Friday February 2 2018, Daily News Digest

Groundfloor repayment timelines

News Comments Today’s main news: Alibaba acquires 33% stake in Ant Financial. MPL issuance grew by 100% year-over-year in Q4 2017. RateSetter prepares investors for IFISA launch. Bitbond launches alt investment fund with 1741 Fund Management. Today’s main analysis: An empirical analysis of Groundfloor’s loan vintages. International P2P lending volumes for January 2018. Today’s thought-provoking articles: The effect of […]

Groundfloor repayment timelines

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United States

United Kingdom

China

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International

India

Asia

Africa

News Summary

United States

PeerIQ 4Q17 securitization tracker shows growth of marketplace lending industry (Bankless Times), Rated: AAA

Ten marketplace lending securitizations priced this quarter totaled $4.4 billion, a record for quarterly issuance, head of research Ashish Dole said. That is 100 per cent growth in issuance over the same quarter in 2016. Cumulative issuance is now $28.2 billion from 106 deals.

THE EFFECT OF ORIGINATION GROWTH ON QUALITY: AN EMPIRICAL ANALYSIS OF LOAN VINTAGES (Groundfloor), Rated: AAA

As we addressed those limitations by qualifying our offering with the SEC and raising our first round of venture capital funding in 2015, new critics emerged to say that while we might be able to lend in a local market at a small scale, we could never lend nationwide in very large numbers without compromising loan quality. In 2016, we set out to build a lending operations team (including risk management, underwriting, and asset management) with the professional expertise, policies, tools and processes to do just that. Our aim was to improve loan quality and volume simultaneously, well beyond our home market.

How have we done?

Vintages

Vintage A is composed of 88 relatively small, mostly local Atlanta-area loans originated during Groundfloor’s formative years, a period of 30 months (2.5 years).

Vintage B, by contrast, is composed of 222 loans that were originated following our addition and application of greater lending expertise. This vintage is more than 2.5X larger, and was originated over the course of 24 months (two years, a 20% shorter period of time).

Source: Groundfloor

Performance Measure #2: Timeliness of Repayment

For each vintage, we analyzed when loans repaid in relation to their maturity dates. Here is a comparison of the timeliness of repayment for Vintage A and Vintage B, with percentages provided to break down the share of repaid loans.

Source: Groundfloor

Here is a snapshot of the situation as of December 31, 2017:

Source: Groundfloor

Juniper Square raises $ 6M for its real estate investment platform (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Juniper Square, which today announced it has raised a $6 million Series A round led by Felicis Ventures, is tackling the real estate investment side by helping investment managers raise and manage outside capital for their projects.

Today’s funding round brings the company’s total funding to date to $8 million; the company plans to use the new influx of capital to accelerate its product development and grow its team to better service its user base.

Overstock Introduces Robo-Advising Investment Platform tZERO Advisors (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Overstock.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:OSTK) has introduced a digitally-driven investment platform (aka robo-advising), presented by tZERO Advisors. The service is accessible to investors through the online retailer’s FinanceHub. For a monthly fee of $9.95, investors can either select from a group of pre-established Adaptive Dynamic Portfolios matched to their investment profiles, or create a customized blend of these portfolios.

States mull loosening of laws in response to CFPB payday rule (American Banker), Rated: A

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s payday loan rule was supposed to reduce the number of Americans who get mired in debt they can’t afford.

But in an ironic twist, the 4-month-old rule is being used in state legislatures to justify the creation of a new category of loans that would be even costlier for many borrowers.

One such bill in Florida has zipped through three legislative committees in recent weeks. The Indiana House of Representatives voted to pass a similar measure Wednesday.

Bradley Strock, PayPal CIO, Joins Elevate’s Board of Directors (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Elevate Credit, Inc. (“Elevate”), a leading tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, today announced that Bradley Strock has joined its Board of Directors, effective immediately.

Mr. Strock joined PayPal in 2011 and since 2014 has been its Chief Information Officer.

Chase is using memes and GIFs to bring millennials to QuickPay (Tearsheet), Rated: A

JPMorgan is focusing its Zelle efforts on millennials, despite the platform outwardly claiming it’s not targeting that age group.

Chase will soon roll out an animated GIF campaign on social media as the second part of its Quick Pay with Zelle campaign.

With Chase QuickPay with Zelle, they can set recurring payments so you never wait for rent again. The best part? It’s already in your Chase Mobile app.  href="https://t.co/tQyDUm75Hf">pic.twitter.com/tQyDUm75Hf

In 2017 Chase saw a nearly 50 percent increase in p-to-p transactions — which includes all transactions before and after it joined the Zelle network — and a 15 percent increase in enrollments.

On Monday Zelle reported it transacted $75 billion across its member banks in 2017. Venmo processed $30 billion in the same period.

Subcommittee hearing looks at challenges, opportunities with fintech (Financial Regulation News), Rated: A

The House Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit convened this week to discuss opportunities and challenges in the financial technology, or fintech, market.

“From online lending and payment companies to blockchain and cryptocurrencies, advances in financial technology are changing the way financial markets work and how consumers access credit,” Subcommittee Chairman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) said.

“Fintech lenders present an opportunity to expand credit access and quality. Although such lenders should be subject to appropriate regulation, the regulation must work with the fundamental economic reality of the market,” said Brian Knight, director of the program on financial regulation and senior research fellow at Mercatus Center, George Mason University. “Ensuring that regulations do not burden fintech lenders more heavily than their bank competitors are burdened and that the validity of their loans is not in doubt are important steps toward helping realize the promises of innovation.”

EquityBuild Launches New Website Showcasing Their New Revolutionary Hybrid Capital Fund (PR Web), Rated: A

EquityBuild announces the launch of their completely new website and newest investment product EquityBuild Fund.This site is dedicated to the company’s new revolutionary hybrid capital fund only available on their platform.

How to boost your monthly income: The easy way (Augusta Free Press), Rated: A

Safe investments are a real thing, and there cannot be a more secure way of investing in interest rates at a lending club. However, the alternative for which you must search is a peer-to-peer lending platform, where investors finance loans and then get interest rates as high as 10% on a yearly basis.  For instance, you could start with an initial deposit of $2,500, as the starting investment rate is 25%.

Cryptocurrency passive income is a thing – And you should try it

  • Decred – Decred is a self-funded crypto platform, where investors have a share of the platform’s currency even at the very beginning.
  • AKR – is a mining platform which offers each investor, even at the beginning of their journey a “delegated proof of work”. It works literally all around the clock and you virtually have to put NO EFFORTS.
  • NEO – another passive crypto income for those searching to round a bit their monthly income. The network works on “Gas” – this is the name of this small cryptocurrency.

Square shares climb after the payments company launches bitcoin trading for most users (CNBC), Rated: B

Nearly all users of Square‘s Cash payments app can now buy and sell bitcoin on the platform, CEO Jack Dorsey announced Wednesday.

The service will not be available for customers in New York state, Georgia, Wyoming and Hawaii, according to Square’s website.

LendingPoint Names Antonio Martino as New Chief Financial Officer (BusinessWire), Rated: B

LendingPoint, the online balance sheet lender and provider of the LoanHero point of sale financing platform, today announced that Antonio Martino has joined the company as its Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

Martino is a financial industry leader with more than 25 years of experience spanning 10 countries. Most recently he was Director, Citi Corporate Treasury, where he had global oversight roles within the asset liability management and balance sheet management processes for Citibank, N.A. Previously, Martino served as CFO of Citibank in Turkey and across Central Europe, with roles in Istanbul and Budapest, Hungary. In addition, Martino was Finance Director of Citibank Poland’s consumer banking division in Poland and Vice President of Finance within Citibank credit card business in Canada. Martino started his career in public accounting with Ernst & Young.

United Kingdom

RateSetter starts preparing investors for IFISA launch (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER has begun emailing existing investors to get them ready for the launch of its Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) this month.

The peer-to-peer lender sent messages to its customers on Thursday revealing that the IFISA would be made available to investors in the order they opened accounts.

Innovative Isas finally take off (MoneyWeek), Rated: A

The new innovative finance individual savings accounts (IF Isas) raised just £17m in the 2016-2017 tax year, their first year of operation, but the figure for 2017-2018 looks set to be a lot higher, says HM Revenue & Customs. IF Isas enable savers to use their annual Isa allowance to invest through peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms, which match investors looking for income with borrowers who need a loan.

In all, more than 30 platforms now offer the product, and providers report high demand – so much so that the market’s potential size in 2017/2018 may be limited only by the platforms’ ability to source enough borrowers who want to take out loans from investors wanting to lend.

Folk2Folk launches local lending movement (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

The local lending movement has been created by the peer-to-peer lending platform to build and sustain socially and financially successful rural communities.

Folk2Folk intends to incorporate this ethos into its behaviour and activity.

The movement involves the participation and support of the platform’s lenders and borrowers, legal and accountancy partners, local authorities, MPs, chambers of commerce, local enterprise partnerships, surveyors, land agents, local cooperatives, leisure and tourism platforms, interest groups, community associations, charities, business groups and banks.

Novae GC joins payday lender Wonga after company takeover (The Lawyer), Rated: A

Payday loan company Wonga has hired a new general counsel following the departure of Bill Flynn after nearly three years.

Goji celebrates first year of investment bond (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: B

Goji has reported a strong first year for its diversified lending bond, which has yielded a net return of 6% to investors.

The Business Funding Show closes the funding knowledge gap (KCW Today), Rated: B

The only funding exhibition in the UK and EU is returning to London for its third year. The Business Funding Show will be held on 22nd February 2018 at East Wintergarden and will connect entrepreneurs to top funders and service providers through conference talks,  an exhibitor showcase, and one-to-one investment clinics.

BFS aims to bring awareness to entrepreneurs about alternative funding options, from crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending to business angels and venture capital. The event saw a 33% increase in attendance in 2017, a figure the organisers aim to surpass this year.

China

Alibaba nabs 33% stake in Alipay operator A (IT Brief), Rated: AAA

With Alipay and Alipay Wallet under its umbrella, the company also runs 4 other major businesses: Yu’e Bao, Zhao Cai Bao, Ant Credit, and MYbank, a cloud based online lender the company was in the middle of establishing at the time of the name change.

Now, Alibaba Group Holdings has announced it will strengthen its strategic relationship with Ant Financial by acquiring a 33% equity stake in the company. The parties have agreed to certain amendments to their 2014 transaction agreements to facilitate the transaction.

Under the terms of the amended agreements, Alibaba will acquire newly-issued equity from Ant Financial in exchange for certain intellectual property rights owned by Alibaba exclusively related to Ant Financial.

Alibaba-backed online lender MYbank owes cost-savings to home-made tech (The Star), Rated: A

MYbank, a Chinese online lender that is an offshoot of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, has built its business on doing things cheaply.

The bank says it can deliver loans to borrowers across China at lightning speeds for up to 1,000 times less than it would cost brick-and-mortar banks to do so.

MYbank employs about 300 people, half of whom are technicians.

As a result, the cost of approving a small business loan can be as little as 2 yuan (RM1.24), compared to at least 2,000 yuan (RM1,239) at a traditional bank, according to data provided by the bank. MYbank has built its technological infrastructure with Chinese-made technology, avoiding more expensive products from companies like IBM Corp, Oracle Corp and Dell EMC, which form the network backbone for much of China’s finance sector, Huang said.

MYbank is one of a handful of Chinese lenders – along with Tencent Holdings Ltd’s WeBank – that are founded completely with private investment. Since mid-2015, MYbank has served more than 7 million small business owners, Huang said. The bank is seeking to expand its network to include China’s 70 million to 100 million small businesses under-served by traditional financial institutions.

The bank’s net interest margin – around 3% to 5% – is higher than those for China’s major banks, which target large state companies, Huang said.

 

European Union

Bitbond Launches Alternative Investment Fund in Partnership with 1741 Fund Management (Finovate), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer small business financing platform Bitbond has entered into a partnership with 1741 Fund Management to launch an alternative investment fund.

European Alternative Finance Market Expanded by 41% in 2016, P2P Consumer Lending Leads (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The European online alternative finance market grew by 41 per cent to 7.7 billion euros in 2016, according to the 3rd annual European Alternative Finance Industry Benchmarking Report by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance. The report entitled “Expanding Horizons” indicates that online alternative finance showed growth in new areas across Europe.

For country-specific numbers, click here.

Among other findings of the report:

• Institutionalization grew considerably from 2015 to 2016, with 45 per cent of peer-to-peer consumer lending and 29 per cent of peer-to-peer business lending funded by institutions such as banks, pension funds and asset management firms.

• Online alternative finance for business continued to grow, providing 1.14 billion euros to more than 14,000 businesses throughout Europe. Debt models including peer-to-peer business lending accounted for 67 per cent of business finance, while equity models accounted for 27 per cent.

• Estonia ranked first for alternative finance volume per capita for the second year in a row, at 63 euros, followed by Monaco (51 euros) and Georgia (28 euros).

• Countries in which platforms believe that existing regulations are adequate are more likely to show higher levels of alternative finance per capita and a larger share of business funding.

• While overall perceptions of regulatory adequacy are divided, the greatest discontent concerns laws governing equity-based crowdfunding

• Two types of risk are of greatest concern to European alternative finance platforms: a potential collapse of a well-known platform due to malpractice, and fraud involving one or more high-profile transactions.

Bob Diamond to join board of Corrado Passera acquisition vehicle (Financial Times), Rated: A

Bob Diamond plans to join the board of a €600m acquisition vehicle chaired by Corrado Passera, which listed on Thursday, bringing together two of Europe’s best known ex-bankers to buy an Italian lender to small businesses.

After the cash shell’s initial public offering on Thursday, Mr Passera told reporters in Milan that it had shortlisted five small Italian lenders and would complete the acquisition of one of them for up to €60m — allowing it to become a bank.

The plan is to turn the small bank into an online lender to small businesses and a merchant bank, which will buy non-performing loans from other banks and parcel them up before selling them on to institutional investors.

 

Italy’s SPAXS shortlists five banks in acquisition hunt (Reuters), Rated: A

Saddled with one quarter of Europe’s nearly $1 trillion debt pile, which has rattled investor confidence in them, Italian banks have become more selective in their lending and compete to lend to low-risk firms, squeezing profit margins, while many small businesses find it hard to access funds.

Shares in SPAXS, which will use up to 10 percent of the amount raised in the IPO for the acquisition, were 4.04 percent higher at 1038 GMT on their market debut on the alternative investment segment of the Milan bourse.

Google and Facebook set off a second wave of fintech talent (Financial Times), Rated: A

One cloud on the horizon, however, is Brexit. The UK’s departure from the EU could make it harder for Irish fintechs to scale up quickly through expansion into the neighbouring British market, which many of them use as an early testing ground.

A good example of this is Plynk, a payment and messaging app aimed at young people, which was co-founded by Charles Dowd and Clive Foley in 2015, a year after Mr Dowd left Facebook. Based in the Camden Street area, Plynk last year raised €25m from investors led by Swiss Privée.

Another start-up that aims to build a global presence from its Irish base is TransferMate, which has handled more than $10bn of cross-border payments for businesses since it set up in 2010. Last year it raised €30m from Allied Irish Banks, with plans to offer the fintech’s software to all the bank’s clients.

By the end of this year, TransferMate expects to derive as much as half its revenue coming from clients in the US, where it has been approved by all 50 states. A third of its revenue is expected to come from European clients and a fifth from the rest of the world.

The most successful product of Ireland’s fintech scene is actually based in San Francisco. Stripe, which provides payment services to businesses, was founded by Irish brothers Patrick and John Collison, who have become paper billionaires thanks to its rapid growth.

Stripe has its European headquarters in Ireland, where it employs about 10 per cent of its 1,000 global staff. Iain McDougall, the company’s head of UK and Ireland, says the country’s fintech growth is being driven by “a second wave of talent in Ireland, spawned by the massive investment of Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon in Silicon Docks”. A former Google employee himself, Mr McDougall says: “We’re starting to see some of that talent come through, not just college graduates with a couple of years experience . . . there’s now significant depth to it.”

International

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

This month I added Linked Finance.

Zopa crossed the milestone of 3 billion GBP originated since launch.

Source: P2P-Banking

Moven To Buy US Bank, Create Joint Venture In Japan With SBI (PYMNTS), Rated: A

According to a report in the American Banker, SBI will receive one seat on Moven’s six-member board and the companies will create a joint venture in Japan.

Of the funding the company will receive from SBI Group, some will go toward the joint venture to sell customized Moven software for Asian banks.

Salesforce boosts nCino global expansion plans (American Banker), Rated: A

NCino, a vendor of cloud-based banking technology, announced a new round of funding led by Salesforce Ventures to help fund its global expansion strategy.

The funding round led by Salesforce Ventures, the corporate investment group of Salesforce, also featured participation from another existing nCino shareholder. The amount of investment was not disclosed.

Several countries investigating Japanese virtual coin heist (e27), Rated: B

Takao Asayama, who is a member of the Singapore-based NEM Foundation that is behind the cryptocurrency, told reporters in Tokyo that it is working with exchanges to block the hackers from cashing out the stolen cryptocurrency. He did not name the countries involved in investigations.

India

Jaitley extends avenue for SME financing, bad loans in the sector now on radar (Economic Times), Rated: AAA

As bank credit to micro, small and medium enterprises shrink, the government has decided to get innovative by getting Non-Bank Finance Companies (NBFCs) and the burgeoning fintech industry to play a larger role in financing. However, NPAs in the MSME sector would also now undergo greater scrutiny.

“Non-Bank Finance Companies (NBFCs) stepped up financing of MSMEs after demonetization. NBFCs can be a very powerful vehicle for delivering loans under MUDRA. Refinancing policy and eligibility criteria set by MUDRA will be reviewed for better refinancing of NBFCs,” said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley while presenting the Union Budget for 2018-19.

If we look at the NBFC segment first, it specialises in catering to sector specific financial needs covering retail; consumer and vehicle loans; micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and micro finance among others.

Source: Economic Times

Tech play
Jaitly also laid out a roadmap to use data generated by the Goods and Services Tax (GST) to enhance credit availability to the SME sector.

“It is proposed to onboard public sector banks and corporates on Trade Electronic Receivable Discounting System (TReDS) platform and link this with GSTN. Online loan sanctioning facility for MSMEs will be revamped for prompt decision making by the banks. Government will soon announce measures for effectively addressing non-performing assets and stressed accounts of MSMEs. This will enable larger financing of MSMEs and also considerably ease cash flow challenges faced by them,” said Jaitley.

Source: Economic Times

At end-March 2017, there were 11,522 NBFCs registered with the Reserve Bank, a number that is only bound to increase with fintech sectors like P2P being clubbed in the segment. The Economic Survey has revealed that the amount of credit or loans disbursed by banks amounted to Rs 26,041 billion as on November 2017, but 82.6% of this was cornered by large enterprises.

For millions of SMEs in the country, banks only lent out 17.4 % of the total credit.

Indian Budget 2018: A Push for Blockchin and Cyber Tech (Bank Info Security), Rated: A

In a move to push adoption and development of new technologies, such as machine learning, artificial intelligence and the internet of things, the finance minister announced allocation of Rs 3,073 crore for the Department of Science and Technology.

Meanwhile, the finance minister’ pledge to encourage use of blockchain, the distributed ledger technology that supports cryptocurrencies, in payment systems has earned him accolades from some security practitioners.

“Blockchain can be effectively used to process banking transactions. I see blockchain-enabled wallets and blockchain-enabled cards as next big thing in the payment systems,” Jyoti says. “Blockchain can provide an extra layer of cybersecurity to the payment systems, which could have led to this decision.”

Why Blockchain?

Blockchain has been popular among the banking industry in India. In fact, banks in India have formed a “bank chain,” an association of more than 20 banks where they discuss some typical use cases of blockchain.

Sapan Gupta, national practice head – banking and finance, at the law firm Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas, notes: “Capitalizing on the blockchain technology could open new ways of securing peer-to-peer lending transactions, boosting trade finance, fintech and information repository sectors. Segregating the use of blockchain from crypto-currencies reflects the government’s intention to use the technology in a gradual and safe manner.”

What do Ola, ShopClues, Practo, and Paytm feel about the budget? (Yourstory), Rated: A

Rajat Gandhi, Founder & CEO, Faircent.com 

“The finance minister’s budget speech reflects the government’s intent to increase the credit access for the MSME sector and women entrepreneurs under MUDRA scheme. P2P lending is using technology and new-age data, and diligently working towards taking organised credit to the non and under-banked segments of the Indian economy. This is an opportunity for the government to directly invest or co-fund through registered P2P Lending Platforms and ensure credit access for MSMEs, New-To-Credit as well as female entrepreneurs. P2P lending is an asset class ensuring flow of investments from those with surplus to those in need. Hence it’s important that the lenders are supported through tax incentives. We look forward to working with the government towards the common goal of financial inclusion.

 

Bipin Preet Singh, Co-founder, MobiKwik 

“A reformist budget for startups and digital India. The government’s impetus on digitising the rural hinterlands, focus on smart cities, and commitment to blockchain technology will encourage the promotion of digital payments across the country, thereby making India truly digital. Further, disallowing cash payments beyond Rs 10,000 by trusts and institutions will boost digital payments. I commend the government’s decision to reduce corporate tax to 25 percent and improve the ease of doing business by providing a unique ID for every company on lines of Aadhaar. These initiatives will benefit startups and MSMEs immensely and lay a strong foundation for a progressive India. However, the government should consider regulating cryptocurrencies than curbing their use entirely.”

Budget 2018: 10% Long Term Capital Gain tax to benefit P2P lending players (moneycontrol), Rated: B

Imposing 10% long-term capital gain tax on equity investments may create some level playing field for the P2P lending industry. So far, the favourable tax treatment on long-term gains on equity investments made them a preferred choice for the investors. Now, those who are ready to take higher risk for earning better returns may also think of investing in P2P lending projects which have a better risk profile as compared to equity-oriented investments.

Asia

Ulema council, OJK to issue fatwa on sharia-based fintech lenders (The Jakarta Post), Rated: AAA

The Indonesia Ulema Council’s (MUI) sharia division and the Financial Services Authority (OJK) are preparing a fatwa to serve as a legal basis for the operation of sharia-based financial technology (fintech) lending institutions.

“Many non-Muslims are also interested in sharia-based fintech financing. So it has a very large potential market,” Adiwarman said as reported by kontan.co.id.

Since a trial run in November 2017, Investree has disbursed Rp 2.7 billion (US$189,000) in sharia-based financing.

Africa

Five ways to finance your dream (Standard Digital), Rated: AAA

It found that in 2015, Kenya and South Africa raised $16.7 million (Sh1.7 billion) and $15 million (Sh1.5 billion), respectively, in financing from various online channels. However, unlike in South Africa, most of the money raised using these alternative financing platforms in Kenya came from foreigners.

Overall, a total of $62.2 million (Sh6.4 billion) was raised across Africa, with more than 75 per cent of this money going towards funding start-ups and SMEs.

  1. Equity-based crowdfunding
  2. Peer-to-peer business lending
  3. Debt-based securities
  4. Donation-based crowdfunding
  5. Reward-based crowdfunding

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday February 1 2018, Daily News Digest

software hacks

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi lays off 5% of workforce. BlueVine doubles invoice financing credit lines. Chime reaches 750K bank accounts, $2.5B transaction volume. SoftBank injects funding into Moven, who could be buying a bank. Zopa hits 3B GBP in lending. Crowd Genie kicks off ICO. Today’s main analysis: Coincheck’s recent hack could mean big changes in crypto lending, […]

software hacks

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United States

United Kingdom

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India

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Bermuda

News Summary

United States

SoFi Lays Off 5% of Staff (WSJ), Rated: AAA

The San Francisco-based financial-technology company told staffers on Tuesday it is cutting around 65 jobs, roughly 5% of its 1,300-person workforce, the people said. The layoffs are centered in SoFi’s mortgage-operations centers in Healdsburg, Calif., and Cottonwood Heights, Utah.

He added that SoFi is currently looking to fill more than 175 open jobs.

‘A 401(k) of the future’: How SoFi wants to grow student loan refinancing with WeWork (Tearsheet), Rated: A

SoFi wants to sell its loan refinancing products to WeWork and its member companies by offering them an additional 0.125 percent discount.

growing number of companies have been adding student loan repayment as a workplace benefit. With $1.4 trillion in outstanding federal and private student loans, it’s a huge market.

SoFi’s Top 20 Law Schools Producing the Highest Salary Averages (JDJournal), Rated: A

SoFi examined the salary earned upon graduation from different law schools compared to the cost of the education. They looked at 60,000 student loan refinancing applications that had been submitted to them between January 2014 and December 2016. They took that data and formed SoFi’s Return on Education (ROED) Law School Rankings. The ranking uses the average salary and student debt load of the graduates three years out of law school that is reported to them by graduates looking to refinance their loans.

The top 20 law schools with the highest average salaries are:

  1. Cornell University – $183,377
  2. Columbia University – $177,962
  3. New York University – $177,203
  4. University of Chicago – $174,238
  5. Harvard University – $173,578
  6. Georgetown University – $173,464
  7. Northwestern University – $173,204
  8. Yale University – $171,779
  9. University of Pennsylvania – $170,954
  10. Duke University – $169,096
  11. University of Virginia – $166,396
  12. University of Michigan Ann Arbor – $164,713
  13. University of California Berkeley – $163,940
  14. University of Southern California – $161,823
  15. Fordham University – $160,590
  16. Stanford University – $158,088
  17. George Washington University – $153,302
  18. University of California Los Angeles – $152,469
  19. Vanderbilt University – $149,475
  20. University of Texas at Austin – $147,444

BlueVine doubles invoice financing credit lines to up to $ 5 million (Finextra), Rated: AAA

BlueVine has doubled the credit line size for its invoice factoring product to up to $5 million, underscoring the online business lender’s push to offer fast and flexible working capital financing to small and medium-sized businesses.

BlueVine also increased the limit for its business line of credit product to $200,000 from $150,000, making its Flex Credit product an even more attractive financing option for larger or fast-growing companies.

Court upholds constitutionality of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Politico), Rated: A

A federal appeals court has upheld the constitutionality of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s structure, a decision that preserves the agency’s independence in the face of challenges from business interests and conservatives.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 7-3 on Wednesday that a provision in the 2010 Dodd-Frank law that limits the president’s ability to remove the CFPB director during his or her five-year term does not violate the president’s authority to appoint and remove executive branch officers.

Chime Reaches 750,000 Bank Accounts, $ 2.5 Billion Transaction Volume (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Chime is on track to open more than 100,000 bank accounts per month and expects to reach 1 million total this quarter. With more than 750,000 bank accounts opened to date and over $2.5 billion in total transaction volume, Chime has emerged as the clear leader in the challenger banking segment.

While most Americans pay more than $27 a month on average in bank fees, Chime doesn’t charge overdraft fees, monthly fees or foreign transaction fees. With its award-winning mobile banking app, Chime members avoided more than $225 million in potential overdraft fees from traditional banks in 2017 alone, while putting over $72 million into savings accounts with help from Chime’s automated savings tools.

Moven to receive funding from SoftBank, plans to buy bank (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Moven, the mobile-first “neobank” founded by Brett King in 2011, is getting a multi-million dollar infusion from the Japanese company SBI Group, owner of SoftBank. At the same time, Moven says it is pursuing the acquisition of a bank.

SBI Group will hold one of the six seats on Moven’s board, and the two companies will set up a joint venture in Japan.

At the same time, Moven is making major changes to its overall business, including splitting the company in two.

On one side will be the software provider that already develops digital banking software for TD Bank in Canada and Westpac in New Zealand.

On the other side will be the neobank, which will be called MovenBank.

Is Marcus Going to Launch a Credit Card? (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Ainsley Harris reported in Fast Company today that Goldman Sachs is acquiring the employees who built Final, a credit card startup based in Oakland. Final offered a unique kind of credit card, one that would create a different virtual card number for every merchant, thereby reducing the risk of credit card fraud.

It has been a busy couple of years for Goldman Sachs when it comes to their consumer facing business. This latest deal follows a long list of acquisitions for Goldman recently:

  1. Acquisition of GE Capital Bank – this jumpstarted GS Bank giving it a huge deposit base.
  2. Acquisition of Honest Dollar – the digital retirement savings app was acquired in March 2016.
  3. Launch of Marcus with debt consolidation loans.
  4. Acquisition of Genesis Capital – not really consumer facing but could add a real estate development arm to the bank.
  5. Bond Street – employees of the online small business lender moved to Goldman Sachs.
  6. Addition of home improvement loans to the Marcus offerings.

Why big financial firms are building robos instead of white labeling (Tearsheet), Rated: A

In November, Wells Fargo launched Intuitive Investor, its digital-human hybrid offering from Wells Fargo Advisors. The following month Morgan Stanley launched Access Investing and JPMorgan Chase launched JPMorgan Digital Investing. Goldman Sachs, Raymond James, YF Financial and ICBC are all currently developing their own.

The start of the robo phenomenon was meant to address small, do-it-yourself investors, said Tom Streiff, special consultant to HBW Partners.

“A lot of these big firms have a lot more small accounts than they’re willing to admit,” he said. “Robos were one answer to that. Now they want to have something that has more of their own mark on it … not just to get the technology but to get the smart people inside.”

Typically, the white label provider will take 15 basis points of the total and leave the rest to the bank for distribution, Saxena said. Pricing from independent players, like Betterment or Wealthfront, is competitive.

SmartBiz Loans Launches AI-powered Digital Advisor Tool for Small Business Owners (Digital Journal), Rated: A

SmartBiz Loans, the SBA loan marketplace and bank-enabling technology platform, today announced the launch of SmartBiz Advisor, the first, AI-driven, online education tool that makes the financial insights and analysis provided by a typical CFO available to small businesses at no cost.

SmartBiz Advisor is an intelligent online platform that allows small business owners to easily and quickly learn how banks typically evaluate their business on key criteria before applying for a loan.

The Future of Real Estate, Part 2: A Crowdfunding Revolution? (GuruFocus), Rated: A

A well-managed crowdfunding platform should provide a range of deals, after having done sufficient due diligence itself so as to not place potential investors in financial jeopardy, and itself in legal jeopardy. When dealing in investment assets, whether equity or real estate, investors are still expected to be sophisticated and have the means to weather losses that are part and parcel with any private investment deal.

A growing cast of players

Interestingly, even as equity crowdfunding in startup companies has been slow to take off (Indiegogo’s platform raised just $7.53 million in equity investments during its first year of operation), real estate crowdfunding platforms have been popping up like weeds. RealtyMogul.com, for example, has an investor community of 150,000 people that have invested $318 million through its platform since it went live in 2012. The crowdfunder claims to have returned $70 million to investors thus far. RealtyShares, founded in 2013, has also posted big numbers, with platform users reportedly investing $700 million across more than a thousand deals.

A new breed of of private REIT

Private REITs are obviously opaque and potentially dangerous, but the crowdfunding platform has forged ahead all the same. Perhaps, with their interactive dashboards and high levels of investor transparency, these crowdfunded REITs will be able to correct some of the ills of their less technologically sophisticated forebears.

This College Grad Found an Affordable Way to Start Investing in Real Estate (The Penny Hoarder), Rated: A

The Fundrise Starter Portfolio would invest her money into two portfolios that support private real estate around the United States. It would do all the heavy lifting for her — and play landlord on her behalf.

She didn’t need to have hundreds of thousands of dollars stashed away, either. She could get started with a minimum investment of just $500.

Fundrise lists an average annualized return of 11.44% in 2017. Investors pay 1% in annual fees — a 0.85% asset-management fee and a 0.15% investment advisory fee.

Breaking down the barriers of real estate investment: A Q&A with Peter Vekselman from WeLend (AtlantaAgent), Rated: A

Q: What sort of problems were you experiencing when it came to financing real estate projects?

The problem is that behind the scenes the money is handled by hedge funds. All of the hedge funds on Wall Street do their own thing and no one knows who they are. So what happens is you have a potential investor and the first problem for them is finding the financing.

Q: How exactly does We Lend work, and how does it help solve some of the problems previously mentioned?

I’ve consolidated and cut deals to put all the hedge funds under one roof, so now investors don’t have to go through this huge undertaking to find the funds. They can came to us, and we can underwrite them and then figure out on the back end the best match.

It’s like LendingTree for the investor world.

Q: What types of projects and people does We Lend work with?

We work with small developers or a mom-and-pop builder that does five properties a year. And we mainly work with residential properties only because there are more residential opportunities than anything else.

In terms of price points, we try to stay as low as $50,000 per project.

On Deck Welcomes Paul Rosen & James Hobson As Two New Senior Vice Presidents (OnDeck), Rated: A

Today, On Deck announced the appointments of Paul Rosen as Senior Vice President of Sales and James Hobson as Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Platform Solutions.

Santander Consumer USA And AutoFi Team Up To Provide Car Buyers And Dealers With Fast And Easy Online Sales And Financing (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Santander Consumer USA Holdings Inc. (NYSE: SC, or the Company) today announced that it will work with automotive technology leader AutoFi to streamline and simplify the car-buying process for consumers, while giving dealers a robust digital sales channel.

Climb Credit Reveals A Solution To Student Lending Crisis (Climb Credit Email), Rated: A

A few key findings include:

  • The median student saw a 66.7% salary increase
  • For Climb students who have held two different jobs since attending their program, there is a median pay increase of 38.9% from the first to the second job
  • Nearly three out of four students surveyed said they would not have been able to attend their education program if they didn’t have Climb Credit as a financing option

House Approves New Payday Loan With 200 Percent Interest Rate (Indiana Public Media), Rated B

The Indiana House approved legislation Wednesday to create a new type of payday loan – with interest rates of up to 200 percent – that opponents argue amounts to predatory lending.

The legislation creates a loan of between about $600 and $1,500, with a term of up to 12 months.

Consumers warned not to borrow from unlicensed online lenders (International Falls Journal), Rated: B

The Minnesota Commerce Department warns Minnesota consumers not to borrow money from unlicensed lenders that advertise and offer short-term, payday or installment loans through the internet.

United Kingdom

Zopa hits £3bn lending landmark (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ZOPA said that it now has more than 60,000 active investors and more than 300,000 borrowers.

It has now lent out more than £3bn since inception, Zopa said on its website on Wednesday, having lent more than £985m in the past 12 months.

Investors are lending on average £13,000 while the average loan amount is £6,000.

China

Chinese internet users grow to 772 million (Technode), Rated: AAA

China now has 772 million internet users according to a report published by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) today (in Chinese).

Growth rates of internet users have remained steady. During 2017, a total of 40.74 million new netizens were added with a growth rate of 5.6%. Internet penetration rates have reached 55.8% in China, more than the global average (51.7%) and the average rates for Asia (46.7%).

The number of mobile phone users in China has reached an impressive 753 million. The proportion of internet users using mobile phones rose from 95.1% in 2016 to 97.5% in 2017.

Since the end of 2016, the proportion of internet users that pay with their phones rose from 50.3% to 65.5%.

There was another number that went up at an impressive rate. The number of internet users buying internet financial products in China has reached 129 million, up 30.2% from the same period last year.

Alibaba-backed online lender MYbank owes cost-savings to home-made tech (Reuters), Rated: A

MYbank expects double-digit increases in all growth measures in 2017 due to lower costs enabled by technology, the bank’s president, Huang Hao, said in an interview at his office in Hangzhou, in the eastern province of Zhejiang.

As a result, the cost of approving a small business loan can be as little as 2 yuan, compared to at least 2,000 yuan ($317.97) at a traditional bank, according to data provided by the bank.

European Union

Remarks by Vice-President Dombrovskis at the European Financial Forum 2018 in Dublin (Europa.eu), Rated: AAA

 

Our immediate priority is to complete the Banking Union. For this, we should move in parallel on risk reduction and risk sharing. All elements are on the table. On risk reduction, this includes our November 2016 bank reform package and our ongoing work to reduce Non-Performing Loans. On the risk sharing side, we recently came with ideas on how to unblock negotiations on the European Deposit Insurance Scheme. And we have broad support to finalise the work on the backstop for the Single Resolution Fund. So the time is ripe to move at political level on completing the Banking Union.

The second immediate priority for deepening the EMU is setting up the Capital Markets Union. Deeper capital markets across Europe will increase risk-sharing among private investors and improve the shock-absorption capacity of the economy. In the past three years, we have taken fundamental steps towards deeper and more integrated EU capital markets. Of the 33 actions we announced in 2015, 25 have now been completed.

One strength of Ireland’s financial sector is asset management. As of September last year, Irish fund managers had more than €4.2 trillion assets under management. A true Capital Markets Union would enable Irish fund managers to further benefit from the full scale of the single market. In March of this year, revised rules for the EU venture capital label – EuVECA – will enter into application. Large managers can then run EuVECA funds, providing economies of scale and trusted brands. We have also expanded the range of eligible assets, and decreased the costs associated with cross-border marketing.

We are also looking more broadly at the rules for offering funds across the EU. This market is still predominantly organised along national lines. For example, 70% of the assets under management are held by funds available for sale in only one EU country. The share of alternative investment funds that is marketed in more than three countries is very low – only 3%.

Europe has what it takes to develop a globally competitive Fintech sector. We can rely on our strengths in research and engineering. For example, we have 32 artificial intelligence research institutions in the world top 100, which is more than the US or China. I also see great Fintech potential here in Ireland, with its strong information technology culture.

We will also present a legislative proposal to enable EU-wide crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending.

The future of finance will not only be digital, it will also have to be green.

• Third, we could boost green investments and loans by introducing a so-called green supporting factor. This could be done at first stage by lowering capital requirements for certain climate-friendly investments, such as energy-efficient mortgages or low-carbon cars. However, this exercise would be delicate. Green does not mean risk-free. Any measures would have to be carefully calibrated, and based on a clear EU classification.

CreditEase Founder, CEO Ning Tang Spoke at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: B

CreditEase, a Beijing-based leading financial technology conglomerate specializing in inclusive finance and wealth management, announced that its Founder and CEO, Mr Ning Tang, participated and spoke at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2018 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland.

Under the central theme of “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World”, this year’s meeting has drawn an estimated 2,500 participants, including a record number of heads of state and leaders from politics, business, academia, and civil society.

“Technology has greatly improved access to financial services for Chinese consumers and small businesses in the past decade, and we expect more progress to be made in the SME lending space with the help of FinTech in coming years,” said Mr Tang. “Financial services like angel investing and VC/PE, powered by technology, will bring more high-quality growth to the Chinese economy.”

International

IOU Financial partners with CDE solutions in funding CDE’S network of 26,000 convenience store owners (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

IOU FINANCIAL INC. (“IOU” or “the Company”) (TSXV: IOU), an online lender to small businesses (IOUFinancial.com), is pleased to announce a strategic partnership with Marietta, GA-based POS solutions provider CDE (CDEsolutions.com).  Through this strategic partnership, CDE’s network of 26,000 convenience store owners nationwide will be able to access IOU’s fast, convenient, non-collateral funding solutions.

Crebit: Blockchain DLT in wave of transforming P2P financing (NewsBTC), Rated: A

Adopting Blockchain and DLT for P2P lending system can facilitate capital mobilization within the financial system through flat-out transfer of monetary values from parties unrestricted by barriers-to-entry. Thus, the potential for P2P lending in support of free international financial flows remains vastly untapped.

Ipsos MORI veracity Index shows 75% of investors complain about banks data provision, but rather P2P investment groups maintain a credible and transparent operation.

Crebit is a blockchain-empowered network provider that offers global microfinance lending collateralized by crypto assets, based on the artificial intelligence credit scoring system. This microfinancing solution leverages blockchain technology to finance through top cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple against up to 80% of investors collateralized crypto assets value. Crebit leads the way into crypto financing by building P2P lending agreements on smart contracts in the secured and decentralized Ethereum blockchain. The platform matches funding gaps for crypto holders, traders as well as multiple exchanges and transaction solutions. Crebit aims to provide businesses and individuals a decentralized credit scoring database for innovative and trustless transaction solutions unrestricted by geographical boundaries.

Australia

Trial by fire in an untested market (CMO.com.au), Rated: AAA

But this is precisely why Rebecca James, Prospa’s new chief marketing and enterprise officer, took the job almost five months ago.

“In just five years, the team has lent over $500m. But there are 2.1 million small businesses in Australia, and over half need cashflow support to take advantage of opportunities, to grow, or to cover an unexpected cost. My hope is to take the Prospa proposition and meet the growing needs of this audience. We’re just getting started.”

Launched six years ago, Prospa is now Australia’s number one online lender for small business, providing loans to more than 12,000 small businesses across the country. In November, it placed second in the AFRFast 100 for 2017 thanks to a 239 per cent average revenue growth since 2013-14. Last year, Prospa secured over $50m in equity and debt funding, and doubled the size of its loan book.

Online Cash Flow Loans Australia Announces Unsecured Cash Flows Loans Up To $ 500k (PRWire), Rated: A

Online Cash Flow Loans is a fast emerging player in the online cash flow loans marketplace. The organization is an arm of Magnolia Finance that specializes in offering low cost business loans to small businesses in Australia.

These cash flow loans are tailored to meet the growing business finance needs of businesses operating in the hospitality, retail, construction, medical and agribusiness. Basically any small business operating in Australian and in need of unsecured business loans can apply for business loan online on the company website.

Loan terms from 3 to 24 months
Same day funding
Flexible repayment options
Redraw facility available
India

Budget Reaction Rajat Gandhi, Founder & CEO, Faircent. com (Faircent Email), Rated: AAA

Hon. Finance minister budget speech reflects the government’s intent to increase the credit access for the MSME sector and women entrepreneurs under MUDRA scheme. P2P lending is using technology and new-age data and diligently working towards taking organised credit to the non and under-banked segments of the Indian economy. This is an opportunity for the government to directly invest or co-fund through registered P2P Lending Platforms and ensure credit access for MSMEs, New-To-Credit as well as female entrepreneurs. P2P lending is an asset class ensuring flow of investments from those with surplus to those in need. Hence it’s important that the lenders are supported through tax incentives. We look forward to working with the govt towards common goal of financial inclusion.

The popular FinTech platforms serving MSMEs in India (KNN India), Rated: A

Keeping in view the credit crunch faced by the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector in India due to various reasons, new FinTech platforms are coming up to improve loan disbursal to the sector.

According to a media report, there are four popular FinTech platforms that are helping in robust loan disbursal – CreditMantri, Aye Finance, CoinTribe and Faircent.

P2P Lending Set to Explode in 2018 And Beyond (CXO Today), Rated: B

RBI’s much awaited official guidelines for Peer to Peer (P2P) lending platforms to bring them into the ambit of non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) is set to boost online lending. It is fast emerging as an investment option for retail lenders.

Asia

MAS Regulated Peer to Peer Lender Crowd Genie Announces Initial Coin Offering (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Crowd Genie Financial Services Pte Ltd, regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), has announced an initial coin offering (ICO) via their related entity CGSPV Pte. Ltd. The peer to peer lender states that it intends on issuing 60 million Crowd Genie Coins, or CGCoins, for a soft cap of USD $5 million. The public sale commences today and 400 CGCoins may be purchased for a single ETH. Bonus CGCOINs, between an additional 5% and 25%, will be given to early buyers as an incentive.

Coincheck’s recent hack could mean big changes in the crypto space (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck revealed on Friday that its 

Source: Business Insider

Online lenders join gold rush into SE Asia (Ecns.cn), Rated: A

Chinese online peer-to-peer (P2P) lending companies have been rushing into Southeast Asian countries in recent months to cash in on untapped and lightly regulated markets that feature huge potential, as growth in the domestic market slows amid tightening regulations.

While much of Southeast Asia offers a promising future for these lenders given its huge population and underdeveloped financial services industry, most of the Chinese companies are betting on short-term gains rather than long-term growth, an industry expert noted on Wednesday.

Over 50 Chinese online lenders have launched overseas operations, with Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia and Cambodia being the top destinations, the 21st Century Business Herald reported on Wednesday.

In Indonesia alone, there are more than 50 Chinese consumer lending apps at the moment, up from 30 just a month ago, the report said.

Here are the new services launched by startups in Indonesia this week (e27), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform Investree on Tuesday officially launched a sharia-based P2P lending programme.

The programme has been tested since November 2017. The startup claied that by January it has managed to channel IDR2.7 billion (US$200,000) worth of loan from 1,340 lenders to 313 borrowers.

Bermuda

Peer-to-Peer Lending & Equity Crowdfunding (Bernews), Rated: AAA

A Bermudian expert on information technology, asset and risk management tools is today celebrating the global launch of her book on peer-to-peer lending and the securities crowd funding industry.

“The book, entitled ‘Peer-to-Peer Lending and Equity Crowdfunding: A Guide to the New Capital Markets for Job Creators, Investors and Entrepreneurs,’ highlights the inequality gap is widening and persists worldwide,” a spokesperson said.

“The book not only describes how debt and equity crowdfunding works but also explains investment approaches, secondary markets, governance and compliance, transparency, and risk models that are necessary for investors to make informed decisions.

The book is available here.

 

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor