Friday June 30 2017, Daily News Digest

global developing markets sme credit demand

News Comments Today’s main news: Ron Suber steps down as Prosper president. Pave stops originations and considers strategic options. Square to start lending money. LendInvest cancels P2P authorization application. LendInvest receives highest rating from European agency. Reserve Bank of India finalizes P2P rules. Alipay to enter African market. Today’s main analysis: Alternative data transforming SME finance. Today’s thought-provoking articles: SoFi to offer […]

global developing markets sme credit demand

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News Summary

United States

Ron Suber, Prosper President and Industry Legend, Stepping Down (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

After nearly 5 years, Ron has decided it is time to move on from Prosper. He’s been part of two turnaround stories at the company – one in 2013, and more recently as we’ve seen Prosper grow its business following the challenging environment in 2016. It is great to see them back on track, and Ron told me that he is leaving Prosper in the hands of a great CEO and management team.

When Ron recently shared his plans with me he made it clear that he will still be involved with Prosper as a company advisor and “President Emeritus” but he will not be involved in the day-to-day activities.

Over the last several years, Ron has made 21 investments in various fintech companies and he is an advisor to several of these companies.

Personal note from Ron Suber:

This isn’t just another, “I changed jobs” announcement, it’s a next phase of life with eyes wide open called “rewirement” not retirement.

Rewirement will include doing even more of the things I have enjoyed in the past – travel, teaching, learning, coaching/cultivating young entrepreneurs, being the investor/advisor that I enjoyed working with as an entrepreneur, exploring and spending time with you.

Jack Dorsey’s Square Inc. May Soon Loan You Money (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Square Inc., the technology company best known for processing payments for small merchants across the U.S., is now angling to lend to consumers, too.

The initiative, which follows the launch of a consumer-oriented Square prepaid debit card, is part of a broader push from the company to branch out beyond its original products—small, white credit-card readers that merchants plug into a mobile phone or tablet.

Offering consumers financing options for their purchases brings Square into competition with financial-technology companies such as PayPal Holdings Inc., Affirm Inc. and GreenSky LLC, as well as consumer lenders like Synchrony Financial that offer credit cards tied to specific retailers.

It also means Square will be on the hook for consumer defaults, which have recently ticked up at some online lenders and credit-card companies.

Square plans to hold the consumer loans on its balance sheet, but as volume grows it could look to sell loans to outside money managers, as it does with its small-business credits unit.

This Company Is Offering A Month’s Worth of Avocado Toast to Millennials Who Buy a House (Money), Rated: AAA

Inspired by the controversial comments made by an Australian millionaire last month, SoFi, an online personal finance company that targets millennial consumers, will give new home buyers a month’s supply of avocado toast if they purchase a home with SoFi mortgage in July.

For those who qualify, the avocado toast incentive program will be delivered in three shipments right to the recent homebuyers’s doorsteps. There is also an option between regular and gluten-free bread. (Of course, they will still have to toast the bread once it arrives.)

The marketing decision was ultimately in response to a now-viral interview in May that caused global uproar, in which Australian millionaire and property mogul Tim Gurner said millennials should refrain from buying the popular brunch dish if they didn’t want to quash their hopes of owning a home.

Can You Make Payments on Plane Tickets? (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Did you know there are a few ways to make payments on plane tickets if you can’t afford the full price today?

A new startup that offers payment plans for plane tickets is Airfordable.

Airfordable charges a one-time fee of 10%-20% of the ticket price and a down deposit is required. Your credit score isn’t checked, which is a definite plus for several reasons. After that, you make bi-weekly payments. Once the ticket is paid for, your e-ticket and itinerary are released.

CheapAir.com offers monthly payment plans for flights that cost more than $100 by partnering with Affirm. After selecting the flight you want to buy on CheapAir, you will be taken to Affirm’s website to complete the financing request.

Affirm will offer you a 3-month, 6-month, or 12-month payment plan for the plane ticket(s). Your interest rate will range from 10% to 30% depending on your creditworthiness.

Expedia has also teamed up with Affirm to offer payments on plane tickets.

Flightlayaway.com allows you to make payments on plane tickets and cruise tickets.

Flights can only be on layaway from two weeks to twenty weeks. At the end of 20 weeks, all financed flight expenses must be paid to receive your e-ticket and itinerary.

There is a one-time service fee of 15% on domestic flights and 18% on international flights when the flight is booked. And, there is an interest rate of 15% on all flights.

British Airways allows weekly payments on flight + hotel and flight + car packages only.

In America, it’s pretty common to take out a loan to buy a car, or a house, or college tuition. It’s less likely to take out a loan to buy gas for that car, paint for the house, or beer for the college tuition. But what about everything in between? What about $500 drones?

That’s where Affirm, a startup by one of the founders of PayPal, comes in. CEO Max Levchin thinks there’s a financial niche to fill for young people who want expensive things, but don’t have multiple Gs in the bank or on credit to drop on a luxury purchase. Affirm offers small, short-term loans that let customers spread out a big purchase, like a drone or $1,500 couch, over a short period of time. Affirm fronts customers the cash, then collects regular payments in more manageable chunks.

Right now, Affirm is slightly limited to an (albeit wide) selection of online retailers. The stuff you can buy is typical pricey-but-not-luxury products — Casper mattresses, Pottery Barn furniture, Newegg computer parts, clothes from online retailers, as well as drones, phones, and tech you would find in a Sharper Image catalog. In April, the company issued its one millionth loan, meaning that with at least a couple bucks in interest on even the smallest of loans, it’s probably bringing in quite a bit of cash.

Urban Housing Development eFunds (Fundrise), Rated: A

Now, you can invest directly into building new homesfor the next generation of American homeowners.

Funding Circle Strengthens U.S. Leadership Team with Head of Capital Markets & CCO Appointments (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Funding Circle, the world’s leading lending platform focused exclusively on small business, today announced two additions to its U.S. leadership team: Joanna Karger as U.S. Head of Capital Markets, and Richard Stephenson as U.S. Chief Compliance Officer.

Prior to Funding Circle, Stephenson served as chief compliance officer of Silicon Valley Bank. He has more than thirty years’ experience in various senior roles at U.S. financial institutions and law firms, serving as general counsel, chief compliance officer, chief risk officer, head of internal audit and interim chief executive officer at institutions such as Bank of America, Union Bank, Washington Mutual Bank and Mechanics Bank.

Online lender Pave closes to new customers, explores strategic options (American Banker), Rated: A

Pave, an online consumer lender based in New York, has stopped making new loans — a retrenchment that reflects challenges facing the broader sector, according to the company’s CEO.

CEO Oren Bass said in an interview Wednesday that Pave stopped making new loans about two weeks ago.

I’m sick of fintech taking credit union business (CUInsight), Rated: A

Credit unions have been playing a game of catch-up with banks for many years, and now the new kid on the block— Fintechs —are here to present even more of a headache. On December 31, 2016, Prosper Funding had approximately $22.3 million in unrestricted cash and cash equivalents and $32.8 million available for sale investments at fair value.  Their marketplace facilitated $2.2 billion in Borrower Loan originations during 2016, and as of December 31, 2016, $8.3 billion in Borrower Loan originations since it first launched in 2006.

Lending Club ended the year with a servicing portfolio of $11.1 billion, up 24 percent from the same period last year, and delivered $1.8 billion of principal and interest payments to investors throughout the 4th quarter of 2016 with cash, cash equivalents, and securities available for sale totaling $803 million, with no outstanding debt. What’s even more worrisome is that Lending Club’s venture into auto lending is still young and has a lot of potential if it gains serious traction.

Both companies sell consumer lending and deposit products to exactly the same prime-rated consumer credit segment that banks and credit unions do.

Credit unions need to up their game by:

  1. Allowing members to send money and receive money like popular online Venmo.
  2. Stay updated across all devices with real-time push-notifications and transactions.
  3. Credit unions will need to offer various software to their members to help them make better decisions and save massive amounts of time through analytics, accounting, budgeting, prediction, and decision- making software.

How Banks Can Attract More Millennials (ValueWalk), Rated: A

When trying to appeal to this younger generation, it is important to keep in mind that millennials have two main financial priorities; paying off their student loans, and saving for the future. On average, they spend 43 percent of their income to pay down their debts and put away 38 percent of their income as savings for the future. Three out of five millennials would like their bank to be a financial partner as opposed to just another business profiting off of their work. At the same time, only 32 percent of this generation feel their bank understands them. This is largely due to the fact that banks and other financial providers still offer solutions to meet the needs of baby boomers. This means tailoring products to meet millennial needs will create a more mutually beneficial relationship and help to attract younger customers.

New OCC Bulletin on Third-Party Oversight Highlights Fintech Relationships (Lexology), Rated: A

FAQ 7: Is a fintech company arrangement considered a critical activity?

In its response to FAQ 7, the OCC clarified that a relationship between a national bank and a fintech may or may not involve a critical activity, depending on the nature of the specific services the bank or the fintech has agreed to perform. In giving this response, the OCC recognized that third-party relationships are not automatically “high risk” merely because a fintech is involved.

FAQ 10: What should a bank consider when entering a marketplace lending arrangement with nonbank entities?

Although some may read the OCC’s response to FAQ 10 as an endorsement of “bank partnership model” lending relationships between national banks and marketplace lenders, the response includes no explicit mention of these relationships. The response references “marketplace lending or servicing arrangements,” and states that “banks should not originate or support marketplace lenders that have inadequate compliance management processes . . .,” but does not speak to the respective obligations of the parties to these arrangements. Thus, it is conceivable that the bulletin only addresses other types of relationships, such as warehouse lines of credit or loan servicing arrangements. At a minimum, however, the response confirms that national banks should not hesitate to enter into relationships with marketplace lenders as long as appropriate oversight mechanisms are in place.

FAQ 11: Does OCC Bulletin 2013-29 apply when a bank engages a third party to provide bank customers the ability to make mobile payments using their bank accounts, including debit and credit cards?

Until now, a national bank could have taken the position that a third party that merely enabled mobile card payments was not subject to OCC Bulletin 2013-29. To this end, the presence of a third party’s mobile payments application has no effect on the underlying card transaction, and the bank’s involvement is likely confined to deciding whether to promote the availability of the application to its customers. In its response to FAQ 11, however, the OCC clarified that these relationships need to be managed “in a manner consistent with OCC Bulletin 2013-29,” and directed banks to “work with mobile payment providers to establish processes for authenticating enrollment of customers’ account information.”

Pantera Capital to Raise $ 100 Million in Investment for ICO Hedge Fund (Coindesk), Rated: A

Announced today, investment firm Pantera Capital is launching a new hedge fund focused on investments solely in tokens that power public blockchain protocols.

Called Pantera ICO Fund LP, the fund intends to raise $100m, with $35m already raised in support from the firm’s existing investor base, undisclosed new investors, and according to the company, unnamed venture capital firms.

Kabbage headquarters building to get major renovation (Biz Journals), Rated: A

Crestlight paid $35.3 million, or about $167 a foot, according to Fulton County records. It announced the acquisition last week, but had not released the price. Lincoln Property Company Southeast won the leasing and management assignments.

Prologis, Inc. (NYSE: PLD) today announced a strategic partnership with Plug and Play, a global startup ecosystem and venture fund specializing in the development of early-to-growth stage technology startups in the Supply Chain and Logistics vertical.Prologis will provide mentorship and space in its logistics real estate properties to a select group of startups in the Plug and Play accelerator program to pilot new technologies. Prologis joins DHL, Maersk, Panasonic, Hitachi, Mann+Hummel, CMA CGA, Daimler, Deutsche Bahn, Swiss Post, BASF, Union Pacific Railroad and Ericsson as partners with Plug and Play.

Funding Circle’s U.S. head talks about growth and hiring secrets (Biz Journals), Rated: A

Sam Hodges, the U.S. managing director of Funding Circle, spoke to the Business Times about hiring techniques, missed opportunities, and what book had a profound influence on him, among other things.

RealtyShares Names Kristina Wallender SVP of Marketing (BusinessWire), Rated: B

RealtyShares, a leading online marketplace for real estate investing, today announced Kristina Wallender has joined the pioneering startup as senior vice president of marketing, focused on helping the company reach more investors and sponsors.

Wallender joins RealtyShares with marketplace and marketing leadership experience spanning large enterprise businesses like Amazon and early stage companies like Ticketfly, where she was the head of marketing for the past four years. Over her tenure, Ticketfly grew from a small startup to a leading live entertainment brand serving over 1,800 venues and promoters across North America. Wallender also played a key role in Pandora’s acquisition of Ticketfly in 2015, earning her a spot on Billboard’s 40 Under 40: Top Young Power Players in music. As part of the RealtyShares team, she will be responsible for growing both sides of the marketplace.

Google and SoFi Alum Named Okta Security Chief (Fortune), Rated: B

Okta, the Silicon Valley firm behind one of the year’s top tech IPOs, has named a new chief security officer.

The maker of identity management software has appointed Yassir Abousselham, a former executive at Google (GOOG, -2.53%) and chief information security officer at financial tech startup SoFi, as head of security. Abousselham began in the role on June 5th.

Vela Boosted Its Fintech Offerings With OptionsCity Acquisition (Benzinga), Rated: B

Vela Trading Technologies LLC, a fintech company specializing in market data technology, recently announced its acquisition of OptionsCity Software, which offers futures and options trading with analytics solutions.

The deal is expected to close at the end of the second quarter.

dv01 is hiring (DV01 email), Rated: B

We believe smart people can succeed at almost anything, so we encourage on-the-job learning (e.g. trying a new programming language) and real ownership over your work. Our fast paced environment necessitates a desire and willingness to grow both personally and professionally. We see value in effort and output, which is why we encourage all of our team members to take measured risks and never back away from a challenge.

United Kingdom

LendInvest cancels application for P2P authorisation (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

LENDINVEST has confirmed that it has cancelled its application with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to operate a peer-to-peer lending platform.

The online mortgage lender revealed in its annual report, released this week, that it had shelved several applications with the City watchdog, for permission to operate a P2P platform and for credit broking and consumer credit licences.

Social P2P lender rolls out IFISA offering (AltFi), Rated: A

Flender, a Dublin-based, “friendly” peer-to-peer lending platform, is bringing its newly launched Innovative Finance ISA to the UK. The firm was fully authorised by the FCA in May.

RateSetter’s Paul Marston comments on Brexit (RateSetter email), Rated: A

Given the economic uncertainty created by Brexit, it is easy to understand why some small business owners have postponed important business decisions. However, SMEs have some important advantages which position them well to navigate through this period successfully. They can more easily adapt business models, diversify into new activities and implement new ideas.  It will be the business owners who are forward-thinking and act positively and decisively who are most likely to use uncertainty to their advantage.

For SME businesses that see opportunities to invest for future growth, the good news is that there are now real alternatives to the banks in terms of access to finance that can be provided in a simple and straightforward manner. We stand ready to help these businesses realise their plans.

The door is open for business leaders to redefine Brexit so that it is seen as an opportunity, rather than a threat.

China

China leads as fintech adoption doubles in two years, and here’s why (The Asset), Rated: AAA

Financial technology (fintech) adoption has doubled in the past two years, with China leading fintech adoption globally.

The average percentage of digitally active consumers using fintech services is around 33% across 20 key markets – this represents a doubling over the past two years when fintech penetration was recorded to be around 16%. The findings are noted in the EY Fintech Adoption Index, which surveyed 22,000 people online in 20 countries.

The report further shows that China leads the world with 69% of consumers using some form of fintech service, which is unsurprising given the ubiquitous adoption of payment platforms WeChat Pay and Alipay in China. Alipay and TenPay (WeChat Pay) together make up for 92% of the mobile payment market, and mobile payment transactions increased 381% in 2016 to 58.8 trillion yuan, according to iResearch.

An O2O Education System Provider Closed A Round of financing (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

Nobo Education announced they have closed a new round of financing $6.4M. This round was led by National SME Development Fund (THG Ventures), with participation from The Chinese Education Industrial Fund, which is jointly managed by DT Capital and ChineseAll. Previously, Nobo Education was known to have raised pre-A round of $1.79M in June 2016.

Founded in March 2013, Nobo Education is a Beijing-based international preschool education institution as well as new high-tech enterprise. Their core product—— Nobo Education System, an O2O system solution efficiently in kindergarten management, is the only system of education that has independent intellectual property right in China.

According to Nobo Education, among the total raised funds, ¥10M will continue to be used in pre-school education software R&D and service.

CreditEase Wealth Management Toumi RA Achieved Top Performance in First Year (Cision), Rated: A

Toumi RA, China‘s leading Robo-advisory platform built on 11-year expertise of CreditEase Wealth Management, has achieved outstanding performance since its launch on May 28, 2016, generating 2.55%-11.48% of cumulative return through May 31 2017, successfully bucking global capital market fluctuation, geopolitical risks and black swans.

In the past year, Toumi RA’s platinum/diamond members enjoyed an average cumulative return of nearly 7% for different portfolios, among which the risk-level-eight option produced the highest return of 11.48%. For gold members, Toumi RA boosted the level-eight portfolio’s cumulative return by 9.4% and the lowest-risk option by 4.23%.

An overwhelming majority of investors (99.6%) made profits during the first year, according to Toumi RA’s performance report, while only 0.4% of investors experienced lost either because of unfortunate investment timing during market highs or short-term investment during highly-volatile periods.

China’s nude loans fill female students’ pockets but suck them dry (ASEAN Today), Rated: B

In April this year, Xiong took her own life in a hotel far from her hometown in Xiamen. Incapable of repaying a debt of 570,000 yuan (US$82,722), Xiong’s circumstances worsened as online loan sharks threatened to make her nude photos public. She took her own life a few days after her mother received her nude photos.

“Nude loans” involves offering one’s nude photos to secure credit. Nude loans first gained nationwide attention in December 2016. The China Youth Daily discovered 167 women’s nude photos and obscene videos online. These women, many of them in their early 20s and receiving college education, handed over their nude photos and videos as collateral for loans from peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms.

Online lenders’ choice to use nude selfies to enforce repayment reflects the country’s paternal society. Nude selfies are risky enough to prevent female student clients from defaulting because Chinese women are still valued for their chastity.

European Union

LendInvest receives highest rating from European ratings agency (Mortgage Introducer), Rated: AAA

Specialist mortgage lender LendInvest has received the highest possible rating for the quality of its loan servicing from European ratings agency ARC Ratings.

For the third time in as many years the agency has awarded a SQ1 Servicer Quality Rating for LendInvest following a comprehensive annual review of the company, its performance, processes and infrastructure.

Swiss Fintech Loses Big Hitter (Finews), Rated: A

Swiss digital insurance broker Knip has agreed to merge with Komparu, a Dutch technology firm. Together they will operate as Digital Insurance Group (DIG), according to a joint statement.

The founder and CEO of Knip, Dennis Just(pictured below), won’t stay at the company.

Roeland Werring, co-founder of Komparu, will be the Group chief technical officer, while Ruben Troostwijkwill stay on as CEO of Komparu. Ingo Weberwas appointed as CEO of DIG.

Tikehau Capital buys Credit.fr (PE Hub), Rated: A

Tikehau Capital (Paris:TKO) today announced it has completed the acquisition of Credit.fr, the French specialist in crowdlending for small businesses financing, for an amount of €12 million. Incubated since March 2015 by Truffle Capital and under the leadership of Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux, its chairman since November 2015, Credit.fr has rapidly established itself as an essential player in the small and mid-sized companies (SMEs) alternative financing market.

This acquisition enables Tikehau Capital, a leading company active in the corporate lending and private debt market in France, to consolidate and expand its lending platform by bringing its corporate financing solutions to smaller businesses and SMEs. Through Credit.fr, Tikehau Capital will enable its wide network of investors and partners to broaden their investment policy, currently focused on medium-sized and larger companies, to include smaller businesses rigorously selected by Credit.fr teams.

International

Alternative Data Transforming SME Finance (SME Finance Forum), Rated: AAA

The report titled “Alternative Data Transforming SME Finance” looked at 800+ innovative digital SME lenders and digital commerce, payments and service providers in more than 60 countries. Here are some of the key findings:

  • Banks have valuable data, but are often not using it: Banks have a highly valuable repository of SME data, including SME owners’ customers’ daily transaction data that provides reliable real-time visibility into SME cash flows and credit capacity. However, most banks lack the ability to create innovative SME lending models from it.
  • Digital SME lenders are developing new relationships with SME customers and their data: In some cases, non-bank digital SME lenders insert themselves between banks and their SME customers, and forge fundamental changes in SME customer expectations.
  • New SME digital data streams are becoming more readily available and accessible: Digital SME lenders leverage vast and expanding stores of data, including from electronically verifiable, real-time sales, bank account money flows and balances, payments, social media, trading, logistics, business accounting, and credit reporting service providers, as well as a wide range of other private and public data sources used in the SME credit assessment process.
  • There are a wide range of digital SME originator lending business models: The new digital SME lending originator business models that take advantage of the expanding universe of SME digital data vary widely. This report highlights these business models, selected players, and the digital SME data they use. It includes marketplace lenders, tech, e-commerce, and payment giants which are extending SME lending into their non-banking digital ecosystems where they are already dominant. It also includes supply chain financing firms, mobile micro-lenders graduating to SME lending, and innovative banks.
  • Digital SME lending is becoming more of a global trend: 
  • Digital SME lender-bank collaboration is also a growing part of the future of SME finance: Banks may have been blind to digital SME lenders at first, and digital SME lenders may have said they would replace banks. However, both parties now have come to a simple conclusion: there are limits to what each player can do on their own and there is strength in collaborating.
  • Access to data is no longer the problem in SME lending: The digital economy has also given rise to an ever-evolving set of value-added cloud-based services to help SMEs with their finances, business planning, productivity, legal issues, data backup and security, file sharing, web conferencing, website builds, online marketing, business training, e-commerce, payments, loyalty programs, business intelligence, and more.
  • However, access to data for SME lending brings new challenges: With the abundance of alternative data, there are new issues of what to use, how to use it, and how to do this responsibly — while also respecting privacy and other important rights of SMEs.

Download the report here.

Singapore and Denmark Regulators Sign Fintech Cooperation agreement (Finance Magnates), Rated: A

Regulators in Singapore and Denmark are building bridges to assist Fintech companies expand abroad. The Singapore’s Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Danish Financial Supervisory Authority (Danish FSA) yesterday have entered a cooperation agreement to promote innovation in financial services in their respective markets.

The agreement aims to help FinTech companies in both countries to expand into each other’s markets and also provides facilitated introductions when a fintech firm operating in one jurisdiction wants to better understand the rules in the other.

Advances in digital platforms (The Asset), Rated: A

Midway through the month, on June 14, Misys and D+H merged to form a new company called Finastra.

Shortly after the merger, several institutions announced they were working with the newly formed fintech giant. Rabobank selected Finastra to centralize their cross-border payments; SIA, a European provider of payment infrastructure and services, partnered with Finastra to provide real-time instant payments capabilities; and Mexico’s central bank, Banco de Mexico, also selected Finastra to transform its legacy risk management platform.

Investment Roundup: Visa Buys Stake in Klarna; Revolut, Tango Land Financing (PAYbefore), Rated: A

London-based travel card specialist Revolut is close to landing a £50 million (US$65 million) funding round that will value the company at £300 million (US$390 million), according to a report from Sky News. The round will be led by Index Ventures, which acquired an interest in Revolut last year, the report said. Silicon Valley investor Ribbit Capital is also said to be taking part in the round.

Finally, Seattle-based Tango Card, a provider of digital rewards and incentives to 2,000 corporate enterprise customers, has secured a $10 million investment facility from Silicon Valley’s Western Technology Investment.

Australia

Zagga pitches alternative asset class (Financial Standard), Rated: A

A new marketplace lender is hoping to turn traditional investing on its head with a pitch to wholesale and sophisticated investors.

Backed by an Australian Financial Services Licence and an Australian Credit Licence, Zagga hopes to differentiate itself from other marketplace lenders by providing a lending platform where all loans will be secured by a registered mortgage against real property.

To date, Zagga has helped facilitate a number of loans including a $7.15 million loan which was fully-funded within 17 days by 26 investors, and a $1.15 million loan to a husband and wife investor who wanted to top up their super fund before 30 June, funded in a few hours by six investors.

India

RBI finalises peer-to-peer lending norms (The Hindu), Rated: AAA

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has finalised norms for peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms and is expected to release final guidelines in 2-3 weeks, a top finance ministry official said.

According to the official, the P2P lending interface will come under the purview of RBI’s regulation by defining these platforms as NBFCs under the RBI Act by issuing a notification in consultation with the government.

Lendingkart to add marketplace, P2P loans and offer SaaS product: Harshvardhan Lunia (VC Circle), Rated: AAA

You had also mentioned about raising Rs 500 crore in debt.

Apart from the first Rs 500-crore debt fundraising exercise, we will also look to raise another Rs 500 crore in debt. We have initiated talks for this, but the process will take some time.

So, eventually will you be looking to raise more funds from banks and less from NBFCs?
Banks offer us lower-cost loans, but the process is more time consuming. They also operate within certain limitations. NBFCs are quicker with their disbursals.

Do you have plans to increase the ticket size of your loans, which is capped at Rs 10 lakh?
About 93% of our loans are less than Rs 10 lakh, and the Rs 50,000-10 lakh range remains our sweet spot. But, sometimes we do disburse loans of Rs15-20 lakh if there is a strong reference or recommendation. Our USP will be to remain a sub-Rs 10-lakh lender.

Tech is a major component of your business operations. How much of your budget allocation goes towards it?
Almost 25-30% of our budget goes towards technology. The tech team accounts for around 35% of our total manpower while two-thirds of our resources work on the lending business.

Most players tend to be asset-light. What was the business logic and strategy behind going asset-heavy?

That experience led to the decision of Lendingkart having an NBFC of its own, which would allow us to design our own products.

Will you continue to operate the same business model?
Two years down, we will diversify as a marketplace model, and may even get into the peer-to-peer lending space.

In fact, we will start a pilot with one or two players within the next six months. However, this year, the lending will predominantly be from our books. These plans will take a larger form in 2018-19 and 2019-20.

When will you start making profits?
The lending arm of our business will turn profitable by March 2018.

Which are your top performing markets?
Bengaluru, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune and Surat have been our top five performing markets.When will you start making profits?
The lending arm of our business will turn profitable by March 2018.

Asia

InVent takes stake in fintech Digio (Bangkok Post), Rated: A

InVent, a venture capital arm of SET-listed Intouch Holdings, has invested in a fintech startup, Digio, to boost the fast-growing e-payment market.

Digio is the first fintech company in InVent’s portfolio, which will strengthen Intouch’s offerings in the mobile payment business.

InVent has taken a 10% in stake in Digio but declined to say what it was worth.

Canada

A Canadian venture capital firm is funding entrepreneurs to relocate and become citizens (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Sharma is the CEO and cofounder of Extreme Venture Partners, a Canadian VC firm that recently assembled a fundfor paying startup founders and their families to relocate to Toronto.

Upon arrival, they’ll receive seed funding, guidance on beginning their new Canadian life, and the opportunity to get on the fast-track for citizenship. Sharma says EVP is prepared to welcome 30 companies over the next three years.

Upon arrival, they’ll receive seed funding, guidance on beginning their new Canadian life, and the opportunity to get on the fast-track for citizenship. Sharma says EVP is prepared to welcome 30 companies over the next three years.

Issues in Bringing Canadian Fintech to the International Stage (CIGI Online), Rated: A

The aim of this policy brief is to provide a general description of the fintech industry in Canada, and to describe and draw attention to two complementary aspects of developing a fintech strategy for Canada: first, encouraging domestic fintech innovation — through open data and payment systems — and second, encouraging international expansion — through international agreements among regulators and comprehensive intellectual property strategies.

Get the report here.

FLEXITI FINANCIAL WINS BID TO OFFER POINT-OF-SALE FINANCING TO OVER 800 DEALERS ACROSS CANADA (Flexiti Financial), Rated: A

Flexiti Financial, a provider of point-of-sale (POS) financing and payment technology for retailers, today announced that it has won a competitive bid to be the preferred POS financing partner in Canada for the dealers of outdoor maintenance and equipment manufacturers including Husqvarna, Briggs & Stratton, Ariens, Big Dog Mowers, Hustler, ECHO Power Equipment and ECHO Bear Cat. Flexiti Financial now has access to over 800 dealers that sell lawn and garden tools and outdoor power equipment.

Dealers will now have access to Flexiti Financial’s award-winning POS financing platform, which will allow them to provide instant financing on any device, anywhere, and instant credit approval in three minutes.

Africa

Alipay for the first time to enter the African globalization version of the addition of a piece (01Caijing), Rated: AAA

June 26 evening, Alipay announced that it will launch Alipay in Africa to provide services to Chinese tourists. Since then, from the Alipay global strategy has taken a step further.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

July 6th 2016, Daily News Digest

July 6th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments We believe that today we finally fixed the hyperlinks for the pictures in the analysis and events section of the daily newsletter. We apologize it took us so long to fix them. We also believe the hyperlinks to the articles in the “News Summar” section of the newsletter are also working. We have […]

July 6th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments

  • We believe that today we finally fixed the hyperlinks for the pictures in the analysis and events section of the daily newsletter. We apologize it took us so long to fix them.
  • We also believe the hyperlinks to the articles in the “News Summar” section of the newsletter are also working. We have tested on all our devices, OSs and email clients we own but our tests are still limited. We would like to kindly ask our readers to report if you have any particular problems reading Lending Times in your favorite environment and we will continue improving in all ways possible. 

United States

  • Debt-to-EBITDA multiples for private equity deals with U.S. targets in 2016 has hit a whopping 6.8x. Are US companies over-leveraged ?
  • After testing the waters with Lendio,(as seen in our article here), AmEx is jumping both feet in with the poorly named “Working Capital Terms” venture. Why not name it AmEx Small Business Loans? In all cases, the SME lending space is heating up with a gorilla-size new entrant.
  • As our readers build origination platforms or lend on p2p platforms, perhaps a scenario they are not setup to handle yet is how to face low-probability-events. Such an example is “what happens in case of death of a lender”. An article surveying a few answers from different platforms.
  • Avant, while downsizing, does offer a buyout to all employees. Readers may want to understand this offer through the example of Zenefit’s down round at $2bil valuation and implications for Zenefits employees.
  • Blackmoon, helping balance sheet lenders to sell whole loans, is entering the US market with a New York office. Our previous article on the company can be found here.

United Kingdom

  • UK Banks expected to lend £150bn , freed by Bank of England’s capital buffer rules relaxation. Since 2008 we have seen that making cheap capital available to banks has not correlated with higher bank loan origination volumes. Is, this time, different ?
  • Interesting discussion of different choices fund managers can make in the search for yield and the advantages of p2p fund’s yields.

Hong Kong

  • LendIt rebrands  “largest conference series dedicated to connecting the global fintech community” from ” largest online lending conference”.

France

  • A great survey of the French p2p market with company names and differences (“prets participatifs” in French).

China

  • Cai Jincong, the founder of Zhejiang Yinfang Investment, was sentenced to life behind bars for running a fake peer-to-peer lending scheme that conned over 88 million yuan (about 13 million U.S. dollars) from 1,200 investors.

 

United States

Pitchbook reports that debt-to-EBITDA multiples for private equity deals with U.S. targets in 2016 has hit a whopping 6.8x, (Term Sheet), Rated: AAA

S&P LDC reports a global average of 5.36x for Q1 2016,  although the figure did top 6x in the third quarters of both 2015 and 2014. Moreover, S&P LDC data shows that large-market deals typically have higher leverage ratios than do mid-market deals, with the Q1 16 large-market figure hitting 5.6x (and, remember, that’s a mean, not a median).

It has been more than three years since the Federal Reserve and FDIC issued leveraged loan guidance to banks, suggesting that any debt-to-EBITDA ratios in excess of 6x (for most industries) is too high. Or, put another way, both lenders and private equity firms are regularly ignoring the Fed’s guidance — and appear to be easily getting away with it (likely because no individual deal is likely to present a systemic risk, and loan syndication makes the “baskets” more like a sieve).

AmEx Challenges Square, On Deck With Online Loan Marketplace, (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

AmEx’s venture, Working Capital Terms, will approve loans in minutes for existing small-business cardholders, who can use the money to pay vendors. Debts may range from $1,000 to $750,000 with fees of 0.5 percent for a 30-day loan to 1.5 percent for a 90-day loan. AmEx will deposit funds directly into vendors’ accounts in as soon as two days.

AmEx has been looking for new streams of revenue to rejuvenate earnings after deciding last year to part ways with its biggest co-brand partner, Costco Wholesale Corp. In addition to its new in-house loan product, the card issuer offers longer-term small-business loans — ranging from $35,000 to $2 million — through its partnership with Lendio, another online marketplace.

“AmEx can do this because they have good credit knowledge,” said Karen Mills, former head of the Small Business Administration, who’s now a paid adviser for Working Capital Terms. “This will challenge the online competitors, whether or not they respond.” Amex declined to disclose their target for Working Capital Terms’ loan volume.

Working Capital Terms represents “a new type of product for American Express that could eliminate the need for the very expensive, unsustainable products from Square and other online lenders,” said Gil Luria, an analyst at Wedbush Securities Inc.

AmEx isn’t the only big lender pushing into the fray. Wells Fargo & Co., the third-biggest U.S. bank by assets, said in May it was starting a program to offer small businesses online loans in as soon as one day. Larger rival JPMorgan Chase & Co. is collaboratingwith On Deck to speed up the process of providing loans to some of the bank’s 4 million small-business customers.

AmEx shares fell 2.7 percent to $59.08 at 2:46 p.m. in New York. On Deck tumbled 6.9 percent to $4.89, while Square declined 3.6 percent to $8.94. Representatives from On Deck and Square declined to comment.

In the Case of Death, (p2p-banking.com), Rated: AAA

‘What happens when I die’ is a concern occasionaly voiced by investors. Investments in p2p lending will be inherited like any other assets.

Luke O’Mahoney of Ratesetter explained: ‘If an investor dies, we work with the next of kin to establish how they would like the account to be dealt with. Generally they would either use our Sellout function (effectively liquidating their investment) or they would allow the account to run down over time – of course we assist the next of kin or executor with this process’.

Only Assetz Capital mentioned that they have a process to do regular checks on dormant accounts that are in funds to ensure that lenders are aware of those funds.

Personally I wonder, if it would be good practise for marketplaces to contact those investors that have not logged in for a very long period (2 years?) and ask them to update/verifying their data. Failure to do so could then trigger a letter with the same request via postal mail.

Sign of the Times: Avant Offers Buyouts to All Employees, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Avant, an online lender, has offered the option for buyouts to all 760 of the company’s employees. It was not clear how many Avant employees would accept the offer. The news is a painful reminder that online lending is still struggling to regain its footing following indications of a slowing economy and the unexpected departure of former Lending Club CEO Renaud Laplanche – a now tarnished industry icon.

Russian Lending Marketplace Expands to U.S. in Search of Growth, ( Bloomberg), Rated: A

Blackmoon, a Russian financial technology startup that screens and prices loans issued by others to sell on to investors in a marketplace, is opening a U.S. office to expand in the world’s biggest market for non-bank lending.

Blackmoon is partly counting on an expansion into the U.S. from its new New York base to reach a goal of $1 billion in cumulative loans by the end of next year.

To achieve that, the company will target all kinds of unsecured credit in the largest market for alternative lending: consumer, small-business, student and car loans. Blackmoon currently works with several dozen European online lenders, from Finland to the Czech Republic.

Blackmoon functions as an intermediary between institutional debt investors and lenders — both alternative providers and traditional banks — allowing them to scale their business without additional leverage, while mitigating the risks of default.

Moscow-based Target Asset Management agreed in February to form a $100 millionfund to invest in Blackmoon’s loans.

 

United Kingdom

Carney frees up £150bn in bank lending, (Alt Fi News), Rated: AAA

Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, yesterday took steps to reduce capital buffers for UK banks. The Financial Policy Committee (FPC) has reduced the UK countercyclical buffer rate from 0.5% of the banks’ UK exposures to 0%, with immediate effect. The FPC began to supplement regulatory capital buffers with the UK countercyclical buffer in March of this year, and had intended to increase the buffer to 1% in due course. But now the countercyclical buffer is expected to remain at 0% until at least June 2017.

This reduction is expected to free up £5.7bn in bank lending. The banking sector, in aggregate, targets a leverage ratio of 4%. This means that the £5.7bn in spare capital will allow the banks up to an extra £150bn in lending to UK households and businesses.

While the FPC’s actions would appear to be good news for UK borrowers, they may well herald a more competitive stretch for alternative lending platforms.

Peer-to-peer investing website holding cash of 900 savers goes bust, (This is Money), Rated: A

Comment: this is old news, but a good reminder for people who did not read last week’s Lending Times.

Savers were lured into Funding Knight with promises of returns of up to 8 per cent for lending their cash to small businesses. Last week, the peer-to-peer firm was rescued by investment firm GLI Finance, whose bosses said customers’ money was safe and that they could withdraw it whenever they liked.

Will Neil Woodford’s new higher income fund hold P2P to boost its dividends?, (Alt Fi News), Rated: A

Star fund-manager Neil Woodford is mulling the launch of a new equity income fund that will aim to deliver a higher yield than is currently offered by his hugely popular £8.6bn CF Woodford Equity Income fund.  A 4.5 per cent target yield has been widely reported. Higher yielding equity income portfolios offering an ‘enhanced income’ mostly use call options alongside normal income stocks to boost income pay-outs.

Woodford is bullish on P2P/marketplace lending and has invested in the two specialist investment trusts P2P Global Investments and VPC Speciality Lending – which offer attractive yields of 6 per cent and over for his income fund. He also owns an unquoted positon in P2P platform RateSetter.

The manager currently has 0.96 per cent of his fund’s assets in the P2P Global Investments trust and 0.64 per cent in VPC Speciality Lending trust. These are, respectively, his 28th and 39th largest holdings.  In total he has 109 holdings.

His existing fund is currently hitting a yield of 3.7 per cent. P2P GI and VPC Speciality Lending’s yields are currently a whopping 7.4 per cent and 9.7 per cent, respectively. However, that is partly a function of thier near 20 per cent discounts at present.

LendInvest boosts tech offering with VP of Engineering, (Financial Reporter), Rated: A

Comment: I find surprising that a company of the size and volume of Lend Invest did not, apparently, have a person in charge of technology, until now.

LendInvest has recruited its first VP of Engineering as it continues to drive its technology strategy.

Mike Nuttall joins LendInvest with over 15 years’ senior management experience and has led technology development for companies in sectors such as e-commerce, payments and gaming.

At LendInvest, Mike will be responsible for managing the direction, goals and efficiency of the technology team which now represents over 40% of LendInvest’s workforce.

Free tool launched to help low-carbon businesses source funding, (Startups), Rated: B

Business in the low-carbon, clean technology (cleantech), and sustainability sectors looking for finance can take advantage of a new digital tool launched this week.

Created by Shell Springboard, the Access to Finance Navigator is an interactive database where eco-friendly entrepreneurs can search for funding opportunities and filter funding sources by their location, stage of development, financial requirements, and the user’s business sector.

So far, the database features 84 low-carbon funding sources – said to represent a total value of £157m – from government organisations, angel investors and syndicates, crowdfunding platforms and venture capital (VC) funds.

Sources listed include Funding Circle (crowdfunding), Advantage Business Circle (angel), EcoMachines Ventures (VC), Horizon 2020 (government grants), and funding competitions ran by Innovate UK.

 

Hong Kong

LendIt and AMTD Group Co-Host the First Global Fintech Investment Summit in Hong Kong, (Press Release), Rated: B

AMTD Group Company Limited (“AMTD Group”, “the Group”) is a non-bank financial services group based in Hong Kong offering a wide spectrum of capital markets, asset management, insurance brokerage and risk management solutions to clients across Asia.

LendIt is the largest conference series dedicated to connecting the global fintech community.

LendIt China and AMTD Group will co-host the first Global Fintech Investment Summit in Hong Kong (“Global Fintech HK Summit” or the “summit”) on July 13.

More than 80 leading Asian investors and over 35 international fintech companies are expected to attend the ground-breaking summit.

 

France

The Vibrant Marketplace Lending Industry in France, (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

The French marketplace lending industry is still in its infancy. Due to a very strict regulatory structure there is only one online consumer lender operating in France, Younited Credit (formerly Pret d’Union) and small business lending platforms have only begun operating in the last 18 months. In late 2014 the French government made it legal to make loans to small businesses without a banking license. This has led to a large number of new platforms, they say the count is around 50, to launch since then.

The French government is also actively involved in the industry through an entity called BPI – setup with similar goals to the British Business Bank. It wants to stimulate lending to small businesses. BPI will take small equity positions in fintech companies, it will invest on platforms and it will make interest free loans to qualifying companies.

Younited is still relatively small compared to the US or UK platforms – they are currently issuing around €17 million in new loans every month in France. With 130 employees they are easily the largest platform in France and one of the largest in Continental Europe.

Earlier this year Younited opened an office in Rome in their first international expansion. One of the great benefits of being part of the European Union is that they can “passport” their banking license to other countries which is what they have done in Italy.

Younited is focused on prime borrowers in both France and Italy offering competitive interest rates to banks. They offer four funds for investors with historical returns ranging from 2.2% for their lowest risk borrowers up to 5.1% for the highest risk fund.

The first online small business lender to launch in France was Unilend – they issued their first loan in November of 2013 a full year before the regulation changed to allow small business lending. The reason is that their loans are setup differently – as a direct contract between the borrower and the investors. They are actually an IOU instead of an actual loan.

Unilend has issued €20 million in loans to date and are currently issuing around €1 million a month. Loan terms range from 3 months to 60 months with interest rates of 4% to 10%. They run a Dutch auction, which allows investors to bid down the rates to a minimum set by Unilend. They have a large investor base of over 10,000 active investors with an average return of 5.25%. They average 700 investors per loan.

BPI has invested in Unilend as an equity holder – they do not own loans. Like every small business platform we met with the loans issued by Unilend are unsecured with no personal guarantees in place. The average loan size is €75,000 with the typical small business doing revenue below €2 million.

One of the curious things about France is that many of these loans are done in partnerships with banks. The small business might be seeking €500,000 in funding but the bank will only issue €400,000. So, they will seek the other €100,000 from a platform like Unilend.

Lendix is a relatively new small business platform, having issued their first loan in April 2015 but they are already one of the leading platforms in France. They currently originate €4 million a month, making them the largest small business lender.

The co-founders of Lendix have all invested their own personal money in the fund which has grown to €29 million in size and is currently yielding 6.5%. They are about to launch a second fund which will be in the €50-70 million range.

As for the loans the average size is €200,000 with a maximum amount of €2 million. The loan terms range from 18 months to 5 years although they have just added short term loan options down to 3 months. They currently have zero defaults although there was one case of fraud where they were able to get the money back.

Finexkap has taken a completely different approach to financing French small businesses. They are providing working capital via receivables financing. But the regulators do not allow invoice financing outside of banks unless it is done in a securitization.

They did €15 million in originations in 2015 and are on track to do €100 million in 2016. Because this is invoice finance the loans are very short in duration. So, even though they have only been issuing loans for a couple of years they have already had 9 turns of their loan book. Of the more than 5,000 transactions they have done they have only had losses on one transaction. So they are developing a solid track record.

The company with the most memorable domain name is Credit.fr. They are part of the new breed of platforms focused on small business loans. They are growing fast and have just crossed €1 million in loans per month issued.

They are open to individual and institutional investors and they have 5,000 registered investors on their platform today. Like Lendix they are also creating a debt fund that they expect to launch in September and that should help them reach scale much faster. The target return for this fund will be around 5% after fees.

Credit.fr has a solid borrower funnel with leads coming from digital, partnerships with companies like Younited and others and also business brokers. The average loan size is €60,000. They feel that their competitive advantage is their risk management where they have an experienced team in place.

Lendopolis is one of the more unique platforms in France. It is actually part of theKissKissBankBank (yes, that is the official name) group of companies that consists of three divisions:

  1. KissKissBankBank – a donation-based crowdfunding site created in a similar vein to Kickstarter focused on primarily cultural and artistic projects. They have financed 15,000 projects since being founded in 2009.
  2. Hellomerci.com – based on the Kiva model of microfinance. These are small loans (less than €10,000) at 0% interest rates loaned out to very small companies.
  3. Lendopolis – launched in 2014 as a more typical p2p small business lender. They have loaned €7 million over 100 loans in their first 18 months.

Like many platforms here Lendosphere also launched soon after the regulations came into effect in late 2014. They are the first platform to be 100% focused on sustainable development projects.

To date they have loaned €6.7 million across 33 projects – either wind turbines or solar panels. The loans are typically 2-5 years at interest rates of 4-8%. They have 3,500 registered investors funding these projects. While it is still a young loan book Lendosphere has had zero defaults and delinquencies.

Most platforms are focused on small business where there has been a lot of entrepreneurial activity in the last 18 months. The French government recognizes that small businesses need more choices when it comes to access to capital so they have helped to create a regulatory environment that enables new approaches to this challenge.

 

China

Lending scheme fraudster jailed for life, (CRI English), Rated: A

A court in east China’s Zhejiang Province has sentenced a man to life behind bars for running a fake peer-to-peer lending scheme that conned over 88 million yuan (about 13 million U.S. dollars) from 1,200 investors.

Cai Jincong illegally raised more than 200 million yuan through Zhejiang Yinfang Investment and Management Co., where Cai fabricated investment products promising over 20 percent in annualized returns, the court said on Tuesday.

Cai, who was under a lot of debt, founded the P2P lending platform in October 2013. It offered returns on investment of up to 50 percent.

The funds were used to service Cai’s own debt and fund the operation of the P2P platform. Cai turned himself to police on January 20, 2015.

Author:

George Popescu