Thursday June 7 2018, Daily News Digest

Lending Tree Purchase APR by Month

News Comments Today’s main news: Circle seeks a banking license. Revolut has 2M users. Ping An looks beyond insurance. TransferWise partners with first big bank. Today’s main analysis: How microfinance is navigating the fintech revolution in Africa. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Where retail credit, charge cards are used the most. The case for a VRP strategy. A different type of Know Your […]

Lending Tree Purchase APR by Month

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United States

United Kingdom

International

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News Summary

United States

Crypto Unicorn Circle Aims to Expand Into Regulated Banking (Bloomberg) Rated: A

Circle Internet Financial Ltd., one of the world’s most valuablecryptocurrency platforms, is looking to make a big leap into the highly regulated realm of U.S. banks and brokerages.

The venture, partly backed by Goldman Sachs Group Inc., plans to seek a federal banking license to provide more services to customers. It also intends to pursue registration as a brokerage and trading venue with the Securities and Exchange Commission, so it can help investors buy and sell tokens deemed to be securities.

LendingTree Releases Monthly Mortgage Offer Report for May (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

LendingTree today released its monthly Mortgage Offers Report which analyzes data from actual loan terms offered to borrowers on LendingTree.com by lenders on LendingTree’s network. The purpose of the report is to empower consumers by providing additional information on how their credit profile affects their loan prospects.

Source: PRNewsfoto/LendingTree
  • May’s best rate offers for borrowers with the best credit profiles had an average APR of 4.35% for conforming 30-year fixed purchase loans, up from 4.26% in April.
  • Refinance loan offers for borrowers with the best profiles were up 12 bps to 4.35%.
  • For the average borrower, purchase APRs for conforming 30-yr fixed loans offered on LendingTree’s platform were up 10 bps to 5.02%. The loan note rate of 4.91% was also up 10 bps.

CompareCards Study Reveals Which Places Use the Most Retail Credit and Charge Cards (Benzinga) Rated: AAA

CompareCards by LendingTree today released the findings of its study on the places that use the most retail credit and charge cards. The study found that some metro areas are home to heavy users of retail cards while other locations have a population who use retail cards more sparingly.

Nationally, 61.3 percent of credit card owners have at least one retail card. Of those who have at least one retail card, 30.4 percent carry a balance on a retail card, representing 11.4 percent of outstanding balances. The average balance on a retail card in the U.S. is $2,699.

Highlights from the report:

  • Residents of McAllen, Texas are by far the highest users of retail credit and charge cards. The metro earned a final score of 87.2 and ranked first in these categories:
    • The number of people who have retail cards (72%)
    • The number of retail card owners who carry a balance on their retail cards (45%)
    • And the percentage of credit card debt carried on a retail card (17%)
  • People in Charleston, S.C. have this retail card claim to fame: They carry the highest balances on their retail cards among all 100 metros, with an average balance of $4,026and a median balance of $1,746. Meanwhile, Albany, N.Y. had the lowest average balance ($2,420).
  • Honolulu has the lowest retail card usage, with a final score of 9.4. Although it didn’t rank last in any individual category, it ranked extremely low in all.
Source: Benzinga and CompareCards

AQR MAKES THE CASE FOR A VRP STRATEGY (all About Alpha) Rated: AAA

AQR Capital Management, the Greenwich, CT-based global investment firm, has posted a new discussion of thevolatility risk premium and of the advantages of strategies based thereon.

In principle the premium would disappear if markets efficiently estimated the probability of significant losses. But it remains, because investors are risk averse and tend to overestimate the probability of substantial losses.

QR models an investor who was hypothetically long the S&P 500 from 1996 to 2016, while hedging his position with a continuously rolled one-month 5% out-of-the-money put. The hedged strategy will in fact lessen portfolio volatility as measured against simply being long in the S&P without the hedge. Vol falls from 16.1% in the latter case to 14.7% in the former.

But, as noted, this risk aversion comes at a hefty cost. Average portfolio returns decline from 5.1% to just 1.8%.

Unchained Capital Raises $ 3M To Lend Fiat To HODLers (Crunchbase News) Rated: A

Austin-based crypto-finance startup Unchained Capital has raised nearly $3 million in seed funding. Unchained’s first product is a crypto asset-backed loan, which is like borrowing against one’s home—except the company lends against digital assets such as bitcoin and ethereum.

The round includes $2.4 million in new capital and $595,000 of SAFE notes converting.

Court upholds sanctions against lawyers, KC firm in payday case (Kansas City Business Journal) Rated: A

A federal appeals court upheld $150,000 in sanctions levied against Stephen Sixand Austin Moore of Stueve Siegel Hanson LLP in Kansas City, Darren Kaplan of the Darren Kaplan Law Firm PC in New York, and their respective law firms.

The plaintiff filed a class-action lawsuit that wasn’t against the online payday lending companies themselves, but against four nonlender financial institutions — Generations Federal Credit Union, BMO Harris Bank, Four Oaks Bank & Trust Co. and Bay Cities Bank — that processed the debit transactions and were paid fees.

LoanNow Reviews: Beware Personal Loan Offers With Sky-High APRs (Student Loan Hero) Rated: A

That’s where online lender LoanNow comes in. LoanNow reviews your application even if you don’t have strong credit.

Here are the ranges for APRs and repayment terms in the six states that LoanNow operates in as of June 6, 2018. Double-check the LoanNow website for the latest rates.

State Loan amount APR Repayment term
Alabama $2,500 – $5,000 29.00% – 229.00% 12 – 48 months
California $2,500 – $5,000 29.00% – 229.00% 12 – 48 months
Georgia $3,100 – $5,000 29.00% – 59.00% 12 – 48 months
Missouri $1,000 – $2,500 29.00% – 299.00% 9 – 24 months
New Mexico $2,600 – $5,000 29.00% – 229.00% 12 – 48 months
Utah $1,000 – $2,500 29.00% – 299.00% 9 – 24 months

Startup Aims to Disrupt High-Interest Payday Lending With Blockchain (Thirty K) Rated: A

Meje Tuyo thinks the payday loan industry is ripe for disruption and he wants to do it using blockchain technology. Specifically, Tuyo wants to deliver more equitable access to loans through Owo, a startup venture set to debut this fall. The company’s name means “money” in the West African language of Yoruba.

Tuyo, a native of Nigeria, is looking to, at first, address the challenges of African Americans, a population that relies more on payday loans than other groups. Another study from the Pew Charitable Trusts from 2012 found that 12 percent of African-Americans had taken out payday loans, compared with 4 percent of whites and 6 percent of Hispanics.

The company plans to launch an app called Pazimawhich will allow consumers to request loans that will be automatically repaid when they receive their paychecks.

Renovate America Named “Esoteric ABS Issuer of the Year” (PR Newswire) Rated: B

Renovate America, a leading provider of home improvement financing, has been recognized as “Esoteric ABS Issuer of the Year” in the 2018 U.S. Securitization Awards announced by GlobalCapitalmagazine. The award recognizes Renovate America’s position as a leader in the esoteric ABS market, which includes not only PACE, but also equipment leasing, containers, marketplace lending, whole business, solar, and cell tower deals, to name a handful.

Sallie Krawcheck thought she hated banking (Business Insider) Rated: A

  • Sallie Krawcheck spent years as a Wall Street exec, commonly called “the most powerful woman on Wall Street.”
  • But when she got her first investment banking job in her early 20s, she hated it, and even went back to business school to transition into her dream jobs in media.
  • It wasn’t until she asked herself what she loved about media that she could find in banking that she found a place in equity research, which launched her into a series of executive roles on Wall Street.

David Mitchell Joins White Oak Business Capital as Senior Vice President and Senior Business Development Officer (Globe Newswire) Rated: B

White Oak Business Capital, Inc. (“WOBC” or White Oak), an affiliate of White Oak Global Advisors, LLC, today announced the appointment of David Mitchell to the role of Senior Vice President and Senior Business Development Officer, responsible for expanding business in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic markets.

United Kingdom

UK fintech start-up Revolut reaches 2 million users (The Telegraph) Rated: AAA

London fintech start-up Revolut has announced that it has grown to 2m users following its launch in 2013.

Revolut said that it has now signed up 2m customers in Europe ahead of plans to launch in the US this year. Customers have also made over 100m transactions, the company said, with a monthly transaction volume of $2bn (£1.4bn).

Going tribal: A different type of ‘know your customer’ (Mortgage Finance Gazette) Rated: AAA

The fintech industry is coming of age. Global investments in the sector have grown from $20 billion in 2014 to $39 billion in 2017, according to Fintech Global. Fintechs like Transferwise, Nutmeg, Revolut, Starling Bank and Funding Circle in the UK have grown rapidly over the last five years. A large reason for this success is attributable to the way fintechs are able to develop deep relationships with their customers who rally around them in an almost tribe-like manner. Successful firms manage to convert isolated customers into communities and finally highly engaged ‘tribes’.

Fintechs that have successfully demonstrated that they can generate a sense of community within their customer base share the following six characteristics.

  1. Transparency-or at least the perception of it – is a great way to build trust and attract younger customers. Transferwise publishes its rate card in full on its website for instance.
  2. Reachability-In general, fintechs are much more in tune with what their customers want to be developed next. Revolut got this formula right from the start – this has helped them to grow to a $1.7 billion company in just 33 months.
  3. A sense of purpose-A large part of fintechs’ success in tribe-building is their ability to generate the sense of a greater purpose. Fintechs are typically focussed on achieving a specific goal which on its own, is mundane and something on the lines of – ‘help you transfer money cheaply’. However, this mundane goal is transformed into a grandiose vision when put into the intended context— ‘transfer money cheaply and beat the big banks at their game’. An origin story is the final touch required to transform this vision into a sense of purpose for the community – ‘transfer money cheaply, beat big banks and be a part of something meaningful’.

The growing popularity of bridging loans for investors (Property Week) Rated: A

This trend has only been exacerbated by Brexit as the ongoing uncertainty around Britain’s exit from the EU leaves borrowers, banks and new lenders without a clear picture of the next few years.

In light of this, bridging loans are increasingly popular as a short-term solution for investors and a way for high-net-worth individuals to see a return on capital.

Although the recent rise of bridging loans is associated with specialist lenders, particularly in the commercial space offering non-FCA regulated loans, the product originated as an option for property buyers to bridge a gap between exchanging contracts and completion of a sale where you needed to purchase a property in the interim but did not have the capital.

China

Chinese Giant Ping An Looks Beyond Insurance To A Fintech Future (Forbes) Rated: AAA

Global 2000 list — look beyond the stodgy insurance business and into the realm of high technology, whose tentacles reach into every aspect of commerce in China and eventually show up in the mobile handsets of Chinese consumers.

European Union

Klarna at Money 20/20: Banks are obsessed with themselves (Bobs Guide) Rated: A

In a presentation entitled ‘Banking on the CX factor’, Klarna CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski spoke to a packed crowd under The Big Top at Money 20/20 EU, Amsterdam, today, taking the opportunity to open fire on the banks.

The audience heard insight from Klarna on customer experience, including the fact that, according to the Happiness Index, consumers are more stressed and unhappy than ever before.

Auto1 Joins Deutsche Bank, Allianz in Fintech Car Financing Push (Bloomberg) Rated: A

Auto1 Group GmbH is partnering with Deutsche Bank AG and Allianz SE as the German startup expands into fintech to ease financing for customers buying its used cars.

The three partners together own more than 50 percent in a new company called Auto1 Fintech, that will offer refinancing loans and insurance products to car dealerships buying SoftBank Group Corp.-backed Auto1’s vehicles, co-Chief Executive Officer Hakan Koc said Wednesday in an interview.

International

TransferWise just partnered with its first big bank (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

UK-based cross-border money transfer company TransferWise has announced a partnership with France’s second-largest bank, BPCE Groupe, that will take effect at the beginning of 2019. Under the partnership, TransferWise will provide international money transfer services for BPCE Groupe’s customers, enabling them to send money in different currencies with TransferWise’s low standard fees.

Source: Business Insider

StartUp Nation Ventures Announces the Israel-Florida Innovation Alliance’s First Call for Proposals (PR Newswire) Rated: A

StartUp Nation Ventures (“SUNV”) in partnership with the Israel Innovation Authority (“IIA”) is proud to announce the initial Call for Proposals through the Israel-Florida Innovation Alliance (“Innovation Alliance”).

The Innovation Alliance was created to support Israeli innovation companies in the discovery and selection of Florida as their destination to establish U.S. headquarters—a gateway for expansion into the U.S., and Latin America markets.

The joint collaboration between SUNV and the IIA establishes a scalable platform to support Israeli companies that have proven the feasibility of their technologies and have a minimal viable product or working prototypes for the U.S and Latin America markets in the following areas:

  • Financial Technologies (FinTech), Blockchain, Cybersecurity, Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (AR/VR) Entertainment, Cryptocurrency, Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs); and
  • Tech Innovation related to smart contracts, supply chain, asset verification, certification, identity, health and financial transactions, digital and mobile payments; capital markets & investing, banking & corporate finance, financial platforms, crowdfunding & peer-to-peer lending, and personal financial management.

How Fintech Is Disrupting the Personal Loans Market (The Market Mogul) Rated: A

Lending has experienced one of the biggest changes in the traditional banking marketplace with financial technology startups, or simply, fintechs, introducing disruptive products to consumers. Peer-to-peer lending platforms have been at the forefront in this space, but recent developments suggest more could be about to unfold over the coming years.

Startup lending companies have managed to gain a substantial chunk of the market over the last few years. According to credit analysts, this growth has been driven by personal loans. In a report published by TransUnion late last year, it was established that fintechs continue to disrupt the personal loans market at an alarming rate. In the report titled Fact versus Fiction, the TransUnion study found that fintechs have grown from a mere 1% of personal loan originations in 2010 to one-third of the entire personal loan market in 2017.

The 32% market share for fintechs in the personal loans market was more than the 29% for banks, 24% for credit unions, and 15% for traditional finance. This clearly shows that fintechs are on the path to dominate the entire lending market if the momentum can be maintained.

Here’s why robo-advisors won’t replace human financial advisors (CNBC) Rated: A

Robo-advisors give retail investors access to automated investment strategies, creating portfolios and coming up with an asset allocation that’s based on client data points, including time horizon and risk tolerance.

As convenient as it may be, this technology doesn’t make human financial advisors obsolete, said Joe Duran, founder and CEO of United Capital.

That’s because robo-advisors fail to account for the complexity of financial planning, he says.

Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance Launches Global Research (Crowdfund insider) Rated: B

Having now tracked alternative finance for five years, and from this relatively short perspective, the Centre has noted an emerging industry that has progressed quickly. Where once there were only handful of early adopters and innovators in a given country, they now see an “altfin” landscape that is growing rapidly, with an exponential number of new platforms driving competition and introducing new products.

In many regions (the EU, UK, USA) the Centre is also seeing their first cases of consolidation, but with continued diversification of products and services to customers.

Africa

MICROFINANCE PAPER WRAP-UP: “How Microfinance is Navigating the Fintech Revolution in Africa” (MicroCapital) Rated: AAA

We are also looking to provide insight for microfinance stakeholders into how MFIs can leverage Fintech solutions to remain competitive in the rapidly changing financial landscape in Africa. While it is still too early to present a definitive response to the opportunities and challenges of Fintech, we are
convinced that MFIs will need to adapt to succeed in this increasingly dynamic microfinancing environment in Africa.

Source: Triple Jump

Fintech is considered more as an enabler than as a disruptor.

  • The MFIs surveyed perceived Fintech more as an opportunity than as a threat to their business (see graph 3: 88% consider it as a (very) great opportunity, while only 35% see a moderate to high threat).
Source: Triple Jump
  • Few MFIs foresee increasing competition in the future from Fintech-based (B2C) companies. This is explained by the fact that most digital lenders enter relatively easy markets with a target audience that is tech savvy, literate and more urban and where data and technical infrastructure are already available. But to access more informal and rural client segments effectively, these Fintech players face a number of challenges, such as client acquisition, initial high write-offs and limited profitability.

Read the paper in full here.

Asia

The Trillion-Dollar Investment Trend You’ve Never Heard Of And How You Can Be A Part Of It (Indonesia Expat) Rated: AAA

You can support Indonesian micro businesses and help them grow and thrive by investing in their loans. A leading, Indonesia-based peer-to-peer lending platform lets you do just that in just a few simple steps. Mekar (PT Mekar Investama Sampoerna) connects you, the investors (also called ‘funders’ in Mekar) from all over the world, with micro businesses in many provinces in Indonesia that are in need of funding.

About 99% of the micro businesses that are seeking loans in Mekar are run by women. Loans in Mekar range from around Rp 2 million (US$ 140) to Rp 8 million. For the last couple of years 99.5% of these borrowers have repaid on time.

Source: Indonesia Expat

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday May 30 2018, Daily News Digest

refinancing

News Comments Today’s main news: GreenSky sets shares at $23 each, sold 38M. Elevate Credit doubles floor space. Tandem hits 100K clients. Lidya raises $6.9M in Africa. Today’s main analysis: PeerIQ recounts TransUnion Summit 2018. Today’s thought-provoking articles: An orthodontist racks up over $1M in student loans. CompareCards releases credit card fee report. The worst is over for Chinese microlenders. […]

refinancing

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

Other

News Summary

United States

Fintech GreenSky raises more than US$ 800mln in its IPO (Proactive Investors) Rated: AAA

The online lender priced its shares at US$23 each, raising a total of US$874mln in its first day of trading. The company sold 38 million shares, surpassing its expectation of 34 million shares.

Elevate Credit doubles space with ‘super floor’ in Addison office building (Dallas Business Journal) Rated: AAA

Elevate Credit Inc. will expand at Spectrum Center in Addison, doubling both the size of its footprint and the capacity for employees who can work in the office.

The fast-growing company is growing from 26,000 to 52,000 square feet in the 614,000-square-foot office complex.

VantageScore win, TransUnion Summit 2018 (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

The House passed the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act which reforms the Dodd-Frank Act and provides significant oversight relief to small banks. Below are some of the main provisions of this bill:

  1. One of the most notable shifts lost in the headlines is that the legislation requires Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to evaluate and consider alternative credit scores to FICO. The change introduces competition to the credit scoring market and is a big win for VantageScore.
  2. Regulatory Capital relief:
  3. The threshold for a Systematically Important Financial Institution has been raised to $250 Bn in assets from $50 Bn, which will exempt a number of regional banks. These banks will no longer be subject to onerous CCAR tests and reduce their compliance burdens. Banks with less than $10 Bn in assets are also exempt from the Volcker Rule – a win for Jeb Hensarling’s (R-TX) campaign to provide relief for community banks.
  4. Banks with less than $3 Bn in assets will have a lower frequency of regulatory exams, banks with less than $5 Bn in assets will have fewer reporting and compliance requirements, and all banks with less than $10 Bn in assets will have the same capital ratio.
  5. Lenders can now charge subprime borrowers higher rates for auto loans.

TransUnion Financial Services Summit 2018

Delinquencies in auto loans have picked up recently to 4.3%, with subprime auto doing worse. (The drop in auto performance can be attributed to longer auto loan terms, higher LTVs, lower used car re-sale prices, and the “Lyft effect”).

Source: TransUnion

If a loan is prepaid before the 12-months mark the originator loses money as the net interest margin is not enough to compensate for the origination and servicing expenses. Only 23% of prepaid loans are refinanced, and most consumers go for a longer tenor loan with a higher balance.

Source: TransUnion

Mike Meru Has $ 1 Million in Student Loans. How Did That Happen? (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Due to escalating tuition and easy credit, the U.S. has 101 people who owe at least $1 million in federal student loans, according to the Education Department. Five years ago, 14 people owed that much.

Silver Hill Funding’s Leslie Smith is Targeting the Underserved in the SBL Space (Commercial Observer) Rated: A

In March, Smith oversaw the formal launch of Commercial Direct, an online small-balance loan customization platform that’s a division of multibillion dollar real estate investment firm Silver Hill Funding, a subsidiary of Bayview Loan Servicing.

Commercial Direct’s lending strategy targets small business owners, entrepreneurs and investors who are relatively new to the commercial real estate arena or are looking to expand or diversify their portfolios. The platform finances commercial and residential condominiums, among many other asset classes, and closes loans in 30 days or fewer, according to Commercial Direct’s website.

With the backing of Silver Hill—which has funded more than 20,000 transactions since its founding—and Bayview Loan Servicing, the platform is off to a strong start.

Fintech adds another S.F. office (San Fransciso Business Journal) Rated: A

After snapping up a new headquarters last year, fintech company Affirm leased up 46,000 square feet in 550 Kearny St. in San Francisco with landlord Brickman.

The new space is around the corner from the company’s headquarters in 650 California St., where it leased 86,225 square feet.

Does Your Business Need More Space? A Lender Weighs In On Why And How To Expand (Forbes) Rated: A

In this post, I speak with Victoria Treyger of 

For Your Money, Which is Better: The Algorithm or the Adviser? (Kiplinger) Rated: A

The reality is, the rapid growth and early-stage adoption of financial technology (FinTech) indicates an industry disruption is underway. Algorithm-based, digital advisory technology has brought us the increasingly popular “robo-advisers,” which replace human advisers with software programmed to understand and advise on clients’ needs. Robo-adviser firms have witnessed triple-digit growth since 2013. Research firm Cerulli Associates reported they had about $60 billion in assets under management (AUM) at the end of 2016, and could amass an estimated $385 billion by 2021.

Are we in the Golden Age of Fintech? (Fintech TV), Rated: A

Dubbed the ‘Mayor of Fintech’, Ron Suber discusses the current fintech landscape, and what technology has him excited about the future.

Watch this video interview with Ron Suber.

Can your side gig fund retirement? (CU Insight) Rated: A

Almost 40% of respondents in a recent Betterment survey said they feel unprepared to save enough to maintain their lifestyle during retirement. As a result, they have become members of the growing gig economy by either supplementing their full-time job or relying solely on their independent work/temporary contracts.

According to “The Gig Economy and Future of Retirement” survey, 76% of those 55 and older were using earnings from a second job to save for retirement, as were 65% of people 35 to 54. In addition, 42% of gig workers under 35 say they’re moonlighting to help save for retirement.

Online lender Earnest gathered data from tens of thousands of loan applicants to learn just how much people are actually earning from their gig. They found 85% of people take home an average of $500 per month from their side hustles.

CompareCards Releases 2018 Credit Card Fee Report (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

CompareCards by LendingTree today released the findings of its studyon credit card fees that compared the fees of a representative sample of 200 credit cards that are in Americans’ wallets.

Source: Lending Tree

Highlights from CompareCards 2018 Credit Card Fee Report:

  • Two cards — both no-frills credit cards from credit unions — had only a single fee. One card in the survey had as many as nine fees.
  • Credit union-issued credit cards have 2.73 fees per card, lower than 4.48 fees for cards issued by banks.
  • The most common fee levied by issuers is the late payment fee: 99.5 percent of cards impose this fee, averaging $36.02.
  • The average balance transfer fee, among cards that allow them, is 3.46 percent.
  • The average cash advance fee is 3.99 percent.
  • Foreign transaction fees, overall, average 1.48 percent, including cards that have no fee. But if cards assess the fee, most of the time the fee is 3 percent of the purchase price.
  • When compared with smaller credit card issuers, larger credit card issuers assess higher cash advance fees (4.11 percent, versus 3.86 percent) and balance transfers fees (3.49 percent versus 3.42 percent), on average.
  • However, average foreign transaction fees are lower at larger credit card issuers (1.22 percent, versus 1.76 percent at smaller issuers).

RBC Wealth Management – U.S. launches new digital alternative investments platform (PR Newswire) Rated: B

RBC Wealth Management-U.S., one of the nation’s largest full-service wealth management firms, is taking some of the mystery and difficulty out of alternative investing with a new digital alternative investment platform for high-net worth clients.

Developed in partnership with Artivest, an award-winning alternative investment management and technology solutions provider, RBC Wealth Management’s cloud-based investment platform gives financial advisors and their clients access to leading private equity and hedge funds across sectors, stages and styles.

Five Firms Hit by ‘Crypto-Sweep’ in Alabama as Regulators Step up Operation (Bitcoin News) Rated: B

Cease and desist letters have been sent to three Los Angeles based companies. The second firm form California, Leverage, has advertised itself as a crypto lending platform offering to investors a variable, daily interest. This case is again about an unlicensed security, the ASC said.

5 Ways to Get ‘Free’ Money From Your Employer Without a Raise (Student Loan Hero) Rated: B

2. Use your company’s 401(k) matching program

Saving for the long term can be a challenge: 69% of millennials surveyed are not saving for retirement, according to online lender Earnest. Although it can be hard to think about setting aside money when you have to manage student loan payments, it can help with future financial goals — especially if your employer offers a match on retirement plans.

United Kingdom

Tandem reaches 100,000 clients, signs for Form3 paytech (Banking Tech), Rated: AAA

SMEs: a neglected opportunity for UK big banks (SME Magazine) Rated: AAA

Big banks are neglecting the SME market opportunity due to a variety of factors. One of the main problems is the onboarding process, where in many cases the ownership structure can be unclear, leading to difficulties around initiating relationships with SME businesses.

Second, the nature of the SME growth model makes it difficult for banks to determine the value of the business opportunity. This poses problems when it comes to granting credit facilities to SMEs, as they are seen as higher risk for conducting business with.

Third, banks follow bigger sources of revenue and SME profitability is lower than larger organisations.

Finally, existing legacy software systems prevent large banks from servicing SME customer demands which go beyond traditional offerings. For example, the desire to integrate P2P lending, blockchain, mobile wallets, and accounting and legal functionality all as one end-to-end service.

Why scaleups still shy away from debt and equity growth funding (Real Business) Rated: A

Some £2.9 billion was claimed in R&D tax credits during 2015-16, according to HMRC, with the average amount of relief claimed via the SME scheme increasing from £56,223 to £61,514.

Despite a dip in deal numbers in 2016, the crowdfunding boom returned. Beauhurst data claimed £8.27 billion was invested in 2017 – more than double the previous year.

Department store numbers fall by quarter (Drapers) Rated: B

A report by peer-to-peer lending platform Lendy found that the number of large department stores fell from 240 in 2009 to 180 in 2016. The total number of shops fell from 407,000 to 403,000 during the same period.

Lendy said department stores had been more negatively affected than the rest of the high street by online shopping, as the heavy debt burdens carried by their owners had hampered their own investment in ecommerce and store refurbishment.

China

Worst Is Past for Microlenders — Analysts (Caixin Global) Rated: AAA

Effects of a late-year regulatory crackdown on Chinese online lenders has most likely run its course by now, analysts said, even as shares of U.S.-listed companies continue to feel some lingering fallout.

Shares of online lenders Qudian Inc. and LexinFintech Holdings Ltd. have tumbled by 24% and 17% respectively since the firms released their first-quarter results a week ago, wiping out over $1.4 billion in combined market value. Yirendai Ltd., the first Chinese peer-to-peer (P2P) lender to list in the U.S., saw its shares fall by 4% a day after releasing its earnings results after trading on Thursday.

To curb excess in the 1 trillion yuan ($156 billion) unsecured short-term loan industry, regulators issued rules in early December that capped annual interest rates on loans at 36%, barred lenders from offering loans to borrowers with no source of income, and tightened scrutiny over funding sources.

Australia

Credible Lab CEO Stephen Dash likens ASX to ‘junior Nasdaq’ (Australian Financial Review) Rated: A

Credible Labs Inc founder and chief executive Stephen Dash said he had chosen an ASX listing for the company, which allows users to sort through US student loans, because a large number of the company’s early investors were based in Australia and Asia.

India

How the Fintech Industry is Drawing Young Talent in the Country (Entrepreneur) Rated: AAA

The fintech industry is creating new and exciting opportunities for the country’s workforce in such areas as payments, retail baking, peer-to-peer debt financing, personal finance, asset management, institutional investments, remittances, and financial research. However, the primary enabler for all these segments is data. The volume of data that is being generated and leveraged by the digital banking and financial services industry is massive and unprecedented. As a result, the demand for technically trained data scientists is growing rapidly among fintech companies. With an increasing number of people in the country consuming fintech products, data scientists are required to manage large, complex sets of data and organise them to facilitate faster and enhanced delivery of various services to consumers.

Acko Gets $ 12 mn funding from Amazon, others (Elets Online) Rate: A

Online insurance startup Acko General Insurance Co. has raised $12 million (around Rs 80 crore) in a new round of funding led by e-commerce giant Amazon, an official statement revealed.

The latest funding infusion that saw participation from Ashish Dhawan, angel investor and founder of private equity fund ChrysCapital and existing investor Catamaran Ventures, the family office of Infosys co-founder NR Narayana Murthy, takes Acko’s total external funding to nearly $42 million.

In recent times the online lender that has joined hands with cab aggregator Ola to offer in-ride insurance to riders is said to be exploring venturing into travel insurance and healthcare space.

Asia

Singapore Has Fintech Dreams, But It’s Short on Tech Talent (Bloomberg) Rated: A

Singapore’s goal of becoming a high-tech financial hub is running into real-world problems of labor supply and demand.

Technology startups in many countries are fighting to attract skilled workers like software engineers. Yet in the tiny city-state of Singapore, with a population of 5.6 million, the dearth of talent is particularly acute. The nation’s universities and polytechnic schools churn out what the government estimates are 400 graduates a year with the right qualifications, well short of plans to add 1,000 financial tech jobs annually, according to the Singapore Fintech Association.

Africa

Lidya Scores $ 6.9 Million in Series A Investment (Finovate), Rated: AAA

Nigeria-based digital bank Lidya landed a fresh round of funding this week. The bank pulled in a Series A round totaling $6.9 million, an amount that marks the round as one of Nigeria’s largest tech investments. Combined with the $1.25 million Lidya received last March, today’s round brings the bank’s total funding to $8.2 million.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor