Thursday August 24 2017, Daily News Digest

corporate bond credit spreads

News Comments Today’s main news: Walmart getting closer to a deal with Afffirm. AutoFi raises $10M. Zopa reports diminishing losses, rising revenues for 2016. Landbay closes 2.4M GBP round on Seedrs. USAmeriBank goes live on Finastra. Today’s main analysis: After shallow sell-off, corporate credit spreads stabilize. Today’s thought-provoking articles: A call for more considered critiques of P2P lending. What’s behind […]

corporate bond credit spreads

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

Walmart reportedly closes in on pilot deal to offer Affirm loans (Retail Dive), Rated: AAA

Walmart reportedly is closing in on an agreement with loan services startup Affirm for a pilot program under which Affirm would offer the retailer’s customers installment loans for purchases, sources familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal.The pilot could start as early as this fall.

Why are retailers so enamored with Affirm? Giving customers the option to take out an installment loan to finance a purchase gives customers more choices, making it more likely that they actually will make the purchase. Millenials and other younger demographioc consumers are often loathe to carry mountains of personal debt that way previous generations have.

However, it also has to do with the inflexible and sometimes excessive terms of store credit cards, which generally charge higher interest rates than the lowest portion of Affirm’s rate range. Still interest revenue and late fees from store cred cards contribute a significant amount of money to retailers’ bottom lines, making it difficult for them to commit to giving their customers more financing choices.

Overall though, retailers, banks and credit card companies are all starting to understand that at a time of massive change in how and where people shop, they need to make it easier for shoppers to close the deal. Mastercard may recognize this as well as Walmart does. The card network aligned with Verifone late last year to begin offering instant installment financing at the point of sale.

You can now buy 0 pants with a subprime loan (The Outline), Rated: A

Affirm may be a relatively new company, but the service it offers isn’t particularly innovative: It’s taking the concept of layaway, a type of no-interest payment plan that became popular during the Great Depression that lets you pay for things in fixed installments and take them home once you’ve paid for it in full, and twisting it for millennials.  Unlike layaway, Affirm delivers your purchases instantly — but the cost of instant gratification is interest rates as high as 30 percent.  The service is basically a cross between credit cards and layaway, combining the worst aspects of both.

Once your Affirm loan is approved, you can choose to pay it off in 3, 6, or 12 months, and interest rates range from 10 to 30 percent. The average customer takes out a $750 loan with a 21-percent interest rate and pays it back in nine months. Compared to credit cards, which have an average APR of 17 percent, and personal loans that typically have interest rates ranging from 5 to 36 percent, Affirm isn’t a particularly good deal.


Wal-Mart Stores To Exacerbate Synchrony Financial Woes With Affirm Deal (Baystreet), Rated: A

Affirm and Walmart have been in discussion about the possibility of teaming up since last year. Talks appear to have picked pace this year as the retailer continues to explore ways of giving customers access to a wide range of financing options to boost sales and shrug off competition posed by e-commerce platforms.

However, the move would also spell trouble for Synchrony Financial (NYSE:SYF) which is the retailer’s exclusive U.S card issuer.

The fact that Affirm offers loans could significantly reduce the number of people who apply for Synchrony credit cards.

After shallow sell-off, corporate credit spreads stabilize (Morningstar), Rated: AAA

Credit spreads in the corporate bond market stabilized last week after a brief sell-off the prior week pushed spreads higher. The average spread of the Morningstar Corporate Bond Index (our proxy for the investment-grade bond market) tightened 2 basis points to +113, and the average credit spread of the BankAmerica Merrill Lynch High Yield Master Index tightened 2 basis points to +398.

Earlier this month, British American Tobacco (BBB, stable) decided to issue $17.25 billion worth of bonds to fund its acquisition of Reynolds Tobacco. This transaction is the second-largest corporate bond deal Page 3 of 22 Morningstar Corporate Credit Research Highlights | 21 August 2017 | See Important Disclosures at the end of this report. Page 3 of 22 Page 3 of 22 Page 3 of 22 Page 3 of 22 Page 3 of 22 Page 3 of 22 Page 3 of 22 issued this year, surpassed only by AT&T’s (BBB/UR-) $22.5 billion transaction, which itself was the third-largest corporate bond deal in history. The proceeds from the AT&T transaction will be used as the final installment for the permanent financing of its pending acquisition of Time Warner (rating: BBB+/UR-). In addition, McCormick & Co. (A+/UR-) had issued $2.5 billion of new bonds two weeks ago to finance its acquisition of Reckitt Benckiser’s food division.

Through the week ended Wednesday, Aug. 16, investors pulled $2.3 billion of assets out of the highyield market. Among the open-end funds, investors withdrew $1.0 billion of funds, and across the highyield exchange-traded funds, there was $1.3 billion of net units redeemed.

AutoFi Raises $ 10 Million Series A To Make It Easier To Get A Car Loan (Forbes), Rated: AAA

AutoFi has raised $10 million in its quest to make it easier to take out a car loan.

The San Francisco-based financial technology company said on Thursday it has completed a Series A funding round, with investors including Crosslink Capital, Ford Motor Credit Company and Lerer Hippeau Ventures.

AutoFi makes a white-label technology platform that allows car dealers to offer faster, online financing to customers. It recently partnered with Ford Motor Credit and is in the midst of launching at select Ford and Lincoln dealerships.

How TD Ameritrade tackles security in Facebook Messenger chatbot (Financial-Planning), Rated: A

A common refrain in financial services these days is that companies need to go where customers are, not wait for people to come to a banking app or brokerage website.

TD Ameritrade is following that advice with a Facebook Messenger chatbot that will give customers instant updates on their portfolios and trades. The bot, unveiled Tuesday, will require the unit of Toronto-Dominion Bank to work through the privacy and security issues financial firms face whenever they communicate with customers via third-party platforms such as Messenger and Amazon’s Alexa.

The Future of Simple (Simple.com), Rated: A

Over the last few years, we have been focused on rebuilding Simple’s technology on our new partner bank, Compass. Our focus on infrastructure and supporting customer growth means we haven’t been fully invested in building new technology that helps people feel confident that they’re doing money right. We have not made good on our promise to change an industry that is failing them.

We have been focused on growth instead of innovation. We have been acting like a bank instead of a technology company. And that changes today.

Today, we are recommitting to being a technology company that is completely focused on product. We are re-designing our team so that everything we do is in support of this focus. We will be ruthlessly dedicated to identifying customer problems and building products that solve them.

SuperMoney’s Auto Loan Offer Engine Will Change the Way You Buy A Car (Supermoney), Rated: A

After debuting its personal loan offer engine at Finovate in April 2017, SuperMoney today unveiled an automotive focused loan offer engine where its lending partners compete in real-time with customized auto loan offers.

The new auto loan offer engine allows borrowers to submit a single, easy, online application and receive multiple auto loan offers back. The tool makes apples to apples comparisons easy when shopping for the best auto financing rates, fees, and terms.

Only 31.6% of car buyers negotiate the interest rate on their loan

A recent survey by the Federal Reserve reported that 76.1% of car buyers negotiated the purchase price with the seller, but only 31.6% negotiated the interest rate on their loan. It gets worse. 27.1% of car buyers considered the monthly payment on their auto loan as the most important factor, but only 6.1% considered the interest rate on the loan as the most important factor (source).

 

 

Lending as a service (LaaS) and why it matters (CIO), Rated: A

Banks today are turning away more loan applicants than in recent memory thanks to stricter regulations and lingering memories of the recent financial crisis. Younger entrepreneurs who have little or no credit history often find themselves rejected from these financing options.

Even when they are accepted, the loan process can be arduous and needlessly complicated, taking longer than business owners can afford. Applications take several visits to the bank, credit checks, records requests and weeks’ worth of back-and-forth communications just to reach the underwriting phase.

The major catalyst for this new lending paradigm has been the rapid pace of online technology innovation over the last decade. Improvements in cloud infrastructure and artificial intelligence systems enable fintech companies to create reliable evaluation and matching systems for loans. Companies can now examine a potential borrower’s financial records in minutes instead of weeks. Thanks to this compressed timeline, approval can now happen in as little as one day.

Instead of multiple meetings with bank lenders over the course of many weeks to compare options, users can often be approved in under a day by a reputable LaaS company.

LaaS platforms such as Ezbob promise to approve a business loan for companies and deliver funds in under thirty minutes. The company’s algorithm examines more than credit scores, evaluating company financials and records to quickly distribute capital to those that require it most.

New Report on Fintech from the World Economic Forum (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Today, the World Economic Forum released a report titled, Beyond Fintech: A Pragmatic Assessment Of Disruptive Potential In Financial Services, that was the result of those and many other discussions they had with leaders from around the world. The report aims to answer the question about whether fintech companies will really change the financial landscape.

Below are some of the key findings from the report:

  • Fintech start-ups have so far fallen short of their ambitions to upend the competitive landscape in finance, driving innovation but struggling to capture market share in mature markets.
  • What fintechs have done is define the direction and speed of innovation across most areas of financial services; they have also set new and higher bars for user experience.
  • Large technology firms like Amazon and Google may represent the largest competitive threat to financial institutions, as their AI and cloud computing services become more central to the sector, and customer data rises in importance.
  • Models of financial services innovation around the world are diverging, benefitting local firms and making it harder to co-ordinate a regulatory response.

Douugh Rises to Challenge with AI-Powered Banking (Paybefore), Rated: A

Banking challenger Douugh has unveiled its artificial intelligence (AI)-powered financial platform, guided by “Sophie”—a 24/7 personal assistant for finances, reports Paybefore sister publication Banking Technology.

Douugh plans to use Sophie to help consumers make better financial decisions by:

  • Connecting a user’s existing bank accounts and credit cards, Sophie will collate, organize and inform on spending habits all in one place;
  • Using Sophie as their own personal banker to perform transactional tasks—such as paying and splitting bills, requesting money, saving, tracking and management of spending and savings goals;
  • Integrating with Alexa and Siri for voice activation.

Rebundling financial services is aspiration of startup Douugh (American Banker), Rated: A

“You are 0% of the way to your retirement goal! You have plenty of time, keep up the good work.”

This message I recently received from the Wela app reminded me to kick my retirement saving efforts into gear. It’s an example of the kind of personalized financial advice many banks and fintechs are trying to provide right now, often with artificial intelligence engines analyzing customers’ account data, predicting future trends and making recommendations.

Based in San Francisco, Douugh strives to use artificial intelligence to help the 25-to-35-year-old set reduce their credit card and student loan debt and make better spending and saving decisions.

Ripple- Just As Good If Not Better (Investing.com), Rated: A

If you could buy a wristwatch that is the same quality as a Rolex or a Cartier for $350, would you wear it?

A company called Filippo Loreti aims to deliver just that. The level of support that the young company is receiving from alternative investors is truly inspiring.

Thanks to the power of the Internet this watchmaker has already raised $6 million in two rounds of funding making it one of the most successful crowdfunding projects in history.

Smart Solutions for Smart Cities (JD Supra), Rated: B

Property “consumers” will be able to compare real-time information on a wide range of variables affecting property assets – for example, energy efficiency, connectivity and traffic noise.  Banks will no longer be the only source of funds, with fast availability of internet peer-to-peer lending speeding up the time taken to put a deal together.

Blockchain or distributed ledger technology raises a number of opportunities in this field, from mortgage valuations, to rental and service charge payment systems. Smart contracts will replace the traditional approach to conveyancing – the main incentives being that the technology will expedite the process, reduce fraud and offer total transparency.

SCORE: Dos and don’ts for crowdfunding small businesses (PostBulletin), Rated: B

To help make a rewards-based crowdfunding effort successful, Dargie offers these dos and don’ts:

Do:

  • Understand the differences between rewards-based crowdfunding, equity crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending.
  • Pick the right platform for your rewards-based campaign.
  • Follow through on your promises. Watchdog groups and state and federal consumer protection bureaus have begun to shift their attention to deceptive crowdfunding campaigns.

Don’t:

  • Fail to manage the expectations of your campaign’s backers.
  • Launch a campaign without the liability protection of a properly formed business entity.
  • Forget about taxes.

“When We Decided to Sell the Company, it Became Apparent that RealtyShares Was the Right Choice” (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Last month, Real estate crowdfunding platform RealtyShares announced it acquired technology-first, marketplace platform Acquire Real Estate.

Now, less than 30-days later, Director of Business Development at RealtyShares and former CEO of Acquire, Josh Klimkiewicz, is sharing more details about the acquisition.

“The mission doesn’t end here. I will join the RealtyShares team as the director of commercial business development to lead that channel as RealtyShares continues to scale. In my new role, I will concentrate on building long-term relationships between RealtyShares and real estate owners across the country.”

Wealth Management vs. Financial Advice: They’re Not the Same (Kiplinger), Rated: B

Wealth management is one of the terms that is most overused, and it’s often misunderstood. But it’s actually pretty straightforward. Wealth management takes things up a notch, with an adviser or advisory team providing a full range of services for the client in three distinct ways.

  1. Investment consulting
  2. Advanced planning
    • Wealth enhancement: This is the use of strategies to deal with cash-flow issues and liquidity concerns, mitigate taxes and maximize growth.
    • Wealth transfer: Advisers look for the most efficient ways to pass your wealth on to your heirs in a way that lets your beneficiaries keep most or all of the money.
    • Wealth protection: For those who are subject to a lot of liabilities, there are strategies that can help protect hard-earned savings and avoid any blind spots.
    • Charitable giving: With proper planning, donating to a charity or charities can be a win-win, maximizing support for a favorite cause while making the most of certain tax advantages.
  3. Relationship management

How to Win an Argument (Mental Floss), Rated: B

To persuasively drive your point home, follow the tips below, provided by online lender CashNetUSA’s SavingSpot blog and spotted by Entrepreneur.

United Kingdom

Zopa Reports Diminishing Loss as Revenues Rise for 2016 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Zopa, the first peer to peer lender to set up shop in the UK, has filed its annual accounts for 2016, and according to their numbers business is looking better.

Top line revenue improved by 61% jumping to £33.2 million for 2016. The operating loss stood at £5.9 million for the year, an improvement over the £8.9 million from year prior.

A call for more considered critiques of P2P lending (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Between RateSetter’s wholesale lending saga and subsequent withdrawal from the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association, Zopa’s heightened loss expectations, and Funding Circlesignalling an end to manual investment, industry detractors are hardly short of fuel for their fires.

And yet we continue to endure spurious headlines that seem to be born of a broad desire to bash P2P, on the basis of seemingly anything.

Anyway. The latest episode of this kind comes courtesy of The Financial Times, which reported on Monday that peer-to-peer lending websites are “struggling to attract UK customers who want to borrow money”.

Source: AltFi

Landbay Closes £2.4M Crowdfunding Round on Seedrs (Finsmes), Rated: AAA

Landbay, a London, UK-based buy-to-let mortgage lender, has closed a £2.4m crowdfunding round.

The funds were raised via Seedrs.

The company, which has raised approx. £7m to date via the crowdfunding platform, intends to use the funds to continue to expand operations and launch new products.

IFAs still most influential source of financial advice (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

INDEPENDENT financial advisers (IFAs) are the most trusted source of external investment advice, but investors are still more likely to trust their own judgement, new research claims.

A survey by property finance firm Minerva Lending found that almost three quarters (72 per cent) of active investors prefer to take the advice of an IFA. However, the vast majority of active investors (77 per cent) said that they would rather trust their own judgement. Three in five (60 per cent) said that they would be more likely to trust word of mouth.

The survey also found that investors still prefer traditional investment advice over newer fintech solutions. Only 12 per cent of the investors surveyed said that they would trust a robo-adviser to offer financial guidance, and just 22 per cent would trust a standalone piece of software.

Should more banks form partnerships with alternative lenders? (Bridging and Commercial), Rated: A

More banks should be forming partnerships with alternative lenders, one business finance provider has stated.

In the bank referral scheme, the UK’s biggest banks pass on the details of SMEs that have been turned down for loans to three SME finance platforms, which then share their details with alternative finance providers.

Almost £4m of funding was accessed by 230 SMEs under the matchmaking scheme.

Chirag Shah, CEO of Nucleus Commercial Finance, felt there were clear benefits to the collaboration between banks and alternative lenders, but also urged for transparency.

Debunking the peer-to-peer lending myths (City A.M.), Rated: A

So let’s look at some of the common arguments raised and try to filter out the fact from the fiction.

P2P will suffer in an economic downturn

Yet the oldest UK platform Zopa – which launched in 2005 – managed to survive during the financial collapse of 2008.

Admittedly the default rates jumped to 4.2 per cent from 0.4 per cent the year before, but figures from Zopa show that investors were still able to earn a four per cent annual return during the financial crash, compared to six per cent in 2007.

P2P platform Landbay commissioned an independent report in 2015 to find out how it would perform in poor economic conditions.

While the loss rate on Landbay’s loans is 0.03 per cent in normal economic conditions, the loss rate was estimated to hit 0.48 per cent if times got tough – that is, if GDP was down 3.5 per cent, unemployment rose to nine per cent, and UK house prices fell by 20 per cent. So even if the economy shrinks, investors would not have lost money.

An interest rate rise will kill the P2P industry

But Lucy Bott, head of customer operations at RateSetter, points out that interest rates on P2P platforms are not set by the banks, but by the supply of and demand for money.

P2P is for young people

He points to a report from Nesta, which found that more than half of P2P lending investors are aged 55 and over, while a third of lenders are aged 35 to 54, and just 12 per cent of investors are under 35.

P2P Lending Sites Not Quite Wooing UK Customers (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Among 1,100 British consumers polled by consultancy firm EY, only 7 percent indicated they had used such a service to borrow money this year. A separate poll of 1,050 Brits by Blumberg Capital revealed just 4 percent of them had utilized alternative lending platforms over the previous year, according to the Financial Times.

Where FinTech firms worldwide attracted $20 billion in investments over the first half of 2016, that number dropped to just $12 billion during the first six months of 2017.

The lower funding amounts could be attributed to banks having joined the peer-to-peer lending landscape, creating their own technologies or joining forces with startups to stay current, thus broadening the competitive field.

China

Fintech in China: What’s Behind the Boom? (Brink News), Rated: AAA

The country makes some of the world’s largest investments in the sector, and it has adopted fintech technologies faster than anywhere else. Companies such as Alipay, Lufax and ZhongAn Insurance have made their names across the globe by using fintech to develop some of the most disruptive business models. These players have enjoyed the fruits of fintech’s unprecedented growth by filling the gaps in China’s structurally imbalanced financial system in an open regulatory environment.

We believe the development of fintech in China has reached an inflection point. From this point, technology will be the key driver of value-chain disruption in an increasingly data-driven industry.

For example, it took four years for peer-to-peer transaction volume to exceed $5 billion in the U.S., while it took only two years in China. Lufax, a Chinese peer-to-peer lending platform founded in 2011, reached an annual loan origination amount of 9 billion yuan in just two years, compared to five years for Lending Club, the biggest peer-to-peer lending company in the U.S.

A global block chain summit was spot inspected, caused shock on ICO market (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

Recently, the Market Supervision Bureau of Shanghai Pudong New District has raided a global block chain summit that is suspected of false propaganda. According to the investigation, 35 companies set up booth to promote technology and financial products on the spot, and nearly 2,000 people attended the summit. The organizer is a Shanghai-based software technology company. The company referred to “bitcoin” technology and has developed a digital cryptocurrency ETP (entropy) on its own, which was traded on its platform.

On the spot, Law enforcement officials ordered the meeting to be halted immediately and interviewed with the parties involved. And in the same day, this news triggered a nearly 200% shock in the value of related tokens on some trading platforms, reflecting the growing risk of the ICO market. Now the company is still under investigation for alleged violations.

European Union

Klarna co-founder seeks to spur European tech giving (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

In the US, technology magnates from Microsoft’s Bill Gates to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg have started a long line of high-profile, high-minded initiatives often aimed at combating disease and helping the poor.

But in Europe, where many of the unicorns — start-ups valued at more than $1bn — are of a more recent vintage, many founders are still thinking of how to make money rather than spend it.

Two years ago, Mr Adalberth had become bored with what he describes as “the constant chasing of the next goal or achievement” at Klarna. So he stepped aside from the group and its relentless attempt to conquer the digital payment world by becoming a bank and attracting Visa in as an investor.

Instead, Mr Adalberth became one of the first of the recent crop of European tech founders to think about giving away money. The result is Norrsken Foundation, which has a triple-pronged approach aimed at encouraging social entrepreneurship. His venture is risky but is likely to be closely watched by the growing ranks of multi-millionaire European founders to see if it can provide some kind of blueprint. “There is a trend in the US to give something back. This trend has come to Sweden and maybe Europe as well,” he says.

Rabobank constructs physical model to understand IT architecture (Finextra), Rated: A

Rabobank has built a 3D model of its own organisation and supporting IT systems to help visualise improvements that can be made as it embarks on its digital transformation programme.

As a banking co-operative operating at both local and regional levels, the Dutch bank runs a complex network of independent IT platforms often performing the same functions depending on local practices.

International

USAmeriBank live on Finastra hosted payments hub (Finextra), Rated: AAA

USAmeriBank selected Finastra’s hosted solution in order to have the flexibility to quickly add new payments rails and services, future-proofing its technology investment, while improving customer service and increasing straight-through processing.

In addition to quick time-to-market and ease of implementation, another benefit of using a hosted solution is a reduction of maintenance effort and total cost of ownership, as the technology and business services are maintained by Finastra.

In the coming months, the bank plans to add US ACH, and eventually real-time payments components, completing the bank’s journey to a fully-outsourced payment processing model.

AI Is the New UI – Exclusive Interview With Jake Tyler, CEO of Finn.AI (Let’s Talk Payments), Rated: A

 

LTP: Give us a high-level paragraph pitch for your company.

JT: The Finn Virtual Banking Assistant is a personal banking and financial management assistant, powered by artificial intelligence.

Finn delivers a personal banker within a customer’s favorite channels, including Facebook Messenger, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, SMS, iOS and Android apps, and web chat. We believe that AI is the new UI.

LTP: In a sentence or two, what specific problems are you solving today?

JT: We help banks connect with customers where they already are (in major instant messaging and voice platforms), adapt to a new paradigm of consumer expectations set by Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook where deep personalization and simple conversational interfaces are the norm, and reduce costs by augmenting human customer care agents with AI.

LTP: What are the biggest challenges you face when building with AI and ML, being nascent technologies? How have you overcome, or are you overcoming, those challenges?

JT: The biggest challenge is data, both quantity and quality. We address this by going deep in one core vertical – banking. We have a large, pre-existing data model in this domain that grows daily as consumers use our assistant. As new banks adopt Finn they are able to leverage this data model to deploy a high-quality assistant with proven features much faster than they would otherwise be able to do.

India

RBI to harmonise NBFC regulations (India Times), Rated: AAA

There is scope for harmonisation of regulations covering non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and the Reserve Bank is moving in that direction, Deputy Governor N S Vishwanathan said today.

He also said there is a need to create some new types of NBFCs to cater to the needs of the growing economy.

Guernsey consultation to update regs governing ‘non-regulated’ financial businesses (International Investment), Rated: A

The 103-page Lending, Credit & Finance Consultation Paper  is aimed jointly at enabling Guernsey to accommodate the growing number of “innovative, often digitally-enabled, financial services which don’t neatly fit into the boxes marked banking, insurance, investment or fiduciary covered by current laws”, as well as to better protect Guernsey consumers and investors, “particularly those who are less financially able, from unscrupulous lending practises”, the GFSC says, in a summary of the LC&FCP‘s contents.

The proposed legislation would replace this existing NRFSB Law.

To read and download the consultation paper, click here.

Asia

He also said there is a need to create some new types of NBFCs to cater to the needs of the growing economy.

Read more at:

The future of banking in Southeast Asia is in Cryptocurrency (Hero Email), Rated: B

There are an estimated two (2) billion people in the world who remain unbanked and underbanked. That’s roughly a quarter of the entire planet’s population who have little to no direct access to financial services most commonly found in banks and formal lending institutions.

In Southeast Asia, approximately only twenty-seven (27%) of the entire region are financially included, leaving the rest with little to no defense in times of economic crises.

Hero will build a blockchain-based credit algorithm and lending platform. Hero will be launching its own cryptocurrency coin called Hero Token through an upcoming token sale.

The majority of populations who suffer from financial exclusion live in emerging countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia and their neighbors in Southeast Asia. A notable fact about this region [SEA] is that it is the fastest growing Internet region in the world and is also the fourth largest.

Backed by an award winning group of experts, the organization started operating in the Philippines in 2015 as PawnHero, offering collateralized loans using an online platform, and since then has been helping thousands of Filipinos obtain access to affordable credit.

There will also be a ‘pre-sale’ wherein people can buy tokens prior to the actual token sale and get bonuses. During the pre-sale, Hero will offer 80% of all tokens to be created for purchase by the public in the Hero Initial Coin Offering under the ticker symbol Hero. The remaining 20% of all Hero tokens will be distributed to early believers, advisors and founders.

To participate in the Hero token sale people can send the following currencies – Ethereum (ETH), ETH Classic, BitCoin (BTC), Ripple, LiteCoin, and Waves from a wallet they directly control to the Hero wallet. Aside from these, extra tokens will be offered to those who commit early. Bounties are provided when the crowdsale ends. All payments received for Hero tokens in connection with this token sale will be held in escrow in a multi-signature address, with a multi-key structure.

For more information go to .

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday May 2 2017, Daily News Digest

Morningstar average credit spreads

News Comments Today’s main news: CFPB sues 4 online Indian-tribe lenders. Sharestates launches real estate lending white label solution. China Rapid Finance announces IPO pricing. Yirendai files Form 20-F. Today’s main analysis: Corporate credit tightens amid sluggish Q1 growth. Avant’s first 2017 ABS. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Europe on pace to set new record for fintech deals. United States CFPB […]

Morningstar average credit spreads

News Comments

United States

  • CFPB sues four online lenders operated by Indian tribe. GP:”In general India-tribe lenders attract more lawsuits. It is unclear if it is because they tend to be sloppier on compliance or lenders who are more aggressive on terms tend to partner with Indian-tribes because no bank will partner with them. In all cases being associated with an Indian-tribe seems to bear stigmata at least recently.”AT: “The CFPB is attempting to do what it was set up to do, but with attacks coming from state regulators, who knows how long it will be able to continue to do so?”
  • Corporate credits spread amid Q1 economic growth sluggishness. GP:”An interesting data point in the overall economic cycle.”
  • Avant’s first 2017 ABS. GP:”A good test of market perception of the Avant underwriting and product quality. Securitization has seen favorable investor demand. Avant retained 5% of the deal per Dodd-Frank. “
  • Sharestates launches white label solution for real estate private lenders. GP:”A sign that the market is maturing. Also a sign that cost of customer acquisition is growing as real estate crowdfunding companies get into technology sales / white labels entrusting 3rd parties to finding customers and letting them focus on the platform.”AT: “This is brilliant, and I’m not just saying that because I write for this company. Real estate is inherently local. By establishing a white label solution for real estate private lenders, Sharestates could position itself as the leader in RECF for many years to come. As far as I know, this is the first white label solution specifically for the real estate lending market. If the solution is any good, they should get a lot of participation.”
  • Colorado moves to dismiss suits. GP:”A very standard move in any lawsuit. It is unlikely to suceed.”AT: “These are interesting arguments, but I don’t see it happening. There is too much at stake to allow states to railroad online lenders and relegate them to second-class status. There needs to be a real discussion about which level of government has the power to regulate and legislate online lending.”
  • Fundrise files new Reg A+ for Income eREIT. GP:”We haven’t seen many Reg A+ fund raises in our space. I do think it is a very interesting tool for early stage companies. “AT: “This should have been expected. Selling out of shares as quickly as they did on the first round, I wonder why they didn’t file a second Reg A+ sooner.”
  • Thrive to power small biz lending for Horizon Community Bank. AT: “Perhaps we’ll see a wave of community banks getting in on the online lending act.”
  • Online lending has reached a tipping point. GP:”I think they actually mean it has reached maturity.” AT: “GDR’s Charlie Moore lays good groundwork for his argument. He makes some great points.”
  • Lendio announces annual list of top 10 best states for small business lending. GP:”There is very little transparency and public data in the SME lending space (unlike in personal lending thanks to Lending Club for example). This data is a step in the good direction. We hope more will be made available.”AT: “This is based on their own data, so it’s not objective. Interesting nonetheless.”
  • The future of finance. AT: “What’s interesting about this is the unchanging talking points from SoFi’s Mike Cagney about how banks should adopt technology, and how it would affect their businesses if they did. Short story: They could lay off more employees and cut business expenses.”
  • How Goldman Sachs is trying to erase debt stigma. GP:””
  • Leverage digital tech to forge relationships with your clients’ children. AT: “For financial advisors.”
  • Justices affirm cities’ right to sue banks under housing law.
  • SoFi personal loans review. GP:”A good summary of SoFi’s approach, which has pushed them where they are today. Most notably: no origination fee. SoFi is probably the only major online lender that has no origination fee. Avant started without an origination fee and lately had to introduce one for profitability. “
  • Celent’s corporate banking appoints Alenka Grealish as senior analyst.

United Kingdom

  • TransferWise to set up office in Singapore. GP:”Singapore is a good compromise between pro-business environment, trained workforce with good skills and price. Hong Kong is extremely expensive. Mainland China is not a good base to do business outside China. However, in the past, I found that for South East Asia a good cost/quality/location compromie was Jakarta.”AT: “I can’t think of a better place to set up office if you want to tackle the Asian markets.”

European Union

Australia

China

India

News Summary

United States

CFPB Sues Four Online Lenders Operated by a California Indian Tribe (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has sued four online lenders for collecting debt from consumers they allegedly did not owe. The four lenders include: Golden Valley Lending, Inc., Silver Cloud Financial, Inc., Mountain Summit Financial, Inc., and Majestic Lake Financial, Inc.

The CFPB alleges that the lenders made deceptive demands and illegally took money from consumer bank accounts for debts that consumers did not legally owe. The CFPB filed to stop the practices, recoup relief for impacted consumers, and asses a penalty on the aforementioned lenders. Each of the four lenders operate out of a single address in Upper Lake, California and is owned and incorporated by the Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake Indian Tribe (Habematolel Pomo Tribe or the Tribe), a federally recognized Indian tribe.

The CFPB states that since at least 2012, Golden Valley Lending and Silver Cloud Financial have offered online loans of between $300 and $1,200 with annual interest rates ranging from 440 percent up to 950 percent.

Read the actual complaint here.

Economic growth for the first quarter of 2017 slowed to a 0.7% annualized rate compared with a 2.1% rate in the fourth quarter of 2016. This represents the slowest rate of economic expansion over the past three years.

On a positive note, business investment picked up rapidly.

The average corporate credit spread of the Morningstar Corporate Bond Index (our proxy for the investment-grade bond market) tightened 2 basis points over the course of last week to +121. In the high-yield market, the Bank of America Merrill Lynch High Yield Master Index tightened 22 basis points to end the week at +375. In the equity markets last week, the Nasdaq index broke through 6000 to new highs and the S&P 500 rose 1.5%.

As an indication of how tight corporate credit spreads have become compared with their historical averages, since the beginning of 2000, the average spread of the Morningstar Corporate Bond Index has registered below the current level only 26% of the time. The preponderance of the time that the index was at a level tighter than the current credit spread occurred during the buildup to the 2008-09 credit crisis. In 2004-07, corporate credit spreads were pushed to historically tight levels as new structured investment vehicles were engineered to arbitrage the differentials in expected default risk. But once the credit crisis emerged, investors found that many of these vehicles did not perform as advertised.

Avant’s First 2017 ABS (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

We see a bifurcation in credit performance trends between mass affluent credit card issuers, and issuers focused on mass market credit segments. Synchrony, the largest store credit card issuer, shares dropped 16% on Friday due to a 45% increase in its loan loss provision. Capital One and Discover also increased their provision by 33% and 14% respectively. By contrast, the credit card master trusts of large card issuers (AXP, BAC, JPM) exhibit delinquencies that are near all-time lows (as analyzed in prior PeerIQ newsletter) due to their focus on higher credit quality relationship customers.

On Friday, bond investors welcomed the first Avant ABS deal of the year. AVNT 2017-A was upsized to $247.8 Mn collateral and received significant interest from broader credit investors.

Avant Loans Funding Trust 2017-A (AVNT 2017-A)

Avant priced its first unsecured subprime consumer deal of 2017 on April 26th (AVNT 2017-A), its fourth rated securitization. The transaction was upsized from $192.6 Mn to $218.9 Mn due to favorable investor demand. The deal was led by JP Morgan who also structured the transaction, as well as Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley. Avant retained 5% of the deal, consistent with risk retention requirements of Dodd-Frank Act.

Source: PeerIQ, Bloomberg, Kroll Rating

Strong Alignment of Interests

Avant’s business operating model allows for several important components that strengthen alignment of interests between Avant and institutional investors. According to Kroll Rating’s pre-sale report, as of March 31st Avant retained approximately $2.5 Bn (65%) of the $3.8 Bn in loans originated through the Avant Platform. For this transaction, Avant contributed 95% of the loans in the collateral pool.

Further, on the deal Closing Date, Avant or its majority-owned affiliate acquires and retains at least 5% of the fair value of total capital structure by Regulation Risk Retention.

Loss Assumptions

Kroll increased the weighted average cumulative net loss (CNL) rate when rating AVNT 2017-A. For loans with 36 months or less terms, the CNL was increased from 13.86% in AVNT 2016-C to 18.39% in AVNT 2017-A (“Run-off Portion”). Further, Kroll assumed 16.55% for the representative portion in its pre-sale report, suggesting an upward shift in loss assumptions for AVNT loan product.

Pricing Tighter

We observe a parallel shift in the credit curve: the A tranche was 100 basis points tighter and the B tranche was 185 basis points tighter than the corresponding tranches in AVNT 2016-C. The C tranche was priced at 450 basis points.  The C tranche (BB-rated) was fourteen times over-subscribed, reflecting credit investors’ “risk-on” mentality.

Source: PeerIQ

Trigger Talk

The exhibit conveys that trigger profiles can be very different even for similar collateral from the same shelf. AVNT 2017-A shows a much higher starting CNL profile (MOB=1) than AVNT 2016-B, starting at 1% and peaking at 25%. Although the changes in the underwriting standard is obvious, the loss trigger profile is slightly steeper, reflecting more up-front loss timing for AVNT 2017-A as compared to older deals, such as AVNT 2016-B.

Source: PeerIQ

Sharestates Launches White Label Lending Solution for Real Estate Private Lenders: Shareline Solution (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Sharestates, an online real estate investment marketplace, has announced the launch of a new financing capability; Shareline Solution. The new service is a hybrid between lending and brokering a loan. Private lenders will have access to Sharestates lending capabilities to directly serve their clients all under their own brand. The new lending service is described as a white label, correspondent lending program that empowers private lenders to quickly launch a robust real estate crowdfunding and lending marketplace.

With this solution, Sharestates explains it will tap into more geographical regions by working directly with local, private lenders through strategic partnerships.

Colorado Moves to Dismiss Suits (Orrick), Rated: A

As we noted in a recent Alert, WebBank and Cross River Bank filed separate federal civil actions to enjoin the Administrator of Colorado’s Uniform Consumer Credit Code from enforcing state lending laws against Avant, Inc. and Marlette Funding LLC, online lending platforms that facilitate and service loans originated by the two Banks. The Banks assert that Colorado’s lending laws are preempted by federal banking statutes. On April 25, the Administrator moved to dismiss the Banks’ actions on several grounds.

First, the Administrator contends that the lawsuits do not present a federal question and thus fail to establish subject-matter jurisdiction.

Second, the Administrator argues that the Banks lack standing because their alleged injuries—including loss of revenue from the assignment or sale of their loans—are either inadequately pled or insufficiently related to the enforcement proceedings against Avant and Marlette.

Third, the Administrator argued that if the State’s enforcement actions against Avant and Marlette (which were removed to federal court) are remanded to state court, then the federal court should either dismiss or stay the action brought by WebBank and Cross River Bank’s cases based on the Younger abstention doctrine (which establishes rules against federal courts from interfering with ongoing state court or administrative proceedings).

Fourth, and perhaps most significantly, the Administrator asserts that the Banks’ preemption arguments fail as a matter of law because federal banking statutes—particularly the National Bank Act (“NBA”), 12 U.S.C. § 85, and the Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act (“DIDMCA”), 12 U.S.C. § 1831d—do not preempt the application of state lending laws to nonbank entities.

Fundrise Files New Reg A+ for Income eREIT (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Fundrise, an online marketplace for investing in real estate, has filed a Reg A+ offer with the SEC to sell additional shares in their Income eREIT. This will be the second round for the Fundrise Income eREIT. The first round sold out raising the maximum amount allowable of $50 million. Fundrise is offering up to $41,189,280 in common shares which represents the value of shares available to be offered as of the date of the offering circular out of the rolling 12-month maximum offering amount of $50 million in the eREIT shares.

Thrive Platform to Power Small Business Lending for Horizon Community Bank (Thrive Email), Rated: A

Thrive Inc. (Thrive) is pleased to announce a multi-year technology licensing agreement with Horizon Community Bank (HCB), a leading Arizona-based FDIC insured bank and subsidiary of Horizon Bancorp, Inc.

Thrive’s proprietary cloud-based lending technology will power the complete, end-to-end small business lending process for HCB encompassing:

  • Digital applications, automated credit / financial analysis and background/verification checks, loan offers and declines, e-closings, integrated servicing, borrower interface and real-time risk management capabilities
  • Operationally, HCB will benefit significantly from improved loan processing efficiencies and reduced origination costs:
    • Loan processing time is expected to be reduced from weeks to days
    • Cost reductions of greater than 40% are expected for each loan application cycle
  • HCB will benefit extensively from new digital customer acquisition channels, while user experiences for existing and new customers will be modernized and improved

Online lending has reached a tipping point (Business Insider), Rated: A

Online lenders have been facing an uphill battle recently as investors question whether they are truly getting the loan transparency they need to confidently invest in this young industry. Investors, credit providers and ratings agencies are worried about loan data integrity as well as collateral and ownership rights behind the loans.

Phase One: Concept – The Early Days (2006-2010)

The concept of partner banks – like WebBank and Cross River – issuing loans on behalf of these platforms, quickly became an established model. These banks helped ensure the borrower regulations were met, including state licenses among others. Consumers are well protected and borrower fraud is tightly managed.

But in 2008, regulators took notice of this rapidly expanding market, and the SEC issued a statement requiring lending platforms to register and report loan financials to the Commission to protect investors. With this change, the SEC highlighted the need to treat fractional loans as securities that need to be reported.

Phase Two: Institutional Entry – Enter the Big Dogs (2011-2015)

In 2011, the landscape changed for online lenders with institutional investors, in search of yield in a near-zero interest rate environment, tossing their hats in the ring to enter this emerging industry. A $5 million investment from an anonymous institutional investor into LendingClub marked the first infusion of institutional investor capital into the online lending space.

And that was only the beginning as institutional investment continued to flow into the market, primarily from specialist hedge funds, often with lines of credit from well-known large investment banks. At this point, the industry evolved its name from Peer to Peer to Marketplace Lending and ultimately Online Lending to reflect the fact that large institutions were now funding a large portion of the loans.

Also in 2013, securitization changed the face of online lending, providing lending platforms more scalable access to capital to fund the needs of new lenders. Eaglewood Capital closed on a $53 million unrated securitization deal for loans originated by LendingClub, making it the very first securitization deal in the space.

Analytics and secondary markets began to emerge in 2015, with companies like PeerIQ, dv01 and Monja providing analytics and reporting tools to help investors better track their online lending investments. Secondary markets for these loans kicked off this same year, with the launch of both Orchard and Ldger, aiming to provide additional liquidity options for investors in the space.

Later in 2015, the first partnership between a bank and lender was forged with JP Morgan and On Deck leading the charge.

Phase Three: Maturity & Scale – The Future is Clear (and transparent!) (2016 – …)

And now we arrive at the present – a tipping point where the fate of the industry lies squarely in its ability to adopt effective risk control infrastructure for investors to bring certainty to this asset class and therefore attract new capital.

A modern fintech lending model has been using a thirty-year-old due diligence methodology, comparing loan tapes with loan agreements, both provided by the seller. It goes without saying that this method is far from modern or efficient, with no independent validation of data integrity against trusted data sources.

Today, transparency is being redefined. Online lending has undoubtedly provided greater loan data and performance reporting than investors are used to. However, loan transparency from the seller without independent data certainty has been proven dangerous.

A vital part of this infrastructure is for the industry to adopt a central loan information clearing house that focuses on ownership rights and asset certainty for each loan as well as serving as a collateral pledge registry to prevent the double pledging of assets. Increased asset certainty is helping to protect and attract capital from new larger, more risk averse investor segments. With the infrastructure changes we’re seeing emerge in the industry today, including the potential of Blockchain technology, this goal of new capital sources is closer to reality for online lenders than ever.

Lendio Announces Annual List of Top 10 Best States for Small Business Lending (PRWeb), Rated: A

In honor of National Small Business Week, Lendio, the nation’s leading marketplace for small business loans, today announced its second annual list of top 10 states for small business lending, based on lending data from the Lendio platform, which matches businesses with more than 75 lenders.

This year’s top states for small business lending are:

  1. Utah
  2. Washington
  3. California
  4. Virginia
  5. Texas
  6. Florida
  7. New York
  8. New Hampshire
  9. Pennsylvania
  10. Georgia

The ranking is based on a calculation of several key indicators, including approval rates and loan sizes, from among thousands of Lendio’s customers from April 2016 to March 2017.

1 – Utah
2016 Ranking: 3
No. SMBs: 268,872*
No. SMB Employees: 540,268*
Average Loan Size: $37,648

2 – Washington
2016 Ranking: 4
No. SMBs: 574,455*
No. SMB Employees: 1,300,000*
Average Loan Size: $24,746

3 – California
2016 Ranking: 2
No. SMBs: 3,800,000*
No. SMB Employees: 6,800,000*
Average Loan Size: $23,391

4 – Virginia
2016 Ranking: 13
No. SMBs: 706,626*
No. SMB Employees: 1,500,000*
Average Loan Size: $20,520

5 – Texas
2016 Ranking: 6
No. SMBs: 2,600,000*
No. SMB Employees: 4,600,000*
Average Loan Size: $21,003

6 – Florida
2016 Ranking: 7
No. SMBs: 2,400,000*
No. SMB Employees: 3,200,000*
Average Loan Size: $21,103

7 – New York
2016 Ranking: 18
No. SMBs: 2,100,000*
No. SMB Employees: 4,000,000*
Average Loan Size: $23,014

8 – New Hampshire
2016 Ranking: 5
No. SMBs: 132,432*
No. SMB Employees: 289,914*
Average Loan Size: $19,893

9 – Pennsylvania
2016 Ranking: 22
No. SMBs: 1,000,000*
No. SMB Employees: 2,500,000*
Average Loan Size: $17,561

10 – Georgia
2016 Ranking: 8
No. SMBs: 1,000,000*
No. SMB Employees: 1,600,000*
Average Loan Size: $16,348

*Source:

The Future of Finance: More Data, Fewer People (Institutional Investor), Rated: A

Credit Suisse is now piloting a robot named Reggie, a virtual assistant not unlike Amazon’s Alexa. Credit Suisse’s Reggie was programmed to answer regulatory questions, according to Brian Chin, CEO of global markets for the investment bank. Chin, who spoke on a panel at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles on Tuesday, expects that the Swiss bank will be able to ultimately cut the number of calls to its call center by 50 percent. But at this point, Reggie is better at providing information for simple questions than appropriately addressing more complex inquiries.

The technology exists now to streamline labor-intensive processes such as loan underwriting. Mike Cagney, CEO and co-founder of SoFi, an online consumer lender, uses five pieces of data to provide instantaneous loan decisions. SoFi is now moving to use non-traditional information for underwriting, including data from cell phones, which it thinks will predict consumers’ future behavior. Cagney said banks could shed thousands of people if they used similar technology.

How a Goldman Sachs brand is trying to erase debt stigma (Tearsheet), Rated: A

“There’s a stigma around debt, people don’t like to talk about it,” Nicole Sbarra, a product manager for Marcus, said at an event in New York Thursday night. “It makes them very uncomfortable. And most people also don’t think of credit card debt as actual debt, they see it as a balance… [Marcus] is going to help you understand that there’s more to you than this extreme amount of debt on your shoulders.”

Keeping the brand separate, as much as possible, from Goldman is necessary, in some ways, considering the bank’s history. From 2005 to 2007, Goldman issued and underwrote mortgages and securities backed by residential loans that were borrowed by consumers with poor credit. This led to the housing bubble burst and economic recession. Last year Goldman paid out $5.1 billion for its role in the financial crisis.

Money is one of the most personal and sensitive topics for people, even people with lots of it, which is why empathy plays such an important role in building a financial product. The average American carries some $16,000 in credit card debt and about 70 percent of them don’t know there are alternative options to that credit card debt, said Michael Cerda, head of product.

Leverage Digital Technology To Forge Relationships With Your Clients’ Children (FA Magazine), Rated: A

According to various statistics, millennials and members of Generation X will inherit anywhere from $15 trillion to $40 trillion or more from their baby boomer parents by 2050. This will be the largest cross-generational transfer of wealth in history, but many financial advisors haven’t yet prepared for this opportunity.

As the relationship progresses, advisors can proactively invite a client’s children to meetings, and reach out to them to offer financial planning education at applicable stages of their lives. This education can have a big impact if it is taught using the state-of-the-art reporting, proposal and prospecting tools that come with today’s digital advice platforms. For example, when a client mentions that their teenage son or daughter just secured their first after-school job, the advisor can offer to meet with them to deliver an interactive digital presentation on how to save and invest their earnings.

Justices affirm cities’ right to sue banks under housing law (Arkansas Online), Rated: B

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that cities may sue banks under the federal law that bans discrimination in housing, but it said such lawsuits must tie claims about predatory lending practices directly to declines in property tax revenue.

The justices’ 5-3 ruling partly validated an approach by Miami and other cities to try to hold banks accountable under the federal Fair Housing Act for the wave of foreclosures during the housing crisis a decade ago.

SoFi personal loans: 2017 comprehensive review (Bankrate), Rated: B

Who is a SoFi personal loan good for?

  • Anyone with good to excellent credit. SoFi borrowers have an average credit score of 730, although credit scores range from 680 to 850, according to the company. Check your credit score for free before you apply.
  • High-income earners. SoFi borrowers have an average annual income of $114,000. Real median household income in the U.S. is about $56,500.
  • Someone who has a short credit history. SoFi has no minimum requirement for how long you’ve used credit, but rather looks at how responsible you’ve been at paying bills.
  • Someone who doesn’t need a co-borrower. SoFi, like many other online lenders, does not allow joint borrowers on a single loan. If your credit or income aren’t good enough to qualify on your own, you may want to consider using a different lender.
  • Someone who doesn’t mind an entirely online experience. The entire process takes place virtually — from applying for a loan to receiving approval to having the money deposited in your bank account if you are funded.

SoFi offers both fixed- and variable-rate personal loans that range from $5,000 to $100,000 and are repayable over three, five or seven years. Minimum loan amounts are higher in four states: Arizona, Kentucky, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Fees and penalties

  • SoFi doesn’t charge an origination fee.
  • Late payment fee is either 4% of the unpaid installment amount or $15, whichever is less.
  • You won’t be penalized for paying off your loan early.

Celent’s Corporate Banking Appoints Alenka Grealish as Senior Analyst (citybizlist), Rated: B

Celent is pleased to announce that Alenka Grealish will be joining the Banking practice as a Senior Analyst based in San Francisco. Her research will focus on innovation in treasury management services, trade finance, working capital finance, and the implications for customer journeys across segments, including small business. As part of her research, she will track the digitization of the financial supply chain, and the rise of fintechs and new business and revenue models.

United Kingdom

TransferWise Goes Big. Sets up Office in Singapore for Asian Expansion & Global Domination (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

I am not alone in using the service as Transferwise has grown rapidly around the world. In the UK, 10% of the people who transfer money utilize the service. A recent funding round gave Transferwise a billion dollar valuation so it has achieved Fintech Unicorn status.

Today, Transferwise is moving  around $ 1.2 billion monthly. They estimate they save consumers and businesses, around $2 million daily. Who loses out? The banks, of course.

Global remittance stands at around half a trillion dollars each year. According to the World Bank, remittances in East Asia and Pacific registered about $126 billion last year. If you add South Asia (India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh) you can add another $110 billion to that number. Transferwise setting up shop in Singapore just makes sense.

European Union

Europe On Pace for Record Year in Fintech Deals (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

CB Insights reported that European fintech firms raised over $667 million over the first three months of the year through a total of 73 deals. It’s important to note that CB Insights’ report is based only on VC-backed deals as opposed to KPMG’s Q1 report which was based on all types of deals, which is why the report released by KPMG last week showed over $880 million raised from 89 deals in Europe.

In just three months, European firms this year have already raised 60% of the total amount that was raised all of last year.

What’s also promising is the fact that early-stage investing has increased as well. Over $195 million of the amount raised in Q1 of this year was in seed and series A funding rounds. Q4 of 2016 only saw $54 million raised in those rounds.

Australia

PledgeMe Launches Lending Month of May: Seeks to Help Kiwis Learn More About Crowdlending (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On Monday, New Zealand’s crowdfunding platform PledgeMe announced it was dedicating the month of May to lending related goodness.

As part of the program, the PledgeMe crew will be doing the following:

  • Explaining what it means in a super straight forward way; borrowing money doesn’t need to be as complicated as it’s been made out to be. 
  • Create case studies on how it has worked in the past.
  • Hosting a webinar to answer questions real time, and then blog about it.
  • Writing a weekly blog series showcasing how crowdlending can work for various company organizations 
  • Creating a podcast series
  • Putting together a mini-documentary on the company behind “the bubble”

Australian youth drive P2P revolution (AltFi), Rated: A

But its millennials that are driving the P2P revolution. They’re turning away from banks and property in droves and creating space for fintech disrupters, according to new research by RateSetter Australia.

The company has seen the number of millennial investors using its platform increased a startling 250 percent the past 12 months.

The average investment from millennials was only A$10,000, much smaller than the A$50,000-plus averaged by baby boomers and the ‘silent generation’.

China

China Rapid Finance Announces Pricing of Initial Public Offering (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

China Rapid Finance Limited (“China Rapid Finance”) (NYSE: XRF) announced today that its initial public offering of 10,000,000 American depositary shares (“ADSs”) was priced at US$6.00 per ADS, with a total offering size of US$60 million. Each ADS represents one Class A ordinary share of China Rapid Finance. China Rapid Finance has granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 1,500,000 ADSs at the initial public offering price, less the underwriting discounts and commission. The ADSs have been approved for listing on the New York Stock Exchange and are expected to begin trading on April 28, 2017 under the symbol “XRF.”

Yirendai FORM 20-F (SEC), Rated: AAA

119,512,300 ordinary shares, par value US$0.0001 per share, as of December 31, 2016.

IFC and Ant Financial to enable digital financial inclusion in emerging markets (The Asset), Rated: A

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and Ant Financial Services Group, the parent company of Alipay, have signed a memorandum of understanding to make basic financial services more accessible in China and other emerging markets.

Under the new memorandum the two parties will strengthen their collaboration for inclusive digital finance, green digital finance, business-environment enhancement and credit-data analysis.

Ant has invested in payment and digital finance companies in India, Thailand and Indonesia.

P2P Industry News (Xing Ping She Email), Rated: A

Monthly Report of China’s P2P Lending Industry
On 1st May, Online Lending House released the monthly report of P2P lending industry. According to the report, the total business volume decreased in April due to the two minor long leaves(Qingming Festival holiday and May Day holiday). However, the trend of the industry is optimistic especially in the number of borrowers, cumulative trading volume and the development of lending platforms.

In April 2017, the loan volume is 224.92 billion RMB, and the cumulative volume reached to 4,330.12 billion RMB, however, the same figure of the corresponding period last year was 1,888.12 billion RMB. Over the past year, the volume in P2P lending industry has nearly increased by 2.5 trillion RMB. The loan balance mainly concentrates on Beijing(338.70B RMB), Shanghai(242.35B RMB) and Guangdong province(177.98B RMB) , jointly accounting for 79.26% of the country’s total balance.

Ant Financial:Alipay Model will be Replicated in B&R(Belt and Road) Countries
The globalization process of Ant Financial started since February 2015 and the business has spreaded to India, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines etc. “We look for local partners instead of running a branch abroad, and aim at developing countries with great demand for e-payment rather than developed countries. The immediate benefits from this mode will save 5-8 years’ research and development time.” Jia Hang, the general manager of international division, explained the company’s overall global strategy for the first time. Ant Financial also announced they would keep replicating the Alipay business to other B&R Countries.

WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

This week, China Banking Regulatory Commission released a documentation “Guidelines on risk prevention and control in banking industry” to regulate the small cash loans market by perfecting the in-out mechanisms, paying more attention to the supervision and decreasing operation risk.

Here are some recommendations for this round of regulatory reform:

  • At present, diverse interest rates should be permitted to coexist, but the existence of exorbitant usury must be prohibited. It is reported that the average interest rate of cash loans has reached 158%, which produces disastrous influence on the development of microfinance industry in China.
  • To reduce risk, government should make the relevant laws to conduct stricter regulation on different kinds of cash loans companies.
  • Training should be provided to microfinance organizations in order to improve operations and strengthen management capabilities.

The Beijing Municipal Administration Traffic Card, more commonly known as the Yikatong, is preparing to tap into demand for mobile payment devices, with the launch of a wristband capable of making contactless payments.

With the wearable tech industry on the rise, Yikatong believes engineering a variety of payment methods is essential to ensuring customer satisfaction. According to analysts at IDC, the wearable devices market is booming, with around 50 million units projected to be sold in 2017, which is expected to achieve a target of 78% average growth a year until 2018.

One of China’s largest online lending platform, CreditEase, has launched a private blockchain service based on ethereum.

Renren Inc., which operates a social networking service and internet finance business in China, announced to reach a strategic partnership with Ping An Bank to develop automobile finance in China.

This week, Chinese bike-sharing startup ofo announced a strategic investment from Ant Financial, but the total funding volume was not disclosed. In the future, ofo will work with Ant Financial on payments, credit and other international business expansion.

India

FinMomenta launches peer-to-peer online lending platform Tachyloans (The Hindu BusinessLine), Rated: AAA

Even as a final set of regulations is yet to be firmed up in the country’s burgeoning digital peer to peer (P2P) lending space, a Singapore-based fintech start-up FinMomenta has launched its operations to tap individuals and businesses that are considered ‘risky’ by the bigger NBFCs and banks.

The company uses a proprietary credit scoring model enabled by Artificial Intelligence and Big Data to assess the creditworthiness of applicants. It also uses e-KYC and Aadhaar for verification of the borrowers that helps lenders to automatically invest in the recommended list of borrowers, according to Khaderbad.

Tachyloans also analyses the social media profiles of its borrowers and uses psychometric analysis to understand their creditworthiness.

The platform is currently open for all resident individuals looking for loans in 50 cities across India.

Tachyloans Targets India’s Fintech Segment Which is About to Touch $ 2.4B By 2020 (BW Disrupt), Rated: A

Tachyloans has made its entry at a strategically important time in India’s burgeoning fintech sector that is forecasted to touch $2.4bn by 2020. Tachyloans uses a proprietary credit scoring model enabled by Artificial Intelligence and Big Data to assess the creditworthiness of applicants. The stronger the credit profile, lesser the credit or default risk. The company’s innovative platform electronically verifies the borrower information using the KYC (Know Your Customer) documentation provided, and qualifies them through their proprietary credit decision model.

At Tachyloans, the entire registration, application and documentation procedure is simplified for both borrowers and lenders, thereby offering complete transparency throughout the process. Unlike the traditional banks, in Tachyloans lenders can earn returns as high as 25% per annum and borrowers can avail loan at lower interest rates starting from 11.5% per annum. The background verification check of the borrowers is also done by various parameters at the backend before getting them on board.

Furthermore, FinMomenta will be looking at collaborating with banks and other financial institutions to ensure a straightforward process and faster disbursement of loans.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday March 20 2017, Daily News Digest

China mobile payments

News Comments Today’s main news: New York investigates online lenders. Elevate’s roadshow. AltFi adds Lendix to Data Analytics Platform. Kreditech Russia achieves MFC status. Today’s main analysis: Age of advice manufacturing has arrived. Today’s thought-provoking articles: How fraudsters are gaming online lenders. Framing the debate around disclosure standards in Europe. Chinese smartphone users flock to risky investments. United States New […]

China mobile payments

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

China

Canada

News Summary

United States

New York Regulators Investigating Online Platform Lenders (BNA), Rated: AAA

New York state regulators will continue investigating online platform lenders to see if they have violated state lending laws or if their activities require licensing, regardless of how the Legislature handles a proposal to broaden regulation of the industry by statute, an official with the state Department of Financial Services (DFS) said March 27.

The proposal would extend state licensing requirements to all lenders making loans of $25,000 or less for personal uses and of $50,000 or less for business uses. The requirements now apply to those loans only if the interest rate exceeds the state’s 16 percent usury cap.

The proposal also specifies that the licensing requirement applies to any company that solicits loans and buys loans. That apparently would cover online lenders that partner with banks in some standard industry set-ups, such as one in which the online platform originates the loan and a bank partner issues the loan and then sells it within days to the online lender, which then both securitizes and services the loan.

Elevate Performs a Roadshow (Retail Roadshow), Rated: AAA

Download the documentation here.

The age of advice manufacturing is here (Financial-Planning), Rated: AAA

The new DoL fiduciary rule is about fully aligning the interests of the individual investor and the investment management industry. While the original lobbying efforts against the new fiduciary rule argued that it would drive up costs and reduce access to investment advice for regular Americans — we are witnessing the exact opposite in the marketplace.

The current administration has moved to delay the rule’s applicability and could repeal the new rule entirely. However, the financial services industry has already moved to comply with the rule and smaller investors who did not have access to financial advice previously will benefit from a best interest standard as well as digital advice technology.

However, even without the fiduciary rule in place, technology is the other disruptive force, which will move us towards new standards. Personalized digital advice solutions are helping advisers take into account more than just financial products. As a result, investors have more awareness of their entire financial picture. Advisers would be smart to embrace change, whether from regulations or technology, because the industry is quickly moving in a new direction.

ADVICE MANUFACTURING RISES

The new DoL rule, coupled with the rise of technology-driven TAMPs, managed account platforms, and now more holistic digital advice platforms, is fundamentally shifting the entire industry from product manufacturing to “advice manufacturing.” The investment management business, while perhaps not yet a fully formed concept yet in the minds of all industry executives, is now in a race to manufacture scalable personal advice solutions. Digital advice platforms will be utilized to fulfill both the near term regulatory requirements of the fiduciary rule, but perhaps more importantly, to ensure long-term offensive competitiveness.

How fraudsters are gaming online lenders (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Online lenders’ advantage in speed has exposed them to a growing problem: a type of fraud called loan stacking.

People are taking advantage of the quick loan approval times online lenders offer to game the system by applying for multiple online loans in a short time before credit files update to reflect the increased debt load. By doing so, they are able to get more money than they would typically qualify for in any one loan.

One surprise in investigators’ early findings is that online lending fraudsters tend to hit phone companies first.

According to TransUnion data, stacked loans in the superprime segment are 10.5% more likely to default than loans without stacking, whereas stacked prime loans are only 3.2% more likely than non-stacked loans to go bust.

ID Analytics buckets loan stackers in three categories: fraudsters, shoppers, and the over-leveraged. Fraudsters deliberately apply for loans they have no intention of repaying. Loan shoppers are financially savvy consumers who apply for several loans because they’re smart enough to know they can shop around and get the best rate. The third category is consumers with financial problems who need more than one loan to make ends meet.

Second-Quarter 2017 Corporate Credit Market Insights (Morningstar), Rated: A

Key Takeaways

  • Rising federal-funds rate did not preclude fixed-income indexes from rising in the first quarter.
  • Corporate credit spreads remain near the tightest quartile they have registered over the long term.
  • Corporate credit rating upgrades continue to outpace downgrades.

Chinese Lender Says It Didn’t Gloss Over Regulation Risks (Law360), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lender Yirendai Ltd. urged a California federal court on Tuesday to toss a shareholder suit alleging it glossed over risks from the Chinese government’s crackdown on online lending fraud, saying investors’ “dire predictions” of revenue loss from the new regulations were never actualized.

The China Banking Regulatory Commission’s new peer-to-peer lending regulations have not caused revenue losses by limiting offline customer sourcing, Yirendai said, arguing the stock-drop suit fails because securities fraud claims cannot rely on false premises.

Online Lenders: The ‘Modern Day Loan Sharks’ (The Epoch Times), Rated: A

Jamar White had no idea what he was getting into when he took out a nearly $50,000 loan with an online lender in 2013 for his New York-based restaurant Buffalo Boss. “Like a lot of small businesses, we made a bad decision by getting into high-interest loans,” he said.

He later realized that the annual interest rate on his loan was in fact between 40 and 50 percent.

White is just one of the small-business owners around the country who, having failed to secure a traditional loan from a bank, turned to online-based alternative lenders to stay open. What they encounter are loans without clearly stipulated terms and a dearth of regulation and oversight.

According to Doxford, many of the predatory lenders approve loans based on the average daily bank balance of the company they’re lending to.

California-based Opportunity Fund, the nation’s largest nonprofit microlender, has formed a dataset about the conditions provided by these alternative lenders. They gained the data through their own clients who they refinanced.

They found that the APR was 94 percent. One loan was for 358 percent, which Opportunity Fund called “shocking.”

Proliferating AI-backed tools remake wealth management (Financial-Planning), Rated: A

It’s a piece of the continued creep of AI into financial advice — a recent study by Bloomberg determined that 58% of an adviser’s work can now be digitized and done by computers.

Like IBM’s Watson, Salesforce says its Einstein can analyze client sentiment based on data profiling and content analysis to provide insight. The suite of tools combines with aggregation to allow advisers to scan across a client’s wealth holdings.

That’s the name financial services consultancy Synechron chose for its matrix of 14 financial management tools, from robos to chatbots, all powered by proprietary AI as well.

How states can still outmatch OCC over fintech (American Banker), Rated: A

The OCC’s draft charter requirements, while well-meaning, appear too cumbersome to help the firms most likely to benefit from more consistent regulations. The agency’s misfire presents the states with an opening to come back, but they will need to change their playbook — and will likely need to ask Congress for a little help.

So far states have objected to the OCC’s fintech charter on technical and substantive grounds. The states’ primary technical argument is that the OCC lacks the authority to offer charters to fintech firms, an assertion the OCC disputes.

The “dangerous” argument holds that a federal charter will preempt state consumer protection laws and replace them with inferior federal laws or the more lenient laws of the bank’s home state. The “unnecessary” argument holds that states are better positioned to facilitate innovation and growth by fintech firms and the OCC would muck things up. The “state sovereignty” argument holds that the OCC charter represents an inappropriate intrusion by the federal government into state jurisdiction.

Further, our current system already allows some states the de facto authority to regulate the entire country. Large states or states uniquely important to the financial system, such as New York, have outsize influence on what products and services can be provided. Companies need to build their product to meet bigger states’ regulations to remain competitive — effectively allowing large states to limit the options of the citizens of smaller states.

Open Source Data:The Last Frontier of the Fintech Revolution (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

In today’s Fintech ecosystem and the larger consumer privacy concerns, there are questions regarding the regulatory oversight looming over issues like the United States’ Office of Currency and Comptroller’s newly proposed Fintech charter.

Should we take a lesson from the open source movement of the 1980’s and 1990’s and rise to the occasion as an industry to embrace the ability to make our data and information transparent? To enable the inner workings of how we approve transactions, issue credit and making investments available for consumers, regulators, and competitors?

In particular, they point out the following value propositions over proprietary formats:

  • Security
  • Affordability
  • Transparency
  • Perpetuity
  • Interoperability
  • Flexibility
  • Localization
United Kingdom

P2P fund manager cuts regular fixed income exposure as inflation worry kicks in (AltFi), Rated: A

Thesis Asset Management is slashing its exposure to fixed income across its range of seven model portfolios as uncertainty has increased over the outlook for inflation and interest rates.

He says the firm had briefly considered adding a little to fixed income exposure, but with the election of Donald Trump to the Whitehouse and the subsequent trend of rising inflation, they reversed course.

How to lend your money (PC Advisor), Rated: B

With savings accounts offering increasingly poor interest rates, what else can you do to boost your finances. Aside from stocks and shares, buying property or even selling your unwanted stuff online, you could try peer-to-peer lending.

Funding Circle

This is a well established peer-to-peer lender that specialises in loans to small businesses. So far the company has lent over £2.5bn, with 25,0000 businesses on its books. The UK government even granted Funding Circle £40m so it could help small companies with loans.

Zopa

The loans offered by Zopa are to a mixture of individuals and organisations, which provides a wide range of risk and rewards to choose from.

Ratesetter

Financial advice site moneyexpert.com says Ratesetter is a good place for beginners, mainly due to the layout and style of accounts.

European Union

Disclosure standards: framing the debate (AltFi), Rated: AAA

And while regulation is beginning to catch up with the burgeoning industry, disclosure standards and levels of transparency still vary massively amongst the myriad of marketplace lenders.

The European alternative finance sector is estimated to have grown 92 per cent to €5.4 billion last year. It continues to experience substantive growth. The players are diverse and the stakes are high.

At present both regulation and disclosure standards vary widely across Europe. In the UK the big four (MarketInvoice, Zopa, RateSetter and Funding Circle) are providing sufficient disclosure to allow third-party validation of their lending data. The consistency and proactive approach is positive – a good start that benefits investors as well as the wider industry. The Dutch are also starting to move towards jointly agreed upon standards. The ongoing debate is centered on the who, how and when.

Perhaps one of the most interesting initiatives in Europe is that of the crowdfunding sector in Germany. The German Crowdfunding Association (Bundesverband Crowdfunding) recently announced that its twenty-one members have adopted common rather stringent standards for reporting to investors.

AltFi Data Announces the Addition of Lendix to the AltFi Data Analytics Platform (AltFi Email), Rated: AAA

AltFi Data has today announced that the historic origination data of Lendix, the leading European SME lending platform, has been added to the AltFi Data Analytics platform. This allows all the information relating to loans originated by Lendix to be represented into AltFi Data’s established standards. Investors can now review a track record of net return, together with all supporting metrics, and perform like-for-like analysis against the other marketplace lending platforms that make up AltFi Data Analytics – including Zopa, Funding Circle, Ratesetter and MarketInvoice in the UK, and Prosper Marketplace in the USA. This represents the first time that standardised comparison has been made available outside of the UK and USA.

Kreditech Russia achieves Microfinance Company (MFC) status (Finextra), Rated: AAA

A new federal law in Russia aims to make the microfinance market transparent and understandable. It therefore requires the MFC status for all alternative lending companies operating in the country. As a Microfinance Company, Kreditech Russia is going to offer both consumer credit and deposit products.

Marketplace and P2P Lending: Viable or Not? (AltFi), Rated: A

Conceptually, the beauty of the matching nature of marketplace and peer-to-peer lending is that it is a perfect solution for matching supply and demand of capital and risks. Finding the right risk profile for the investor and matching maturity, currency, and tenor would eliminate a lot of regulatory hassle and burdens.

How do we get conventional fixed-income investors (pension funds, insurance funds, large asset managers) to properly engage with marketplace lending as an asset class?

Despite these obvious advantages, institutional investors have not yet fully embraced marketplace lending. Why?

Standardisation of data: How important is it for investors to be able to accurately compare risk and reward across the asset class?

At present, the lack of a uniform set of standards places severe obstacles for investors willing to invest across multiple marketplace lenders.

China

Swipe by Swipe, Chinese Smartphone Users Flock to Risky Investments (WSJ), Rated: AAA

In China, about 700 million people carry a smartphone, and many of them are comfortable sending money from their screens through the world’s busiest mobile-payment networks. That has created a crowdfunding wave bigger than anywhere else, a real-time experiment in a type of online investing proponents have long pushed in the U.S.

Swipe by swipe, the online money supply is helping to democratize investing and loosen capital markets. It also is propping up indebted Chinese companies and inflating bubbles in asset types from bonds to plastic pellets. And it is shifting more of the risks from China’s corporate debt load onto consumers.

Last April, crying investors flocked to Shanghai Kuailu Investment Group to demand their money back after its 13 fundraising platforms halted redemptions for about 38,000 customers who invested more than $2 billion, according to company documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. It had invested in at least 20 feature films, one starring former boxer Mike Tyson.

In a recent survey, about 70% of Chinese internet users said carrying cash is no longer a daily necessity. It is common for consumers to swipe from deal to deal on apps that advertise investment opportunities. The apps usually are connected to online payment services that supply the customer’s personal details and link to bank accounts.

Online finance is part of China’s wider shadow-credit system, where borrowings totaled $9.22 trillion in 2016, equivalent to 90% of gross domestic product, according to UBS Securities. The term shadow credit refers to lending outside the formal banking system and its regulations.

 

Chinese P2P Lenders Are Still Having Trouble Finding Bank Custodians (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

In the face of numerous scandals plaguing P2P lenders, commercial banks in China have been reluctant to take up custodial duties.

Even though the CBRA clarified that banks would not be responsible for P2P defaults, banks clearly only want to act as custodians to P2P lenders with a reputable track record.

Canada

A 5-year look at fintech in Canada (MaRS), Rated: A

The data demonstrates that over the last five years both highs and lows were evident in Canadian investment activity from angel investors, VCs and corporate VCs. Growth was marked, with a rise from US$87.21 million in investments in 2012 to US$367.51 million in 2016.

RBC introduces MyAdvisor to digitally connect clients with advisors for real-time advice (Newswire), Rated: A

A new digital experience for clients, using live video to connect them in real time with advisors, has been introduced by RBC.

MyAdvisor uses an online advice platform to digitally connect a client to an advisor, where both can view and adjust a dynamic “dashboard” showing the client’s savings and investment goals and establish actions to achieve those goals – all in real time.

Now being piloted in Ontario, MyAdvisor is using feedback from pilot participants to further shape the final product ahead of full national launch, to ensure it meets the financial needs of Canadians.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday March 8 2017, Daily News Digest

Wednesday March 8 2017, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: Ron Suber offers 5 ways alt lenders can work with banks to prosper. OCC comptroller fires back at FinTech charter critics. Zopa has record lending month. RateSetter returns fall due to high demand. Today’s main analysis: Corporate credit spread tightens following Trump’s address to Congress. Today’s thought-provoking articles: China consumer finance needs high tech solution. […]

Wednesday March 8 2017, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

MENA

Asia

News Summary

 

United States

Prosper CEO’s Ron Suber’s Keynote Address at LendIt (YouTube), Rated: AAA

 

 

Corporate credit spreads tighten following Trump’s address to Congress (Morningstar), Rated: AAA

While the markets pulled back slightly in the latter half of the week, risk assets remained near their highs after a significant boost Wednesday following President Donald Trump’s address to Congress. The average spread of the Morningstar Corporate Bond Index, our proxy for the investment-grade bond market, tightened 5 basis points to +118 last week. In the high-yield market, the credit spread of the Bank of America Merrill Lynch High Yield Master Index tightened 24 basis points to +360.

Comptroller Curry hits back at critics of fintech charter plans (Finextra), Rated: AAA

In a speech to the LendIT conference in New York, Curry offered a stout defence to charges laid by banking trade bodies and state regulators over its plans.

“To be clear, the National Bank Act does give the OCC the legal authority to grant national bank charters to companies engaged in the business of banking,” Curry told the conference. “That authority includes granting charters to companies that limit their business models to certain aspects of banking, and it is not circumscribed just because a company delivers banking services in new ways with innovative technology.”

Kabbage nabs $ 500M for small business loans (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Kabbage, a billion-dollar startup that combines machine learning algorithms, data from public profiles on the internet and other factors to rate and then loan people money for their small businesses, is today announcing another big step up in its ambitions. The company has secured over $500 million in fixed-rate, asset-backed notes, money that it will use to expand the amount, payback terms and size of loans it makes to SMBs over the next three years. To date, Kabbage has loaned over $2.7 billion to SMBs since being founded in 2009.

Kabbage said the securitization was oversubscribed.

As part of this closing, Kabbage is forming a new subsidiary,Kabbage Asset Securitization, to issue the notes in four classes. Kabbage said that the senior class of notes is “anticipated to be rated ‘A(sf)’ on the closing date by Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA).”

Kabbage notes that this is an upgrade on its previous rating.

Lantern Credit boosts machine learning engine through ARC library acquisition (Finextra), Rated: A

Lantern Credit, a financial technology company working to solve systematic inefficiencies in the consumer credit industry, is enhancing its proprietary machine learning engine, Beam AI, with the acquisition of the Abstract Regression-Classification (ARC) Machine Learning Library.

The machine learning library enables Lantern Credit to use a human-machine hybrid learning approach that incorporates human guidance in the machine learning training process to produce more reliable outputs.

Lantern Credit’s Beam AI will use the symbolic regression technology to ensure that credit offers presented to consumers are actionable and timely.

RealtyShares Raises $ 32.9M for Midwest Real Estate Projects Through Crowdfunding (BusinessWire), Rated: A

RealtyShares, a leading online marketplace for real estate investing, has released new data showing the extent of crowdfunded investments in several Midwest real estate markets.

Developers, sponsors and borrowers in Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana and Illinois have raised $32.9 million to date from RealtyShares’ network of investors, offering a source of financing for real estate projects by leveraging technology to connect potential investors with expertly vetted real estate deals.

Thus far 114 deals have been funded in the region through RealtyShares, with an average deal price of $288,000. Deals of up to $1.5 million have been financed in both Columbus, Ohio, and Chicago, Ill. Anchoring RealtyShares’ position in the region, $14 million has been raised for 53 deals in Illinois, with several investors targeting properties in and around Chicago. Buckeyes are also showing a significant level of activity, with $12.25 million raised for 30 deals in Ohio, concentrating around the Cincinnati and Cleveland areas.

Patch of Land Hires Chief Investment Product Officer (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Patch of Land, a leading online real estate marketplace lender and crowdfunding platform, announces the addition of Matthew Zall as Chief Investment Product Officer as the firm prepares to expand into the single-family rental market with longer term, permanent financing products. The number of non-owner occupied single-family properties in the U.S. including townhomes, condos, and 2-4 unit properties grew to almost 24 million units valued at over $6 trillion in 2016, according to ATTOM Data Solutions.

Zall brings to Patch of Land more than 12 years of real estate and mortgage experience, as well as expertise in financing and product development. He pioneered three of the industry’s first-ever multi-borrower single-family rental securitizations, helping to build Blackstone Group subsidiary, B2R Finance, (now known as Finance of America Holdings, LLC) from start up to a multibillion dollar lender in only a few years. Prior to joining B2R, Matt was a Commercial Real Estate (CRE) trader at J.P. Morgan and Bear Stearns. At Patch of Land, Zall will execute strategies to enable the expansion of the firm’s position as a marketplace lender by offering both accredited and institutional investors additional opportunities to invest in this asset class.

Fintech Startup Current Announces $ 3.6 mil Raise With Eye on Injecting “Cs” Into Payments and Banking Space (Huffington Post), Rated: A

Today “stagnating banking industry,” announced a seed round venture capital raise of some $3.6 million backed by

THE FINTECH PARADOX IN ONLINE BUSINESS LENDING – March 2017 (IOU Financial), Rated: A

However, not all Fintech business models have yet matured into profitability, key to the definition of success. A structural element of future success for new entrants resides in their ability to access cheaper funding and quality customers. Who can offer these things?  With that in mind, Banks, especially small ones, should feel confident they can monetize their position to bring down their cost of innovation.  By working with innovative companies in financial technology, they can quickly benefit from new and very cost efficient ways to grow revenues. Online lending could be the first expertise to explore in order to welcome small business back and help them grow.

It is true that technology has enabled new entrants to offer innovative services not available at banks, either as a product offering or at a more competitive price.  It is also true that banks have been slow at embracing technology as a growth engine, mostly due to lack of capital to fund innovation. This is especially the case for smaller banks who tend to lack financial and human capital to invest heavily in R&D and innovate. Large banks with deep pockets have found ways to either build or partner and grow their presence in areas where technology offer a clear competitive edge. Large banks have in fact recognized the win-win rationale for partnering with Fintech, an opportunity also open to small banks. Large banks love Fintech because they can afford it. Small banks can as well.

How will the paradox divide disappear between banks and Fintech Alternative Lenders?  It will dissipate with the online lender taking time to educate banks about their efficient loan platforms and how they can help banks reach new customers, develop new funding sources and grow revenues, especially non-recourse fee income.  Banks should also be curious and consult with online lenders to better define how they can benefit from their technology and expertise in lending small.

StackSource Announces Lending Marketplace at LendIt Conference (CRE.Tech), Rated: B

Today was a big day for Tim Milazzo, his company StackSource and possibly commercial real estate lending as whole. Tim had been selected as a pitch finalist for the LendIt conference in New York.

But, Tim had an extra surprise in store for this big day. His company StackSource has been a tool for property lenders to centralize workflow. While they are a new company, emerging from the TechStars accelerator program late last year, they have already helped property owners process over $1B of loan offers on the platform. But, this was never the end game for Tim and his co-founder Nathan. They started the company with the idea of creating a marketplace for commercial real estate borrowers. Today, they not only pitched at LendIt, they also went live with the marketplace that they originally envisioned.

United Kingdom

Zopa reports record month of lending (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: AAA

Zopa has recorded its second consecutive month of record lending.

The peer-to-peer platform revealed that it lent more than £81m during February 2017 as it approved nearly 12,000 borrowers.

This was £24m more than for the same period last year.

The platform celebrated a record year of lending during 2016 as it passed the £2bn milestone and back in November it announced plans to launch a bank.

P2P Lender RateSetter Partners with Mortgage Aggregator Connective (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

P2P lender RateSetter announced a partnership with national mortgage aggregator Connective which aims to give accredited brokers access to their personal loan products.

The move is part of RateSetter’s ongoing focus on the broker channel to continue its growth in consumer and business lending. By joining Connective’s lending panel, RateSetter plans to help brokers improve client’s financial wellbeing in areas outside of the traditional mortgage offerings.

RateSetter returns fall as market demand rises (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RETURNS on RateSetter’s shorter-term accounts have fallen slightly due to changes in market demand.

The platform’s rolling market product was at 3.3 per cent last week and is now offering three per cent, its one year fix is now 2.9 per cent, down from three per cent, while its five year fix has actually increased slightly from 4.8 per cent to 4.9 per cent.

The rates are set by market demand on the RateSetter platform, but as of the end of March 2016 they were at 3.4 per cent for one month, 3.7 per cent for one year, 4.8 per cent for three years and 6.1 per cent for five years.

BondMason to increase bridging funding appetite (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer (P2P) service provider BondMason aims to expand its lending through bridging lenders in 2017, with over half of investment expected to be through non-P2P platforms.
The news follows a surge in demand for bridging finance in the final quarter of 2016, with the total lending figure for the year standing at £2.83bn.
Stephen added that while the bridging market has seen more competition from P2P lenders, it was mostly “around the edges”.

Misys backs gamification to educate next generation on money management (Zawya), Rated: A

Misys is making gamification an integral part of its Misys FusionBanking Essence Digital platform to help banks educate the next generation on better money management. Integrating Moroku’s GameSystem directly into the Essence Digital architecture enables banks to inject some fun into personal financial management (PFM) and help consumers achieve their savings goals.

With research research forecasting the mobile gaming market in MENA to be worth up to US$400m by 2021, the case for gamification in helping banks to attract, engage and retain customers is compelling. Banks stand to benefit from building greater trust with consumers and capturing market share. Gamification can also deliver a significant boost to customer experience. FusionBanking Essence Digital brings points, leaderboards and rewards to standard banking activity, to educate and also support savings and spend management.

China

China Consumer Finance Challenge Needs High-Tech Solution, China Rapid Finance CEO Tells LendIt (Broadway World), Rated: AAA

The challenge of expanding consumer finance to China’s vast population can only be effectively tackled with a high-tech solution that enables low-cost customer acquisition, Dr. Zhengyu (Zane) Wang, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of China Rapid Finance Limited (“CRF” or “the company”), told the LendIt USA 2017 conference.

Over the past two decades, China has emerged from being a market that in 2000 featured essentially no credit bureau, decision science, or consumer finance, Dr. Wang said in a March 7 keynote address at LendIt USA 2017, which was held at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City. China’s consumer finance market today boasts many of the same elements as the U.S. China now has a central bureau for credit reporting that covers 800 million people, while credit cards serve about 300 million people, he said.

Still, China’s consumer finance market has a long way to go, in a nation where non-mortgage credit is only 2 percent of GDP, Dr. Wang told the LendIt audience. Only about 16 percent of Chinese consumers have credit cards, compared with about 60 percent in the U.S.

MENA

Iran Launches a FinTech Association to Push for Development (Crypocoins News), Rated: AAA

Iranian financial technology companies have banded together to create Iran’s FinTech Association, several months after the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) suggested the idea, reports the Financial Tribune.

Known as FinTech A, the Iran FinTech Association is designed to bring industry players under a single area so that solutions can be found to their problems and improvements can be made between innovators and regulatory bodies.

Nasser Hakimi, director of CBI’s IT Department, said to the Financial Tribune, that he had proposed that FinTech companies develop a forum to figure out the challenges involved, identity key questions, as well as reach out to the regulator for solutions.

Last February, it was reported that while economic sanctions had been lifted against Iran, screening rules were still in place when trading with Iran, putting barriers in place for those within the U.S. and the EU who wanted to conduct bitcoin transactions within the country.

Asia

Indonesian P2P lending platform Amartha raises Series A, aims to disburse US $ 30M by end of year (e27), Rated: AAA

Indonesian P2P lending platform for unbankable society Amartha today announced that it has raised “seven digit” US Dollar in Series A round led by Mandiri Capital Indonesia (MCI).

Amartha plans to use the new funding to expand their coverage by creating mini-branch across Java and Bali, which they aim to complete by end of 2017.

Having had disbursed “more than” IDR68 billion (US$5 million) to 30,000 women who owns small businesses, the startup aims to disburse US$30 million to 100,000 borrowers by end of the year, with 10,000 active lenders on board.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday January 31 2017, Daily News Digest

p2p consumer credit applications

News Comments Today’s main news: Nyca Partners raises $125M for second FinTech VC fund Today’s main analysis: P2P lenders lead increase in personal loans. Corporate bond ratings. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Will the UK retain the FinTech crown? United States Nyca Partners raises $125M for second FinTech VC fund. GP:” We are curious to see in which […]

p2p consumer credit applications

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

Australia

Middle East

United States

Most Consumers Open to Robo-Only Retirement Advice (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: AAA

Most people are willing to trust robo-advisors for retirement planning and investment advice, but the majority also want human interaction when it comes to more complex tasks, according to a new survey from consulting firm Accenture.

Sixty-eight percent of people are open to robo-only advice for retirement planning and 78% say they’d welcome it for investing advice, according to a survey of close to 33,000 consumers, of which close to 10,000 were working with a professional wealth or asset manager, in 18 countries and regions conducted in May and June by Accenture.

Nonetheless, Accenture also found that 38% of consumers would switch to Google, Amazon or Facebook for financial advice services, while only 31% would go to one of the tech giants for banking and 29% for insurance.

Morningstar Corporate Credit Research Highlights (Morningstar), Rated: AAA

The levels in the corporate bond markets are the tightest that credit spreads have registered since the fall of 2014 and are significantly tighter than their long-term averages. The average spread of the Morningstar Corporate Bond Index is 42 basis points tighter than its long-term average of +168 since the end of 1998. The average spread of the Bank of America Merrill Lynch High Yield Master Index is currently 187 basis points tighter than its long-term average of +580 basis points since the end of 1996.

Currency Capital grabs funding from Lovell Minnick Partners (PE Hub), Rated: A

Lovell Minnick Partners, a private equity firm specializing in financial and related business services companies, today announced that it has made a growth capital investment in Currency Capital, LLC, an online equipment financing exchange serving owners of small- and medium-sized companies. The investment will support Currency Capital’s growth strategies. Financial terms of the private transaction were not disclosed.

With Currency Capital, borrowers are provided with unparalleled, instant access to financing options from hundreds of lenders with “one click,” making the entire application, selection, approval and funding process simple and transparent.

Currency Capital provided approximately $150 million in loans to customers in 2016. Equipment buyers are also able to purchase equipment for sale by the Company’s industry-leading partners: eBay, Big Tex Trailers, IronPlanet and Proxibid.

Nyca Partners Raises $ 125M For Second FinTech VC Fund (PYMNTS.com), Rated: B

Nyca Partners, the venture capital firm focused on the FinTech market, raised $125 million for a second fund. According to a report, Hans Morris, the former Visa president turned venture capitalist, created Nyca Partners in 2014, launching a $30 million fund. The fund invested in a slew of FinTech startups, including Lending Club, SigFig and Orchard. The new fund, which includes 10 institutional investors and 29 limited partner advisors, has made investments in about a dozen startups, including Embroker and Ladder, two insurance FinTechs.

United Kingdom

Will the UK Retain the Fintech Crown? (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The change in government, and the ramifications of the Brexit decision, has clearly stressed the UK’s prominence in innovative finance. Continental Europe is attempting to take advantage of the decision to depart Europe and Asian business centers, like Singapore and Hong Kong, are seeking to claim the Fintech crown.

Roche-Saunders is a partner at the firm of Bates, Wells & Braithwaite in London, where she manages their financial services regulatory consultancy.

Crowdfund Insider: 2016 was a choppy year for some Fintech/Crowdfunding platforms.

Gillian Roche-Saunders: 2016 was a year of highs and lows, and I think it’s fair to say the lows have received more press.

One of my key takeaways from the year is how crowdfunding now feels established as an alternative source of capital.

Crowdfund Insider: What about Peer to Peer lending platforms? You predicted last year there would be more robust rules for online lenders like the handling of client money, vetting, and wind downs. Is that still going to occur?

Gillian Roche-Saunders: What I didn’t predict was that there could be such a disconnect over the definition of peer-to-peer lending activity.  The Treasury drafted article 36H specifically to capture the peer-to-peer lending industry’s activities, yet we’ve spent much of the year debating with the FCA whether the industry is actually undertaking that same activity.  It could sound like quite a dull and technical debate until you realise that only article 36H loan agreements can go into the Innovative Finance ISA.  The knock-on effects of the FCA and Treasury not being joined up on this point are significant for consumers and platforms.   

Crowdfund Insider: How is the current political environment for Fintech? Does the government embrace the strategic importance of Fintech for the UK innovation economy?

Gillian Roche-Saunders: If you’d asked me a year ago I would have said that political support was beyond dispute.  We had the best ecosystem for Fintech with a regulator and government behind it 100%.  I still think we’re heading in the right direction, and let’s not forget it’s been quite a year for the UK, but it does seem as if the government has taken their foot off the Fintech pedal.

Crowdfund Insider: Are you seeing additional Brexit driven concern for Fintech firms? Anyone moving to Paris or Berlin?

Gillian Roche-Saunders: There continues to be a lot of chatter about the Brexit risk, and comments that we will see our talent and companies move abroad.  Anecdotally, we have seen the opposite.  

As for UK companies, the impact of Brexit will vary depending on the client base.  Institutionally focused players, like enterprise tech and Regtech firms, may find their client base moving overseas and need to follow. The challenges in operating in a truly cross-border way have meant that crowdfunding hasn’t been reliant on Europe and that is likely to insulate the industry now.

Crowdfund Insider: What are your predictions for 2017 regarding alternative finance? Another year of growth & innovation or consolidation?

Gillian Roche-Saunders: It’s stating the obvious but 2017 will be the year of the Innovative Finance ISA.  Many firms have been laying the groundwork on that for quite some time but we’ve seen a real spike in activity since autumn.

We can certainly expect more innovation generally.  As platforms continue to compete for profile and customers, new opportunities to differentiate will be taken up.  It will be interesting to see if there is more cross fertilisation between the lending and investment models. We’ve advised clients to focus on one route or another initially – the FCA may treat both sectors under the broad church of crowdfunding but the models are very different – but this year may be the first time when bringing together both under one roof makes sense.

I would expect moves towards consolidation too.

Crowd2Fund to offer P2P white label product (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

CROWD2FUND is rolling out a white label solution for institutions wishing to expand into peer-to-peer lending.

The platform, which is one of only four P2P lenders to offer the Innovative Finance ISA, is already in talks with potential partners.

Institutions – such as investment firms – will be able to use Crowd2Fund’s “Powered by” feature to operate as a P2P platform under their own brand. Crowd2Fund says it has already seen “significant demand” from institutions looking to leverage their customer base, although it declined to name which ones.

Financial technology firm Orca in £280,000 seed funding boost (The Irish News), Rated: A

BELAST-based fintech company Orca Money has raised £280,000 seed capital which it will use to build on it peer-to-peer lending focused financial media site Orca Retail, launched a year ago.

The alternative finance market has continued to flourish in the UK, with the peer-to-peer lending market growing to £3.13 billion last year and featuring more than 177,000 investors.

A third product, Orca Investments, will be launched early 2018 allowing retail investors and IFAs to invest in a diversified fund, comprised of peer-to-peer investments.

Australia

Peer-to-peer lenders lead increase in personal loans (The Sydney Morning Herald), Rated: AAA

The latest Quarterly Consumer Credit Demand Index from credit agency Veda shows the number of personal loan applications for the December 2016 quarter was 12.4 per cent higher than the December 2015 quarter.

There was a significant pick-up in the growth of personal loan applications in all states and territories, led by NSW and the Northern Territory with an increase of 14.5 per cent, Queensland with 13.1 per cent and Victoria with 12.5 per cent.

Overall consumer credit applications are up 7.7 per cent, with credit card applications rising 3 per cent and mortgage applications up 6.6 per cent.

However, the Veda figures reveal wide geographic variations with mortgage applications.

They were 14.9 per cent higher in the Australian Capital Territory, 11.2 per cent higher in Tasmania, 10.6 per cent higher in Victoria and 9.6 per cent higher in NSW.

However, in Western Australia, applications were 10.6 per cent lower and 10.8 per cent lower in the Northern Territory.

Middle East

Treasury plans law on peer-to-peer lending (Haaretz), Rated: A

Israel’s Finance Ministry released a draft version of a proposed law Monday that would encourage online peer-to-peer lending by creating a regulatory framework for it. The new law will also create protections for the people lending money through P2P websites, as well as for the borrowers – a move the treasury hopes will give the nascent industry more legitimacy and enable it to become a more serious competitor to the banks and credit card companies.

The Capital Markets Authority will be responsible for enforcing the proposed regulations.
read more:

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday January 18 2017, Daily News Digest

Morningstar

News Comments Today’s main news: PRA resets FSCS limit at 85K BP. SoFi double downs on mortgages. Today’s main analysis: High-yield bonds outperform investment grade. Today’s thought-provoking articles: ApplePie podcast on franchise financing in MPL. Dianrong hits year-on-year increase of 148%. FinTech lending opening opps for SMEs in Indonesia. United States Mortgages take center stage at SoFi. AT: “It’s unclear […]

Morningstar

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

Asia

News Summary

United States

Mortgages Taking Center Stage at Online Lender SoFi (National Mortgage News), Rated: AAA

Social Finance, the online lender that made its name refinancing student loans for high-earning millennials, is doubling down on mortgages as rising interest rates are expected to make originations scarcer.

The company says it has endured by eschewing the strategy of some of its competitors in favor of product diversification and building up capital.

With interest rates expected to rise in 2017, loans to purchase homes will find stronger demand than mortgage refinancings. SoFi says it’s well suited to compete in such an environment — roughly two-thirds of its mortgage originations are purchase loans.

Beyond product offerings, SoFi is exploring the potential applications in mortgages of new technologies such as blockchains — the distributed, auditable, cryptographically secured ledgers that underpin bitcoin and other digital currencies. The company is among several groups studying whether these systems offer a better way to track ownership of real-world assets — in this case, real estate.

SoFi will seek growth in mortgages partly by entering new markets. It began marketing to consumers in San Francisco, where its earliest student loan product customers were.

Now, it is picking new markets based on demand for its primary jumbo product.

So far, SoFi has received licenses in 27 states with the addition of New York.

Next on its list is Massachusetts — eventually the company wants to be licensed in all 50 states.

Morningstar Corporate Credit Research Highlights (Morningstar Email), Rated: AAA

Since the beginning of the year, the average corporate credit spread of the Morningstar Corporate Bond Index, our proxy for the investment-grade bond market, has tightened 1 basis point, whereas in the high-yield market, the credit spread of the Bank of America Merrill Lynch High Yield Master Index has tightened 19 basis points. Between tightening credit spreads and a slight rebound in Treasury bonds, fixed-income securities have performed well. Year to date, the Morningstar Corporate Bond Index has risen 0.53% and the high-yield index has risen 1.08%. However, risk assets with higher betas have risen even higher; for example, the S&P 500 has risen 1.6% over the same period.

At these levels, both investment-grade and high-yield corporate bonds are trading much tighter than their long-term averages, and the S&P 500 is only slightly below its all-time high. Currently, the average spread of the Morningstar Corporate Bond Index is +127, which is 41 basis points tighter than its longterm average of +168 since the end of 1998. The average spread of the Bank of America Merrill Lynch High Yield Master Index is currently +402, which is 178 basis points tighter than its long-term average of +580 basis points since the end of 1996. As a point of reference, the tightest that the Morningstar Corporate Bond Index has ever traded was +80 in February 2007, and the tightest the high-yield index registered was +241 in June 2007.

Denise Thomas of ApplePie Capital (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

So it’s very important that the brand know how to select operators.

The second is that they know how to select and carve out the United States’ for territories because if you think about the number of people that need to support and purchase goods and services in an area, you have to know that that business is located in a spot where that’s going to be a positive unit economic situation because that’s how franchisees make money. When the franchisee makes money so does the parent franchisor because they’re paid in royalty fees off of the revenues of those units. So it’s very, very important that they get those two things right and there’s aligned incentives in that.

The third thing they have to do is franchisors have to support their franchisees in many ways; training, the blueprint for how to start that business, how to market in the area, advertising dollars for national marketing or local marketing. They have to provide a lot of ongoing support to make that franchisee successful and so we interview, we have a very multi-dimensional screening process for the franchisor and then they in turn screen their potential operators and many franchise businesses like to have an operator that opens more than one unit because they’re not training someone twice and they’re really getting leverage. We like those too because they’ve already shown that they can succeed in one location. So it’s a very interesting model because of the leverage points you get all the way through the system.

Listen to the full podcast.

SoFi officially licensed to lend in New York (Housingwire), Rated: A

State estimated to be future No. 2 market for SoFi

After roughly a year to get finalized, SoFi officially received its license to lend in New York, which is one of the most difficult states to acquire a license in, Michael Tannenbaum, SoFi’s chief revenue officer, said in an interview.

After roughly a year to get finalized, SoFi officially received its license to lend in New York, which is one of the most difficult states to acquire a license in, Michael Tannenbaum, SoFi’s chief revenue officer, said in an interview.

However, he noted that there are a lot of nuances to New York licensing and not too many out of state lenders receive approval.

It’s a very concentrated market that already has an awareness of SoFi and will likely be as large as California in business, which is SoFi’s No. 1 market, he noted. Washington State is slated as SoFi’s No. 2 market right now. SoFi is currently licensed in 29 states, also jumping into Montana recently.

From here, Tannenbaum said Massachusetts would be the last remaining big state that SoFi needs to jump into, pointing out the potential Boston could bring, especially since SoFi already has a solid student loan base there.

Rust Belt City Gets Rated Highest Yield for Single Family Rental Market (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

HomeUnion, a new online real estate management platform that helps landlords invest in property and then rent it out, has published their list of top Single Family Rental (SFR) markets in terms of yield. Cleveland is the best market, according to HomeUnion with yields of 10.9%. Meanwhile, hot metropolitan markets like San Francisco and Los Angeles are at the bottom of the yield barrel (Orange County is at the very bottom).

Alternatives firms get gobbled up (Pensions & Investments), Rated: A

Alternative investment consultant acquisitions in the past 12 months include:

nGeneral consulting firm Pavilion Financial Corp. acquired alternative investment consulting firm Altius Holdings Ltd. in September. Pavilion already purchased Sacramento, Calif.-based private equity consultant LP Capital in 2014. Pavilion now has $60 billion in alternative assets under advisement.

nSeattle-based consultant Verus Advisory Inc. closed its acquisition of San Francisco-based private equity consulting firm Strategic Investment Solutions on Dec. 31, 2015. The combined firm has responsibility for more than $380 billion in assets under advisement. Eight months earlier, Verus started bulking up its alternative investment capability when it contracted with hedge fund and private credit consulting firm Aksia LLC to gain access to its hedge fund investment team and due diligence reviews.

OnDeck strikes agreement with WEX to offer financing to small business customers (SNL), Rated: B

Online lender On Deck Capital will provide business financing to small business customers of payment solutions provider WEX.

2017 Cloud Lending Summit & Expo to Feature Larry Chiavaro (Benzinga), Rated: B

Larry Chiavaro, Executive Vice President of First Associates Loan Servicing will be moderating two panels at the iiBIG Marketplace Cloud Lending Summit and Expo on Thursday, January 19th.

The Funding & Liquidity in Marketplace Cloud Lending session will feature Chiavaro and other industry leaders, providing insights into securitization, working with institutional investors, crowdfunding, secondary markets and more. The Loan Origination, Servicing & Collection Solutions for Cloud-based Marketplace Lenders session will delve into the latest developments and best practices to increase efficiency and maximize portfolio performance.

United Kingdom

FSCS limit reset to £85k, but what’s the impact for P2P? (altfi), Rated: AAA

The Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) has announced its intention to raise the level of coverage provided by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. In a newly published policy statement, after factoring in feedback from interest parties, the PRA has proposed to reset the deposit protection limit to £85k as of 30 January 2017.

When the scheme’s limit was lowered to £75k in July, RateSetter CEO Rhydian Lewis said that it only strengthened the case to “refresh the FSCS”. But is the resetting of the limit to £85k bad news for peer-to-peer lending?

The Bank of England dropped the base rate to the historic low of 0.25 per cent in August. The peer-to-peer lending industry was overwhelmingly positive in reacting to the move, however a number have since been forced to adjust their own rates in the context of increasingly competitive credit markets in the UK.

Meet the P2P lender that wants to take the awkwardness out of lending money to your mates (BDaily), Rated: A

Flender has been in development for the last two years and is built around harnessing the power of social networks, both online and offline, to help individuals and businesses raise capital.

He said: “We were really shocked to discover how big that was. We surveyed the size of the friends lending market across the UK and when you translate that into value, we almost fell off our chairs.”

Using the example of someone trying to fund an MBA, Cavanagh explained that while people could theoretically do a whip around of friends and family, asking to borrow £500 to £1000 from 10 to 15 people, no one does due to the inherent complications and awkwardness associated with such lending.

Using the example of someone trying to fund an MBA, Cavanagh explained that while people could theoretically do a whip around of friends and family, asking to borrow £500 to £1000 from 10 to 15 people, no one does due to the inherent complications and awkwardness associated with such lending.

Cavanagh disagrees and argues that by making it both more formal and so easy to do, Flender’s solution is actually a lot less awkward than lending £500 to a mate, which is then never paid back.

“It’s going to maintain friendships more than anything,” he argued. “[Informal lending] is already going on to the value of £2.9bn a year, and that’s creating problems because it’s not formalised.

“It’s going to maintain friendships more than anything,” he argued. “[Informal lending] is already going on to the value of £2.9bn a year, and that’s creating problems because it’s not formalised.

P2P lender Saving Stream reaches £250m milestone (Mortgage Introducer), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lending platform Saving Stream has raised £250m in capital from property investors since its launch in 2012.

The platform, which is owned by bridging and development finance provider Lendy Finance, provides loans up to 70% loan-to-value and has attracted 13,000 registered users.

The amount invested has increased by £150m to £250m in the last 12 months, with investors making an annual return of up to 12%.

Orca Money is one of the leading research and comparison facilities for P2P lending in the UK (Invezz), Rated: B

With the Orca Money comparison engine, IFISA investors are encouraged to research and compare thoroughly before they invest, as the rules are different to other ISA products. Orca research materials translate the guidelines governing the Innovative Finance ISA into simple, consumable and easy-to-understand content. Retail investors can get a quick overview of IFISA providers or dig into greater detail about the IFISA and/or the P2P lending platforms who offer them.

China

Dianrong Announces a Year-on-Year Increase of 148% (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

Dianrong, a Chinese P2P lending pioneer and technology leader announces that 2016 loan originations reached approximately 16.23 Billion RMB, representing a 148% increase over 2015. Growth in loans issued was funded by an astonishing 3.62 million investors, illustrating the breadth and scope of Dianrong’s business model.

During the year, Dianrong was named one of China’s top three online lenders by the renowned rating website, Wdzj.com, and Yingcan Consulting Company in their “Development Index Rating of the Top 100 Online Lending Platforms for October 2016”.

Last year marked the fourth consecutive year of strong growth in origination for Dianrong, hitting approximately RMB 60 million, RMB 790 million, RMB 6.55 billion and RMB 16.23 billion in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 respectively.

Harneys wins two Deal of the Year awards in China (Cayman Compass), Rated: A

Offshore law firm Harneys has won two Deal of the Year awards from China Business Law Journal for its work on the Kaisa Group’s debt restructuring and HengXinLi’s launch of the first global real estate crowdfunding platform in China. Award winners were announced on Jan. 13.

The first global real estate crowdfunding platform in China is designed to provide Chinese investors with access to real estate in major international cities. The platform is aimed at middle-class Chinese nationals who want to invest in real estate in countries such as the U.K. and the U.S.

Innovation economy is next for China: Sky9 Capital founder (Asia Times), Rated: A

How many investment projects do you usually review, and how many do you typically invest in?

We look at over 1,000 opportunities a year, of which we typically do something like five to six projects. I am pretty sure that China will have the world’s biggest companies in fintech, robotics, and areas like cloud computing and software.

If you have to pick one, which start-up in China looks the most promising to you?

Hard to pick a winner, but in my portfolio, I am very excited about the prospects of Tujia, the Airbnb of China; FangDD, the largest online/offline real estate transaction platform; and PPDai, the largest pure-play peer-to-peer lending platform. These all have the opportunities to become decacorns.

LendIt China Launches LendIt News on WeChat (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

LendIt, the world’s biggest show in lending and fintech, made several major announcements today related to China.  First, LendIt announced the official launch of Lang Di Fintech 2017, its 2nd annual Chinese fintech conference held on July 15-16 at the Kerry Hotel, Pudong, Shanghai. Second, LendIt announced its partnership with JadeValue Fintech, a leading Chinese fintech incubator, to co-host the 2nd annual Chinese edition of the PitchIt@LendIt startup competition.  Finally, LendIt officially launched its daily fintech news channel called LendIt News on its brand new Lang Di WeChat channel.

This daily news brief is curated by the LendIt content staff to highlight the most important fintech news stories from around the world. This is the first launch of LendIt News, which rolls out in the U.S. in the coming months.  You can find LendIt News at or at WeChat account langdifintech.

Asia

Fintech lending opens up opportunities for SMEs (The Jakarta Post), Rated: AAA

According to the World Bank, only 36 percent of Indonesians have access to banking services and merely 13 percent borrow from formal financial institutions. While there are almost 60 million MSMEs, which provide over 100 million jobs in the country. Most of them cannot get the financing they need to expand.

Fintech-based lending can potentially fill the country’s existing financing gap of almost Rp 1 quadrillion (US$75 billion). In addition, peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding fintech particularly can tap into the MSMEs, of which only 20 percent are currently bankable. Giving them access to initial or additional funding will definitely enable them to launch or to expand their business.

OJK issues regulations to regulate peer-to-peer lending (Lexology), Rated: B

The IT-Based Lending Regulation is the most developed articulation we have seen of a set of basic rules for the conduct of marketplace lending in Indonesia, although the regulation provides that further details regarding many detailed operational aspects will be regulated in further OJK Circular Letters.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor