blockchain and data protection: the main concerns (JDSupra), Rated: A

Blockchain’s usage is no longer limited to digital crypto currencies, as blockchain databases may be deployed in innumerable circumstances and scenarios, including, for instance, within the financial services and insurance sectors for money transfer, peer-to-peer lending and transfer of securities, as well as automatic execution of contracts.

LoanStreet positions for growth with new hires (LoanStreet Email), Rated: B

After the launch of LoanStreet’s commercial lending product and the announcement of their $6.5 million funding round, LoanStreet – the first fully-integrated platform that streamlines the process of sharing, managing, and originating loans – has appointed three credit union industry veterans to support LoanStreet’s aggressive growth.

These new hires include Mike Doherty, Managing Director and Head of Credit Union Sales; Tony Harter, Business Development Director; and Joe Parvin, Business Development Director.

White Oak Business Capital Hires Carol Bader Apicella to Expand Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Markets (GlobeNewswire), Rated: B

White Oak Business Capital, Inc. (“WOBC”), an affiliate of White Oak Global Advisors, LLC, has announced that Carol Apicella has joined the firm as Senior Vice President and Senior Business Development Officer. Apicella will be responsible for expanding the firm’s markets in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle fund adds firepower for buyback strategy (AltFi), Rated: AAA

The portfolio, an investment trust, of loans originated by Funding Circle lowered its dividend expectations amid lower projected returns last year prompting a discount to its net asset value.

Following a move to a more than 10 per cent discount last year it started share buybacks in a bid to narrow its discount. It has now made additional capital available from its free cash flow to be deployed into share buybacks, the fund said yesterday.

Orca Innovative Finance ISA Launches, Enables Diversified P2P Investment (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Orca Money is finally launching its long-anticipated Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA). Orca’s spin on the savings vehicle allows investors to spread their money across multiple peer-to-peer lenders (P2P) thus providing a heightened degree of diversification. Additionally, Orca Money conducts due diligence on behalf of IFISA investors.

Currently, the Orca IFISA allows access to 5 P2P platforms: Lending Works, Assetz Capital, Landbay, Octopus Choice and Lending Crowd.

Experian, ClearScore scrap merger plans (Reuters), Rated: A

Experian Plc, the world’s biggest credit data firm, said on Wednesday that it had agreed with rival ClearScore to abandon their proposed merger, after Britain’s competition watchdog indicated that it may block the deal.

NatWest launches account aggregation as Open Banking takes hold (AltFi), Rated: A

It’s been a long time coming, but Open Banking is finally spreading through the traditional banking industry, this week with the launch of account aggregation for NatWest customers.

The RBS subsidiary becomes the UK’s 4th bank to let customers connect rival current accounts.

Will Open Banking boom in 2019? (AltFi), Rated: A

It has been over a year since the Open Banking UK initiative under the Competition and Markets Authority order and Second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) was launched and has become one of the industry’s biggest technology and regulatory shake ups in recent years. It is no surprise that the initiative’s first year has seen a relatively low consumer uptake. This has been coupled with reports that consumers’ knowledge of the scheme appears to be markedly low.

Aave Launches Platform to Pay Bills Using Crypto (Finance Magnates), Rated: A

In an attempt to bring crypto closer to the mainstream, the London-based fintech startup has announced the launch of Aave Pay.

The app will allow its users to pay their utility bills using digital coins by converting crypto into fiat in real-time using bank transfer facility. The company is claiming that the platform can be used to business expenses as well including employee salaries, income taxes, and other commercial or corporate expenses.

Investing in crowdfunded development projects – what you need to know (Property Investor Today), Rated: A

You can invest in peer to peer development loans for the short term or in an Innovative Finance ISA for a longer commitment period, but with the potential to earn tax free returns.

By comparison, a peer to peer lending platform with its own development company will have much more control over its projects and be able to give you more detailed and trustworthy updates.

Failed Lender Reaching ‘From Beyond The Grave,’ MPs Warn (Law360), Rated: A

Failed payday lender Wonga is damaging the finances of thousands of customers “from beyond the grave” because they cannot seek redress for allegedly missold loans as the company was not covered…

International

Some Bankers Are Doing Even Worse Than in 2009 (The Washington Post), Rated: AAA

It may not feel like it, but some corners of banking are suffering as badly as they did during the depths of the financial crisis. Global volumes of initial public offerings and share placings in January and February have been nearly 60 percent lower than in the same period last year. The numbers are worse than the first two months of 2009. If activity doesn’t pick up soon, it would be worrying evidence of the fragility of investor sentiment.

The hope is that the lull is temporary, and technical. The government shutdown in Washington has gummed up U.S. IPOs. Uncertainty over the U.K.’s future relationship with Europe just drags on. And the December stock-market wobble probably killed off deals that were being planned for the window that traditionally opens between January and the start of the full-year earnings season in late February.

Marketplace Lending – A Growing and Dynamic Global Market (DBRS Email), Rated: AAA

I wanted to share with you a new joint report from our U.S. and European structured finance teams. The new report, attached to this email, analyzes the growth of the marketplace lending market around the globe.

The commentary includes the following topics:

— The evolution in finance, from traditional banking to FinTech.
— FinTech’s influence on marketplace lending around the globe.
— Growth hurdles.
— Securitization considerations.

Bank on it: How Enova’s software expands credit access worldwide (Built in Chicago), Rated: A

Not all credit histories are created equal.

That’s the case for a large part of the world’s population who can’t get access to a loan from a traditional credit provider — like a bank — creating a world in which the hardest working people don’t always get access to the credit they need. Enova, however, believes it has a solution. The fintech company draws on the power of machine learning and data to offer products that expand access to credit for consumers and small businesses.

Blossom Capital scores $ 85m from Robinhood and Funding Circle backers (AltFi), Rated: A

Blossom Capital, which has already backed five startups including rental marketplace Fat Lama, today raised $85m which it will use to lead Series A rounds of between $5m and $10m in Europe.

Eight Simple Ways to Earn Bitcoin Online Legally (The Crypto Updates), Rated: B

Earn Bitcoins as the interest payments: If you have earned some Bitcoins already, you can put the Bitcoins to earn for you. Lend them out at particular interest rate. You can lend the Bitcoins directly to someone known at a greed interest rate and repayment period. You need to assess trustworthiness of borrower. Peer to peer Bitcoin lending is another way to let the earned Bitcoins earn for you. There are many peer-to-peer lending websites where the borrowers post the borrowing requests. Over these websites, you can act as a lender. It is also possible to fund the small portion of numbers of loans to reduce the risk.

European Union

Grid Finance suspends taking investments below € 100,000 (Irish Times), Rated: AAA

One of the largest providers of peer-to-peer loans in the State has shut down a key part of its business aimed at smaller investors, blaming an absence of regulation in the crowdfunding space.

Grid Finance, which is backed by Enterprise Ireland, wrote to holders of its “Brick” accounts – that facilitate the investment of up to €100,000 – in recent days stating that it would withdraw the offering from the marketplace.

China

Dragon Victory International: Exposure To The Chinese Crowdfunding Market At A Regulatory-Driven Discount (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

In recent years as China winds down its industrial and manufacturing powerhouse growth, it’s looking to other developed nations to determine which platforms it should invest in and pave the way to sustained economic growth. As most other major developed nations have done over the past century, financial services and engineering have been a very profitable platform and companies in China are quick to launch their own services to capitalize on the triple-digit growth in online financial services exhibited since 2003.

Similar to Hexindai (HX), which I’ve previously covered as a leading online lender which is capitalizing on the middle class appetite for debt to finance their lives and vacations, Dragon Victory International Limited (LYL) is taking on the crowdfunding segment in the People’s Republic of China. Similar to countless other platforms around the world, the company’s services are around financing new companies and capitalizing entrepreneurs through public funding and they already have over 4.5M users who use their services, a number nearly doubling each year.

Source: Dragon Victory International F-1 filings

China Fintech Today: The P2P Boom Is Truly Over (SupChina), Rated: A

This year, the government has continued to lead a reorganization of the industry:

  • More companies will die: As of February 17, only 60 percent of online lending institutions had disclosed their operational information for January 2019, including five problematic platforms.
  • However, the current asset quality of the online lending industry has improved significantly according the data from firms that did report.
  • As of the end of January 2019, the accumulated amount of the online P2P online loan industry was about 7.78 trillion yuan ($1.16 trillion). The total loan amount in January was 91.4 billion yuan ($13.61 billion), down 55.1 percent year-on-year and down 1.3 percent from the previous month.
  • Further consolidation of industry players is certain. Some experts quoted in media reports predict that the scale of future online loans will continue to shrink because of regulation.
  • Some listed companies, such as Aoma Electric and Panda Financial Companies, have abandoned their P2P businesses.
  • Aoma Electric issued a letter of concern to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange on February 14, attributing the decision to the broader economic slowdown, and a high number of overdue loans.
  • Panda Gold Control in 2018 was also dragged down by its P2P business, and expects a net loss of 41.16 million ($6.13 million) to 57.63 million yuan ($8.58  million) in 2018. Faced with the uncertainty of the P2P sector, Panda Gold Control chose to divest.

A Crypto Project That Raised $ 20 Million Is Caught Faking Its Founding Team (CoinDesk), Rated: A

Launched on Dec. 2, BHB claims to offer an ethereum-based solution for peer-to-peer lending, but by Jan. 18, local media reports were already accusing the project of operating an illegal pyramid scheme. Now, CoinDesk is able to reveal inconsistencies in the information provided about its founding team that further suggest something may be amiss at the China-based project.

However, the image of Bobby White used in BHB’s marketing materials is identical to that of an economics professor at China’s Tsinghua University named Alexander White. Meanwhile, the image of Gregory Moss is the same as one used by a philosophy professor at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, who is also named Gregory Moss.

Tencent-backed brokerage firm downsizes US IPO amid weak market demand (Technode), Rated: A

Tencent-backed online brokerage firm Futu Securities has set the terms for its US initial public offering (IPO) to raise up to $130 million, which will value the company at more than $1 billion. The company previously set its target at as high as $300 million when it filed for the US listing in December.

Chinese tech behemoth, Tencent, owns over 38% of the company, has shown interest in purchasing up to 25% of the new shares issued.

Australia

How should accountants talk to clients about fintechs? (In the Black), Rated: A

Like the ombudsman’s office, ASIC has also made information available to educate consumers and advisers, including on its MoneySmart Borrowing Basics and Peer-to-Peer Lending sites.

Is any flexibility possible, Shiel wonders, with a peer-to-peer lending model in which the borrower likely doesn’t know who is providing the funds?

India

LenDenClub crosses 1,00,000 borrowers and lenders milestone (News Barons), Rated: AAA

LenDenClub, one of India’s fastest growing peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms, recently crossed an important landmark with more than 1,00,000 borrowers and lenders on its platform. The breakdown of borrowers to lenders is 83,300 and 16700, respectively. The company crossed this milestone by keeping up with latest market trends, and saw an increase in the use of its product InstaMoney, which was launched in June 2018.

Why Do Fintech Startups and Investors See a Huge Potential in Lending? (Entrepreneur), Rated: AAA

Today, thanks to the ongoing digitization, borrowing has become as easy as it can get in India. For contrast, all it takes now is the touch of a few buttons, answers to a few verification-related questions, and anyone can receive a loan in a matter of hours or days, if not minutes. And all of this is without any collateral and while enjoying the comfort of your home. Now, compare this with taking a day off to go to the bank, doing extensive paperwork, visiting frequently to check the progress of your loan application, and ultimately, getting your application rejected because of the loan officer’s misjudgement. All while wasting two months of time in the constant to and fro and taking multiple days off from your office.

It is beyond doubt that the advent of fintech startups has altered the game of lending in India. It has become both simpler and convenient to borrow using their revolutionary approaches driven by state-of-the-art technologies. Currently, more than 1,500 fintech startups (of all shapes and sizes) are catering to the Indian market, and more than half of these startups have been launched over the last 3 years. This gives us a clear picture of how lucrative the sector is becoming for our startup ecosystem. But what is essentially fuelling this trend? Let’s find out.

Banning of UDS to benefit P2P Lending Industry (Inventiva), Rated: A

The latest ordinance of the Banning of Unregulated Deposits (UDS) 2019, was passed by the government to provide a comprehensive mechanism to ban UDS as well as to protect the interest of depositors. This is in line with the Reserve Bank of India’s guidelines on the NBFC-P2P sector, issued in October 2017 to regulate the unorganized lending business in the country.

Asia

Singapore fintech investments rose two-fold to US$ 365m in 2018 (SBR.com.sg), Rated: AAA

US$102.2m of the total funds raised went to lending fintech companies such as the homegrown Funding Societies.

Fintech investments in Singapore more than doubled to US$365m in 2018 from US$180m in 2017, putting the country amongst the top five fintech markets by funds raised last year in Asia Pacific, behind China, India, Australia and Japan, according to Accenture’s analysis of CB Insights data. The number of deals in the country rose to 71 from 61 in 2017, making it the third busiest market in the region, behind only China and India.

Source:

Validus Capital raises $ 15m for SME financing (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

Validus Capital, a Singapore-based SME financing platform, has raised SGD 20.5 million ($15.2 million) in a Series B funding round, led by FMO, a Dutch public-private development bank.

Latin America

PayPal expands its small business loans initiative to Mexico (Leaprate), Rated: AAA

Online payment giant PayPal launched its Working Capital initiative in 2013 as an alternative method for business to access working capital much faster than through traditional means. Many small and medium-sized business (SMB) clients embraced the program and since then the company has advanced more than $6 billion in loans to over 170,000 businesses in the UK, US, Germany and Australia.

PayPal also recently revealed that it has partnered with Konfio, a Mexican online lender that utilizes unconventional data sources to facilitate fast credit assessments, in a deal that will allow PayPal to extend its Business loan and working capital programs to Mexican businesses.

ID Finance eyes ‘pivotal moment’ for Latam fintech as revenue in region climbs 403% (Fintech Finance), Rated: A

ID Finance, the fintech company operating in Europe and Latin America, saw revenue of $49m in 2018. This represents growth of 236% for the business, which was formally separated from its operations in Russia and CIS region last year.

The company is enjoying particularly strong growth in Latam, one of the world’s fastest growing markets for fintech adoption thanks to high mobile penetration and a sizeable underbanked population – according to the World Bank 61% of Mexico’s population is excluded from the traditional banking system, while 40% of Brazil’s 207m population are blacklisted. The company now has 141 employees in Latam and saw revenue growth of 403% in the region last year.

Challenger bank N26 expands to Brazil (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

Germany-based mobile challenger bank N26 is powering on yet again as it has revealed its plans to expand to Brazil.

Africa

How FinTech Companies Inspire Africa With Mobile Technology (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

With the potential for rapid growth and job creation, FinTech firms in Africa have caught the attention of global investors. According to the London Stock Exchange Group’s 2019 “Companies to Inspire Africa” report, which highlights these firms, the FinTech sector has the second highest growth rate representation of technology and telecoms as well as financial services. As it stands, companies in this space represent more than a quarter of 360 featured firms from 32 different countries. Pan-African payments firm Cellulant is among the companies that appeared in the first and second editions of the report.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday February 28 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Wednesday August 22 2018, Daily News Digest

Elevate Credit

News Comments Today’s main news: Elevate Credit expected to announce $203.49M in sales. Ant Financial delays IPO again. SocietyOne getting close to $500M in total lending, six years in. ClearScore to offer credit scores in India. Capital Float buys Sequoia and Walnut. Today’s main analysis: 10 years after financial crisis, credit market on upward curve. Today’s thought-provoking articles: New […]

Elevate Credit

News Comments

United States

China

International

India

Other

News Summary

United States

Brokerages Anticipate Elevate Credit Inc (ELVT) Will Announce Quarterly Sales of $ 203.49 Million (Baseball Daily Digest) Rated: AAA

Equities research analysts forecast that Elevate Credit Inc (NYSE:ELVT) will post $203.49 million in sales for the current fiscal quarter, Zacks reports. Two analysts have issued estimates for Elevate Credit’s earnings, with estimates ranging from $201.00 million to $205.97 million. Elevate Credit reported sales of $172.85 million during the same quarter last year, which indicates a positive year-over-year growth rate of 17.7%. The firm is expected to report its next quarterly earnings report on Monday, October 29th.

According to Zacks, analysts expect that Elevate Credit will report full-year sales of $803.23 million for the current financial year, with estimates ranging from $801.00 million to $805.45 million. For the next financial year, analysts expect that the company will report sales of $927.09 million per share, with estimates ranging from $926.97 million to $927.20 million. Zacks’ sales calculations are a mean average based on a survey of research firms that follow Elevate Credit.

Financial Crisis – 10 Years Later: Consumer Credit Market on an Upward Curve (Nasdaq) Rated: AAA

Ten years after the biggest financial crisis to hit the United States since the Great Depression, much has changed in the consumer credit marketplace. Serious delinquency rates have recovered since that period, and the credit quality of consumers has broadly improved. Yet the crisis has had a profound effect on consumer access to credit and the relationship they have with it.

TransUnion’s (NYSE:TRU) just-released Q2 2018 Industry Insights Report allows for comparisons between Americans’ credit preferences today versus 2008, specifically in the auto finance, credit card, mortgage and unsecured personal loan markets.

Source: TransUnion

Lawmaker Questions FinTech Industry Over Lending Practices (Govtech) Rated:A

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) released a report Friday detailing the lending practices of some prominent fintech companies, finding that some companies could be discriminating against minorities and calling for more transparency from the fintech sector.

Fintech companies are somewhat controversial because many engage in traditional banking practices, and some consumers and regulators are calling for them to be regulated like traditional banks.

Small banks need big data to maintain customer service edge (American Banker) Rated: A

Big data isn’t just for big banks.

The modern banking customer wants advanced online and mobile banking options, and delivering such services requires even the smallest community bank to get a handle on customer data, said Corey LeBlanc, chief technology officer and vice president at Origin Bank.

Blockchain Meets REIT – A New Era in Real Estate Investing (Market Insider) Rated: A

Building Block, Inc. announced today it is the first North American REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) to embrace the emerging efficiencies of blockchain technology and provide a new way to invest in one of the world’s most well-known and trusted assets, real estate.   Blockchain technology will enable Building Block REIT to virtually eliminate friction in REIT shareholder communication by allowing direct dividend disbursement, secure user voting, and smart contract functions that execute automatically when pre-set parameters are met.

Building Block REIT plans to raise funds in the form of a digital initial public offering (Digital IPO) accepting payments via U.S. Dollars or fractional Ethereum cryptocurrency.  Investors worldwide will be able to purchase shares in Building Block REIT on SEC compliant alternative trading systems (ATS) or peer-to-peer exchanges with whitelisted parties to invest in US commercial office, multi-family and mixed-use real estate.

JPMorgan launching Roar platform for crowdsourced data (Business Insider) Rated: A

JPMorgan’s corporate and investment bank is best known for advising businesses on billion-dollar acquisitions, helping private unicorns tap into the public markets, and managing the cash of Fortune 500 companies.

But now it is quietly working on a new platform that would go far beyond anything the firm has previously done, using crowdsourcing to accumulate massive amounts of data intended to one day help its clients make complex decisions about how to run their businesses, according to people familiar with the project.

The platform, called Roar by JPMorgan, would store sensitive private data, such as hospital records or satellite imagery, that’s not in the public domain. Typically, this type of information is exchanged between firms on a bilateral arrangement so it is not improperly used. But Roar would allow clients to tap into this data, which they could then use in a secure fashion to make forecasts and gain business insights.

New Report Shows Identity Verification a Priority for eCommerce and Online Lending Businesses (Global News) Rated: A

A new report from Whitepages Pro shows that an overwhelming majority of North American companies in ecommerce and financial services surveyed consider identity verification to be a top business priority but many still don’t believe they do it well or have all the data and tools they need to be successful. For the report, “The State of Identity Verification Maturity in North America,” businesses were asked, among other things, to rank themselves on a 4-stage scale of identity verification maturity for how they use identity data to combat fraud and improve the customer experience.

Among the report’s key findings:

  • Driven by the belief that fraud attempts are increasing in frequency and sophistication, identity verification is a priority for most organizations (93 percent). While they vary in the degree to which they use advanced techniques, most organizations want to improve their identity verification methods and outcomes. Just 2 percent believe they are completely successful at identity verification.
  • Organizations want access to more data points (just 13 percent say they have all the data they need) and see data linkages (the relationships between data elements) as a way to improve their identity verification processes. While access to traditional data (like a street address) is common, many still don’t have or use digital data (like an IP address). Most of the survey respondents believe linking data reduces fraud with 77 percent believing it increases confidence in a customer’s identity.
  • Organizations want more and improved identity verification automation. However they often rely on in-house (such as historical data and white/black lists) that make it difficult to expand the use of automation, resulting in an over reliance on costly and time consuming manual reviews. A large majority (71 percent) believe machine learning can play a role in reducing manual reviews and making identity verification more effective.

Bank of the West exec bolts for startup, sees chance ‘to redefine retail banking’ (American Banker) Rated: A

Thibault Fulconis, who until recently was chief operating officer of Bank of the West, has joined the fintech digital banking startup Varo Money as its chief financial officer.

Varo Money is a mobile-first challenger bank that aims to help Americans achieve financial health. It is in the same league as Chime, Digit, Moven, MoneyLion, Qapital and N26.

White Oak Healthcare Finance Closes $ 40 Million Financing for LifeCare Holdings, Inc. (Business Wire) Rated: A

White Oak Healthcare Finance, LLC (“White Oak”), today announced it acted as lead lender and administrative agent on the funding of a $40 million asset based senior credit facility for LifeCare Holdings, Inc. (“LifeCare”). The funds were primarily used to refinance existing indebtedness. White Oak previously announced the financing of LifeCare Home Health LLC, the home health entity owned by LifeCare.

TradeStation Launches New Fully Paid Lending Program (GlobeNewswire), Rated: A

TradeStation, a Monex Group company and award-winning online broker-dealer and futures commission merchant, today announced the launch of its Fully Paid Lending Program. This program allows qualified equities account holders the opportunity to earn interest income on lendable securities in their accounts.

Under the Fully Paid Lending Program, TradeStation identifies stocks in qualified accounts that are eligible for lending. Based on market demand, some or all of a qualified client’s fully paid positions or excess-margin securities may be lent out to other financial institutions to satisfy their customers’ position requirements. While their stocks are on loan, clients automatically receive 50% of the net proceeds earned by TradeStation for lending out the shares, which is accrued daily and automatically posted monthly to their accounts. Daily income ceases to accrue when the client sells a lendable stock or the stock is no longer on loan.

US wakes up to SME cybersecurity needs (Fintech Futures) Rated: B

US President Donald Trump has signed the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Small Business Cybersecurity Act, a bill which will provide a set of resources for small businesses to best protect their digital assets from cybersecurity threats.

United Kingdom

Private credit offers an escape from miserly bond yields (Citywire) Rated: AAA

For reasons that are quite clear if you follow my writings on a regular basis, equities and bonds will most likely deliver disappointing returns for many years to come.

My central forecast is an annual average inflation-adjusted return of 0-2% on a global portfolio consisting of 40% bonds and 60% equities between now and 2050.

The good news next.  Fortunately, there are many things you can do to improve on those lacklustre numbers. Those returns are for the lazy investor; someone who invests passively.

China

Ant Financial IPO plans pushed back again (Financial Times) Rated: AAA

A blockbuster listing of Ant Financial, the fast-growing electronic payment affiliate of China’s leading tech group Alibaba, has again been delayed as it continues to burn through cash and come under pressure from Beijing’s crackdown on non-traditional financial institutions.

Ant was valued at $150bn in its last private fundraising in June, a round that bankers said paved the way for an initial public offering as early as this year.

Moody’s: China’s new measures on P2P lending are credit positive (ECNS) Rated: AAA

The global credit rating agency Moody’s called China’s newly-issued regulations on peer-to-peer lending platforms are “credit positive”, because they will strengthen protections to individual lenders and prevent risk spilling over to the broader financial system.

Moody’s commentary came after Chinese regulators announced 10 measures to address risks related to P2P lending platforms on August 12. The P2P platforms enable individuals to lend directly to borrowers through the Internet.

The new regulations clarified responsibilities of P2P platforms and their shareholders, stipulated conditions for orderly liquidation of failed platforms, outlined penalties for borrowers that escape their debt obligations and prohibited registration of new platforms.

Next Step to Regulating P2P Lending Platforms — Figuring Out Who Owns Them (Caixin Global) Rated: A

Months into the crisis in China’s online lending industry, regulators want to know who actually owns the country’s peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms.

The National Internet Finance Association of China (NIFA) issued a notice on Monday designed to help it keep tabs on key stakeholders in China’s online P2P lending platforms as financial and legal difficulties continue to engulf the business.

The effort to bring greater clarity to the workings of P2P platforms comes after hundreds of online platforms have encountered financial and legal troubles in the last few months. In July, at least 165 P2P platforms had difficulties meeting cash-withdrawal demands, saw their owners abscond with investor funds, or were investigated by police, according to a report by internet lending research firm Wangdaizhijia. The number was nearly triple that in June, Wangdaizhijia said.

In-Depth: Police Launch Global Hunt for ‘Solar King’ Caught Up in P2P Bust (Caixin Global) Rated: AAA

Peng Xiaofeng was once China’s youngest billionaire and a rising star in the solar industry. But the founder of now-bankrupt LDK Solar has been put on China’s most-wanted list, hunted by law enforcement agencies for illegal fund-raising by his peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform Solarbao.com.

Police in the city of Suzhou, where Solarbao.com is registered, want Interpol to issue a Red Notice against 43-year-old Peng, who is accused of swindling more than 5,000 investors and leaving a trail of debt amounting to 220 million yuan ($32.1 million). They have also branded the platform, a subsidiary of Nasdaq-listed SPI Energy Co. Ltd., a fraud.

HuaAn Finds Itself Target of Investor Ire After P2P Company Accused of Fraud (Caixin Global) Rated: A

The Shanghai office of fund manager HuaAn Future Asset Management Co. Ltd.was surrounded on Monday by throngs of angry investors who blame the company for what they perceive to be its role in an online-lending fraud. HuaAn denies any involvement.

Monday’s protest centered on P2P site PPMiao.com, which was accused of illegal fundraising by police in the eastern city of Hangzhou, where PPMiao.com operator Guangxi PPMiao Internet Technology Co. Ltd. is registered. HuaAn held a 37.5% stake on behalf of an asset management plan in PPMiao.com’s former operator, Hangzhou Fuqian Network Technology Co. Ltd., as of June 30, making HuaAn the target of investor ire when PPMiao.com’s financial problems surfaced.

International

Many countries don’t use credit scores like the US — here’s how they determine your worth (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

In the US, a good credit score can feel like a key determinant of success. It defines how good an interest rate you can get on a car loan or mortgage, the quality of credit card you can get approved for, or if you’ll get approved for any credit at all.

The better your score, the better the perks. A bad score can become a black mark that leads to missing out on the home you want (credit checks are a common aspect of apartment applications), higher car insurance rates, or even difficulty getting a cell phone, according to Nerdwallet.

But as monolithic as the credit score seems, many countries in the world handle credit very differently — with many having no credit score system at all.

Blockchain Can Help Peer-To-Peer Car Lending Schemes Gain Traction (Market News) Rated: A

Blockchain technology can help car-sharing companies to track a person using the car any time. According to industry analysts, the car sharing economy is expected to hit $335 billion by the year 2025.

The car sharing idea has been gaining a lot of interest among car drivers over the recent years. According to estimates by Global Market Insight, the peer-to-peer car sharing sector will amount to $11 billion. The growth has largely been attributed to raising cost of owning a car.

The biggest challenge with the Peer-to-peer lending system is trust. The car owner has to have total trust in the person hiring the car. Additionally, the car owner has to be sure that the hirer has enough money to cover the period the car is hired. The owner of the vehicle would also like to track where the car is as well as the condition in which it is being driven. On the side of the hirer, they would love to know if they are hiring the car from the original owner and that the data exchanged between the two parties is secure.

Australia

SocietyOne Celebrates Sixth Anniversary; Total Lending Now Approaching $ 500 Million (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

Australia-based marketplace lender SocietyOne announced celebrated its sixth anniversary of operations as total lending since inception approaches $500 million.

SocietyOne also reported it has more than 20,000 customers and since the beginning of 2016, total lending has grown nearly 6 times and the lender’s loan book now totals over $220 million, up from $41 million at the start of 2016.

India

UK’s fintech startup ClearScore set to offer credit scores in India (Economic Times) Rated: AAA

UK-headquartered fintech startup ClearScore is all set to start its business in India offering credit scores to Indian consumers in partnership with Experian, free of cost, to improve the awareness levels of the consumers regarding credit. India is their second international market after the company started operations in South Africa last year.

ClearScore will be available on Google Play Store and will provide details of the credit score, giving alerts about changes in the score and provide details about how consumers can improve the score.

Capital Float buys Sequoia & SAIF-backed Walnut for $ 30 mn (VC Circle) Rated: AAA

Bengaluru-based digital lending platform Capital Float has acquired personal finance management app-maker Walnut for $30 million (Rs 209 crore) in a cash and stock deal, a company statement said. Both the companies count Sequoia Capital and SAIF Partners as common venture capital investors.

Walnut allows users to track spends, check on credit and bank balance, bill payments and split expenses within a group. In July 2017, it launched a small ticket credit line for its users called Walnut Prime based on user data and consumer behaviour. The platform has so far disbursed Rs 100 crore in consumer loans.

OfBusiness Raises INR 200 Crore in Series C Financing (FinSMEs) Rated: A

OfBusiness, a Gurgaon, India – based technology enabled SME financing platform, raised INR 200 crore (approx $29m) in Series C financing.

The round was led by Creation Investments and Falcon Edge with participation from existing investors Matrix Partners India and Zodius Capital. With this new round of funding, the company has raised a total of INR 500 crore of equity and debt funding to date. It has also raised debt lines from Kotak, Tata Capital, RBL Bank and Northern Arc amongst other lending partners.

The capital will be used for continued rapid growth and model scaling.

Five Star Business Finance Raises USD$ 100M in Funding (FinSMEs) Rated: A

Five Star Business Finance Limited, a Chennai, India–based fully-secured small business financing company focused on South India, raises USD$100M in funding.

The round was led by alternative asset firm TPG, with participation from existing investors Norwest Venture Partners, an investment fund managed by Morgan Stanley, and Sequoia Capital. The company’s first investor, Matrix Partners India, continues to stay invested in the company.

Led by D. Lakshmipathy, Chairman and Managing Director, Five Star is a non-bank finance company providing loans to nearly 40,000 customers.

P2P Online Lending Startup Finzy Completes $ 2.3 Mn Pre-Series A Fund Raise (Indian Web) Rated: A

Bangalore-based peer to peer (P2P) lending platform Finzy on Monday announced raising funds worth USD 2.3 million in Pre-Series A round, including USD 1.3 million raised in the first tranche in March 2018.

This funding round has been funded by senior professionals from BFSI industry and successful entrepreneurs. The startup plans to use the freshly raised capital for geographical expansion, technology investment and stronger distribution networks.

Founded in 2016, by Abhinandan Sangam, Amit More and Vishwas Dixit, Finzy is a premier P2P lending solution in India that connect borrowers with investors and make the entire process simple and easy so that one can get a loan in as little as 48 hours.

Five things you should know before lending on P2P platform (Economic Times) Rated: A

Don’t let greed cloud your judgment. If you are in a tearing hurry to pocket double-digit returns, you are likely to overlook many warnings signs. That is why it is always better to start with a small amount, learn the ropes, before going for the kill.

Different platforms have different ticket size for lending. With companies like Faircent offering as low as Rs 750 per loan. The ROI would vary as per the borrower profile and loan tenure. The total amount invested by a lender across all P2P-NBFCs is capped at Rs 10 lakh, as per the existing RBI norms.

The RBI came out with regulations for P2P companies in October. There are around 30 online P2P companies in India, of which only eight have received a certificate of registration (CoR) from the RBI to carry out P2P lending activities.

Asia

Singapore police recover S$ 27 million linked to China Ponzi scheme (Channel News Asia) Rated: AAA

Singapore police said on Tuesday (Aug 21) they have recovered more than S$27 million linked to one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in China, which saw 1.15 million investors cheated out of 38 billion yuan (S$7 billion).

Ezubao, once China’s biggest peer-to-peer lending platform, folded in 2016 after it turned out to be an online scam that concocted fake projects to attract investment and pocketed funds instead of passing them to borrowers to generate returns.

Latin American

Mexico’s new government wants fintech, banks to help financial inclusion (Channel News Asia) Rated: AAA

Mexico’s next government will look to fintech companies and large corporate banks to increase financial inclusion in the country, where only one-third of adults have a bank account, senior officials said on Tuesday.

Arturo Herrera, one of two future deputy finance ministers, said in an interview that the lack of financial inclusion was one of the biggest obstacles in the new government’s fight against poverty, inequality and slow economic growth.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday March 16 2018, Daily News Digest

Friday March 16 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi CEO’s top 3 things to focus on. KBRA assigns prelim ratings to Prosper Marketplace Issuance Trust, Series 2018-1. Funding Circle fund dividend in line with target. Assetz Capital secures new funding. Experian acquires ClearScore. Today’s main analysis: Credit analysis and valuation methods for MPL. (A MUST-READ) Today’s thought-provoking articles: Top 5 trends of institutional […]

Friday March 16 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Other

News Summary

United States

New SoFi CEO Anthony Noto on the 3 things his fintech company must do to outpace competition (CNBC), Rated: AAA

“First, we have to have the best selection — and not just selection of each product, but variations of those products,” Noto said. “Second, we have to provide unmatched convenience. Anytime, anywhere, on any device, you should be able to access all of your financial information, do any activity that you want across the broad spectrum of products that we’ll launch over time.”

Noto’s third initiative for the company — which helps its “members,” or customers, refinance student and mortgage loans, take out personal loans and even get career advice — had to do with speed.

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Prosper Marketplace Issuance Trust, Series 2018-1 (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to four classes of notes issued by Prosper Marketplace Lending Issuance Trust 2018-1 (“PMIT 2018-1”). This is a $647.5 million consumer loan ABS transaction.

Preliminary Ratings Assigned: Prosper Marketplace Issuance Trust, Series 2018-1

Class Preliminary Rating Expected Initial Class Principal
A A+ (sf) $387,800,000
B BBB (sf) $112,000,000
C BB (sf) $79,450,000
D B+ (sf) $68,250,000

Credit Analysis and Valuation Methods for Marketplace Lending Loan Portfolios (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

As Marketplace lenders continue to lend at a fast pace, there has been a significant increase in the past several years in non-bank consumer, student and small business lending.

1. What are the most prevalent methods of valuing loan portfolios today?

Discounted cashflow (DCF) methodology at the loan or cohort level is the most prevalent valuation methodology used today to value marketplace loan portfolios and related assets, including tranches in securitizations and servicing rights, regardless of the lending vertical.

2. Are valuation methods standardized? If not, why not? How does this lack of a valuation standard affect investors?

Marketplace lending is a fragmented space, and it is also diverse, with innovative forms of underwriting and funding methods being deployed.

3. How do loan valuation methods differ across lending verticals?

Marketplace lending verticals cover a wide spectrum of product, ranging from $500 installment loans, to $100,000 merchant cash advances (MCAs) made to small businesses, to sub-650 FICO unsecured consumer loans to credit impaired borrowers, to student loans extended to borrowers in medical school with high future earning potential. Thus, any methodology that falls short of incorporating all impactful data to project full cashflows does not do justice to the portfolio. In essence, the assumptions used in the DCF are based on loan characteristics that have the biggest impact on prepayment, default, and recovery behavior. These loan characteristics depend on the asset class but often include underwritten payment schedule (e.g. 36 months amortizing term, 60 months amortizing term, daily pay MCA, etc.) credit metrics (e.g. FICO bands, platform ratings, repeat borrower flags), loan size (e.g. <$5K, $20-$30K, etc.), note rate, and more. These assumptions then feed into the DCF model to project principal and interest cashflows generated from the loan portfolio, incorporating prepayments and defaults, net of recoveries.

7. What about the secondary market? How are deals priced relative to what valuation methods tell us they should be priced? How do valuation analysts obtain information about private sales of loans? In the securitization market is there a valuation standard? How are these deals priced relative to the valuation of the underlying loans?

While many new platforms have started originating in the past few years, several lenders have been originating loans since early 2010s, albeit initially at lower volumes. Data on these loans has been normalized and made available for analysis by firms such as PeerIQ and dv01. More established lenders have returned to securitization markets as issuers with sizeable deals.

The Top 5 Trends of Institutional Investors Allocating Capital to Marketplace Lending (Lendit), Rated: AAA

The types of institutional investors allocating to the marketplace lending asset class has changed dramatically, from mostly family offices and fund of funds about five years ago to institutional investors such as pensions, endowments and sovereign wealth funds today.

It is a big shift from what the typical fund used to look like just a few years ago, which:

  1. only purchased loans from origination platforms
  2. invested only in consumer loans
  3. invested in loans only from the largest platforms such as Prosper and Lending Club
  4. used a credit model to purchase only select loans from the platforms (active buying versus passively buying)
  5. offered only one fund to allocators

The expansion of institutional investors has ushered in higher investment standards for this asset class which now require a very high level of portfolio management expertise, risk management oversight and robust operational infrastructure before making an allocation.

As a result, these allocators and investors have generally shifted investment activity towards the top five trends:

  1. investing through a combination of loans, securitizations and warehouse lines of credit
  2. investing in multiple sub-asset classes
  3. using both well established and newer origination platforms
  4. investing both actively and passively from platform
  5. investing through multiple sub-asset class funds

Marketplace Lending Update: Who’s My Lender? (Lexology), Rated: A

Over the last several weeks, two notable cases in federal court challenging certain aspects of the business model of marketplace lending companies headed down separate paths. First, in an action brought against Kabbage, Inc. and Celtic Bank Corporation in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts,1 the parties agreed to, and the Court approved, a stipulation staying the proceedings pending an arbitrator’s review of whether the claims in that action are covered by the arbitration provisions in the governing loan agreements. Second, in an action against marketplace lender Avant in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado,2 the Court accepted a magistrate judge’s recommendation to remand the case to state court over Avant’s objection.

Online lender’s new target: Small businesses waiting to get paid (American Banker), Rated: A

According to Fundbox, it takes the average small business 21 days to get paid, 81% of small- business invoices are 30 days past due, and the value of small businesses’ unpaid invoices is $825 billion — which is equivalent to 5% of U.S. GDP.

Source: Fundbox

Fundbox’s underwriting software pulls data from accounting systems, invoicing systems, payments (e.g. screen scraping from PayPal), public records, web interactions, social networks and tax returns. It uses artificial intelligence to assess the creditworthiness of the company and can render a credit decision in minutes based on the business’s incoming and outgoing invoices. Borrowers pay by the week for whatever credit they use.

Using the new Fundbox Pay product, a small business that has provided a product or service (a lawyer, say, or a construction company) puts in a request for payment and gets paid immediately by Fundbox. The seller pays a 2.9% transaction fee, in return for immediate cash flow and not having to worry about the buyer defaulting.

Even Financial Expands Partnership with Credit.com (Credit.com), Rated: A

Even Financial, the technology platform powering financial services online, has expanded its strategic partnership with Credit.com, a go-to source for expert information about credit scoring, credit reporting, credit cards and personal finance. Even Financial will now power Credit.com’s personal loans marketplace, as well as its related content tools.

With this expanded partnership, Credit.com will provide its users access with a native, personalized and optimized loan matching experience, powered by Even Financial’s proprietary technology. Even’s technology utilizes machine learning, big data and an extensive network of touchpoints and financial products to provide a personalized experience.

Consumer Capital Files For $ 40 Million Nasdaq IPO (Seeking Alpha), Rated: A

Consumer Capital Group (OTCQB:CCGN) intends to sell shares of its common stock for gross proceeds of $40 million from a U.S. IPO, according to an S-1 registration statement.

The firm aims to become a one-stop shop that focuses on lending service for micro, small-to-medium sized enterprises (“SMEs”) in China. The company is specifically engaged with micro financing services and financial advisory services, operating through the subsidiary Arki E-Commerce, and VIE, Arki Network.

Digital Assets Data Raises Seed Funding Round (Finsmes), Rated: B

Digital Assets Data, a NYC-based fintech startup, raised a seed funding round of undisclosed amount.

Vestigo Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm focused on fintech, made the investment. In conjunction with the funding, Mark Casady, general partner of Vestigo Ventures, will serve on Digital Assets Data’s Advisory Board.

 

United Kingdom

Funding Circle fund announces on target dividend (AltFiNews), Rated: AAA

The £311m Funding Circle SME Income fund has revealed its latest dividend of 1.625p per share, in line with its forecast rate.

Its eighth pay-out and seventh at the same level – it’s first was 1p, the latest dividend will be paid on 30 April 2018 to shareholders on the register as at the close of business on 23 March 2018 (the record date) and the corresponding ex-dividend date will be 22 March 2018.

Assetz Capital secures new line of institutional funding (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ASSETZ Capital has secured a new line of institutional funding that it says will widen its scope and scale of lending.

The peer-to-peer lender said the unnamed institutional investor was part of a $100bn (£71.5bn) global multi-asset manager and would provide funding dedicated to the residential property bridging, refurbishment and conversion markets.

Monzo adds investments and peer-to-peer lending to its marketplace (AltFiNews), Rated: A

In an update to its first release, Monzo has added a new category to its marketplace beta: investments.

Source: AltFi

AltFi can now reveal that users on the beta are able to access digital wealth investment accounts from Scalable CapitalWealthifyWealthsimple and WiseAlpha, peer-to-peer lending accounts with Zopa, and property-backed investments with Bricklane.com and Octopus Choice.

Challenger banks are edging ahead of the high street on savings (AltFiNews), Rated: A

Challenger banks like OakNorth, Masthaven, Aldermore and Axis Bank are coming out ahead of the game by offering savings rates more than 1 per cent higher than the average offered by high street incumbents.

New research conducted by fellow challenger Gatehouse Bank revealed today that the average one year fixed-term deposit account offered by UK challengers pays 1.82 per cent on average in interest returns, compared to 0.63 per cent by high street competitors.

Likewise, the average 2 year fixed-term deposit account at a challenger bank pays 1.29 per cent more than the high street, coming in at 2.05 per cent on average compared to only 0.76 per cent from incumbents.

Source AltFi

 

Experienced bankers are moving into alternative finance sector (London School of Business & Finance), Rated: A

Experienced bankers are moving into the alternative finance sector, creating an ideal environment for SMEs seeking finance, according to alternative finance provider ThinCats.

The shift towards digital banking was highlighted in a 2016 study from the Federation of Small Businesses, with 1,500 towns being without bank branches as banks aim to direct their customers towards digital banking.

Whilst more than 90 per cent of small businesses use internet banking, face-to-face services are still valuable to businesses when it comes to making decisions regarding the future of their company and obtaining finance.

SMEs becoming more aware of P2P lending (Peer2Peer Finance), Rated: A

The latest SME Finance Monitor, from insight agency BDRC, shows 32 per cent of the 130,000 firms interviewed were aware of P2P lending in the fourth quarter of 2017 .

When combined with crowdfunding, awareness of these forms of finance was 46 per cent. This was up from 36 per cent at the start of 2017.

Larger SMEs tend to be more aware of P2P, the research shows, with 48 per cent of firms with 50 to 249 employees familiar with the sector, compared with just 32 per cent of one-man bands and 31 per cent of those with fewer than 10 members of staff.

 

 

P2P platform sees strong growth in investors (AltFiNews), Rated: A

P2P lending platform Lendy has grown its investor base to 20,000 in the past year, according to a statement by the firm, representing a more than 50 per cent increase.

The secured property lender has seen strong demand in particular from investors under 40 years of age. It had 13,000 investors in total a year ago, it says. Investors aged below 40 now represent 50 per cent of the property platform’s investor base.

Investors, Lendy adds, have now received more than £37m in interest from Lendy loans since inception in 2012, up from £16m at the end of 2016.

Lenders warned against selling products to vulnerable consumers (Peer2Peer Finance News), Rated: B

In a speech to the Credit Summit on Thursday, Jonathan Davidson, executive director of supervision – retail and authorisations at the FCA, said there are worrying numbers of households who are too deeply in debt.

He said one in five mortgages today are interest-only mortgages, many of which were made at the height of the credit boom to borrowers with little equity in their homes and not a lot of disposable income. These mortgages will not mature until about 2032.

He said the £14.8m fine paid by rent-to-own firm BrightHouse last year shows how seriously the regulator takes the issue.

On a more positive note, Davidson reassured the industry that consumer debt in the UK has not reached levels that are likely to be harmful to lenders.

He also said there has been progress by the sector in addressing conduct issues and that “by and large you do a good job for us, your customers”.

European Union

Revolut adds direct debits in Europe (Tech Crunch) Rated: AAA

Fintech startup Revolut is slowly making traditional bank accounts irrelevant. The company is adding direct debits in EUR to make it easier to pay for utilities and subscription services.

The Top Three Irish Startups to Watch Out For This St. Patrick’s Day (Red Herring), Rated: A

Mingo

Backed to the tune of €650m ($800m) Mingo has clearly impressed more than a few crypto-noobs. Its versatility and learning curve should ensure it stays ahead of the crowd heading past St. Pat’s into the 2018 summer.

Flender

The company already has dozens of success stories to tell since its 2014 foundation – including itself, which has raised $1.5m to date.

“We’re addressing two markets across two countries with Flender: business lending and consumer lending in the UK and Ireland – an established market currently worth £2.5bn ($3.46bn) per annum,” co-founder and sales director Oli Cavanagh recently told Silicon Republic.

International

PayPal CEO sees international potential as countries like India skip over legacy fintech (CNBC), Rated: AAA

For PayPal CEO Dan Schulman, the main driver of his company’s gains to date has been “the digitization of cash.”

With 227 million subscribers, 65 percent of whom reside outside of North America, PayPal has seized on this “explosion” of digital payments around the world, Schulman said.

In its latest quarter, PayPal added 8.6 million net new active users, a record since Schulman joined the payment processing giant as president and CEO in 2014.

With over 50 percent of its revenues coming from outside North America, PayPal has started to leverage its international ecosystem to benefit small businesses in the United States as well, the CEO said.

“In North America, … only 5 percent of small businesses export internationally. Eighty percent of small businesses on PayPal in the U.S. export internationally,” Schulman said.

Experian Acquires ClearScore for $ 385 Million (Finovate), Rated: AAA

About a year after Experian received authorization from the U.K.’s FCA, the company has made further inroads into the nation with the acquisition of U.K.-based ClearScore. The deal is anticipated to close for $385 million (£275 million).

Founded in 2014, ClearScore has onboarded 6 million members in the U.K. through its free membership model. The company matches individuals to personal financial products, offers free credit reports, and provides financial education.  The company is projected to generate $55 million in revenue in 2018, a 50% increase over what it earned in 2017.

Debitum Network (DEB) gets listed on KuCoin (Crypto Insider), Rated: A

Debitum is a borderless, small business financing network that seeks to revolutionize the alternative finance industry to enable more small to medium businesses to obtain loans in situations that may previously have been difficult, time consuming, or outright impossible.

According to a review by the World Bank, although SMEs’ more than 2/3rds of SMEs do not have access to credit. Over recent years alternative financing via peer-to-peer lending, crowdfunding, balance-sheet lending, invoice trading (loans backed by account receivables) and VAT financing, has served to assist financing for SMEs, however no single solution encompasses all fields of business.

As a result, the global credit gap still stands at a whopping $2 trillion, accounted by the World Bank Organization and the IFC.

Singapore and Lithuania agree fintech collaboration deal (Finextra), Rated: B

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Bank of Lithuania have agreed to work together to support the development of the FinTech ecosystems and encourage greater financial innovation in the two countries.

The FinTech Co-operation Agreement between the two countries was signed on the sidelines of the Money 20/20 Asia conference in Singapore today.

Australia/New Zealand

Guidance For Crowdfunding And Peer- to-Peer Lending Published (Proshare), Rated: AAA

FMA today published guidance on fair dealing in advertising and communications for licensed crowdfunding services, peer-to-peer lenders and the companies that offer financial products on these platforms.

The fair dealing provisions of the Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013 ban:

  • misleading and deceptive conduct
  • false or misleading representations
  • unsubstantiated representations
  • offers of financial products in the course of unsolicited meetings.
Asia

Securities Commission to push ahead with digital agenda (New Straits Times), Rated: AAA

The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) and Bank Negara Malaysia established Brokerage Industry Digitisation Group (BRIDGe) yesterday, a joint working group between the regulators and industry to accelerate digitisation of the stockbroking industry.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

If I Were To Start a Bank, This is What It Would Look Like

banks

Nigel Morris, Managing Partner of QED Investors, shared his insights into what a bank in the digital era would like, or should like, at the LendIt USA 2017 conference today. He began his presentation with a list of items that are, on a practical level, what anyone in the business might call “common sense.” His […]

banks

Nigel Morris, Managing Partner of QED Investors, shared his insights into what a bank in the digital era would like, or should like, at the LendIt USA 2017 conference today. He began his presentation with a list of items that are, on a practical level, what anyone in the business might call “common sense.” His list included:

  • Delight the customer in service and product design
  • Embrace digital channels and avoid creating technology debt
  • Develop culture of discipline and consistency
  • Attract and retain top talent
  • Don’t get sideways with regulators
  • And more

“The problem is, none of these are actionable,” Morris said. “To me, starting a bank is a tightrope exercise between managing resilience and flexibility. Either one of those by itself is a bad thing.”

Morris went on to say that return on equity for banks was very good up through 2007. Since then, it’s been very low.

“Every year,” he said, “banks are making money, but they’re not returning a huge return for their investors.”

In order to be success, a bank has to be good at receiving deposits, or taking people’s money, look after it safely, and provide interest. But they also have to be good at lending it out and letting it make more money. If they’re just good at lending, they won’t have any deposits. If they’re just good at taking deposits, they won’t make a profit.

“The vast majority are leaving money lying around,” Morris said. Many of the large regional banks got out of unsecured lending because they weren’t making any money at it. This created a huge market for technology-based companies to step into and take advantage of the opportunity. In fact, since the Great Recession, many disruptors have tackled that market, he said.

Bank profits have been squeezed by regulator pressure, low interest rates, and evolving technology. The high cost of technology is a burden to banks. Mobile computing has reduced the value of the bank branch. On top of that, consumers are increasingly more willing to unbundle banking services.

When you add these factors together, it means one thing for traditional banking: This is the beginning of the decline of their influence. This is evident in their late trouble attracting and retaining great talent.

One thing financial technology disruptors have going in their favor is that many of the leading company innovators come from a banking background. Mike Cagney of SoFi was a senior vice president at Wells Fargo; Justin Basini of ClearScore was vice president of Capital One UK and global head of marketing and communications in the global banking division of Deutsche Bank; Sasha Orloff of LendUp was senior vice president of Citi Ventures and global technology microfinance analyst at The World Bank. Having an understanding of both banks and technology gives them a competitive advantage.

Morris also said both banks and FinTech companies operate at fragile extremes. Banks are slow to adopt digital channels, married to legacy technology infrastructure, make conservative use of alternative data, operate with organizational inflexibility, have a culture of “no” and little regulatory overhead, struggle to launch new businesses, have a weak talent attraction and retention model, and are poor promoters of credit scores. FinTech companies, by contrast, are more monoline with a narrow product suite, lack built-in physical distribution systems, operate on a scarcity of customer data, are millennially focused, struggle to scale, have a high cost of capital and debt, lack capital reserves, and have minimal compliance requirements.

Morris sees the playing field much more level now than in the past. QED Investors developed a framework to analyze business units and pull all of this data together to create a map of retail financial services.

By dividing the banking industry and FinTech competitors into a 4-quadrant grid, Morris has given food for thought about what a bank should look like in this new millennium. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see the end of his presentation, but I’d suspect, based on what I did see, if he were to start a bank today, he’d want to incorporate the best of what traditional banks have to offer and the best of what marketplace lending companies like SoFi and LendUp have to offer. It might look something like Cross River Bank. Of course, there’s always a way to build a better bank.

Authors:

Allen Taylor