Thursday July 11 2019, Weekly News Digest

Asset-backed securities

News Comments Today’s main news: Morningstar completes DBRS purchase. Figure issues $85M in loans per month. Zopa chief says banks are trying to put fintech lenders in a box. DBRS praises Funding Circle. Yirendai’s Q1 results. Octopus expands into Germany. Today’s main analysis: Over 60% of purchase borrowers received mortgage rates under 4.5% last week (A […]

The post Thursday July 11 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Asset-backed securities

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China/Hong Kong

European Union

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Former SoFi CEO Mike Cagney’s New Blockchain Startup Is Issuing $ 85 Million In Loans A Month (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Since the streamlined HELOC Mike Cagney, the co-founder and former CEO of fintech unicorn Social Finance (SoFi), knows that it is essential to focus on customer experience to build a loyal client base. Today, he is using that knowledge to create a platform aimed at driving mainstream adoption of blockchain technology in the financial sector.

Over 60% of Purchase Borrowers Received Mortgage Rates Under 4.25% Last Week (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

Mortgage Rate Distribution

  • For 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages, approximately 60.1% of purchase borrowers received offers of 4.25% or less. That is up from 57% of borrowers the previous week. A year ago, 0.06% of offers were under 4.25%.
  • Across all 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage purchase applications on LendingTree, 4.125% was the most common interest rate. This rate was offered to 14.3% of borrowers.
  • Of 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage refinance borrowers, 72.8% received offers of 4.25% or less, which is up from 70.4% the previous week. A year ago, no refinance offers were under 4.25%.
  • Across all 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage refinance applications, the most common interest rate was 3.875%, offered to 18.9% of borrowers.

Mortgage Rate Competition Index

  • Across all 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage purchase applications on LendingTree, the index was 1.19, down from 1.22 the previous week.
  • How big of a deal is it to get a mortgage APR that’s 1.19 percentage points lower than the competition? Over 30 years, that could translate to $56,826 in savings on a $300,000 loan (see Mortgage Savings Tracker graphic below).
  • The index was wider in the refinance market at 1.35, up from 1.34 the previous week. Refinance borrowers could have saved $65,108 by shopping for the lowest rate.
Source: LendingTree

It’s Taking Less Time to Close on a Mortgage in 2019 (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

  • The time to close in new purchase transactions has been steadily declining, from 74 days in 2017 to 51 days in 2018 and just 40 days thus far in 2019.
  • For refinances, the decline has been less dramatic: from 55 days in 2017 to 43 days in 2018 and just 38 days so far in 2019.
  • Some of the decline can be attributed to lower mortgage volumes, as refinancings have been on a downward trend. But increased digitization is also playing a major role.
  • Closing times vary based on the characteristics of the mortgage type and borrower. Having a higher credit score can knock a few days off: Purchase borrowers with scores above 760 averaged 38 days in 2019 compared with 45 days for those below 720. Refinancings did not show much variation by credit score.
  • Loan-to-value ratios below 80% had shorter closing times for refinances, at 37 days compared with 42 days on mortgages with a ratio above 95% in 2019.
  • Loan amounts also affect closing times, with lower amounts, perhaps surprisingly, taking the most time. Loans under $150,000 averaged 47 days compared with 39 days for those above the conforming limit ($484,350 in 2019). Why? Higher loan amounts are typically being made to more credit-worthy borrowers. Lower-priced homes may be in some form of distress or have some type of damage; lenders thus may require more extensive appraisals to better estimate the home’s value and this adds time to the process.

Mortgage Fintech Innovation (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

In broad-brush strokes, mortgage innovation centers on:

  • Customer experience (Better, Roostify, Blend, HomeCaptain) solutions are re-inventing the onerous mortgage with a digital experience, speeding decision times and opening up the lending buy box in the process.
  • Intermediation (OpenDoor, HomeLight, Zillow) – Some platforms are stepping in between buyers and sellers to provide liquidity, capturing transaction fees in the process
  • Data (House Canary, Zillow, Atom Data) – are amassing large data sets to providing accurate, standardized pricing models for investment decisioning
  • Banking 2.0 (SoFi, ZeroDown) – seek to provide a range of banking or investing services to consumers
Source: PeerIQ

Guaranteed Rate Companies Breaks 15 Company Records with Exceptional June Production Volume (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Guaranteed Rate Companies, one of the largest retail mortgage lenders in the nation, announces 15 new company milestones—breaking its monthly total locked volume for the fourth consecutive month in June.

Breaks its record of total locked volume with $5.31 Billion earned across more than 15,000 units

Can Commercial Real Estate Investment Truly Be Democratized? (Commercial Observer), Rated: AAA

Most real estate crowdfunding sites continue to highlight the equalizing benefits of the model. Fundrise provides “access to a once-unattainable investment class,” and Rich Uncles, which has a minimum of $5, wants to “level the playing field” for the average investor. The sites offer investments in funds that focus on income-producing assets, like single-tenant office, multifamily housing and convenience centers nationwide.

Jeff Holzmann, the former COO of crowdfunding site iintoo, says the definition of an accredited investor is very divisive: “You can have an economics degree, and if you make $199,000 a year, you can’t invest, but Kim Kardashian can walk right on up and buy a multifamily building for $200 million. Should our bar be set by how much money you make?”

Ryan Williams Is Bringing the ‘Proptech’ Revolution to Real Estate Investing (Fortune), Rated: A

Real estate is an industry notoriously stuck in its ways and slow to change. Cash-generating, bricks-and-mortar assets are at the very heart of the enterprise, and in many ways, business is conducted the same way it was 100 years ago. Until recently, real estate owners, investors and brokers had little patience for the kinds of technological advances that have swept through myriad other industries.

But that’s all changing now. Just as there’s fintech, medtech, edtech and regtech, so is there proptech—and there are few companies in the realm of real estate technology as closely watched as Cadre, led by a 31-year-old Blackstone Group and Goldman Sachs alum named Ryan Williams.

7 Reasons Why Long Distance Investing Isn’t As Risky As You Think (Forbes), Rated: A

In 2019 we have many ways we can verify the information we are provided when we invest outside of our own market. These methods will be the focus of this article. By the time you’re done with this, I think you’ll have a much better understanding of how to conduct due diligence, why out out state investing isn’t as risky as you thought, and why I’m such a big proponent of it

1.The Internet

There is very little you can’t find out with a little online searching.

2. You Can Find Rent Estimates Easily

Websites like Rentometer and Craigslist make a preliminary rent search fast and easy.

7. You Can Find Comps Yourself Online

BlueVine Reaches $ 2 Billion In Total Funded Volume (Bluevine), Rated: A

This past month, BlueVine achieved a major milestone, having provided access to more than $2 billion in total working capital to businesses across the nation.

Finitive Announces $ 100 Million Credit Facility For Platinum Auto (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Finitive announced on Monday its client Platinum Auto of Tampa Bay secured a $100 million credit facility through its platform. Platinum notably purchases auto loan contracts from a network of over 300 auto dealers in the southeast region of the U.S.

Affirm lets you pay off a large online purchase over time — here are 35 stores that accept it (Business Insider), Rated: A

You can apply for a loan as you’re shopping at one of many Affirm’s partner stores, which include women’s and men’s fashion, furniture, sports and fitness, electronics, jewelry, and watch brands.

You can see which online retailers accept Affirm below.

They’re divided by category and we’ve also designated which ones offer loans starting at 0% APR with an asterisk.

Will Abercrombie & Fitch’s “Buy Now, Pay Later” Plan Lock in Gen Z Shoppers? (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF) recently partnered with payment solutions provider Klarna to let U.S. shoppers split purchases into up to four interest-free payments over two months. A&F is aiming this “buy now, pay later” system — which its rival Urban Outfitters (NASDAQ:URBN) has also adopted — at younger shoppers with less spending power.

But will “buy now, pay later” work?

Only a third of millennials have credit cards according to Bankrate. The average millennial in the U.S. also has a net worth of just $8,000 according to Deloitte, which gives them significantly less spending power than previous generations. Most Gen Z shoppers don’t have credit cards yet. They mostly use debit cards or linked payment apps, which restrict purchases to the amount of cash in their bank accounts.

rue21 is Totally on Trend with the Addition of Klarna (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Klarna, the global alternative payments provider, is getting trendy with the Millennial favorite fashion brand rue21. Customers can choose to pay with four equal payments collected bi-weekly – with no interest or fees. With Klarna, these cool customers get the ability to stay ahead of trends even faster with a smooth checkout and a payment option that boosts flexibility and purchase power.

The necessity for businesses to keep up with the customer is increasingly important considering that U.S. shoppers admit to buying clothes and accessories online an average of 10 times a year. For Gen Z shoppers, aged 16-24, this number increases to 18 times per year, with nearly a quarter (23%) of them admitting to shopping online 1-3 times per month. Millennials are shown to shop online 14 times per year and the 55+ age group, 8 times per year. Considering these Millennial and Gen Z demographics are credit card averse and debt conscious, Klarna delivers an appealing and accessible method for shoppers to take control of their finances in a manageable way.

Metro Denver businesses mostly seeing green, not red (Denver Post), Rated: A

Of 42,610 businesses in metro Denver, 29,560 or 69.4 percent reported turning a profit, according to an analysis from online lender LendingTree.

That placed fifth out of the 50 metro areas that LendingTree ranked based on Census Bureau data. Seattle had a business profitability rate of 70.9 percent, making it the leader nationally. The only other cities ahead of Denver were Louisville, Ky.; Indianapolis and Portland, Ore.

U.S. Consumer Borrowing Climbs on Bigger Credit Card Balances (Bloomberg), Rated: A

U.S. consumer debt climbed in May at about the same pace as a month earlier, led by the largest advance in revolving debt outstanding since October, suggesting Americans’ favorable economic outlook is underpinning continued spending.

Total credit rose $17.1 billion from the prior month, in line with the median estimate of economists, following a $17.5 billion gain in April, Federal Reserve figures showed Monday. While credit card and other revolving debt outstanding increased at a faster rate, non-revolving credit posted the smallest increase in almost a year.

Small Business Loan Approvals at Big Banks Hit Record Highs (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Approval rates for small business loan applications inched up to yet another record high of 27.6% at big banks ($10 billion+ in assets) in June, while the approval percentage also climbed at small banks, hitting 50% for the first time in 2019, according to the Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Indexreleased today.

Small bank approvals of small business loan applications climbed one-tenth of a percent from 49.9% in May to 50% in June.

Small business loan approval rates among alternative lenders dropped one-tenth of a percent to 57.0% in June, down a notch from 57.1% in May.

LendingTree Survey Finds 45% of Newlyweds Went into Debt for Their Wedding (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Approximately 45% of newlyweds between the ages of 18 and 53 went into debt to pay for their wedding. And once married, nearly half of the newlyweds who obtained wedding-related debt said money has caused them to consider divorce. On the flip side, only 9% of couples without wedding-related debt contemplate divorce.

LendingTree released its study on newlyweds and wedding expenses.

How Using Fintech Can Help Pay Off Student Loans (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Companies like SoFi, Laurel Road and Splash Financial are just a few of the fintech industry names that have made their way into the student lending world.

Credible. This is a platform that allows you to compare student loan refinance rates from eight different lenders.

LendKey. Similar to Credible, Lendkey is a platform that allows the borrower to compare refinance rates side by side.

CommonBond. CommonBond for Business offers a flex contribution program that includes an option to directly contribute to paying down employee student loans, or to work with employees on financial literacy techniques for reducing their debt.

Gradifi. Gradifi is another fintech offering refinance options, bundled with employee benefits packages called SLP, or “student loan paydown”.

Earnest. This fintech offers refinance options to individuals with a more limited credit history that may not qualify for other traditional options.

FutureFuel. FutureFuel uses behavioral economics, which is the study of human behavior to explain economic decisions people make.

3 Alternative Financing Options for Small Businesses in 2019 (Digital Journal), Rated: B

Online finance is a very popular option to emerge of late. A few click on the website can bring about quick processing and loan approval.

Another alternative financing option is that of merchant cash advance.

Crowdfunding is an innovative and extremely popular way to raise money for new ideas, concepts, prototypes and creative products.

New Study on Digital Identity Shows Changing Consumer Behaviors (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Today, according to Pew Research Center more than 50 million American adults are mobile-only consumers.

Each year, IDology publishes a Consumer Digital Identity Study aimed at giving businesses visibility into how consumer preferences and opinions related to identity and fraud are shifting. This year’s study confirms the continued movement toward mobile, finding that in the last 12 months, for the first time, consumers opened more new accounts online with their mobile devices than on computers. A closer look at the data shows that 50 million American consumers (20% of all online adults) registered for new accounts exclusively on a mobile phone, up 10% from last year. This growing number has implications for financial service providers as they strive to keep fraud out while giving consumers a seamless digital experience.

Online Lending Startup Tries To Push Usury Suit To Arbitration (Law360), Rated: B

Online lending startup MoneyLion told a North Carolina federal court Tuesday that a suit over alleged unlicensed payday lending belongs in arbitration, arguing the proposed class of borrowers had signed valid arbitration agreements when taking out their loans.

United Kingdom

Zopa boss Jaidev Janardana: big banks are trying to ‘put fintech lenders in a box’ (The Telegraph), Rated: AAA

In just a few months, a string of Zopa’s rivals in peer-to-peer lending have collapsed. Others have exited the sector altogether.

The latest company to fall into administration, Lendy, resulted in £165m of customer cash being put on the line and affected more than 20,000 investors.

Zopa survey finds Brits are more open about bank balance than Netflix password (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

A survey of 2,000 adults by the peer-to-peer lender found that 47 per cent of respondents felt more comfortable revealing details about their bank accounts with their partner than their most intimate secret, while the same percentage would prefer to give an insight into their finances over their Netflix password.

Zopa looks to grow secured car finance offering (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

ZOPA is readying to launch its secured car finance product as a direct offer on its website, as it looks to expand this segment of the business.

Ratings agency backs Funding Circle strategy to tighten lending (AltFi), Rated: AAA

SME focused peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle was correct to proactively take the decision to tighten its lending criteria in pulling back from higher-yielding lower-quality loans, according to ratings agency DBRS.

Investor fintech demand drives record six months for Crowdcube (AltFi), Rated: A

Crowdcube saw revenues soar 39 per cent to £3.72m in the first half of 2019, compared to the same period in 2018, with £103.4m pledged to companies through the platform.

NatWest-backed Esme hits £60m lending milestone (AltFi), Rated: A

Esme Loans said it has hit over £60m of lending to UK small businesses just two years after its launch.

The small business lender unit said its loans have leapt 20 per cent since the end of April.

Habito launches buy-to-let mortgages (Which), Rated: A

Online mortgage broker Habito has launched a comprehensive range of buy-to-let mortgages, as it makes its first foray into lending.

The brokers offers a range of two and five-year loans for landlords, as well as more niche three, seven and 10-year fixed terms.

FCA misconduct probes into retail financial services firms increase by a third (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE NUMBER of Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) cases opened into misconduct in retail financial services has increased by 29 per cent in the past year.

The number of cases has increased to 101 for the 12 months ended 31 March, up from 78 the previous year, the FCA said in its annual report on Tuesday.

The regulator also said that the overall number of enforcement cases it is undertaking is up by 31 per cent over the past year – rising to 650 from 496 at the beginning of the year.

OakNorth lends £19.5m to Care Concern Group (Fintech Finance), Rated: B

Klarna teams up with UK festival We Out Here (Retail Tech Innovation Hub), Rated: B

PayTech venture Klarna has announced a partnership with new jazz and electric festival We Out Here.

It will unveil a ‘Smoooth Sanctuary’ at the event, which will be held in Cambridgeshire in August.

China/Hong Kong

Yirendai Reports First Quarter 2019 Financial Results, Closing of Business Realignment Transactions with CreditEase (GlobeNewswire), Rated: AAA

First Quarter 2019 Operational Highlights

Consumer Credit—Yiren Credit

  • Total loan originations in the first quarter of 2019 reached RMB 10.9 billion (US$1.6 billion), representing a decrease of 45% from RMB 19.8 billion in the first quarter of 2018.
  • Cumulative number of borrowers served reached 4,404,812, representing an increase of 15% from 3,824,341 in the first quarter of 2018.
  • Number of borrowers in the first quarter of 2019 was 149,715, representing a decrease of 48% from 287,166 in the first quarter of 2018.
  • The percentage of loan volume generated by repeat borrowers was 38.8% in the first quarter of 2019.
  • Total outstanding principal balance of loans reached RMB 63,213.8 million (US$9,419.2 million) as of March 31, 2019, representing a decrease of 16% from RMB 75,271.5 million March 31, 2018.

Reviewing China Rapid Finance Limited (XRF)’s and X Financial (NYSE:XYF)’s results (NBO News), Rated: A

This is a contrast between China Rapid Finance Limited (NYSE:XRF) and X Financial (NYSE:XYF) based on their analyst recommendations, profitability, institutional ownership, risk, dividends, earnings and valuation. The two companies are Credit Services and they also compete with each other.

Earnings & Valuation

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
China Rapid Finance Limited 1 0.27 N/A -0.85 0.00
X Financial 5 0.00 N/A 0.85 6.34

Table 1 shows the top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation for China Rapid Finance Limited and X Financial.

Court Upholds Ruling That Sent Two Peer-to-Peer Lending Executives to Prison for Life (Caixin Global), Rated: AAA

Shanghai Kuailu Investment Group Co. Ltd., along with two affiliated companies, and 15 defendants were convicted of fraudulent fundraising or illegal fundraising or both, according to the final ruling (link in Chinese) made by the Shanghai High People’s Court on Tuesday.

Kuailu, along with its affiliates, illegally raised more than 43.4 billion yuan ($6.3 billion) from the public, causing 40,000 people to take financial losses, the court said.

Foreign Investment Restrictions in P2P Lending Intermediaries (Lexology), Rated: A

The Interim Administrative Measures for the Business Activities of Peer-to-Peer Lending Information Intermediaries define “peer-to-peer lending” as direct lending/borrowing realized between peers on an internet platform. Peers include natural persons, legal persons and other organizations.

Bitmain’s Affluent Co-Founder Establishes the New Crypto Startup Matrixport (All Stocks), Rated: A

With the hope of capitalizing on the recent rise of the Bitcoin price, the co-founder of the mining giant Bitmain, Wu Jihan, has organized a group to develop “Matrixport,” a financial services startup for cryptocurrencies. According to its CEO Ge Yuesheng, Matrixport will function as a one-stop-shop for not just safekeeping of digital assets but also for crypto lending and over-the-counter trading.

European Union

Online Lender October Pushes into Germany as it Continues Expansion (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Marketplace lending platform October, which is based in France, has expanded in Germany, according to a blog post by CEO and founder Oliver Goy.

October has selected Thorsten Seeger, a Funding Circle veteran, as CEO of October Deutschland as its plots its ongoing expansion across Europe. October currently operates in France, Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands.

Investors are putting £9bn to work in P2P Lending across Europe, UK still dominating (AltFi), Rated: A

The peer-to-peer lending market is now funding more than £9bn of loans across Europe each year with two thirds (67 per cent) of this funding coming through UK platforms.

Revolut brings the fintech battle to Berlin with a new hub (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

British fintech startup Revolut is opening a new European tech centre in Berlin, the home turf of its online-banking rival N26.

Lagan Investments takes 10% stake in Property Bridges (Irish Times), Rated: A

Lagan Investments, a fund founded by the North’s biggest house-builder, Kevin Lagan, has taken a 10 per cent stake in peer-to-peer lender Property Bridges and is to supply it with €5 million in lending capital.

International

Morningstar Names Detlef Scholz President of Expanded Credit Ratings Organization (Morningstar), Rated: AAA

Morningstar, Inc. (Nasdaq: MORN) has named Detlef Scholz as president of its expanded, global ratings organization. The leadership announcement comes as Morningstar today completes its previously announced acquisition of DBRS, the world’s fourth largest credit ratings agency, for a purchase price of US$669 million.

Scholz will assume his new role Aug. 1, 2019 and report to Morningstar Chief Executive Officer Kunal Kapoor.

Source: Morningstar

View the Morningstar/DBRS overlapping ratings.

Deutsche Bank in partnership talks with SoftBank-backed OakNorth (Reuters), Rated: A

Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) is in talks with SoftBank-backed (9984.T) British fintech firm OakNorth to use the latter’s credit analysis and monitoring platform, a source with knowledge of the discussions told Reuters.

CoVEX Exchange — A Single Platform to Complete the Entire Crypto Lifecycle (Coinfomania), Rated: B

P2P loan: The CoVEX platform also implementing a decentralized p2p lending service. This allows users across the world to receive loans in lesser time and even reduces the repayment fee while at the same time protecting the interests of the lender.

Australia/New Zealand

An alternative loan scheme could help 2.1 million Australians in financial distress (UNSW Sydney), Rated: AAA

A social lending scheme could help bridge the gap between traditional lenders and government welfare for the 2.1 million Australians under high levels of financial stress.

Alexa Chung partners with Klarna challenger Laybuy (AltFi), Rated: A

Payments platform Laybuy has struck a new retail partnership with fashion brand of Alex Chung  – called ALEXACHUNG – allowing customers to spread the cost of purchases over six equal weekly payments.

New Zealand’s largest digital buy now, pay later app launched in March with its first partnership with Footasylum.

The true role of the SME broker (Australian Broker), Rated: A

Yet SMEs are being stiffed by traditional lending practices: 44% of small businesses have been knocked back for finance in the last 12 months. Put simply, SMEs are being underserved and ignored by the banks.

India

‘NiYO’ Raises US$ 35 Mn in Series B Round led by Horizons Ventures & Tencent (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

Indian new-age digital banking start-up NiYO Solutions has raised US$ 35 million in Series B funding round from Horizons Ventures, Tencent and existing investor, JS Capital. NiYO is founded by banking veteran Vinay Bagri and technology veteran Virender Bisht. NiYO had previously raised US$ 14 million in funding rounds led by Prime Venture Partners. With the current round the total fund raised by NiYO is US$ 49 million.
Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday July 11 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.