Thursday October 25 2018, Daily News Digest

The Most Free and Clear Cities

News Comments Today’s main news: Funding Circle cuts price range for IPO. Nelnet withdraws industrial loan charter (ILC) application. China Rapid Finance names former Hewlett Packard exec as Co-CEO. Faircent drops prime lending rates. Today’s main analysis: The most free and clear cities in America. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Fincera grows as China’s P2P lending industry falters. BNP Paribas discusses […]

The Most Free and Clear Cities

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China/Hong Kong

International

India

Other

News Summary

United States

Nelnet withdraws application for industrial loan charter (American Banker) Rated: AAA

Nelnet, a student loan servicing company, has withdrawn its application to become a Utah-chartered industrial bank.

The Lincoln, Neb., company had filed an application with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Utah Department of Financial Institutions in late June to form Nelnet Bank. Nelnet was pursuing an industrial loan charter.

The withdrawal is a “temporary step back” in what Nelnet knew could be a long process, Tim Tewes, the company’s president, said in a press release.

LendingTree Reveals the Most Free & Clear Cities in America (Lending Tree) Rated: AAA

Many U.S. property owners dream of the day they shed the mortgage, owning their homes outright. Reaching this milestone means not only skipping the monthly payment but achieving what is perhaps a lifelong goal of asset accumulation. LendingTree ranks U.S. cities by the proportion of such homeowners who are free and clear.

Source: LendingTree

The Federal Reserve’s measure of how much wealth households have in real estate equity has climbed from a $6-trillion level nine years ago to about $15 trillion in 2018.

Source: LendingTree

CreditShop Announces the Successful Conversion of More Than 500,000 Mastercard Credit Card Accounts (PR Newswire) Rated: A

CreditShop LLC today announced the successful conversion of more than half a million Mastercard credit card accounts and $1.4 billion in receivables. The portfolio, which was acquired in March 2017, was converted to the new Mercury Mastercard® which launched in May.  The Mercury Mastercard is marketed by CreditShop, and issued by First Bank & Trust of Brookings, South Dakota.

CreditShop believes that there are few reasonably priced credit cards available to credit-challenged consumers. There are about 75 million Americans in the “middle market” with FICO scores ranging between 575 and 675, and many are charged high fees by sub-prime credit card issuers.  The Mercury Mastercard is designed to give hard-working, middle market consumers access to a better credit card, at a reasonable price, so they can manage their financial lives better.

Covr Financial Technologies raises $ 10MM Series A from leading technology venture firms (PR Newswire) Rated: A

Covr Financial Technologies, a digital, multi-carrier life insurance platform for financial institutions, today announced it has raised $10 million in Series A funding. In addition to Covr’s existing individual and family investors that made additional investments during this funding round, Covr’s current venture partners all participated including Nyca Partners, Commerce Ventures, Countour Venture Partners and Connectivity Capital Partners and were joined by new investor Allianz Life Ventures. This most recent round brings Covr’s total fundraising to more than $20MM.

Fintech Leader OppLoans Appoints Stacee Hasenbalg to Chief Compliance Officer Role (PR Newswire) Rated: B

OppLoans has announced the appointment of Stacee Hasenbalg to the role of Chief Compliance Officer. Ms. Hasenbalg has held positions in banking and financial services for more than 20 years, including the role of Associate General Counsel, US Regulatory Liaison at Bank of Montreal, and Chief Compliance Officer at Avant. At OppLoans, Hasenbalg will join the executive team leading the company’s compliance and risk oversight function to ensure maximal transparency and efficiency as the firm delivers financing to underbanked consumers.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle cuts price range for London IPO (Financial Times) Rated: AAA

Funding Circle, the peer-to-peer lending platform, has cut the maximum valuation it is seeking in its upcoming stock market flotation, which is viewed as a test for UK investors’ appetite to back alternative lending vehicles.

The loss making company — which connects small businesses seeking credit with private and institutional investors willing to lend to riskier borrowers for potentially higher returns — originally set a price range of 420p to 530p per share for its IPO. This would have valued it at up to £1.8bn.

Funding Circle, which is the first peer-to-peer lender to go public in the UK, has now narrowed that price range from 440p to 460p, giving a maximum valuation of £1.5bn.

Lending to manufacturers grew over the last year (Business Insider) Rated: A

Lending to manufacturers grew by 7.4 per cent over the last 12 months, in contrast to a wider 2.1 per cent contraction overall in UK business borrowing, according to banking trade body UK Finance.

The figures released today also show that UK business deposits for non-financial companies grew by 1.5 per cent in the last 12 months.

PLATFORM RAISES £4.5M TO END ‘PAYDAY POVERTY’ CYCLE (Business Cloud) Rated: A

FinTech start-up Wagestream has raised £4.5m in funding from a group of the world’s leading technology and social impact investors.

The fledgling company’s ‘Get-Paid-As-You-Go’ service allows workers to access their monthly wages in real-time.

Backers include QED Investors, Village Global (a global VC backed by leading entrepreneurs, including Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos), as well as the London Mayor’s Co-Investment Fund and the Fair by Design fund, whose social impact charities include Big Society Capital, Nominet Trust and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Frank Field asks City watchdog to protect Wonga borrowers from ‘disaster zone’ (AOL) Rated: A

MP Frank Field has written to the City watchdog to seek assurances that borrowers from collapsed payday loan company Wonga will be protected from “a financial disaster zone”.

Following a meeting with Wonga’s administrators Grant Thornton, the independent politician has written a letter to Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) chief executive Andrew Bailey asking what steps the regulator will take to protect customers from loan sharks.

Mr Field wrote that it was still possible “people of good will” could buy the company’s £400 million worth of outstanding loans and “treat borrowers without exploitation”.

Tandem Bank adds auto-savings rules (Fintech Futures) Rated: B

Tandem Bank is launching the possibility of setting auto-savings rules, designed to help customers automate regular payments to the savings pot.

When a rule is triggered, money will be automatically moved from their current account into their Tandem account. This money will then start to earn interest.

China

As China’s P2P Industry Stumbles, One Company Is Soaring (The Diplomat) Rated: AAA

China’s peer-to-peer (P2P) lending industry is going through a challenging time, as regulators ensure that companies follow a list of over 100 new rules. The rules have been put into place to eliminate the fraudulent or poor business practices that have plagued the industry since its inception in 2006. Many of these firms have struggled to reduce customer credit risk, lacking sufficient financial and technological expertise. But some companies have continued to perform well despite the chaos, and one of these is Fincera, which lends to businesses.

Fincera Inc. is one of the first companies in China to make loans to trucking businesses online. The company operates a P2P lending platform called “Qingyidai” that continues to thrive despite the turbulence in China’s P2P lending sector. As hundreds of P2P lending firms are shut down and/or bailed out due to China’s current regulatory and economic environment, the few that persist stand out. For Qingyidai, the secret to survival is in its risk control methods, which combine technology with traditional risk control methods.

China Rapid Finance Limited (XRF) Names Former Hewlett Packard Executive as Co-CEO (Street Insider) Rated: AAA

China Rapid Finance Limited (“XRF” or the “Company”) (NYSE: XRF), a leading consumer finance marketplace and technology platform in China, today announced the expansion of its leadership team with the appointment of Russell Krauss, a former Hewlett-Packard executive, as Co-Chief Executive Officer and Vice Chairman. The appointment is intended to help accelerate its strategic corporate transformation as it launches new initiatives and business lines.

Crypto.com Announces Advisory Board (PR Newswire) Rated: B

Huey Lin (Operations)

Huey Lin is COO of Affirm which offers services that empower consumers to advance their financial well-being. Affirm was founded by Max Levchin and is one of Silicon Valley’s fastest growing fintech startups, having raised over US$500m. As COO, Huey is responsible for all aspects of operations, and scaling the company. Prior to Affirm, Huey spent nearly 12 years at PayPal in several key roles, including director of international risk policy & strategy and senior director of Asia-Pacific operations. She played an instrumental role in helping PayPal expand in Europe, meet critical global compliance requirements and was one of the first product managers.

European Union

Aren’t we at the ‘peak of the cycle’? BNP Paribas responds (Altfi News) Rated: AAA

In an exclusive interview with AltFi, Stéphane Blanchoz said the firm plans to originate €1 billion a year in SME loans in Europe, with at least €400m in the UK. Blanchoz is heading up the operation as head of SME alternative financing.

BNP is working with a number of origination partners, including CODE Investing and Caple, but also plans to originate loans itself.

The operation will focus on ‘medium enterprises’, with loans ranging from £500k to £5m. According to a presentation delivered at its offices last week, the asset manager sees this as an underserved segment of the market, populated by around 34,000 companies. Companies within this segment are turning over between £1m and £50m a year.

Ronald Kleverlaan, Director European Centre for Alternative Finance, Shares Insight Into European Fintech Marketplace (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Ronald Kleverlaan: The alternative finance market in Europe is currently preparing for the next growth phase with EU wide regulations, launch of new initiatives backed by large institutional funders and public support for cross-border investments.

Previously alternative finance was used in startups or specific higher risk industries and in several countries 10-20% of that market is already funded through alternative finance providers.

One of the main drawbacks is the maximum of €1 million to be raised by companies through a platform. In most member states this maximum has already been raised to €5 million or €8 million making it applicable also for larger scale-ups and growing companies to raise funding though these platforms.

The Finnish Financial Supervisory Authority approved Fellow Finance Plc’s prospectus (Globe Newswire) Rated: A

The Finnish Financial Supervisory Authority has today, on 26 September 2018, approved Fellow Finance Plc’s (“Fellow Finance” or the “Company”) Finnish language Prospectus (“Prospectus”) regarding the Company’s planned listing on the First North Finland marketplace of Nasdaq Helsinki Ltd and the initial public offering related thereto (the “IPO”).

The Prospectus will be available in electronic form on or about 26 September 2018, on Fellow Finance’s website at www.fellowfinance.com/company/ipo, at the website of Evli Bank Plc at www.evli.com/fellowfinance and at the website of Nordnet Bank AB Finnish Branch at www.nordnet.fi/fellowfinance. The printed versions of the Prospectus will be available on or about 27 September at the registered office of the Company at Ratakatu 1 b A 10, FI-00120 Helsinki, at Evli Bank Plc’s office located at Aleksanterinkatu 19 A, 4th floor, FI-00100 Helsinki and at the Nasdaq Helsinki Ltd (Fabianinkatu 14, 00100 Helsinki).

MYBESTBRANDS Launches Universal Checkout in Collaboration With Payment Provider Klarna (PR Newswire) Rated: B

Klarna, one of Europe’s leading payment providers, and MYBESTBRANDS, Germany’s largest online shopping mall for premium and luxury fashion, have joined forces to launch the Universal Checkout (UCO), the first cooperation of its kind in Germany. Innovative bot technology developed by MYBESTBRANDS combined with the Klarna Checkout will create a superior shopping experience for customers, driving increased order values, conversion and ultimately building loyalty for MYBESTBRANDS’ merchants.

Customers will now be able to add items from different merchants to a single cart on MYBESTBRANDS and then pay with a click via Klarna.

International

Striking the Delicate Balance Between Customer Experience and Fraud Prevention (TransUnion), Rated: AAA

Striking the delicate balance between customer experience and fraud prevention is not an easy feat. This was a common theme among newly released Forrester Consulting global studies exploring fraud in the financial services, insurance and single and multi-family rental industries.

Increases in fraud are corroborated by the research conducted by Forrester.

  • Nearly all financial services firms (94%) in the study recognized that they have experienced some sort of fraud, whether it’s identity theft/new account fraud, synthetic identity fraud, or account takeover fraud in the past two years.
  • Almost two-thirds of insurance companies (62%) have seen an increase in soft fraud and 57% have seen an increase in identity fraud in the past year.
  • Virtually all property management companies (97%) have experienced fraud in the properties they manage in the past two years.
Source: TransUnion

The studies come at a time when TransUnion’s own proprietary fraud data found that outstanding balances of suspected synthetic fraud for auto loans, bankcards, retail cards and personal loans have now surpassed $1 billion as of Q2 2018. Insurers and large and small property managers also face new fraud schemes as the prevalence of online applications continues to rise.

Source: TransUnion

See the full study on fraud here.

Speakers tell ABS pros not to sweat the credit cycle (GlobalCapital) Rated: A

Panelists speaking on state of the consumer ABS market on day two of ABS East told a packed audience that while the credit cycle is definitely in its late stages, material distress in consumer credit was unlikely to be seen for some time.

The comments reflect a broader sentiment that has been expressed at the conference, that the bull market is showing no signs of slowing down and is throwing the likelihood of a recession of any size into question (see related article).

This Exchange Protects User Funds by Keeping 98% in Cold Storage (News BTC) Rated: A

A new European exchange wants to protect their customer funds from governments and hackers by regulatory compliance and a special focus on security.

Blockchain.io is a newly announced exchange that intends on enforcing strict rules to comply with both international and local laws, even for future regulations. The company wants to stay regulatory-compliant, audit their records and only approve carefully selected coins in order to make sure that they stay on the right side of the law.

For instance, a variety of simple and complex order types will be featured. Moreover, there are plans to integrate a peer-to-peer (p2p) lending system to let user borrow from a fund managed and maintained by Blockchain.io. The interest rates of such transactions will be based on supply and demand.

Australia

Real Estate Startup Konkrete Gets Backing From Signum Capital (ThirtyK) Rated: AAA

Blockchain startup Konkrete announced it is receiving financial backing from Signum Capital, an investor in blockchain technologies.

Konkrete, which provides a platform for tokenizing real estate assets, is in the midst of raising $3 million. The Melbourne, Australia-based company has $2 million in precommitments with Signum as the lead investor, according to Australia’s Financial Review.

The announcement comes amid a flurry of blockchain-related real estate projects worldwide.

India

Faircent.com drops prime lending rates by 200Bps to 9.99% p.a. for unsecured loans (Economic Times) Rated: AAA

Leading NBFC-P2P Faircent.com on Wednesday announced a reduction in the interest rate on unsecured loans to 9.99% per annum for prime borrowers listed on its platform. According to a statement, the move is a first for India’s lending market, with such an interest rate being the lowest for unsecured loan offered by any private/PSU bank or alternative lending platform in the country, so far.

Faircent says this is the direct result of RBI regulating the peer-to-peer lending sector in India and recognizing it as an NBFC-P2P, thereby unlocking the alternative credit supply into the economy.

SC verdict on Aadhaar Act may make operations expensive for fintech players (Your Story) Rated: A

The Supreme Court of India on Wednesday, while upholding the constitutional validity of Aadhaar, struck down Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act, which allowed the sharing of citizen data with private entities.

Bhavin Patel, co-founder and CEO of P2P lending platform LenDenClub, says,

“The authenticity of data through Aadhaar is really high considering physical documents (like PAN card) can be copied. The costs of verification for delivering ultra-small ticket size loans (of say Rs 5,000) will definitely be a concern. We estimate that there will be a 30-percent increase in costs on physical verification, which will add up to another Rs 100 or Rs 150.  Also, deployment may take a day or more now (in an ideal scenario) since physical verification takes 24 hours at least.”

COAI to examine implications of Supreme Court verdict on Aadhaar linkage with mobile connections (Economic Times) Rated: A

Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) Wednesday said it will examine and assess implications of the Supreme Court judgement, which states that it will not be mandatory for customers to link Aadhaar for mobile connections and bank accounts.

The apex court Wednesday struck down the Section 57 of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 that permitted private entities like telecom companies or other corporates to avail of the biometric Aadhaar data.

Loan Rate DOWN: While HDFC, SBI, ICICI, Indusland Bank hike lending rates, this lender bucks the trend (Zee Business) Rated: A

Loan takers are having to pay interest through their noses and there has been no relief in sight for a long time. However, bucking the trend is this new-age online lender. Faircent.com has actually reduced interest rates on unsecured loans by a whopping 200 bps to 9.99% per annum for prime borrowers listed on its platform. This is lowest “lowest” interest rate for unsecured loans offered by any private/PSU bank or alternative lending platform in the country, Faircent claimed in a statement. It further said the reduction in lending rate is the “direct result of RBI regulating the peer-to-peer lending sector in India and recognizing it as an NBFC-P2P, thereby unlocking the alternative credit supply into the economy.”

Significantly, unsecured loans are issued without any collateral and are supported only by the borrower’s creditworthiness.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had hiked repo rate in August 2018 from 6.25% to 6.50% to curb inflation. This affected both the existing as well as future borrowers taking loans from banks. Following RBI decision, several public sector and private banks have increased their Marginal Cost-based Lending Rates (MCLR), making the with borrowers pay higher interest rates and EMIs on their loans. Faircent.com has done the opposite.

Asia

BoT readies peer-to-peer lending service (Bankok Times) Rated: AAA

The Bank of Thailand plans to set regulations for peer-to-peer (P2P) lending service by the year-end, widening opportunities for small-business operators to access financial sources.

The central bank expects to set out regulations to cover all related parties, including P2P lending platforms, borrowers and lenders, said assistant governor Ruechukorn Siriyothin.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday April 27 2018, Daily News Digest

Canada investments

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

Canada investments

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Canada

Other

News Summary

United States

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First Quarter 2018 Business Highlights

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

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

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

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

Source: Lending Tree

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: American Banker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

United Kingdom

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Business Wire

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

TURNING TO YOUR PEERS (BQ Live) Rated: A

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

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

European Union

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

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

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

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

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

International

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

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

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

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

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

Source: International Banker

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

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

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

 

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

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

APAC

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

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

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

Source: Jill Real Views

 

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

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

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

Latin America

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

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

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

Canada

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

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

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

Source: PwC

Read the full report here.

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

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

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

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

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

 

MENA

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

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

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday March 21 2018, Daily News Digest

fintechs

News Comments Today’s main news: Mike Cagney’s Figure is out of stealth. CommonBond raises $50M. Airbnb features RealtyShares as multifamily financing solution. Monzo hits 500K current accounts. LexinFintech falls short on Q4 earnings. N26 raises $160M. Today’s main analysis: Mortgage Rate Competition Index widens. Today’s thought-provoking articles: The death of cash could be overstated. The most popular cities for millennial homebuyers. The […]

fintechs

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

Other

News Summary

United States

Ex-SoFi CEO Mike Cagney’s new startup, Figure, is out of stealth (Fast Company), Rated: AAA

SoFi cofounder Mike Cagney, who resigned as CEO last year, has been quietly working on a new project involving home improvement financing and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) for the last several months. Now, that project is out of stealth, with a live website: Figure.com.

According to Cagney’s LinkedIn profile, the startup plans to leverage blockchain-based technology and AI “to unlock new access points for consumer credit products that can transform the financial lives of our customers.”

The death of cash might be overstated (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

The decline of cash in the US might be exaggerated, according to Cardtronics and PYMNTS’ Global Cash Index (GCI).

Cash still sees healthy usage in the US: The share of cash in 2016 accounted for 12.6% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), and the study forecasts that it will account for 11.2% of the US GDP by 2021.

Here are three factors that might contribute to the endurance of cash in the US:

Source Business Insider

Cash persists for low-value transactions. Nearly two-thirds of US consumers said they prefer to rely on cash for purchases of $10 or less. That could be partly because it’s expensive for merchants to accept card payments, which leads to card transaction minimums that encourage cash usage for these purchases. This could help keep cash alive in consumers’ day-to-day lives.

Des Moines, Pittsburgh and Buffalo Among Most Popular Cities for Millennial Homebuyers (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

LendingTree has released the findings of its study on the most popular cities for millennial homebuyers.

Young homebuyers are at the forefront of an increasing number of buyers returning to the housing market. The largest single-age population in the U.S. is 27-year-olds at almost 4.8 million, suggesting that millennials’ influence on the housing market has years to run before it peaks.

Millennial homebuyers make up one-third of mortgage requests. 32.5 percent of all mortgage requests through LendingTree between Feb. 1, 2017 and Feb. 1, 2018 came from consumers 35 years and younger. The average loan amount requested from this age group is $166,863.

Where millennials aren’t vying for homeownership. At the other end of the scale, Sarasota, Fla.Fort Myers Fla. and Honolulu had lowest shares of millennial buyers at 17.9 percent, 19.8 percent and 21.8 percent respectively.

Source: Lending Tree

CommonBond Secures $ 50M Series D Equity Round, Led by Fifth Third Bancorp (MarketWatch), Rated: AAA

CommonBond, a leading financial technology company that empowers students and graduates to pay for higher education, today announced a $50M Series D financing round.

Fifth Third Capital Holdings, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fifth Third BancorpFITB, -0.69% led the round, with First Republic Bank FRC, -0.49% and Columbia Seligman Investments also participating, in addition to existing investors including Neuberger Berman, August Capital, and Nyca Partners. Individual investors in CommonBond include Vikram Pandit, former CEO of Citigroup, and Tom Glocer, former CEO of Thomson Reuters. This latest round brings CommonBond’s total funding raised to over $130M. CommonBond will use this new funding to accelerate its growth and invest further in technology.

Airbnb Features RealtyShares as First Multifamily Financing Solution (Business Wire), Rated: AAA

RealtyShares, a leading online marketplace for commercial real estate investing, today announced it is featured by Airbnb as a financing resource in its Multifamily Properties Toolkit, a website that gives owners, operators and developers of multifamily buildings resources to support long-term tenants who wish to share their space with travelers. RealtyShares provides experienced multifamily building owners and operators financing to buy, refinance, and renovate their buildings.

Landlords can now manage Airbnb activity in their buildings and share in the additional rental income with the Airbnb Friendly Buildings Program. As a result, multifamily property owners have become increasingly interested in helping their tenants improve and share their space on Airbnb.

OnDeck Appoints Kenneth Brause As New Chief Financial Officer (Crowfund Insider), Rated: A

Online lending platform for small businesses OnDeck (NYSE: ONDK) announced it has appointed Kenneth Brause as its new Chief Financial Officer, effective March 26th, as part of a mutually agreed upon transition process. The lender reported that current Chief Financial Officer, Howard Katzenberg. Katzenberg will serve as an advisor to OnDeck until April 13th, working closely with Brause to facilitate a smooth transition.

According to OnDeck, Brause brings more than 30 years of experience in the financial services industry to the lender’s team.

 

 

Average Cost of College Statistics for 2018 (Lend EDU), Rated: AAA

No matter whether you attend a public or private school, or whether you attend a 2-year or 4-year college, you can expect to pay more than those who attended before you.

By checking out the graph to the right (which does​ not account for inflation) you can see that in the past 20 years, tuition at all types of colleges has more than doubled, and in some cases has more than tripled.

Source: Lend EDU

Though the graph does not account for inflation, the rate of tuition increase has greatly outpaced the inflation rate – by at least 3 times for most school types.

The following is the average cost-of-attendance for the 2017-18 school year by school type including tuition & fees, room & board, books & supplies, transportation, and any other expenses.

  • Private 4-Year Not-for-Profit: $50,900   
  • Public 4-Year Out-of-State: $40,940  
  • Public 4-Year In-State: $25,290  
  • Public 2-Year In-District:​ $17,580   
  • Private For-Profit: $16,000 (tuition only)
Source: Lend EDU
Source: Lend EDU

 

Mortgage Rate Competition Index Widens (Lending Tree) Rated: AAA

  • Homebuyers could have seen median savings of $27,980 by comparison shopping for the best mortgage rates last week, up 4.5% from the prior week.
  • This week’s Mortgage Rate Competition Index was 0.60 for purchase mortgages, up 0.15 from a year ago, and up 0.02 from last week. The Index measures the median spread between the highest and lowest APR available on the LendingTree platform.

Purchase loans

  • Across all purchase loan applications on LendingTree for the week ending March 18, 2018, the index was 0.60, up 0.02 from the previous week.
  • How big of a deal is it to nab a mortgage rate that’s 0.60% lower than the competition? Over 30 years, that could translate to $27,980 in savings on a $300,000 loan
Source: Lending Tree

Mortgage fintech company completes capital raise (National Mortage News), Rated: B

Home Captain, a fintech company that looks to increase mortgage-lead conversion rates, completed a Series A financing round led by Spring Mountain Capital.

Spring Mountain joined Second Century Ventures, the strategic investment arm of the National Association of Realtors, as an institutional investor in Home Captain, which pairs prequalified homebuyers with real estate agents.

Ken Rees, CEO of Elevate, to Speak at LendIt Fintech Conference (Business Wire), Rated: A

Elevate Credit, Inc. (“Elevate”), a leading tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, announced today that their Chief Executive Officer, Ken Rees, will address the audience at LendIt Fintech 2018 along with CNBC’s Ari Levy.

Rees will be joined by Levy, senior technology reporter at CNBC, who will lead the discussion through a variety of themes, including:

  • How banks and fintech companies can partner to take advantage of the opportunity in non-prime lending
  • What it takes to build winning products for non-prime consumers
  • Predictions for the biggest areas of innovation in non-prime lending in 2018 and beyond

Covr Financial Technologies announces Michael Kalen as Chief Executive Officer (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Michael Kalen has joined Covr Financial Technologies, a digital, multi-carrier life insurance platform for financial institutions, as its chief executive officer, Covr Board Chairman Brian Finn announced.

U.S. Online Merchants Believe Instant Financing Will Drive Increased Sales (PNY), Rated: A

Online merchants in the U.S. are increasingly recognizing the importance of offering instant financing to shoppers, according to a new online e-commerce survey. Nearly two-thirds of retailers polled (64 percent) believe providing online financing options through their store is important to driving new and increased sales. Forty-six percent indicate it would decrease cart abandonment still one of the most critical challenges for online retailers today.

The survey was released here by Klarna, a leading global payments provider, at Shoptalk in Las Vegas.

Franklin Resources to Acquihire Random Forest Capital (Street Insider), Rated: B

Franklin Resources, Inc. (NYSE: BEN), which operates as Franklin Templeton Investments, today announced the acquisition of Random Forest Capital, LLC (“Random Forest”), an investment firm with expertise in data science and non-bank marketplace lending. Following the acquisition, the Random Forest team will join the Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group investment team. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

New Florida law will loosen small-dollar lending rules (American Banker), Rated: B

Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill Monday that will loosen the state’s rules for small-dollar consumer lending.

The law, which sailed through both houses of the Florida Legislature, authorizes 60- to 90-day loans of up to $1,000, while continuing to allow 30-day payday loans.

United Kingdom

Monzo Milestone: Challenger Bank Hits Half A Million Current Accounts (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Monday, UK-based challenger bank Monzo announced it has achieved half a million current accounts. The company launched its current accounts in October last year and since then, thousands of users have upgraded their accounts or signed up to start using Monzo’s banking products.

Monzo also reported that it will close the prepaid Beta on April 4th, so if users have not upgraded, their card will stop working and they won’t be able to use your Monzo app to make or receive payments.

Welendus goes live with interest-free loan offer (Peer2Peer Finance), Rated: A

PEER-TO-PEER payday lender Welendus has launched its first product, offering borrowers an interest-free loan if the debt is repaid in one day.

Individuals can borrow up to £500 using the new facility, which is aimed at those faced with unexpected or emergency bills, Welendus said. The borrower does not have to pay any interest if they pay the loan back within 24 hours.

There are no early repayment fees and borrowers can get a decision within five minutes.

Investors will receive returns ranging between five and 15 per cent to fund the loans.

Fintech referral platform bags series A fundraise (AltFiNews), Rated: A

Funding Xchange, one of a handful of platforms designated by HM Treasury to refer businesses declined credit by the banks to other sources of funding, has closed a £1.5m series A round.

The round was led by Calibrate Management Ltd and Kimera. The money will be used to continue the development of Funding Xchange’s automated decisioning technology, as well as for the incorporation of live transactional data sources.

Inflation finally falls but still beats savings returns (Peer2Peer Finance), Rated: A

INFLATION hit a seven-month low last month but there is little sign of respite for interest-starved savers as ISA season approaches, figures show.

Official for National Statistics (ONS) data shows consumer price inflation (CPI) grew by 2.7 per cent in February, finally falling from its five-year high of three per cent but still above the Bank of England’s two per cent target.

 

“But still, with inflation sitting at 2.7 per cent, savers’ cash is being eroded in real terms. In comparison to last year, savers would have found it difficult to get one per cent on an easy access ISA.”

Senior RBS fintech investment banker re-emerges at startup (Financial News), Rated: B

A former Royal Bank of Scotland investment banker, who led its coverage of fintech deals, has quit his private equity job after just five months to join a peer-to-peer lending startup staffed by former Goldman Sachs and HSBC analysts.

Rory McHugh, a former managing director at RBS, has joined Lendable, a UK-focused personal loans platform. Set up in 2014, the firm offers loans of up to £20,000 and raised £300m to lend to new customers in November.

Be a venture capitalist with an Innovative Finance Isa (The Times), Rated: A

Compared with cash Isas, Ifisas are as much a high-risk option as any loan that is not protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). This means that lenders cannot seek money from P2P borrowers that are unwilling or unable to pay money owed, whereas the scheme protects savings and investments offered by FSCS-authorised banks and other companies.

Source: The Times

There are more than 30 providers jostling for space and support from subscribers, with typical rates of return of between 3 and 7 per cent, as well as some offering up to 16 per cent. The interest rates on offer comfortably outstrip the 2 to 3 per cent attached to cash Isas. See our table, below, for a range of Ifisas presently available to new customers.

FCA calls for global effort to speed up fintech growth (NAI500), Rated: B

The Financial Conduct Authority has called for the creation of a global alliance of regulators that would encourage growth in fintech by allowing companies to test new products without going through a full approval process.

Speaking at the Innovate Finance Global Summit in London, Mr Woolard said expanding such a programme internationally would be “an immense undertaking”, but said “we’re up for the challenge”, having already seen “lots of interest” from other regulators.

China

Hot Chinese IPO LexinFintech Falls Short On Q4 Earnings, Revenue (Investors Business Daily), Rated: AAA

LexinFintech (LX) reported weaker-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and revenue as the Chinese online lender issued its first quarterly report since its December IPO.

LexinFintech earned 4 cents per U.S. share diluted on revenue of $244.95 million. Analysts had expected EPS of 13 cents on revenue of $279.7 million, according to Yahoo Finance.

Shares tumbled 12.4% to close at 15.98 on the stock market today after rallying 5.3% on Monday to 18.25.

Loan originations rose 115% vs. a year, customer balances swelled 95% and registered users 99%. Acquisition costs per customer fell 22%.

Dow Jones Leads Morning Rally, But This FANG Stock Falls Further (Investors Business Daily), Rated: A

IPO Leader LexinFintech (LX) fell over 8% after the Chinese online lender reported weaker-than-expected Q4 earnings and sales results. The new issue has been volatile after a short-lived breakout above an 18.39 IPO-base entry on March 9. Just days later, the stock would trigger the 7%-8% sell signal before rebounding.

Golden Bull Limited Announces Pricing of Initial Public Offering (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Golden Bull Limited (“Golden Bull” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ: DNJR), an online finance marketplace that connects individual lenders with individual and small business borrowers, today announced the pricing of its initial public offering of 1,550,000 ordinary shares at a public offering price of $4.00 per share, for total gross proceeds of approximately $6.2 million before underwriting discounts and commissions and offering expenses. In addition, Golden Bull has granted the underwriters a 45-day option to purchase up to an additional 232,500 common shares at the public offering price, less underwriting discount and commissions.

 

European Union

The challenger bank N26 raises $ 160M ahead of U.S. launch (American Banker), Rated: AAA

The mobile-first bank N26 in Berlin has raised $160 million in preparation for its launch of a challenger bank in the United States.

All told, N26 has raised $215 million. Previous investors have included Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures, Earlybird Venture Capital and Li Ka-Shing’s Horizons Ventures.

Part of the $160 million will be used on product development for the existing offering in Europe, according to U.S. CEO Nicolas Kopp. The rest — and he would not say how much this is — will be used for international expansion, most immediately into the U.K. and U.S. markets.

Swedish banks risk losing tens of billions of euros to fintech startups – here are the ones leading the charge (Business Insider), Rated: A

On Monday, the startup Enkla launched, causing a stir in the market. Their interest rate of 0,95 percent is well below the banks’ average interest rates and according to their CEO, Alexander Widegren, Enkla received about 2 billion euros (SEK 20 billion) in applications their first day, Di Digital reported.

Enklas goal is set to lend out 10 billion euros within 18 months.

The four largest Swedish banks, SEB, Nordea, Handelsbanken and Swedbank – which have a combined 75 percent share of the country’s mortgage market – all had a rough day on the stock market on Monday, which may have been caused in part by the emerging threat.

Australia

Australian SMEs favor alternate lending to fund business (Enterprise Innovation), Rated: AAA

Australian small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) are turning to non-banks to secure funding for their business. The latest issue of the Scottish Pacific SME Growth Index revealed that, between 2014 and 2018, the proportion of SMEs intending to use banks for funding has dropped from 38% to 24%. It also found that non-bank funding is now the first option for 22% of SMEs, up from 11% in 2014.

Moreover the report noted that 47.6% of SMEs, who have not used any non-banking lending options in the last 12 months, would be interested in using these options in the future.

There is an estimate 2.1 million SME businesses in Australia employing more than 7.3 million people or about 68% of Australia’s overall workforce.

Source: Enterprise Innovation

FinTechs To Surpass Banks As Aussie SMBs’ Top Finance Choice (PYMNTS), Rated: A

The “Scottish Pacific SME Growth Index,” released twice a year, found the portion of small businesses that said they would use banks for funding declined from 38 percent in 2014 to 24 percent in 2018.

Nearly half (47.6 percent) of SMBs that said they never used a non-bank to access financing said they would be interested in doing so in the future.

Asia

PT INVESTREE Radhika Jaya (Investree), a pioneer peer-to-peer lending (P2P) marketplace in Indonesia, is eyeing to close its Series B funding by the first half quarter of this year.

The company received an undisclosed amount of funding from Kejora Ventures in June 2016.

Investree has facilitated 600 billion rupiah (US$45 million) in loans to 330 SMEs, with 16,000 registered lenders, 5,000 active lenders between 21 to 40 years of age and has a return rate of 16.6% with no defaults.

In terms of business growth, Investree has seen 14% to 15% growth in revenue since 2016.

 

Latin America

Alipay breaks ground in Mexico (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Alipay, the world’s leading digital payments platform, operated by Ant Financial Services Group, today announced that it is further expanding its footprint in the Americas through a partnership with Openpay in Mexico.

Now, Alipay’s more than 600 million active users in China will be able to use Alipay to make purchases from Openpay’s affiliated businesses in Mexico. Alipay is China’s leading payment provider and the primary means of online and mobile payment for Chinese consumers.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor