Monday June 18 2018, Daily News Digest

funding circle

News Comments Today’s main news: Opendoor secures $325M in financing. RateSetter IFISA tops 100M GBP. China Rapid Finance’s earnings call slides. Alior Bank, solarisBank, Raisin, Mastercard partner on European digital bank. Harmoney to lend through its own platform. Amazon launches lending platform in India. Today’s main analysis: Rising interest rates and inflation. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Is P2P lending dying? The economic […]

funding circle

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United States

United Kingdom

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Other

News Summary

United States

Opendoor now has $ 325 million more. SoftBank could come next. (Recode) Rated: AAA

Opendoor has already taken out $1.5 billion in loans for home buying. And the company now says it has accepted another $325 million in new financing that values it at more than $2 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Opendoor will expand to 50 cities with the $325 million round. But SoftBank, with its huge $100 billion checkbook, could help Opendoor expand to even more as soon as later this year. The Japanese investor typically invests hundreds of millions of dollars into private companies, and that sort of check would be expected here, though some of the money tends to buy out existing investors.

Rising Rates and Inflation (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

The Fed raised interest rates for the 2nd time in 2018 and the target Federal Funds Rate now stands at 1.75% – 2%. The committee indicated that it would raise rates twice more in 2018, a departure from the previous stance of 3 rate hikes in 2018.

The Fed summarizes member views using the “dot-plot”. The dot plot consolidates every committee member’s estimates of rates at the end of 2018, 2019, 2020 and the for long-term. The green line shows the median estimate indicating that most Fed members expect rates to be between 2.25% – 2.5% at the end of 2018, and between 3% – 3.25% at the end of 2019.

Source: Federal Reserve, Bloomberg
Source: Bloomberg, PeerIQ

Forward Rates – Where do we go from here?

Source: Bloomberg, PeerIQ

Braviant Holdings Announces $ 50 Million Credit Facility with Keystone National Group (PR Newswire) Rated: A

Braviant Holdings, a provider of tech-enabled credit solutions for underserved Americans, has entered into a $50 million senior secured credit facility with institutional investment firm Keystone National Group.

The Keystone debt facility allows Braviant to expand its newly launched near prime lending platform, Chorus Credit. Chorus is Braviant’s latest offering in support of the company’s mission to promote financial inclusion for 51 million adults considered underbanked by the FDIC. While the FDIC estimates that these adults make up 19.9% of U.S. households, data from the Fair Isaac Corporation, better known as FICO, suggests that 43% of U.S. consumers have below 700 credit scores. In the traditional banking sector, a lower than average FICO score severely limits access to credit for almost half of the nation’s population. Chorus aims to close the credit gap for middle America by offering $2,500 to $10,000 personal loans that are repaid in small, affordable installments.

Is P2PLending Dying? (P2P Lending Expert) Rated: AAA

Seriously. I’m asking. Is p2plending dying? Returns have sucked the last couple of years for all investors, but especially us retail investors since the 2015 and 2016 vintages have performed so poorly. My own returns are 400-500 basis points lower than my returns on my 2013 and 2014 vintage loans were and I know some colleagues and friends who have lost money on these investments.

But can the industry survive?

Source: P2P Lending Expert

How Will the Fed’s Interest Rate Hike Impact the Average Joe? (Dough Roller) Rated: A

On Wednesday, The Federal Reserve decided it was going to increase the federal funds rate by 25 basis points, from 1.75% to 2%. This is the second rate increase already this year. In March, new chairman Jerome Powell and the Fed increased the federal funds rate from 1.5% to 1.75%. The Fed also indicated that they’d be targeting two more increases this year alone.

As I said before, when the Fed increases rates, it usually means something is going well for the economy. And all signs are pointing to that being the case. Unemployment is currently at 3.8%. In the last 50 years, unemployment has only been this low two times. That’s significant, and it means that more people are finding jobs. It may also signify a strengthening job market for you. The Fed projects unemployment will drop to 3.6 percent by the end of the year, too.

Zelle is on track to be more popular than Venmo in 2018 (Business Insider) Rated: A

Zelle is a year-old service that lets you instantly transfer money to someone else, much like Venmo or Square Cash.

But Zelle differs from either service in a major way: because it was built by seven of the largest US banks, it’s often able to integrate more seamlessly with your bank’s mobile app. While other services make you wait a few days for the money you received from friends to show up in your bank account, Zelle can transfer the money almost instantly.

For those reasons, analysts at eMarketer expect Zelle to “leapfrog” other payments services before the end of the year.

Credit Union SMB Loan Approvals Hit Record Lows (PYMNTS) Rated: A

The latest data from the monthly Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index suggests a slump in small business lending among U.S. credit unions.

press release issued on Wednesday (June 13) detailed the May Index’s latest findings, which found that large banks with more than $10 billion in assets are approving of nearly 30 percent of small business loan applications, a two-tenths of a percent increase from April levels. That figure is also a new high for post-recession big bank lending to small businesses.

Digital-only banks grapple with integrating ‘human’ interaction into their products (Tearsheet) Rated: A

Digital-only banks cater to younger customers who don’t want to talk to bankers at brick-and-mortar branches — or bother visiting a branch at all. Or so they think.

Recent customer surveys indicate otherwise, according to research findings released this month from Celent, commissioned by Samsung. It revealed that customers want some kind of human interaction for complex issues. The study found that about half of U.S. banking customers aged 18 to 44 said they banked digitally, but prefer to resolve some matters in-person. Overall, most customers surveyed preferred dealing with humans on matters like setting up financial goals or getting investment advice. To respond to fraud, a lost or stolen card, or identity theft, a majority of those surveyed across age categories preferred to phone the contact center or address it in a physical branch.

Source: Tearsheet

Real Estate Finance Is Changing, Thanks to ‘Fintech’ Startups (The Bridge) Rated: A

If your student loan debt is larger than your salary, investing in real estate might sound like a joke. But it’s doable, said Dave Conroy of the startup Meridio, a website in beta testing that lets users invest amounts of money that you might have in your wallet right now–even $20–into specific properties. Using blockchain technology keeps each transaction cost low, said Conroy, whose company is an offshoot of Bushwick-based ConsenSys, which is building myriad applications based on the Ethereum platform.

For investors, the service would reduce transactions costs and make a real-estate portfolio more liquid. For owners, it would unlock more capital and streamline transactions. While Meridio won’t provide market intelligence about properties to invest in, prospective investors can call on their own experience, says Conroy, who previously worked for the National Association of Realtors.

Why digital banking and robo advice are pairing up (Financial Planning) Rated: A

Banks and digital wealth startups are headed toward the same goal from different starting points.

Each side is increasingly seeking to package automated investment advice with checking because customers are expressing an interest in getting both services from one provider.

Fifth Third Bancorp’s securities unit teamed up with Fidelity recently to offer automated advice, while the microinvesting app Acorns rolled out a debit card called Spend and opened up 50,000 checking accounts in two days.

Wells Fargo simplifies payments pricing to compete with Square (Payments Source) Rated: A

Wells Fargo will simplify the prices it charges small businesses to accept credit and debit card transactions as the bank responds to pressure from startups such as Jack Dorsey’s Square Inc.

The changes, which are tailored for small businesses that process $100,000 a year or less, eliminate many of the complicated pricing policies that varied from client to client, according to Danny Peltz, who leads treasury management and merchant services at the company. Business customers will also be able to apply online for payment processing capabilities with Wells Fargo, Peltz said.

New Technologies and New Customer Experiences Drive Banking Today (Lend Academy) Rated: A

American Banker’s Penny Crosman sat with Cathy Bessant, Chief Operations and Technology Officer, Bank of America to discuss the bank’s use of AI.  She described how the bank has inventors all over the world in their distributed innovation model.

Peer to Peer Micro-Credit Site Puddle Shuts Down (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Puddle, an online lender that provided micro-credit in a peer to peer platform, is shutting down.

In an email circulated by the company, Puddle founders stated that after five years of operation the businesses model was “unsustainable.”

RealtyMogul, Comunidad Realty Partners Sell Dallas Area Investment Property (Herald Courier) Rated: B

RealtyMogul, a pioneer in providing private real estate to discerning investors, announced that it has sold an investment property in partnership with Comunidad Realty Partners at greater than 1.5 times its purchase price.

The property, Lodge at Main, a 208-unit multifamily apartment complex in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas area was acquired in 2015.

California may force online business lenders to disclose rates (American Banker) Rated: AAA

A bill pending in California aims to tame the disorderly, confusing and largely unregulated world of online small-business lending by mandating that borrowers receive standard price disclosures.

The bill, which passed the Senate without a vote to spare and has failed to garner much support from either the online lending industry or its critics, still faces a tough fight in the state Assembly. But if the measure does get enacted in California, it could serve as a blueprint for other states.

The legislation tackles the question of whether commercial lenders should be required to disclose the price of financing in a way that enables borrowers to compare multiple offers. Just as nettlesome is the question of how any such comparison metric should be calculated.

Source: American Banker

The bill would apply to small businesses that borrow $500,000 or less.

United Kingdom

RateSetter Reports IFISA Tops £100 Million in Record Time (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

UK based peer-to-peer lender RateSetter is reporting that subscriptions to its IFISA have surpassed £100 million. This milestone took four months to reach and, according to RateSetter, faster than any other P2P lender. To date, RateSetter has originated over £2.5 billion in online loans to both businesses and individuals.  RateSetter states that more than 10,000 IFISA accounts have now been opened.  The average annual return received by investors stands at 4.4% with more than £100 million in interest having been paid.

Peer-to-peer lender Ratesetter to raise £30m as London float looms (City A.M.) Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lending business Ratesetter is working on a £30m fundraising which is expected to be a prelude to a London float.

According to Sky News Ra

tesetter is working with investment bank Lazard and broker Peel Hunt to raise £30m from investors.

The funding round would value Ratesetter at about £280m.

The fundraising is expected to be a precursor to a stock market flotation which could take place as early as next year.

THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF LENDING THROUGH FUNDING CIRCLE (Funding Circle) Rated: AAA

In the UK, where Funding Circle has been established the longest, the platform is now competing directly with banks in the small business lending market – with net lending through the platform exceeding that of the entire UK banking system for two successive quarters at the end of 2017. A survey of Funding Circle’s customers undertaken for the study suggests 89 percent of the platform’s UK small business customers would approach
Funding Circle first again in future, rather than going to a bank.

Source: Funding Circle

Read the full report here.

Funding Circle CEO on the Fintech Frenzy in Europe (Yahoo Finance) Rated: A

How the big three shaped P2P (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

ALTHOUGH we still tend to think of peer-to-peer lending as a young sector, it is now 13 years since Zopa became the first lender in the market. It was joined five years later by Funding Circle and RateSetter and since then the big three have dominated the P2P market.

Here are some of the key moments in their journeys.

London Block Exchange To Strike Deal With UK Bank (Crypto Daily) Rated: A

London Block Exchange, a UK based crypto provider is alleged to be pairing up with a new UK based bank, ClearBank.

If this news is indeed true, this will mark the first time a lender has struck a deal with a cryptocurrency-based entity.

The UK proves its tech chops, Google’s massive diversity gap and Brexit cause business tensions (Elite Business) Rated: A

Out of Europe’s 34 unicorns, the UK has produced 13. These have a combined value of $23bn, equal to 38% of the European total. This puts the UK ahead of Germany  and France, which have six and three scaleups valued over $1bn respectively. Given the nation has already spawned success stories like Deliveroo and Funding Circle, it’s hardly surprising that VC investment is also booming in the UK. Last year British startups raised $7.9bn compared to Germany’s $3.2bn and France‘s $2.8bn.

Brexit has made UK SMEs worry about talent

Having polled companies in 11 countries, researchers revealed that UK entrepreneurs were much less confident about the conscious uncoupling than those in the EU. Overall, 57% of respondents felt that their biggest challenge was that they had too little time and that they were doing everything themselves. This was double the 24% who thought hiring the right people were their biggest worry.

Alternative finance funds see mixed success (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

Over the past year, P2P Global Investments (P2PGI), VPC Specialty Lending Investments and Ranger Direct Lending (RDL) have moved away from pure P2P to boost returns and narrow their discounts, while the Funding Circle SME Income Fund (FCIF) has remained true to its roots, all with varying outcomes.

The FCIF investment trust solely backs loans originated via the Funding Circle platform and saw its net asset value (NAV) return 6.9 per cent last year, while trading on a healthy premium.

In comparison, RDL – which has recently announced its intention to close – returned 5.4 per cent, VPC – which has shifted from P2P towards balance sheet lenders – saw its NAV total return grow by 3.07 per cent, while P2PGI – which last year merged its manager MW Eaglewood with Pollen Street Capital and is focusing more on asset-backed alternative lenders – reported a NAV return of 3.03 per cent during 2017. RDL and P2PGI are both trading at double-digit discounts to NAV.

Updated Crowd2Fund app includes IFISA management tools (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: B

PEER-TO-PEER platform Crowd2Fund has relaunched its app to include Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) management features via their smartphones.

Digital Challenger Redwood Bank Raises £9.8 Million (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Redwood is targeting the SME market. Products include mortgages for business owners and professional landlords, as well as a range of savings accounts. Redwood seeks to offer British businesses fast, simple, transparent loans and savings accounts, coupled with superlative service. They also promise that money is being invested back into British business and into the communities they are a part of. Warrington Borough Council has a 33% stake in the firm that was pegged at £30 million.

BIS wants tighter rules for funds offering credit, fintech (Reuters) Rated: A

Regulations introduced after the financial crisis a decade ago to smooth out banking booms and busts should be extended to funds that provide credit, or shadow banks, and fintech firms, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) said on Sunday.

The introduction of “macroprudential” policy requiring banks to build up separate “countercyclical” buffers of capital if credit markets become frothy was a core crisis-era innovation.

The buffers can be released if loans begin turning sour and maintain resilience of the financial system to shocks – a departure from the traditional “microprudential” focus on the stability of individual banks.

China

China Rapid Finance 2018 Q1 – Results – Earnings Call Slides (Seeking Alpha) Rated: AAA

Source: Seeking Alpha
Source: Seeking Alpha

Chinese P2P giant Lufax dodges valuation bullet (Nasdaq) Rated: A

Lufax is wisely trying to grow up in private. The Chinese financial technology giant, which focuses on peer-to-peer lending and wealth management, plans to raise more than $1 billion at a $40 billion valuation ahead of a delayed Hong Kong flotation, says Reuters. That makes sense. Listing now could upset Beijing, and might only be achievable at a discounted price. Abundant venture capital allows the Ping An-backed startup to keep growing without a distracting market debut.

European Union

Alior Bank, solarisBank, Raisin and Mastercard to unveil European digital bank (Fintech Futures) Rated: AAA

Poland’s Alior Bank has teamed with solarisBankRaisin and Mastercard to unleash a pan-European digital bank.

The new offering, which is planned to be launched in the fourth quarter of 2018, will be built on the “strengths of all partners”.

Alior Bank will deliver multicurrency accounts with international transfers and deposits.

solarisBank will add the banking infrastructure with its technological, compliance and regulatory framework.

Raisin through its network of partner banks, is adding various savings and investment possibilities to the offering.

N26 launches a revised metal card (Tech Crunch) Rated: A

Fintech startup N26 is updating its N26  Metal product and launching it tomorrow. You might remember that the company first announced its premium card at TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin in December 2017. Shortly after the conference, the card was available in early access for existing N26 Black customers.

But the company had to go back to the drawing board and update the card design. N26 Metal customers had some complaints about the design of the card in particular.

International

Fintechs are staring down the future of banking (Financial Post) Rated: A

For instance, U.S.-based Lending Club, which has been around since 2007 and which is public, has arranged US$35 billion in consumer loans for its two million borrowers. The average loan — and it originates about US$2.4 billion a quarter — is about US$14,000.

Those themes were on full display this week in Toronto at an event organized by the KiWi Private Credit Fund, which raises capital from investors and purchases unsecured consumer loans and secured small business loans originated by established U.S.-based lending marketplaces.

“But they are not good at pricing a 9 per cent or 12 per cent risk,” he added, all of which allows entities such as his, to meet that need. It has US$27 million in assets; an average loan of almost US$14,000 and targets a return in the six- to eight-per-cent range.

Australia/New Zealand

Harmoney is to begin lending money through its own online platform (Interest) Rated: AAA

Peer to peer lending facilitator Harmoney Corp is making a number of tweaks to its operation, which will include the ability to lend its own money through its own platform.

The company has also renamed its ‘platform fee’ – recently the subject of Commerce Commission court action – as an ‘establishment fee’ and dropped the fee by $50 to $450. The company has also tweaked some of its interest rates higher (see below tables).

Harmoney will now be operating two different markets within its platform; the existing P2P facility and a new ‘wholesale market’ operated through a new subsidiary Harmoney Nominee.

Australian regulator sues Westpac for staffer’s poor financial advice (Reuters) Rated: A

An Australian regulator filed a lawsuit against No. 2 lender Westpac Banking Corp (WBC.AX) over a financial planner it alleges gave poor advice for years, upping its scrutiny of a sector already under fire amid an embarrassing public inquiry.

Australia’s A$5 billion ($3.7 billion) financial planning sector has provided some of the most damning evidence at an inquiry into finance sector misconduct, ordered by the government after a string of banking scandals including fraud.

P2P lender cuts rates (Good Returns) Rated: A

Peer to peer lender Lending Crowd has cut its borrower interest rates for all new business and personal loan applications including vehicle purchases and debt consolidations.

A1 grade personal borrowers will have a market leading rate of 6.89% pa and SME businesses will have rates available from 7.98%. Interest rates across all loan grades will range from a low of 6.89%
to a high of 18.96% (previously 7.90% to 19.75%).

Parents giving $ 10k towards kid’s first car (Finder) Rated: A

Survey shows 60% of parents are giving kids $10,594 to buy their first car.

According to research conducted by RateSetter, parents are stumping up $10k to get their child their first set of wheels.

RateSetter found that among parents who bought their child a car, 15% chose a new model, 71% opted for a used one and 14% donated their own vehicle. The majority of families could afford a car under $10,000, while 26% spent between $10,000 and $20,000. A lucky 12% of kids were gifted over $20,000 towards their ride. Parents in Victoria spend the most on their child, up to $13,386. In NSW, the average outlay was $10,404.

India

P2P lending companies change tack in bid to become NBFCs (Business Standard) Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending companies are changing their business model as they migrate to becoming (NBFCs).

RBI had created a special category called NBFC-P2P, in view of the proliferation of entities. While mandating Rs 20 million as minimum net worth, RBI had also imposed a Rs 1-mn cap for individual lending on such platforms.

So far, a couple of these entities have got an NBFC licence from RBI. Faircent says it got the licence about 20 days earlier.

Amazon launches lending platform for sellers (The Economic Times) Rated: AAA

Amazon India has launched a platform for lenders and sellers wherein sellers can choose from competitive rates and loan offers. It will also open its APIs to lenders to plug in and lend to the sellers as part of the new programme, called the seller lending network.

India will be the first geography for Amazon where it has launched such a seller platform.

Fiscal 2015 World Bank Lending Report highlights India as one of the biggest Loan Beneficiary (Digital Journal) Rated: AAA

Fintechs offer loans to individuals with low credit scores as well. For instance, in the case of Qbera, individuals with a minimum credit score of 600 can qualify for personal finance. This is not quite so in the case of private banks – individuals need to have a minimum credit score of 750 to be eligible.

Aye Finance Secures $ 21.5M in Series C Funding (Finsmes) Rated: A

Aye Finance, a Gurgaon, India-based provider of financial services to micro and small businesses, secured $21.5m in Series C funding.

Backers included CapitalG, SAIF Partners and LFT.

The company intends to use the funds to accelerate business growth.

P2P lending: Can India replicate the UK experience to achieve Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas? (Economic Times) Rated: A

India is still struggling with a huge credit gap that is holding back the economy. Getting a bank loan is an extremely cumbersome and long-drawn process for salaried individuals and small businesses, alike. According to a study conducted jointly by ASSOCHAM and EY, around 19% of India’s population remains unserved by the traditional banking sector.

Several million MSMEs that lack a tangible financial record are thus not eligible for credit from legacy financial institutions who still use traditional credit and financial data to evaluate eligibility. For the Indian economy to achieve the next level of growth, the current gap of nearly $200 billion in credit supply to MSMEs and significant under-banked population of India needs to be addressed immediately.

Asia

FSC reins in P2P firms (Korea Joongang Daily) Rated: AAA

In Korea, P2P firms, which directly connect borrowers with investors through online platforms, are not under the direct supervision or management of financial authorities. The Financial Services Commission (FSC) only indirectly supervises them by requiring registration of P2P firms’ lending subsidiaries, which most P2P firms use to carry out the process of lending money to borrowers.

But this safeguard also has many loopholes. TheHighOneFunding, for example, had uploaded the name of a different person as CEO when it registered its lending subsidiary with government regulators.

With more investors attracted to the idea of making easy money through high interest rates on P2P lending, the cumulative amount of loans on such platforms has dramatically increased, from 37.3 billion won in late 2015 to 3.50 trillion won as of May.

MENA

Where’s the money, honey? (Gulf News) Rated: AAA

According to the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, nearly 50 to 70 per cent of loan applications made by SMEs in the UAE are declined by traditional banks, while loans to SMEs account for around four to five per cent of the outstanding bank credit in the UAE.

Enter peer-to-peer lending.

Over the years, such platforms have become big business: In 2016, the size of the peer-to-peer lending market in the US, UK, the European Union, Australia and New Zealand was estimated to be more than $72 billion, according to AltFi. In China, loan originations in 2015 were estimated at $101 billion.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday April 27 2018, Daily News Digest

Canada investments

News Comments Today’s main news: Kabbage buys Orchard.Ascentium Capital issues $330M securitization.LendingTree reports record Q1 results.Funding Circle issues second MPL deal.Revolut raises $250M, achieves unicorn status.BBVA issues first blockchain loan from a global bank.IOU Financial releases 2017 results. Today’s main analysis: Canadian fintech funding declines 60 percent in Q1. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Where the oldest […]

Canada investments

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United States

It’s Official: Kabbage To Acquire Orchard (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

It was the worst kept secret in fintech. There were rumors flying around during LendIt Fintech earlier this month and then Bloomberg published this story a couple of weeks ago about the pending deal. Well, today it became official. In a press release this morning it was confirmed that Kabbage, the tech-focused small business lender, will acquire Orchard.

So, what will become of Matt Burton and his team? Some clues are provided in the press release:

Orchard’s CEO and co-founder, Matt Burton, as well as Chief Analytics Officer and co-founder, David Snitkof, will both join Kabbage in leadership roles upon the closing, helping oversee technology integrations and future innovations. In total, Kabbage will add more than twenty Orchard employees who are predominantly focused on advanced analytics, data science and engineering to its New York City office.

Kabbage plan in Orchard deal: Expand offerings to banks, small businesses (American Banker) Rated: A

Kathryn Petralia, president and co-founder of Kabbage, said the acquisition will help the company diversify its business and offer more data-driven services to small businesses and financial institutions. It currently works with ING, Santander and Scotia Bank. Kabbage’s U.S.-based loans are issued by Celtic Bank in Salt Lake City.

The Orchard name will not survive. “At closing we will be Kabbage,” Burton said.

Until now, Orchard has been providing loan and portfolio analysis to other online lenders. This business model will be discontinued and those relationships will most likely end. Orchard’s current clients are being told about its sale to Kabbage, Burton said.

Ascentium Capital Announces $ 330 Million Securitization (Ascentium) Rated: AAA

Ascentium Capital issued a $330 million small ticket equipment securitization of Ascentium Equipment Receivables 2018-1 Trust.

This represents the company’s ninth securitization since 2012 and the first time a non-investment grade, independent equipment finance company received triple AAA and Aaa ratings from both Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s.

LendingTree Reports Record 1Q 2018 Results (Markets Insider) Rated: AAA

LendingTree, Inc. (NASDAQ: TREE), operator of LendingTree.com today announced results for the quarter ended March 31, 2018.

First Quarter 2018 Business Highlights

  • Revenue from mortgage products of $73.5 million represents an increase of 17% over first quarter 2017 driven by strong growth in both purchase and refinance revenues at 13% and 18%, respectively.  According to Mortgage Bankers Association, originations industry-wide were projected down 4% in the comparable period.
  • Record revenue from non-mortgage products of $107.6 million in the first quarter represents an increase of 55% over the first quarter 2017.
  • Revenue from our credit card offerings continued its momentum, growing to $46.1 million in 1Q, up 36% over the first quarter 2017.
  • Personal loans revenue of $26.0 million grew 53% over first quarter 2017.
  • Home equity revenue continued to climb, growing 81% over first quarter 2017.
  • More than 8.0 million consumers have now signed up for free credit scores and savings alerts through My LendingTree.  Revenue contribution from MyLendingTree grew 76% in the first quarter compared to the prior year period as new features, such as Credit Analyzer and free credit monitoring, are driving increased engagement.

LendingTree Study Reveals Which Places Buy the Oldest Used Cars (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

LendingTree today released the findings of its study on the places that buy the oldest used cars. LendingTree analyzed auto loan offers for borrowers in the top 50 U.S. metros (based on population) to find the average age of used cars financed in each metro, as well as which makes of used cars were most popular.

The national average age of a used car people sought to finance was six years old, but some parts of the country prefer older used cars more than others.

Source: Lending Tree

Mobile Banking One of Top Three Most Used Apps by Americans, 2018 Citi Mobile Banking Study Reveals (Citigroup) Rated: AAA

Apps for mobile banking have become some of the most widely used by Americans, according to Citi’s 2018 Mobile Banking Study, released today. The survey of 2,000 U.S. adults found that, measured by top two ranked responses, 31 percent of consumers use their mobile banking app the most, behind only apps for social media (55 percent) and the weather (33 percent).

“Over the past year we’ve witnessed this increase in engagement first-hand, with mobile usage in North America increasing by almost 25 percent, and we don’t see this trend slowing down any time soon.”

LendingClub was sued for the fees it charges — how you can avoid being overcharged (Market Watch) Rated: A

Pay attention to both the interest rate advertised, as well as the annual percentage rate (APR), Clements said. If they’re different, the lender is likely factoring additional fees into your annual percentage rate.

You may need to borrow more money than you expected if that’s the case, he said, because the total amount you would receive will be less than you asked for.

Research several lenders before choosing which one you want, he said. And if there are any unfamiliar terms, or any confusion about how much you’ll pay back monthly, ask.

Digital bank in a box: Fintech offers branding tool (American Banker) Rated: A

The core systems provider Nymbus is offering a new product for bank customers that want to get in on the burgeoning trend of having a stand-alone, digital brand.

Dubbed SmartLaunch, the offering enables financial institutions to create a digital brand under their existing charter in as little as 90 days, according to Nymbus. The product is built on Nymbus’ cloud-based SmartCore platform, and the company says it provides banks that use the service with all outsourced operational and technological requirements to run the digital bank. Also included are client support, digital marketing and website services.

Source: American Banker

RealtyMogul and Comunidad Realty Partners Close $ 30 Million in Texas Multifamily Properties (Citizen Tribune) Rated: A

RealtyMogul, a pioneer in providing private real estate to discerning investors, announced that MogulREIT II, its real estate investment trust or “REIT,” has completed investments in multifamily apartment complexes in Fort Worth, Texas and San Antonio, Texas, consisting of over 450 units.

The properties were acquired through a partnership with Comunidad Realty Partners, a dynamic real estate investment firm specializing in workforce housing communities in culturally diverse neighborhoods.

Scaling Real Estate Crowdfunding: PeerStreet Establishes a Culture of Excellence at the Top (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Loans on PeerStreet are sourced and curated from vetted private lenders throughout the United States. These lenders have real estate expertise and established borrower relationships. To date, PeerStreet has helped to finance over $900 million in loans by using this partnership approach. The properties they help finance are typically smaller in value – a segment of the industry that is usually overlooked by big institutional money. Loans range from 6 to 24 months and are first lien so investors have a good degree of security.  Most of the loans are below a loan to value of 75%. About a year ago, PeerStreet announced having funded $300 million in loans. In less than 12 months, PeerStreet has funded double that number.

PeerStreet is doing small loans commercial, some multi family and mixed used properties. The largest loan size is around $5 million but there can be exceptions. The rate of return for investors during 2017 stood, on average, at 8% net of fees. As for defaults, so far only five loans have gone into foreclosure but they have not experienced any loss of principle – a positive metric.

Citizens Bank Taps Finastra and Infosys for Trade Finance Solution (Citizens Bank) Rated: A

Citizens Bank, working with Infosys as its implementation partner, has selected Finastra to power the trade finance solution it offers to its corporate clients. This new capability will enable Citizens’ corporate clients to digitize traditionally paper-based trade processes, leading to increased efficiencies and reduced costs.

The new trade finance offering will allow the bank to meet increased client demand. Citizens picked Finastra’s Fusion Trade Innovation for its end-user experience, ability to support all trade products, capacity to integrate with downstream systems through open APIs and its high level of configurability.

Consumers in Columbus less likely to put fraud alerts on their credit reports (The Columbus Dispatch) Rated: A

However, a new study finds that consumers in the biggest Midwest cities, including Columbus, are much less likely to put alerts on their credit reports than those in other cities, such as Las Vegas, Houston, Miami and New York. The study by online lender Lending Tree was based on a random sample.

US banks to get more freedom to offer unsecured loans (Financial Times) Rated: B

Joseph Otting, Comptroller of the Currency, said he believed standards should be relaxed to allow banks back into the small dollar loan market; loans would range from $500 to $5,000 and be paid back in 45 and 90 days; right now payday lenders dominate this space and typically take advantage of borrowers by charging high fees and rolling over the principal; allowing banks back into the market will help to bring more regulation and cut down on abuses.

Growth plans: Both big and small banks set to expand locally (Orlando Business Journal) Rated: B

David Stahl, senior vice president, SunTrust Bank: We acquired an online lender called LightStream two years ago, and that has been a huge opportunity for us. The days of people walking into a bank and applying for a loan are pretty much gone.

Free Research Reports on These Credit Services Stocks — MoneyGram, Navient, Oaktree Specialty Lending and On Deck Capital (PR Newswire) Rated: B

This morning, WallStEquities.com observes MoneyGram International Inc. (NASDAQ: MGI), Navient Corp. (NASDAQ: NAVI), Oaktree Specialty Lending Corp. (NASDAQ: OCSL), and On Deck Capital Inc. (NYSE: ONDK). Credit Services companies originate, acquire, and service loans to individuals and corporations. Their products include student loans, mortgages, lines of credit, private equity, and venture capital. All you have to do is sign up today for this free limited time offer by clicking www.wallstequities.com/registration

Covr Financial Technologies appoints Chris Growney to Board of Directors; Gregory Fleming and Robert Kerzner, join Covr’s Advisory Board (PR Newswire) Rated: B

Covr Financial Technologies, a digital, multi-carrier life insurance platform for financial institutions, announced that Chris Growney, an advisor with venture capital and advisory firm Nyca Partners has joined Covr’s Board of Directors following Nyca’s role in Covr’s June, 2017 fundraising. Growney, a director, advisor and investor in a broad range of start-up and growth companies was most recently the founder of Clearwater Analytics, an investment analytics and accounting software company based in Boise, Idaho.

6th Avenue Capital Announces Promotion of Darren Schulman to President (deBanked) Rated: B

6th Avenue Capital, LLC (“6th Avenue Capital”) announced today the promotion of Darren Schulman to President, effective immediately. In his new position, Schulman has oversight over originations, underwriting, operations, collections and strategic initiatives. He previously served as Chief Operating Officer, and will continue to report directly to Chief Executive Officer Christine Chang.

The company also announced today that Chang and Schulman have been appointed to the company’s Board of Directors.

Best Egg Teams with Junior Achievement of Delaware on Financial Education Initiatives (Business Wire) Rated: B

Best Egg, the consumer lending brand of Marlette Funding, LLC, is providing both classroom education and other inspiring financially-related activities for Junior Achievement of Delaware (JA of DE). This announcement coincides with National Financial Literacy Month, being celebrated throughout the month of April.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle brings second marketplace loan deal (Global Capital) Rated: AAA

Sole arranger and lead manager Deutsche Bank announced Thursday a £207m UK SME securitization from Funding Circle, Small Business Loan Origination Trust 2018-1, the second ABS offering from the online lender.

In addition to being just the second deal from Funding Circle, and the third European marketplace loan ABS overall, SBOLT 2018-1 marks the first time Kroll Bond Rating Agency has assigned a public rating for a European securitization deal.

KBRA Europe Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Small Business Origination Loan Trust 2018-1 DAC (Business Wire) Rated: A

Kroll Bond Rating Agency Europe Limited (KBRA) has assigned preliminary ratings to four classes of notes (“Rated Notes”) issued by Small Business Origination Loan Trust 2018-1 DAC (“SBOLT 2018-1”). This is a £206.6 million ABS transaction collateralised by unsecured loans made to small and medium-sized enterprises (“SMEs”) incorporated in the United Kingdom (“UK”).

This transaction represents the second ABS securitisation collateralised by unsecured loans to SMEs originated through the online lending platform operated by Funding Circle Limited (“Funding Circle”), and the first European rated ABS securitisation for KBRA.

Source: Business Wire

Confirmation of that came on Thursday as Revolut became the first of Britain’s digital-only banks to achieve “unicorn” status – in other words, a privately held start-up company with a valuation of more than $1bn (£720m).

Revolut, which was only founded in July 2015, has been valued at $1.7bn (£1.22bn) in its latest funding round.

The bank, which started out as a currency exchange app but later moved into providing personal banking and cryptocurrency trading services, raised $250m (£180m) from backers including DST Global, an investment firm backed by the Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, whose previous early-stage tech investments have included Facebook, Twitter, Airbnb and Spotify.

Ranger Direct Lending rejects investor call to wind up (City Wire) Rated: A

Ranger Direct Lending (RDL) has criticised shareholder Oaktree Capital Management for trying to force the struggling alternative income fund to wind up.

Oaktree, the second largest shareholder in the fund that invests in and through lending platforms, has made public its correspondence with Ranger, which it described as a ‘sub-scale platform’ with shares ‘too illiquid to attract large institutional investors, especially in light of its persistent trading discount to net asset value (NAV)’.

Goji passes £50m in assets (Goji) Rated: A

Goji has now got more than £50m of assets on its platform a little over a year after opening its doors to investors.  With over 5,000 customer accounts, our hard earned growth is testament to the work the whole industry has done in selling the asset class to the UK public.

After campaigning hard to change the tax laws to open up the ISA rules so that non-lending platforms could also offer an IFISA, Goji was the first firm to offer investors diversification across a number of platforms through a single Innovative Finance ISA.  Goji’s Diversified Lending Bonds target 5%, whilst it’s Renewables Lending Bond targets returns in excess of 8%.

A lending site where you can rent anything just scored millions in venture capital (Business Insider) Rated: A

Fat Lama, which announced $10 million in its Series A on Wednesday in a round led by Blossom Capital, says it will use its latest funding to further its reach within the US and to create a mobile-first offering (so far, the site’s mobile app is only available in the UK).

Fat Lama lets users borrow everything from drones to camera equipment to printers.

The site insures any item listed on its site for up to $30,000, and Englander said his company has plans to raise that amount to $50,000 in the near future.

 

 

Artificial intelligence backed to reduce P2P defaults (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

ARTIFICIAL intelligence (AI) could provide peer-to-peer lenders with greater lending security and less chance of defaults, a technology consultancy claims.

Nick Parham, technical pre-sales consultant at NashTech, said there is much P2P platforms can learn about AI from traditional lenders.

“The traditional lending market offers us a powerful insight into the potential for AI in P2P lending,” he said.

TURNING TO YOUR PEERS (BQ Live) Rated: A

They created ArchOver, a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform that allows firms that have been operating for more than two years to borrow money from lenders using its website. Companies borrow a minimum of £250,000, with interest rates starting at 7.7% a year.

Since it launched in the autumn of 2014, ArchOver has helped its lenders to inject more than £65m into British businesses, bringing in more than £2.5m in interest at an average return of 7.3%. In an age when bank savings accounts are paying less than 0.5%, it’s easy to see the attraction for investors who understand the risks as well as the rewards.

European Union

Klarna integrates with Magento for streamlined checkout (Payments Source) Rated: AAA

Commerce platform Magento is giving merchants the option to activate Klarna instant credit for online checkouts.

Sweden-based Klarna is built into the latest version of Magento Commerce, giving merchants a streamlined path to offer goods consumers may opt to pay for immediately, within 30 days, or longer via installments, Klarna said in a Thursday press release.

Taaleri increases its ownership in Fellow Finance by 7.3 per cent (Globe Newswire) Rated: A

Taaleri Plc has decided to exercise its option to acquire an additional 7.3% holding in Fellow Finance Oy, as outlined in the shareholders’ agreement signed in 2015. After the transaction Taaleri’s shareholding in Fellow Finance, which offers a crowdfunding platform for companies and for consumers, will increase to 45.7%. The transaction is scheduled to be realized in April-May.

International

BBVA and Indra deliver the world’s first blockchain-supported corporate loan (BBVA) Rated: AAA

BBVA has successfully completed the first global corporate loan transaction using blockchain technology from the negotiation of the deal to its signing, in line with their close collaboration to leverage cutting-edge technologies to streamline business processes.

The pilot enabled the closing of a €75 million loan using a solution developed by BBVA based on distributed ledger technology (DLT). This demonstrates how BBVA continues to incorporate innovative and disruptive technology into its customer solutions, including those products that up to now have seen limited digital innovation, as is the case with wholesale finance.

BANKS VS FINTECHS: THE WAR FOR TALENT (International Banker) Rated: A

Many of these start-ups, moreover, are equipped with enough cash to be able to compete with their banking counterparts on salaries. According to assessments by recruitment site Glassdoor, for example, a London-based software engineer at online lender Funding Circle will earn a base salary of £51,000 on average, which is equal to the salary paid at Goldman Sachs for a similar role. At UBS, that figure is £59,000, while at challenger Monzo Bank it is currently £64,000. Speaking recently to Bloomberg, co-founder and CEO of property lending platform LendInvest, Christian Faes, asserted that between 30 and 40 percent of the company’s hires are from major financial institutions, while banks also account for 100 percent of its small-risk and compliance team. Similar trends are also being reported by UK online lender MarketInvoice Ltd., where three-quarters of its 85 employees have come from either the financial-services or accountancy space.

Source: International Banker

Deserve Raises $ 50 Million in Debt Financing (Finovate) Rated: A

In rebranding his company from SelfScore to Deserve, CEO Kalpesh Kapadia explained “we believe that access is everything and everyone deserves a chance to build a positive credit history. So we are making our products available to all students, U.S., and international, and to all those who seek to build and/or maintain a good credit history.”

And now Deserve is $50 million closer to serving this broader population of potential customers. The Accel-backed fintech has just secured a $50 million debt facility from Keystone National Group to drive growth in account receivables and help “jumpstart” first-time credit owners’ financial journeys.

 

Fintech for the Financially Excluded? (Stanford Social Innovation Review) Rated: A

At Bamboo Capital Partners, we believe fintech can help low-income people reduce vulnerabilities, build assets, manage cash flow, and increase income, and we have invested as such: In the last couple of years, we have made four equity investments in fintech companies in Colombia, Mexico, Chile, and Tanzania, committing more than $16 million. Our investees are helping democratize access to finance through peer-to-peer lending platforms (KuboFinanciero), promoting access to insurance (ComparaOnline), enabling mobile payments and savings for low-income people through nano deposits (Movii), and providing a smart data platform for emerging market financial institutions (First Access).

APAC

Game-changing technologies at work in Asia Pacific’s real estate (JLL) Rated: AAA

Singapore-based mall operator Capitaland has a chatbot called Sparkle on its app that responds to shoppers’ queries and make reservations or hail a ride from its malls.  National Australia Bank is participating in a A$9 million investment round for real estate crowdfunding platform Brick X.

The rise of proptech, however, could be a cause for cybersecurity concerns, as highlighted in JLL’s report Clicks and Mortar: The Growing Influence of Proptech.

Source: Jill Real Views

 

Coast Labor MP Calls For Ban On Loan Machines (TripleM Network) Rated: A

There are calls for the Berejiklian Government to outright ban payday loan machines cropping up on the Central Coast.

There’s a Cash N Go kiosk at Wyoming offering up to $1000 at a time with minimal checks, while the devices, which look like ATMs, have also been spotted in the Hunter and Illawarra.

Latin America

Brazil’s Central Bank authorizes peer-to-peer lending (Rueters) Rated: AAA

Brazil’s Central Bank on Thursday released rules for credit start-ups that include authorization for peer-to-peer lending, as a way to increase competition in loans in a country with notoriously high interest rates for consumers.

Credit fintechs will be allowed to operate with a minimum capital of 1 million reais ($288,000), according to the new regulation. Peer-to peer lending had not yet been formally authorized in the country. The practice involves lending between individuals through online services.

Canada

Funding for Canadian Fintech Companies Declines 60 Percent in Q1 (Investing News) Rated: AAA

Canadian fintech companies received $88 million in investment over the first quarter of 2018, representing a 60-percent decline, says a new report from PwC.

Total investment in Canada in the first quarter of 2018 was over $1 billion, which is a 52-percent increase over the last quarter. A total of 105 deals were signed as compared to 81 in the previous quarter, representing a 30-percent increase.

Source: PwC

Read the full report here.

IOU Financial Inc. Releases Financial Results for the Year Ended December 31, 2017 (Benzinga) Rated: AAA

IOU FINANCIAL INC. (“IOU” or “the Company”) (TSXV:IOU) announced today its results for the year ended December 31, 2017.

  • Reached profitability during the year with positive adjusted net earnings of $0.1 millionin Q4.
  • Surpassed the half-billion loan origination mark with loan originations of $91.3 million(US) for the year.
  • Increased interest revenue of 8.1% to $14.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2017 vs 2016.
  • Reduced operating costs (excluding non-recurring costs) by 20.3% to $9.0 million for the year ended 2017.
  • Raised $3.5 million via a private placement.

BlackChain Solutions Signs LOI With DMG Blockchain Solutions to Bring P2P Lending to the Cryptocurrency Market (Investing News) Rated: B

Under the proposed license, BlackChain will retain exclusive rights for use of the technology for P2P Lending. DMG will be entitled to a royalty on commercial revenues generated by Blackchain using the technology. The parties intend to negotiate and finalize a definitive agreement by May 15th, 2018.

 

MENA

Global REIT’s crypto-powered real estate investment model will be first of it’s kind… (Global Cryptocurrency Press) Rated: AAA

Moving this structure onto the blockchain, and powering the investments with cryptocurrency now means the average cryptocurrency investor can easily access the real estate investment market. Global REIT will begin in their home of Dubai, a place where real estate is currently exploding, and acquire assets within the U.A.E, before branching out globally.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor