Thursday February 14 2019, Weekly News Digest

OnDeck revenues

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi invests in Apex Clearing. Zopa chairman steps down. Ratesetter ISA tops 17M GBP in first year. Assetz Capital surpasses 700M GBP in lending. Revolut denies getting Lithuanian bank license to influence politics. Today’s main analysis: OnDeck’s Q4 earnings review. Today’s thought-provoking articles: What’s happening with auto loans. How Amazon controls small businesses with lending. Banks […]

The post Thursday February 14 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

OnDeck revenues

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Other

News Summary

United States

SoFi held talks to acquire a fintech company backing some of the hottest robo advisors as it eyes expansion beyond its lending roots (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

OnDeck Q4 2018 Earnings Review (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

The company achieved much of what they set to do in 2018 and posted another solid quarter as they rounded out the year. Q4 2018 net income came in at $14 million on gross revenues of $109.5 million. The company ended the year with a total of $27.7 million in net income. Below is a snapshot of their Q4 and 2018 full year highlights.

As of Q4 2018 the company still had $246 million of excess debt capacity.

BB&T and SunTrust merger; Tech in Bank Earnings (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

The Fed’s January 2019 Senior Loan Officer Survey showed that banks tightened standards for commercial real estate (CRE) loans. Overall, banks tightened standards for credit card borrowers. However, lending standards for most categories of consumer loans and C&I loans remained unchanged. Banks also reported weaker demand for both business and household loans.

Source: Federal Reserve, PeerIQ

BB&T agreed to buy SunTrust for $28.2 Bn – the first major mega-bank deal in a decade. This deal will create the sixth-largest US retail bank. The M&A is supported by a constructive regulatory environment fostered by the OCC and CFPB, among others. The previous large acquisition was the JP Morgan acquisition of Bank One in 2004.

A major motivation for the deal was the ability of both banks to pool resources to build better digital offerings. SunTrust has a FinTech focused fund and has partnered with FinTech lenders to provide home improvement and small business loans. Banks are investing billions in digital tech spend to maintain relevance with customers that are increasingly eschewing bank branches for a seamless, online, full-service banking and wealth management customer experience.

Auto Loans in High Gear (Liberty Street Economics), Rated: AAA

Total household debt increased modestly, by $32 billion, in the fourth quarter of 2018, according to the latest Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit from the New York Fed’s Center for Microeconomic Data. Although household debt balances have been rising since mid-2013, their sluggish growth in the fourth quarter was mainly due to a flattening in the growth of mortgage balances. Auto loans, which have been climbing at a steady clip since 2011, increased by $9 billion, boosted by historically strong levels of newly originated loans. In fact, 2018 marked the highest level in the nineteen-year history of the loan origination data, with $584 billion in new auto loans and leases appearing on credit reports, up in nominal terms from 2017’s $569 billion. In this post, we take a closer look at the composition and performance of outstanding auto loan debt using the New York Fed’s Consumer Credit Panel (CCP), which is based on anonymized Equifax credit data and also the source for the Quarterly Report.

Amazon’s lending perpetuates the tech giant’s control over small businesses (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Amazon runs a marketplace with 2.5 million sellers, 24,000 of which had more than $1 million in sales on the platform in 2018. These sellers represent the potential customer base for the company’s lending model.

From this base of borrowers, Amazon has been able to reportedly lend over $1 billion in 2017, exceeding  $3 billion in total lending volume from its inception in 2011 to 2017. As for 2018, in its annual report, the company reported receivables outstanding from their lending program of $710 million, up from $692 million a year prior.

With access to detailed information and data on each seller, Amazon is able to mitigate lending risk substantially. Seller metrics only available to Amazon are utilized to determine a small business’s creditworthiness. Sales history, product offerings, customer service feedback, and shipping metrics enable Amazon’s lending business to have better insight into how to accurately issue loans. This allows Amazon to have an understanding of the health of each small business on its seller marketplace.

Goldman Sachs, Point72 and others invest $ 44 million in business credit startup Nav (Reuters), Rated: A

Nav, a startup that gives small businesses free access to their credit reports, said on Monday that it had raised $44 million from investors including Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N), Point72 Ventures and Experian Ventures (EXPN.L).

Well Fargo Outage Points to Opportunity in Digital Banking (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Wells Fargo is still digging out from a PR disaster last week when the bank went offline for a large segment of customers due to a fire alarm triggered in a server facility in Minnesota. Customers could not access the mobile app, the website or ATMs. The incident has been used to highlight how big an opportunity there is for fintech firms or more nimble banks.

What the outage shows is that bank infrastructure is still stuck in the past, analysts rightly askedwhy Wells Fargo did not have the bank running on a cloud based system.

Digital bank Chime seemed to benefit from the news with more than 10,000 accounts being opened, a record 24 hour period for the startup.

new survey by Fraedom says 80 percent of banks believe challengers have impacted their business and 30 percent say they are their biggest threat.

Susan Ehrlich of Earnest (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Our next guest on the Lend Academy Podcast is Susan Ehrlich, the CEO of Earnest. They are one of the largest student loan refinancers in the country and they also offer personal loans. Back in 2017 Earnest was acquired by the student loan servicer Navient which was itself spun out from Sallie Mae in 2014.

Government Shutdown Slows SBA Lending Volume, Approval Percentage Dipped Slightly in January (GlobeNewswire), Rated: A

Business loan approval rates dropped three-tenths of a percent at regional and community banks in December 2018. Small bank approvals dropped a full percentage point from 49.9% in December 2018 to 48.9% in January.

Small business loan approval rates for big banks remained at a record high 27% in January 2019, according to the Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index, which examines more than 1,000 small business credit applications made via its online lending platform.

Goldberg added that since reopening on January 28, her office has guaranteed more than 200 SBA loans worth $59.3 million.

Institutional lenders climbed up to 65.1 %, a jump of three-tenths of a percent from December’s mark of 64.8%.

Loan approval rates among alternative lenders rose from 56.6% in December to 57.3% in January, a jump of seven-tenths of a percent.

Citi rolls out new personal loan, online savings account (American Banker), Rated: A

Citigroup has launched a new consumer loan product and a new high-yielding savings-account as part of its rollout of its new digital bank.

The New York bank recently introduced Citi Flex Loan, which allows select existing Citi credit card customers to convert part of their credit lines to a loan with a fixed annual percentage rate, Mark Mason, Citigroup’s incoming chief financial officer, said Tuesday at an investor conference.

Square’s banking bid avoids backlash that doomed Walmart’s (American Banker), Rated: A

As Square seeks federal approval for a Utah industrial loan company, the fintech’s bid has so far avoided the kind of loud, public opposition that marred past ILC bids by higher-profile nonbanks.

Community banks still criticize the ILC charter as a banking loophole for non-financial firms, and the Independent Community Bankers of America opposes Square’s application.

Almost 60% of small business owners launch with less than $ 25,000 (CNBC), Rated: A

At least that’s according to entrepreneurs polled recently by Kabbage, a financial services and data platform serving small businesses. More than half of those polled, or 58 percent, started their businesses with less than $25,000. A third started with less than $5,000.

These numbers track with the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which found that the median cost to start or acquire a company is about $25,000. It did find fewer businesses that begin with less than $25,000, only 46 percent, though that could be due to its inclusion of new owners who purchase existing operations as well owner starting from scratch.

LoanStreet Adds Commercial Lending Features for Financial Institutions (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

LoanStreet, an online platform that enables traditional finance like banks credit unions and other direct lenders to streamline the process of sharing, managing, and originating loans, has added new features. The SaaS platform now offers commercial loan origination and administration solution for any size financial institution, loan or deal volume.

LoanStreet’s new lending features include:

  • Built-in collaboration tools offering the flexibility to originate the loan best suited to your borrowers’ needs without sacrificing the ability to invite other financial institutions into the deal.
  • Single access point allowing all parties, including borrowers, lenders, attorneys and auditors, continuous and secure access to the same information.
  • Integrated platform from origination to maturity avoids re-keying, duplication of efforts and eliminates transfer errors and other critical information loss that occurs over time.
  • Efficient process management enabling online, borrower self-service of key administrative tasks — including online payment acceptance — while improving internal controls and information flow.
  • Automated reporting facilitating completion of all applicable regulatory and financial entries for you and every investor.

Velocity Investments sues woman for breach of contract, seeks ,500 in damages (Louisiana Record), Rated: A

Velocity Investments LLC, assignee of Lending Club Corporation, filed a complaint against Heather Darling on Feb. 12 in the 24th Judicial District Court. According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff states that the defendant has failed to pay off the balance of $22,495.23 plus interest on a contract between the parties. The defendant is accused of sums due on an open account and breach of contract.

Online Loan Companies Are No Easy Fix for Desperate Borrowers (Real Daily), Rated: A

Lending Club is currently the largest online lender in the world. By some estimates, Lending Club, which launched in 2007, facilitated anywhere between $35 billion and $55 billion in online loans in 2018.

Now as more financial institutions are beginning to extend loans, Americans are falling even deeper into debt again. Americans, as individuals and households, owed over $13 trillion dollars, collectively, in 2018.

Best News We’ve Heard All Day: More Single Women Own Homes Than Single Men (Pure Wow), Rated: A

Online loan marketplace LendingTree reports that on average, single women own around 22 percent of homes, while single men own less than 13 percent. The study states that the gender gap in housing across the country is particularly interesting “given the average woman in the U.S. only makes 80 percent of what the average man does.” Interesting, indeed. (We can think of another word for it.)

Thoma Bravo Is Buying Digital-Focused Mortgage Company (WSJ), Rated: A

Thoma Bravo LLC has agreed to buy mortgage software firm Ellie Mae Inc. for $3.7 billion, the latest indication that challenges in the home-lending market are spurring consolidation across the industry.

The transaction will give the private-equity firm control of a company whose technology has been used to help automate the closing of millions of home loans. Based in Pleasanton, Calif., Ellie Mae handles the technology that underpins the entire home-loan origination process, and its services are used in

INSIKT Changes Name to Aura (Business Wire), Rated: B

INSIKT, a mission-driven financial technology company that offers affordable loans to hard-working families, today announced that it has changed its name to Aura to expand its focus on creating greater financial health, independence and economic stability for millions in America.

Roostify Expands Advisory Board with Investment Virtuoso (Roostify), Rated: B

Roostify, the San Francisco-based digital lending platform provider, announced today the addition of financial services consultant Marshall Lux to its advisory board. Lux, a distinguished consultant, advisor and educator, brings more than 30 years’ experience in private equity to the rapidly expanding business and reflects Roostify’s commitment to perfecting a scalable operational model and further developing an ecosystem of technology partners and strategic alliances.

LendIt Fintech USA 2019 (LendIt), Rated: B

April 8-9
Moscone West
San Francisco

HIGHLIGHTED KEYNOTES

Sallie Krawcheck
CEO & Co-Founder
Ellevest

Rob Frohwein
CEO & Co-Founder
Kabbage

Steven Streit
CEO
Green Dot

Mike Cagney
Co-Founder
Figure

United Kingdom

Zopa chairman Giles Andrew to step down after 15 years (Independent), Rated: AAA

Zopa’s co-founder Giles Andrew is to step down as chairman after 15 years at Britain’s oldest peer-to-peer lender.

Zopa appoints Virgin veteran McCallum as chairman (Finextra), Rated: A

P2P lender Zopa has appointed former Virgin Management CEO Gordon McCallum as chairman as it gears up for the forthcoming launch of its new banking venture.

Ratesetter ISA tops £175m in first year (AltFi), Rated: AAA

The peer-to-peer lending platform said its ISA accounts for one-fifth of its £830m of funds under management.

Peer-to-peer lending platform Ratesetter said it has been “blown away” by the popularity of its first ISA product, which has hit £175m of subscriptions a year after launch.

Assetz Capital surpasses £700m lending mark (Bridging and Commercial), Rated: AAA

Assetz Capital has now lent over £700m to SMEs and property developers since launching in 2013.

The P2P lending platform has enjoyed significant progression, providing over £200m of funding in the eight months since it surpassed the £500m lending milestone in June 2018.

Former Assetz Capital founder launches fintech consultancy (AltFi), Rated: A

The co-founder of one of Europe’s largest peer-to-peer lenders has launched a fintech consultancy to help young firms “avoid some of the mistakes made by the early incumbents of the industry”.

Former Assetz Capital chief credit officer Andrew Holgate will lead a team of City veterans at consultancy Equitivo, which will help growing fintech firms raise cash, focus on strategy, trim operations and boost performance.

‘There is no magic bullet, people will get P2P over time’ (FT Adviser), Rated: A

The chief operating officer of peer-to-peer platform Relendex, Max Lehrain, has concerns about the Financial Conduct Authority’s crack down on P2P lenders and crowdfunding platforms.

UK challenger bank Starling secures £75m for European expansion (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

Life is sweet for UK challenger bank Starling as it has raised £75 million in funding for its expansion plans in Europe.

It got £60 million in a Series C round led by Merian Global Investors, including the Merian Chrysalis Investment Company.

Monzo Launches First 100 Business Accounts (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

UK challenger bank Monzo announced on Monday the launch of its first 100 business accounts. This news comes just a few months after Monzo revealed it was considered business banking, with Founder and CEO, Tom Blomfield, stating 2019 plans included business accounts. Speaking about the new accounts, Monzo reported:

Main Street banks say fintechs like Monzo, N26 and Chime pose the biggest disruptive threat to their businesses (Business Insider), Rated: A

Main Street banks believe upstarts like Monzo, N26 and Chime, known as challenger banks, pose a significant threat to their business, according to a recent survey.

Fraedom, a credit card specialist who works with companies like Visa, SunTrust, and Bank of Montreal, surveyed bankers on what some of the biggest impacts to their business will be in 2019. The vast majority (80%) believe challenger banks have an increased impact to their business, and 30% pegged the new competitors as the biggest disruptive threat to their business in 2019.

Tandem Bank boss calls for rate cut to kick-start UK economy (AltFi), Rated: A

Ricky Knox, chief executive of app-only lender Tandem Bank called on the central bank to cut rates to kick-start growth, as currently savers are locking away cash in specialist higher interest accounts.

Peer-to-Peer Lending and Brexit (4th Way email), Rated: A

Shares plunged and the pound plummeted to a 31-year low when the UK voted to leave the EU. More recently chaotic Brexit negotiations indicate a disorderly exit that could see investors avoid traditional investments in the UK, but what does this mean for peer-for-peer lending and should lenders be worried?

Bank and P2P lending is far less volatile than equity investing, because:

  • It is short-term orientated.
  • Lenders easily diversify widely across thousands of investments – loans – as opposed to a typical stock investor who diversifies across hundreds of shares through share funds.
  • In P2P lending, buy/sell price swings, often fuelled by uncertainty, are usually irrelevant, since lenders hold loans for the full term.
  • Lenders are usually in a better place in the queue compared to equity investors when recovering losses is involved, which can mean smaller losses on individual investments (loans) that go wrong.
  • With lending being data driven, recession conditions are easier to plan for. A turbulent P2P Brexit would mean a tripling of defaulting loans in some kinds of lending and cut-price sales of borrowers’ assets. Interest rates and reserve funds are prepped for most disasters, leaving a very low chance of a sizeable overall loss on a well-diversified, low-risk lending portfolio.

Most investors in peer-to-peer lending are using platforms that are run by people with relevant banking experience. The banks, when we look at their bread-and-butter lending, have found it easy to maintain net profits even during multiple downturns over the past 20 years, which includes the Great Recession. This is across the spectrum of lending, from buy-to-let mortgages to personal loans and credit cards. Perhaps surprisingly, retail and small business lending combined was still profitable for the UK’s high street banks during the 2008 and 2009 crash.

Learn more about 4th Way here.

Mojo Mortgages secures £7million to revolutionise the UK mortgage experience (Manchester Digital), Rated: A

Mojo Mortgages, a fintech start up based in the North West has secured £7million in Series A funding to transform the mortgage experience.

Mortgage Brain boosts user numbers (Mortgage Introducer), Rated: A

Mortgage Brain welcomed over 2,000 new customers during 2018 with a host of national networks, corporate firms and individual adviser firms choosing to use one or more of its products and services.

A number of new customers – including Censeo, Intelligence Mortgage Solutions, Your Expert Group, Affinity Mortgages and Your Mortgage Solutions – as well as a number of contract renewals and user license increases, have all contributed to Mortgage Brain’s growth throughout 2018.

UK inflation below official target for first time in 2 years (Miami Herald), Rated: A

Lower energy costs as well as a waning impact from the pound’s sharp fall in the aftermath of the country’s Brexit vote have helped consumer price inflation in Britain fall below the Bank of England’s target of 2 percent for the first time in two years.

The Office for National Statistics said Wednesday that consumer prices rose by 1.8 percent in the year to January, down from the 2.1 percent recorded in the previous month. Inflation has been consistently falling since August as the effects of the pound’s decline drop out of annual comparisons. The latest decline was further accentuated by a fall in the price of electricity, gas and other fuels.

Inflation is now at its lowest since January 2017, when inflation was also 1.8 percent.

Arbuthnot Commercial ABL delivers £12m refinancing facility (Bridging Loan Directory), Rated: B

Arbuthnot Commercial Asset Based Lending Ltd. is delighted to announce it has completed a £12m refinancing for L&C Limited, trading under Red 7 Marine (“R7M”), provider of nearshore access solutions to the UK marine construction and maintenance industry, and an investee company of Perwyn Private Equity (“Perwyn”).

European Union

UK fintech unicorn Revolut forced to deny links to Russia (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Unicorn challenger bank Revolut has strongly denied claims that its activities in securing a banking license in Lithuania are attempts to interfere in the country’s politics.

Revolut was granted a European Banking License in Lithuania in December but has since faced claims of interfering in the country’s political processes by Lithuanian Member of Parliament Stasys Jakeliūnas, chair of the Lithuanian parliament’s budget and finance committee.

German Lending Marketplace auxmoney Overtakes Midsize Banks in Consumer Loan Origination (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Düsseldorf-based Fintech auxmoney has surpassed its targets in 2018. Loan volume increased by 74 percent compared to 2017. Raffael Johnen, Founder and CEO of auxmoney, commented:

“While the major German banks are in crisis mode, the leading German fintechs are always setting new records. With our continuously strong growth, we managed to be the first credit marketplace to catch up with medium-sized banks in Germany.”

It issued new loans totaling €551 million last year.

Auxmoney Now Stands for 0.5% of the Market of German Consumer Loans (P2P-Banking), Rated: A

German p2p lending marketplace Auxmoney announced that it has facilitated 551M EUR in consumer loans in the year 2018. Up 74% compared to 2017. Approximately 73,000 loans were financed. That would mean Auxmoney now stands for a market share of roughly 0.5% of the market.

Gymshark teams up with Klarna to announce pay later service (RLI), Rated: B

Fitness wear brand Gymshark has announced the launch of a pay later service in the UK, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark. The company is now in a partnership with Klarna, a payments provider which will offer Gymshark the new payment option. The payment service will allow online shoppers to try on items at home before paying for the order.

Instantor releases report on how machine learning is revolutionising credit risk management in Europe (Fintech Finance), Rated: B

Instantor, the 3rd. fastest growing Swedish FinTech who makes tough calls easy within credit risk management presents “Credit Risk Management 2019 – How Do You Stack Up?”, a report based on a survey conducted by Instantor across Europe among top executives within leading financial organisations. The report reveals that two-thirds of these players are well underway to implementing machine learning (ML) and the majority benefits from its implementation within credit risk management.

International

30 Under 30 Europe: The Young Money Merchants Shaping Financial Markets In 2019 (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Finance is hardly known for its youthfulness, yet this year’s Finance 30 Under 30s are proving that an old industry can learn new tricks. These young venture capitalists, fintech entrepreneurs, crypto enthusiasts and Millennial bankers, with an average age of just 27, are reshaping the sector and transforming our relationship with money.

The Next Global Financial Meltdown Is Just Around the Corner (Equities.com), Rated: AAA

As Bloomberg reported last year:

Shadow banking in China has ballooned into a $10 trillion ecosystem which connects thousands of financial institutions with companies, local governments and hundreds of millions of households. The practice is now at the center of a Chinese government-led regulatory crackdown aimed at defusing financial risks that threaten the wider economy. Unlike in the U.S., traditional commercial banks drive shadow banking, or unregulated lending, in China. That’s because the banks have been able to keep shadow-banking assets off their balance sheets, thereby sidestepping regulatory constraints on lending.

About 169 million Chinese, or about 12 per cent of the population, have invested in wealth management products online, a rise of 66 per cent from two years ago, according to a Moody’s report published this month. Essentially, they are putting money into the shadow banking system.

“The picture is different in the European Union. Here, the shadow sector now accounts for perhaps 30–40% of total financial intermediation. But it is growing. Between 2012 and 2016, shadow banking as broadly measured expanded by almost 40% in the eurozone.

Atlanta-based IDology to Be Acquired by GBG for $ 300m (PR Newswire), Rated: A

GBG, the UK-headquartered Identity Data Intelligence specialist, today announces that it has conditionally agreed to acquire the entire issued share capital of IDology, a US-based provider of identity verification and fraud prevention services, for $300m (£233m) in an all-cash transaction.

Nexo lending to offer crypto-backed loans with Blockport exchange (Bankless Times), Rated: B

Blockport users will be able to use the Nexo platform to get crypto loans, offering them another alternative to selling their cryptocurrencies for fiat currencies. Instead of selling they cryptocurrency assets, Blockport users can now keep their crypto, with all potential upsides, and leverage them to get instant access to cash.

Australia

Next Growth Wave: Fintech (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

In this article we look at some fintech companies, beyond investor’s normal horizon of the United States. In Australia there is a small cluster of listed fintech companies that have started to explode. Some have made gains of 400% in a year and more than 1,000% on the back of strong revenue and turnover growth. Moreover because Australian companies lack access to large scale V.C. investments, technology companies often need to capital raise through a public listing.

Zip Co. (ASX: Z1P)

Zip Co. is quite similar to Afterpay and in some ways its closest competitor with an established market position. However in addition to payment splitting, it also offers interest based loans and is different in other ways.

  • Zip Co. is smaller with a market capitalization of $380 M AUD (about $266 M USD), but still has 12,600 retail partners including most of Australia’s largest retailers, however it hasn’t yet entered the U.S. or the U.K.
  • Zip Co. has Zip Pay, which provides a payment splitting application with no interest, but with more flexibility in length of time or repayment amount than Afterpay’s solution.
  • Zip Co. also has Zip Money also provides loans for purchases above $1,000 AUD, with a 3 month interest free period, but with an establishment fee of up to $99.
  • Source: Seeking Alpha

Labor’s negative gearing policies could hurt first-home buyers (Your Mortgage), Rated: A

“Despite Australia’s tight regulations on foreign investment, other overseas property markets are tighter – including China, Canada and New Zealand,” Driscoll said. “Unlike in Australia, the Chinese lack many appealing alternative investments at home and, due to government crackdowns on peer-to-peer lending, private equity funds and with the majority of their property being leasehold, many investors are forced to look elsewhere.”

India

India’s fintech future looks bright, but it needs to find its raison d’être (India Times), Rated: AAA

Yet there is more room for growth. The market in India is still small; far more deals are being done in China, and for far higher valuations. Last year alone, venture capital investments into Chinese fintechs were more than 10 times larger than those in India, with 75 percent more deals.

Although the value of investments in India declined by 21 percent in 2018 over the previous year, the number of deals actually rose 12 percent, making 2018 the most active year on record for fintech financing.

RBI may change Rs 10 lakh lending cap on P2P platforms, say P2P players (India Times), Rated: A

Peer to Peer or P2P players are hopeful that the comprehensive financial data sought by the Reserve Bank of India might help the regulator to take some major policy decisions concerning the industry.

Asia

Hundreds of unlicensed P2P lenders still operating in Indonesia (The Jakarta Post), Rated: AAA

The Financial Services Authority (OJK) has found that 231 illegal peer-to-peer lending (P2P) providers, including those from other countries, have been operating in the country since January.

An Overview on Peer-To-Peer Lending in Indonesia (Legal Business Online), Rated: A

Two years following the enactment of Financial Service Authority (Otoritas Jasa Keuangan/”OJK) Regulation No. 77/POJK.01/2016 of 2016 (POJK 77/2016), Peer-to-Peer Lending (P2P Lending) has grown popular in Indonesia. Based on data from OJK per Oct. 2018, a total of 15,990,143,141,355 rupiah has been distributed to the borrowers in P2P Lending. It has grown 432.5% from Jan. 2018 until Oct. 2018. Until Dec. 2018, the number of P2P Lending Platform which has been registered and supervised by OJK has reached 88 companies, one of them has been given a license.

Canada

Finastra announces Siobhan Byron as new Head of Technology Enabled Managed Services (Finastra), Rated: A

Finastra has appointed Siobhan Byron as Senior Vice President and Head of Technology Enabled Managed Services (TEMS). In this role, she oversees planning and execution, sales and marketing, research and development and product management across four lines of business including Checks, Enhanced Services, Student Lending and Canadian Mortgage Technology, all in the Canadian market. She oversees more than 1,300 employees that make up Finastra’s TEMS business.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday February 14 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Predicting Default Rates for Online Lending

Clarity Services

According to data from Experian’s Clarity Services, online consumer lending has grown over 350 percent from 2013 to 2017. Funded single-pay volume rose 72 percent while installment loan volume went up nearly 500 percent. The single-pay loan volume actually shot up 106 percent through 2016 but fell slightly the following year. Still, these numbers indicate […]

Clarity Services

According to data from Experian’s Clarity Services, online consumer lending has grown over 350 percent from 2013 to 2017. Funded single-pay volume rose 72 percent while installment loan volume went up nearly 500 percent. The single-pay loan volume actually shot up 106 percent through 2016 but fell slightly the following year. Still, these numbers indicate a growth in online alternative finance lending, and with governments around the world cracking down on traditional payday lending, this spells a huge opportunity for further growth in the years to come.

In 2013, the average online installment loan amount was just below $800. In 2017, it was just over $1,400. And the average loan term rose from six months in 2013 to almost 10 months in 2017.

This growth may have something to do with how online installment loan providers are marketing their services. The number of lenders using direct marketing in 2015 was indexed to 100, but in 2018 (through July), that number was 275, representing growth on pace to reach 550 percent by year end. The number of pre-screened mailed names went up from an indexed amount of 100 in 2015 to 988 through July of this year.

Marketing isn’t the only factor affecting growth in this segment of online lending. There is also a growing number of lenders tapping into the market, and the fact that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), several U.S. states, the United Kingdom, and other government entities are beginning to target traditional brick-and-mortar payday lenders is contributing to the growth of the online installment loan segment.

The growth of this segment highlights the importance of credit risk evaluation. The need for effective credit risk solutions that identify potential defaulters and is capable of separating the good borrowers from the bad is also growing.

The Importance of Predicting Defaults Before Issuing Online Loans

One of the most important tasks for any lender is predicting the likelihood of default. A higher than expected default rate can lead to huge losses. On the other hand, mitigating delinquencies can lead to greater profits and allow the lender to issue more loans. It is particularly important to predict whether a borrower will default on the first payment of an installment loan. After all, defaulting on the first installment means the lender will not recoup any of its investment, and defaulting on the first payment is a clear sign that the borrower should have been flagged as a high credit risk and will likely default on subsequent payments.

Alternative finance lending is inherently risky. Lenders must fight a higher default rate than banks (20 percent vs. 3 percent) right off the bat. That alone makes predictive credit risk modeling a necessity in today’s installment loan market.

In recent years, online lending leaders have seen greater than expected default rates, which means these online providers must be extra diligent about predicting delinquencies in order to watch their bottom lines. For this reason, the tools that lenders use to make such predictions must be carefully chosen so that default rates decline and profits increase over time.

3 Ways to Identify Good Credit Risks Before Issuing a Loan

Some defaults are to be expected. Profitable lenders understand that the interest on the good loans will pay for the losses on the bad loans. Nevertheless, mitigating those losses is paramount to maintaining solvency and being able to service future borrowers. An online installment loan lender can use credit risk scoring to decrease default rates and increase profits simply by identifying the good and bad credit risks. Here are three ways a lender can ensure they are focusing on the good credit risks:

  1. Prescreen your potential borrowers – Credit risk evaluation should begin before you make initial contact with potential borrowers. If you are involved in direct marketing, prescreen potential borrowers before sending them your marketing collateral. Not only can this lower your default rate, but it will also lower your marketing expenses.
  2. Use an effective credit risk scoring solution – Today’s lenders do not just rely on FICO scores and payment histories. They collect alternative data that identifies how potential borrowers spend their money and handle their debts. Much of this data is out of sight from traditional credit scoring agencies, but it is essential to getting a complete picture of the borrower.
  3. Make your offer based on the borrower’s credit risk profile – First, build a credit risk profile on the borrower and use the predictive score to make your loan offer. It is best when lenders are able to structure a loan based on a consumer’s risk level. For example, a higher risk customer might warrant a smaller loan amount to control the lender’s risk.

Assessing Credit Risk: The Perfect Solution for Online Installment Loan Providers

The most important factors in underwriting the subprime consumer involve credit risk assessment and fraud detection. New solutions that combine the largest visibility into the industry’s alternative credit data and traditional bureau data ensure lenders are fully equipped to assess and mitigate risks. These solutions are offered by Experian’s Clarity Services and Experian, and include:

  • Clear Credit Risk
  • Clear Advanced Attributes

These solutions are designed to assess a borrower’s creditworthiness or to determine credit eligibility. Lenders receive an actionable score with adverse action codes to help them determine whether a potential borrower is a solid credit risk and to help determine a reasonable loan structure.

Clear Credit Risk is Clarity’s trademarked credit risk product designed to predict the likelihood of a borrower’s default on the first payment. It includes an effective score and is built on data that has proven most predictive for subprime consumers.

Experian’s Clarity Services is a credit reporting agency founded in 2008 and acquired by Experian in 2017. As the leading alternative credit data provider, the company services a wide variety of alternative finance lenders such as auto finance companies, check cashing services, prepaid credit card issuers, short-term installment lenders, small-dollar credit lenders, telecommunications providers, and more.

Authors:

Allen Taylor

Daily News Digest

bank-fintech partnerships

Consumers are increasingly finding that new technologies are making online lending more accessible, simple and affordable. Online lending has entered the mainstream, yet it is still a long way from challenging the domination of banks in our financial lives. Online lending has also evolved from being a competitor of traditional banks to a collaborator for greater […]

bank-fintech partnerships

Consumers are increasingly finding that new technologies are making online lending more accessible, simple and affordable. Online lending has entered the mainstream, yet it is still a long way from challenging the domination of banks in our financial lives. Online lending has also evolved from being a competitor of traditional banks to a collaborator for greater success.

A LendIt 2018 panel discussion moderated by Kevin Wack, a reporter at American Banker, delved deeper into these emerging partnerships between banks and online lenders. The moderator believes that the current discussion is the 2018 version of a 2015 discussion–partnering with banks.

In 2015, the discussion revolved more around how banks should respond to the rise of online consumer lending and whether they should become a part of the revolution. But the current discussion is about how the banking industry has shaped up with the advent of online lending.

Introduction of Panel Members

Barclays: Jeremy Takle is the head of US Digital Consumer Bank at Barclays. Introducing the company, he shared that Barclays is a relatively new entrant in the US online lending segment. The company acquired Juniper Bank in 2004 and launched a consumer lending product in 2016.

Prosper: Usama Ashraf from Prosper discussed how his company emerged as the pioneer in US online lending. The Prosper platform was founded in 2006 and since has facilitatedAshraf over $12 billion in originations.

Lending Club: Sameer Gulati, the COO of Lending Club, was also a part of the panel discussion. Lending Club has done about $32 billion in loans, which runs the gamut of personal loans, business loans, auto re-financing solutions, and patient solutions.

Lightstream: Another panelist was Todd Nelson from LightStream, a company that works to extend loans for practically everything. LightStream is a branch of SunTrust, and making loans is an important part of SunTrust. It focuses on providing the same products as SunTrust but sets broader benchmarks.

Bank, Fintech, and Online Lender Competition

Gulati holds the view that there is an increasing amount of competition from banks, but this will increase opportunity for the industry. The competition will help make online lending a mainstream product. Ashraf also believes that bank competition is increasing, but marketplace lenders are the largest players in the lending space. Banks in the US have large deposits that enable them to grow the asset side of the equation at a comparatively cheaper rate.  As a result, competition is increasing, especially for personal loans.

Takle said fintech lenders are relatively new entrants in the lending space. The fintech sector has undergone a drastic transformation thanks to the changing role of technology and innovation. The huge addressable market that online lending could fill was a major factor that attracted Barclays to this market. Moreover, Goldman Sachs and other regional banks are entering into the market to tap into the huge opportunity.

Nelson believes LightStream is customer-centric. The company designs its products according to the needs of the customer. The debt products are designed to meet the clients’ requirements and to offer flexible repayment structures. When asked how different are the credit standards at LightStream, he said LightStream is a regional bank over 100 years old. The business has a modern risk appetite but is less aggressive compared to other banking companies in the space.

Credit Risk Appetite For Banks

Ashraf Wack said traditional banks have limitations pertaining to the type of risk they will take on due to their investor base.

Gulati discussed how banks are at the top end of the credit spectrum with 40% of buying volume. That comes to about $4 billion for Lending Club. The business is focused on devising ways to say yes to more people in the credit market and is dependent on non-traditional data to increase penetration in the credit markets.

Wack asked the panel to put forth their thoughts on how “Frenemy” is used as a familiar term for the banking sector and fintechs.

Ashraf said he believes collaboration between banking and fintech is critical. In the initial days, it was not clear how banks and fintechs should work together. But now the collaboration is beneficial as banks are meaningful buyers of loans and play an active role in the capital markets. The collaboration of banks with fintechs will also provide opportunities for cross-selling products.

Takle believes there are a lot of opportunities to collaborate across both vertical and horizontal segments in online lending. This allows for rapid scaling with significant funding and access to latent demand.

Bank-Fintech Partnerships

Talking about the growth of Lending Club, Gulati shared the framework for the company’s partnerships with banks. Lending Club has been able to add new product categories on the basis of its discussions with funding partners. He also thinks that protecting the intellectual property of a business is crucial to the growth of the business. At times, few partners are inspired by the business’s products and end up developing similar products.

Nelson went on to say that banks should not be thought of as a monolithic figure and advises online lending platforms not to compete with banks for customer acquisition, but to instead benefit from the combined capabilities of both spaces.

Ashraf believes these relationships usually start with one aspect and, over time, add more elements to a mutually-beneficial relationship.

The Relative Strengths of Banks and Fintechs

Ashraf said the expertise of online lending platforms in tech combined with banks’ ability to attract customers will together help the space grow.

Nelson believes that fintechs are successful in identifying the needs of the customer quickly and banks have expertise to develop scalable products to cater to these needs. He also praised billionaire founder of Prosper and Ripple Chris Larson for his long-term vision.

Talking about banking as a service and its appetite to fulfil the customer’s needs, Ashraf said that a lot depends on the product type and the space for which it is considered. There are three main ways that banks are currently considering the fintech space, he said:

  1. Regional banks are looking to access the customer base of fintechs
  2. Banks want to incorporate technology in their systems
  3. Banks and fintechs can collaborate on a variety of products

The Final Take

Takle believes there are a lot of customers who are looking to shop around for a single product. Gulati emphasized how important customer ownership is for a company. Most players operating in the space do not understand the meaning of the term nor its implementation in business.

Customers do not want to be owned. LendingClub believes that its job is to offer the products, services, and experiences but not to control the customer. If the customer’s need is matched better elsewhere, they should go there.

Prosper strives to offer the best customer experience and works to make sure that customers are well educated on the product that the business is offering.

Conclusion

Ending the panel with a final discussion on marketing partnerships, Nelson said businesses are operating in a space where there are big aggregators who commoditize products and there is massive competition on the price. Although price constitutes an important part of the entire equation, it must not be considered the only parameter. It is important that businesses understand products should not just be commodities in number but something that is a great experience for the customer and provides overall value to all stakeholders.

Author:

Written by Stephanie Vaughn.

The Technology Edge: How Non-Banks are Seeking to Dominate Point of Sale Lending

The Technology Edge: How Non-Banks are Seeking to Dominate Point of Sale Lending

LendIt Fintech USA 2018, April 9-11 in San Francisco, was a huge success. One of the more interesting panels was on how the non-banking sector is taking over point-of-sale (POS) lending. Kim Gerhardt, director at the San Francisco office of Edgar, Dunn and Company, moderated the panel. Other panelists included Peter Kalen, Michael Garrity, Mark […]

The Technology Edge: How Non-Banks are Seeking to Dominate Point of Sale Lending

LendIt Fintech USA 2018, April 9-11 in San Francisco, was a huge success. One of the more interesting panels was on how the non-banking sector is taking over point-of-sale (POS) lending. Kim Gerhardt, director at the San Francisco office of Edgar, Dunn and Company, moderated the panel. Other panelists included Peter Kalen, Michael Garrity, Mark Lorimer, and Camilo Concha.

Kalen is founder and CEO of Flexiti Financial, a Canadian company founded in 2013 that specializes in providing easy, instant POS financing through its award-winning mobile application process.

Garrity is co-founder, CEO, and president of a platform that has enabled merchants to facilitate consumer lending since November 2010. Financeit has processed over $2.5 billion in loan applications from thousands of merchants.

Lorimer represents LendingPoint, a lending company founded in 2014 that focuses on personal loans and debt consolidation. He is chief marketing officer. LendingPoint recently acquired LoanHero, which is in the POS lending business.

Finally, Concha is founder and CEO of LendingUSA, a company that provides innovative financing solutions with a specialization in POS lending. LendingUSA was launched in 2013 and caters to consumer finance in a variety of sectors from medical, pet care, consumer goods and services, etc.

Over the years, the POS lending industry has gained scale and seen a radical change. A convergence can be witnessed in the way payments are made and fintech lending is facilitated. The opportunity in POS financing is massive, and banks seemed to have missed the ball. Traditional banks strive to serve everyone, but when it comes to POS lending, merchants have to filter their prospective customers through a narrow funnel extending loans to a comparatively small customer base.

Flexiti Financial’s Entry in POS Lending

When Peter Kalen was asked about what brought Flexiti Financial into the business, the product that it is offering, and the level of traction it has been able to create in the market among other merchants, he articulated that Flexiti’s product is somewhat similar to what Synchrony or Alliance Data System is offering. Flexiti differs in the way transactions take place and aims to reduce the time consumed in the loan application process.

Many organizations issue private label credit cards, but application processes are long and approval rates low. With its experience and vision, Flexiti Financial has successfully introduced a 100% paperless process to offer instant POS financing. Its virtual credit card application can be downloaded from the Google Play store and the Apple store.

These private label cards speed up the loan application process, bringing the process down to three minutes. This is a win-win for retailers and customers. The platform improves the online retailer’s UX by removing the friction at the front-end.

Financeit and Point of Sale Lending

Garrity also shared his views on point of sale lending. He put emphasis on the fact that personal lending is more about new transactions and focuses less on lending. Everything in POS lending, from the technology to APIs is obsessed with enabling easy sales for merchants, improving their experience, and supporting them as they try to close more business. Merchants and customers want financing options, but they do not want to indulge in complicated programs.

Another area that Financeit targets is debt consolidation. The company has delivered a platform that makes it easy for businesses to offer powerful financing options to their customers from any device.

When asked about how they excel at delivering services to customers, Garrity said they have acquired Centah Inc, a company operating in home improvement work-flow and lead management software with joint partner and investor Goldman Sachs. The company redesigned its website to create a platform that manages the process, helps businesses connect with customers, provide dispatch scheduling systems, and represent financing options to customers throughout the process. He warnes other players that if they only focus on financing and not on the transaction, they will be missing out on an important aspect of dominating this space.

LendingUSA’s Role in POS Lending

Gerhardt asked Concha about his journey into this industry. Concha shared that LendingUSA focuses on point-of-need financing, which sits at the intersection of point of sale and fintech. He believes that businesses in today’s era are not required to be good but great if they want to be successful, and they are required to be great in all aspects, namely, marketing, technology, underwriting, and risk mitigation.

Concha started with a company called 1800mysurgeon that matched cosmetic surgeons with consumers. After starting the company, he realized the need for financing as an important part of the business. He decided to create a platform to interact with both surgery and finance to enhance the merchant’s experience.

LendingPoint’s Emergence In POS Lending

LendingPoint started as a direct consumer online lender specializing in 600-700 FICO score customers. Lorimer emphasized that the company understood very early that customer experience is crucial to POS transactions. Although the players in the market now are very good at generating products that banks like to own, they do not necessarily focus on the merchandise. LendingPoint simplifies the lending process by sharing risk and administering payment plans. LendingPoint also offers merchants risk programs to extend in-house, end-to-end services.

Marketing With Established Merchants

All the banks playing in the market are working to deliver better services to customers in different ways. The biggest players historically are Wells Fargo, Citigroup, and Synchrony Financial. They all have significant relationships.

The question is whether these big banks can be a part of this game. Concha believes that banks are an important part of the ecosystem. These banks are good for purchasing loans but are constrained by reputational risks, marketing, and other issues. Lorimer added that LendingPoint also works with some established banks. Talking of the role of hard pull and soft pull in availing credit, he shared that because a hard pull impacts the credit report of the customer, it is a cause for low approval rates. Soft pulls, on the other hand, do not affect the credit score of the credit seeker leading to a higher approval rate for loans.

Garrity shared his point of view on the tie-ups with established banks and financial institutions that become balance sheet lenders. He said they are participants in securitization, originations, and selling. He believes there is clearly an opportunity for all the stakeholder businesses to grow. Online POS lending usually operates separately considering the fact that it is complicated and technology-driven. Banks are, therefore, slow followers of fintech companies.

The Technology Edge Leads to Domination

The next important aspect analyzed was whether it is the technology that enables online POS lending businesses to dominate the lending space.

Kalen believes technology is the most important element of this space. Concha believes this space is all about keeping merchants and customers happy and building long-lasting relationships with them in the process. Lorimer questions the integration of technology among banks and whether banks will be able to adapt to complex technologies. He believes banks aren’t set up to do that, but to deliver a mass homogenous customer service. Garrity, on the other hand, believes the less you see the technology, the more attractive it is; he also thinks it is better for the merchant to focus on increasing the business close rates.

Talking about data management, Lorimer believes technology definitely provides an edge to the business on the back end. The data is the source for everything and it is analyzed and configured to improve the experience. As technology enables automation and brings security, users can access everything at one place and find it already stored in the system.

Kalen agrees that technology is a boon for backend data management. He added to the discussion saying that the more established players have an edge as they have been in business for many years. They have been able to hone their skills over a period of time.

Concha also believes that technology will work for the POS lending as it is different from other businesses. There is a major role of risk, debt, and strong relationships in POS lending, and none of these can be managed properly without technology.

The Challenges of POS Lending

Technology, scale, and partnerships:
Kalen from Flexiti views POS lending as a very different business than retail lending. Getting customers and coping with technology are major challenges. Other challenges that non-bank businesses face are focusing on the scale. It is important for the business to look at the credit cycle and beware of fraudulent practices as it increases the scale of operations.

Credit cycle:
Being on the right side of the credit cycle is crucial to every lending business. The access to credit in the credit cycle determines the risk and therefore the value of the business. Businesses must prepare their strategies, keeping the future in mind.

Regulation:
Lorimer believes this space requires more regulation since the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is not very active. Poor regulation and lack of control pose a major risk to the players in the market.

Availability of capital and credit risk:
Another challenge is the availability of capital to extend lending facilities. The fear of credit facilities drying up in a day also bothers businesses.

The Takeaway

Kalen has realized that success does not come easy. The companies in this space need to understand that a lot of lending capital is required along with an understanding of the tricks of the trade.

Concha believes it is a 3-step learning process where the business is required to go through a testing phase, an education phase, and an adoption phase.

With LendingPoint’s recent acquisition of LoanHero, it is comparatively a new entrant in the market.

The crux of the entire discussion is that POS lenders must be specialized to survive in the market. The business has to endeavor to offer value added merchant services instead of being a one-stop shop to be successful. There is a lot of room for growth provided one understands the complexities of the trade.

Author:

Stephanie Vaughan is vice president at  Allen TaylorPosted on Categories Alliance Data System, alternative lending, Analysis, balance sheet lending, Banks, CFPB, Citigroup, consumer lending, Credit, credit risk, Featured, FICO, Financeit, Flexiti Financial, instant financing, LendingPoint, LendingUSA, LendIt 2018, Online Lending, point of sale financing, point of sale lending, POS financing, POS lending, Regulation, Synchrony Financial, Wells Fargo

Friday January 19 2018, Daily News Digest

data breaches

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi Professional Loan Program hits $720M on first offering. Roofstock reaches $1B in transactions. When Zopa will open to new investors. PPDai to invest in research. Linked Finance sees profitability. Revolut launches geolocation-powered travel insurance. Harmoney partners with DataRobot. Today’s main analysis: The most and least competitive homebuyer markets. Fundrise or Vanguard: Which is the better investment? […]

data breaches

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

SoFi’s Professional Loan Program at $ 720 Million for First Offering (LendEDU), Rated: AAA

Social Finance’s Professional Loan Program 2018-A has reached $720.1 million, which is just a bit lower than the final deal it had in 2017.

In this latest program, three portions of senior Class A notes worth $677.3 million will be issued. Of that figure, one $55 million Class A-1 portion is mostly secured by floating-rate loans, and it has a variable-rate interest rate, which will be calculated based on one-month Intercontinental Exchange London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR).

Fixed-rate student loans will mostly back the $358.5 million in Class A-2A notes, as well as the $236.8 million in Class A-2 notes.

Why open banking and cybersecurity need each other (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

The industry’s desire for greater security and protection of customer data seems at odds with its desire for more open banking; by definition, open banking requires banks to share data with third party service providers.

In the U.S. banks are striving to get ahead of their own regulators by creating data exchange standards. API-based data sharing agreements like the deals Fincity signed with Wells Fargo and Chase last year are evidence of those efforts. But banks need to move beyond those one-on-one agreements if they’re going to create a full suite of financial services to offer customers through a true open banking platform.

Source: Tearsheet

PeerIQ CEO Ram Ahluwalia: 2017 Saw a Resurgence of Growth in Online Lending (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Ahluwalia told me;

“2017 has seen a resurgence in investor growth and confidence in online lending. ABS issuance is up about 83%.  Execution spreads have tightened substantially. This performance is all on the ABS loan side but has not translated yet into the equity valuations. “

He added that he expects to see continued attention on credit performance in 2018 as they are still seeing normalization of credit performance.

He expects 30% growth in ABS issuance for next year while adding that PeerIQ underestimated the growth for 2017.

LendingTree Ranks Most Competitive Homebuyer Markets (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

LendingTree, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, has released the findings of its study on where homebuyers will face the fiercest competition to achieve their dream of homeownership in 2018.

LendingTree looked at 1.5 million purchase mortgage loan requests that came through the LendingTree marketplace in the 100 largest cities in 2017. The study ranks cities using three criteria:

  • The share of buyers shopping for a mortgage before identifying the house they want. Buyers with financing in place are more appealing to sellers and can compete with cash buyers.
  • Average down payment percentage. Having a higher amount of money saved for a down payment can enable you to borrow more money or be offered a lower interest rate, allowing you to make a stronger offer.
  • Percentage of buyers who have prime credit (above 680). Borrowers with higher scores have more financing options to make more competitive offers. The cities/markets below are ranked for 2018 using the criteria noted above, including the relative data used to determine the ranking along with the market’s overall rank from the prior year.

California markets dominate the top 10.

Six of the top 10 most competitive housing markets are in CaliforniaSan Francisco and San Jose lead the rankings in 2018, with a vast number of credit-worthy and well-heeled borrowers making it one of the most challenging markets for prospective home shoppers.

Real Estate Marketplace Roofstock Hits $ 1 Billion in Transactions (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Thursday, real estate marketplace Roofstock announced it has surpassed $1 billion in property transactions since the launching of its marketplace in 2016.

Roofstock Announces $ 7 Million In Additional Funding (Benzinga), Rated: A

Roofstock announced Thursday that the venture capital arm of Silicon Valley Bank had joined its latest funding round, bringing the property investing startup’s funding total to $42 million.

Gary Beasley, CEO: Roofstock is the first online marketplace created exclusively for buyers and sellers of cash-flowing, single-family rental homes that already have tenants.

Who are your investors, if any?

Roofstock has raised $68,250,000 to date, with a recent $35M Series C investment led by Canvas Ventures in October 2017. Other investors since Roofstock’s launch include Lightspeed Ventures, Bain Capital Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Hone Capital, QED Investors, Nyca Partners, and several angel investors.

Vanguard vs. Fundrise: Which is the Better Investment Option? (Fundrise), Rated: AAA

We often get the question, “What makes a Fundrise eREIT worth investing in over the Vanguard REIT ETF?” It’s a fair question that we expected when we created the eREIT. The short answer is that Fundrise eREIT investments are lower in cost for investors than those of the Vanguard REIT ETF and also come with the potential for better returns — how our costs are lower than Vanguard requires a longer answer.

Source: Fundrise

Some of the largest REITs in which the Vanguard REIT ETF owns shares are Simon Property Group(shopping malls, worth approximately $50 billion), Equinix (office buildings, worth approximately $34 billion), and AvalonBay Communities (apartment buildings, worth $25 billion).

Vanguard charges no brokerage commissions and carries only a low investment advisory fee of 0.30%, which it reports to be lower than the industry standard of 1.02%. In addition to the advisory fee, Vanguard charges its REIT ETF investors an asset management fee of 0.11% as well as reimbursement of “expenses.”

The Fundrise Approach

Where public market investments rely on several financial organizations to perform various services from acquisition and development to offering diversified portfolios of REITs, Fundrise uses technology to consolidate these functions and reduce the number of intermediaries in the value chain.

Source: Fundrise

The real estate investment trust designation of the eREIT does not equate the services or value creation offered by the eREIT with that of a public REIT — it simply allows Fundrise to pass at least 90% of the eREIT’s earned income to investors without paying taxes at the corporate level.

Fundrise investors can invest directly into an eREIT and only pay an 0.85% asset management fee at the eREIT level. Investors who want to diversify across multiple Fundrise investments, including eFunds, can do so through one of the investment portfolios. For example, rather than choosing one eREIT or more, investors can invest in the Starter Portfolio with a minimum investment of $500. For this service, investors are charged an investment advisory fee.

Chase joins AutoFi platform (Asset Finance International), Rated: A

Chase, the US consumer and commercial banking business of JPMorgan Chase & Co, has become the first US national bank to partner with fintech company AutoFi to help customers select and finance vehicles through dealers’ websites.

The move comes after the bank’s research showed that nearly half of consumers would purchase and finance vehicles online if they had the opportunity.

ForUsAll Reaches $ 500m in Assets and Raises $ 21m in Venture Capital (Business Insider), Rated: A

ForUsAll, the technology-driven 401(k) advisor to small and mid-sized businesses, today announced it has reached $500m in retirement assets under management and secured $21 million in second round financing led by Ribbit Capital, a leading global investor in financial technology. Existing investor Foundation Capital joined the round, bringing the company’s total funding to $34 million. ForUsAll will use the funds to grow the company’s customer base, accelerate technology development and hire additional staff.

CFPB Signals Shift by Dropping Payday Lender Lawsuit (Bloomberg), Rated: A

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is dropping a lawsuit against a group of payday lenders associated with an American Indian tribe in a sign the regulator is changing direction under Mick Mulvaney, the acting director appointed by the Trump administration.

The agency had accused the lenders of deceiving consumers and failing to disclose the true cost of the loans, which carried interest rates as high as 950 percent a year. The agency asked for the case in federal court in Kansas to be dismissed in a court filing on Thursday, giving no details about its reasoning.

The CFPB lawsuit had targeted four companies owned by the Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake tribe.

Foreign and Domestic Condo Buyers Tap $ 300 Million Fund To Close On New Condo Purchases (PRWeb), Rated: A

Three leading South Florida real estate-related companies with robust real estate experience, deep capital markets relationships, and a proven track record of originating and servicing end-user loans have joined forces to provide senior mortgage loans to non-traditional real estate buyers. The joint venture, named Pebb Yale Truss Lending, (“PYT Lending”) is comprised of Pebb Capital, GPC Truss, and Yale Mortgage. Already the enterprise has commenced loan closings for approximately 20% of the units at Echo Brickell, a luxury condominium development by Property Markets Group (“PMG”) in Miami, FL.

The First Blockchain ETFs Launched on Nasdaq, NYSE Today (coindesk), Rated: A

Reality Shares Advisors and Amplify Trust ETF launched the first blockchain-based exchange-traded funds (ETFs) on Nasdaq and the New York Stock Exchange Arca today.

Both funds went live on their respective exchanges at 9:30 a.m. EST. Reality Shares’ Nasdaq NextGen Economy ETF (BLCN) opened at $24.20, while Amplify’s Transformational Data Sharing ETF (BLOK) started closer to $20.

What are some of the crowdfunding basics you need to know about? (Born2Invest), Rated: A

Crowdfunding is the opposite approach to business finance.

Crowdfunding is defined as a way of raising capital with the collective effort of friends, family, customers, and individual investors.

While crowdfunding is the umbrella term for this new way of investing and doing business, there are several types of crowdfunding.

  • Reward-based crowdfunding
  • Peer-to-peer lending – People who are risking to lend out money to strangers can create loan portfolios.
  • Donation-based crowdfunding
  • Equity crowdfunding – Equity crowdfunding has the most room for change in terms of how people invest their money.
  • Real estate crowdfunding
  • Human capital – If investors want to put in money on top athletes, there are crowdfunding available for this purpose. For instance, Fantex said it would offer an IPO on investments that track the brand value of top sports stars. Another crowdfunding site named Upstart provides money for college without piling on debt.

AI, blockchain, enhanced encryption: The fintech trends Chicago’s top techies are watching (Built in Chicago), Rated: A

Here’s what Chicago’s fintech leaders are watching in 2018.

Morningstar

Which emerging technologies will have the biggest impact on the industry in 2018?

Security technologies around encryption and voice will start to take shape. Investor and consumer trust in the markets, credit and technology suggest people aren’t satisfied with the norm. There aren’t enough heuristics used to encrypt data at rest and in transit, and the emergence of unique voice pattern activation — led by Amazon and Google — will start to drive changes in the industry.

Enova

Which emerging technologies will have the biggest impact on the industry in 2018?

AI and machine learning continue to grab headlines, and for good reason: they have the potential to improve every aspect of business.

PEAK6 Investments

Which emerging technologies will have the biggest impact on the industry in 2018?

Luke Peeler, software engineer: Blockchain technology.

The Future of Financial Services for the Underbanked: Tradition, Innovation, Regulation (LendIt), Rated: B

Traditional services used by the underbanked include check cashing, cash advance loans, and money transfers. Many view these services as overly expensive and behind the times, and an emerging ecosystem is leveraging fintech innovation to provide improved offerings. However, there’s a strong case made by industry researchers that the traditional, non-bank financial providers remain attractive to their customers, especially compared to the costs of a using a bank account.

  • Joe Coleman, CEO of RiteCheck
  • Rishi Kumar, Founder of Kashable
  • Cathy Mahon, President & CEO of the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions
  • Lisa Servon, Professor of City Planning at the University of Pennsylvania

Guidewire Partners With Plug and Play to Foster Innovation in P&C Insurance (Business Insider), Rated: B

Guidewire Software, Inc. (NYSE: GWRE), a provider of software products to Property and Casualty (P&C) insurers, today announced it has joined Plug and Play’s ecosystem to advance P&C insurance innovation and collaboration. Plug and Play is a global startup ecosystem and venture fund specializing in the development of early-to-growth stage technology startups in 12 verticals. Guidewire joins as a Corporate Partner focused on the Insurance vertical.

VPC recruits Kushman as principal and capital markets head (PE Hub Network), Rated: B

Victory Park Capital (VPC), an investment firm focused on middle-market debt and equity investments, announced today that Todd Kushman joins as a principal and head of capital markets. Kushman is based in New York.

Kushman will lead the firm’s capital markets initiatives, which includes optimizing and identifying new alternative investment product offerings.

BB&T creates $ 50m fintech investment fund (Retail Banker), Rated: B

BB&T, a US-based bank holding company, has decided to set aside $50m to invest in or buy emerging digital technology firms as part of its strategy to boost its competitive profile and trim operational expenses.

United Kingdom

ZOPA LENDING QUEUE: WHEN WILL ZOPA RE-OPEN TO NEW INVESTORS? (Orca), Rated: AAA

There was extensive media coverage in October of last year surrounding Zopa, the largest consumer-focused peer to peer lender in the UK, and when it will re-open its doors to new investors who have been waiting in the Zopa lending queue – some since early 2017. It’s the turn of 2018, and some members in the queue may be seeing signs of promise.

There are 26,000 people in the Zopa “wait list” (as of 9th January). With approximately 60,000 active customers, this influx will represent a 43% increase in lenders at the platform; impressive, given the time it’s taken the platform which was founded in 2005 to acquire its existing customer-base.

U.K. Fintech Nuvo Launches Facebook Chatbot For Financial Advice on Mortgages (Bank Innovation), Rated: A

AI-powered fintech Nuvo today launched a Facebook chatbot that helps people find the best mortgage deal.

Network ROI completes employee buy-out thanks to ThinCats £1m funding (Insider.co.uk), Rated: A

A Midlothian-based IT firm has completed an employee buy-out after receiving £1m in funding from alternative finance specialist ThinCats.

Founded in 2003 by Sean Elliot, Network ROI employs 32 people providing managed IT and connectivity services to organisations throughout the UK.

Fintech to help first-time buyers with Rent Recognition Challenge for startups (City A.M.), Rated: A

A new competition has been launched to get innovative startups using technology to help renters use this payments history as a record of credit worthiness. The idea is that a tool or service can be used by lenders and credit reference agencies as part of an assessment for a mortgage.

First announced in the Autumn Budget, the Rent Recognition Challenge is now open for entries, with a potential prize of £2m for fintechs working on this idea.

Six proposals will get £100,000 each to get started on a prototype between March and October, after which that will be narrowed down to three by a panel of judges with more cash up for grabs.

 

IFA launches investment service for dormant clients (FT Adviser), Rated: A

IFA firm Symphony is offering a white-label version of provider FinchTech’s non-advised robo-service to allow its clients to invest through its website without having to pay for advice.

For a platform fee of 0.25 per cent, investors are given access to four mainstream investment portfolios and four socially responsible investment portfolios via FinchTech, with equity/non-equity weightings ranging from a ‘cautious’ 35/65 split to the ‘adventurous’ 85/15.

BUSINESS SHOWCASE : IGNITION WEALTH IRELAND (Irish Tech News), Rated: B

Ignition Wealth Ireland is the European subsidiary of Australia’s leading digital financial advice provider Ignition Wealth. We assist large financial institutions integrating new technology into their current processes and systems  and we help them to reimagine how their customers navigate the financial advice experience.

China

PPDai to invest in research institute (Shanghai Daily), Rated: AAA

PPDai, China’s first online P2P (peer-to-peer) lending platform listed in the US market, said yesterday that it will invest 1 billion yuan (US$156 million) within three years to set up a new research institute.

The money invested in the new PPDai Smart Finance Institute will be used to fund artificial intelligence, blockchain, finance cloud and Big Data sectors, said Zhang Jun, co-founder and chief executive of Shanghai-based PPDai.

European Union

Linked Finance eyes profitability as revenue and lending levels jump (The Irish Times), Rated: AAA

Linked Finance, the peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform which has signed over 1,200 loans for Irish businesses, has said it is on track to be profitable this year.

The company, which is seeking to become the biggest non-bank lender to SMEs in Ireland, recorded a €1.1 million net loss in the 12 months to the end of April 2017, compared to a €1.2 million loss in the previous year.

Shareholders’ deficit amounted to €2.7 million at the end of the reporting period, as against €1.7 million a year earlier as accumulated losses increased from €2.2 million to €3.3 million.

FinTech, Robo Advisers, and the Soul of Swiss Banking (Mises Institute), Rated: AAA

As one Swiss economics journal put it, the most contentious conflicts (and partnerships) will be between “startups that are completely reengineering decades-old practices, traditional power players who are furiously trying to adapt with their own innovations and total disruption of established technology & processes”. That is to say:

  • Traditional Retail Banks vs. Online-Only Banks: Traditional retail banks will always retain the cachet of security and stability. Online-only banks, however, are asserting themselves more aggressively in claiming to offer the same services with higher rates and lower fees.
  • Traditional Lenders vs. Peer-to-Peer Marketplaces: P2P lending marketplaces are growing faster than traditional lenders—only time will tell if the banks strategy of creating their own small loan networks will be successful
  • Traditional Asset Managers vs. Robo-Advisors: Companies like Betterment feature robo-advisors offer lower fees and lower minimums; meanwhile, the larger traditional asset managers are creating their own robo-products while providing the kind of personalized attention for which high net worth clients are willing to pay quite generously.
  • Traditional Wealth Management vs. Automated Advice: a plethora of new software platforms and apps feature digital options, including mobile telephone payment services, automated wealth management advice, price comparison apps, tailored social media groups and crowdfunding systems. On the other side, the exclusivity of one-on-one attention is forever and very possibly will take on even more cachet as the somewhat sterile egalitarianism of digital banking erodes the cultural hierarchy of status.
  • Traditional Clearing Systems vs. Blockchain. This latter can store and distribute crypto-currencies (such as Bitcoin) and digital contracts (such as land deeds) without the need for banks or formal clearing systems. Proponents of Blockchain maintain that it promises “to reduce fees, improve security and bypass the volatility of central bank controlled fiat currencies”. Major technology firms such as Google, Amazon and Alibaba are also joining this trend.

CoinLoan ICO Reaches Major Milestones as it Launches MVP and Enables Direct Fiat Investment (Coin Telegraph), Rated: A

Peer to peer fintech startup, CoinLoan, recently rolled out the first version of their peer-to-peer lending platform. Investors were thrilled with the results (try it for yourself here, and are eagerly awaiting the end of the ICO and listing on exchanges soon after.

CoinLoan has also recently enabled direct fiat investment in their ICO. This unique option enables investments of $5,000 or more in USD or EUR in exchange for CLT tokens.

CoinLoan has created a system of secured peer-to-peer lending, where borrowers deposit various crypto assets for a loan in their preferred fiat currency.

International

Revolut launches geolocation-powered travel insurance (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Fintech startup Revolut is launching international medical and dental insurance. You can subscribe using the company’s app for £1 per day or more depending on the options.

By default, insurance coverage costs £1 per day for medical and dental insurance. You can add an option for winter sports and you can also cover your friends and family.

Australia/New Zealand

AI helps Harmoney improve ability to assess credit risk (CIO), Rated: AAA

Harmoney is working with DataRobot to improve the performance of its credit risk assessment process.

“With our deployment of DataRobot, we’re now using artificial intelligence to reduce risk for our lenders,” says Brad Hagstrom, joint-CEO of Harmoney.

Nine launches financial advice website 9Saver.com.au (Mumbrella), Rated: A

9Saver.com.au will aggregate the cost of living and shopping segments run across Nine News, Today, Today Extra, A Current Affair and 60 Minutes every week.

India

Startup eco-system looks forward to the budget for addressing tax dilemma (ET Rise), Rated: A

The Indian startup eco-system is looking forward to the union budget eagerly for addressing the tax dilemma. With high-quality entrepreneurs, good ideas and the very important funding ecosystem, startups have become an integral part of the India’s economic growth and job creation.

Asia

Banks, regulators lack skills to cope with pace of fintech innovation (Nikkei Asian Review), Rated: AAA

Both regulators and industry officials lack the right analytical and data skills to cope with the wave of disruption washing over the financial industry, according to the technology officers at leading financial companies at Thursday’s Nikkei Asia300 Summit in Singapore.

Jonathan Larsen, chief innovation officer of Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China, said there are “definitely no” people with up-to-date skills among the regulators, which is slowing down the pace of change for traditional institutions.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday January 12 2018, Daily News Digest

bitcoin debt

News Comments Today’s main news: More LendingClub-IEG drama.Black Fish raises $145M.Moneygram partners with Ripple.Kreditech expands into India with Mambu. Today’s main analysis: JP Morgan Chase’s investments into digital technology.Is Yirendai undervalued? Today’s thought-provoking articles: Investors go into debt to buy bitcoin.Small business financing trends.How open banking could change how people manage money.Banks, trade finance, and […]

bitcoin debt

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

APAC

Africa

News Summary

United States

Lending Club has a bitcoin pivoting suitor (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Lending Club has all kinds of problems: a history of profit warnings, faint traces of scandal after a management upheaval almost two years ago, and a share price still more than 80 per cent adrift from its peak.

Add to that list: a bizarre, crypto-fuelled activist campaign waged by a Las Vegas-based payday lender called Paul Mathieson, who told authorities in his native Australia that he fled to America in 2008 because he feared being killed by a mobster.

Mathieson’s case for change at Lending Club, laid out in a letter to the company’s board on 2 January, is not a terrible one, on the face of it. He argues that the cost structure at the loss-making company, a pioneer in peer-to-peer lending, is “excessive,” noting fancy headquarters in San Francisco and “hundreds” of “excess” developers. He says that the board should consider a pivot to using its own balance sheet to lend, rather than acting as a broker, taking fees for matching borrowers with lenders. Underwriting has been sloppy, he says, resulting in sub-par returns to investors.

Mathieson is offering 13 shares in his own penny-stock company, IEG Holdings, for every share in Lending Club. At the time of the offer on Monday morning, that was a premium of 19 cents, or about 5 per cent.

Source: Financial Times

SeeThruEquity Issues Update on IEG Holdings Corporation (Bay Street), Rated: A

IEG Holdings Corporation (OTCQB: IEGH) provides online unsecured consumer loans under the brand name “Mr. Amazing Loans” via its website, www.mramazingloans.com, in 20 US states. The company offers $5,000 and $10,000 personal loans over a five-year term at rates ranging from 19.9% to 29.9% APR. IEG Holdings plans future expansion to a total of 25 US states, which would cover 240mn people and represent approximately 75% of the US population.

Since 2013, IEGH has obtained additional state lending licenses, and they are licensed and originating direct consumer loans in 20 states including: Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin. The Company was founded in 2010 and is headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada.

IEG Holdings Plans to Create its own IEGH Crypto/Blockchain Currency Backed by Gold Metal and SEC Registration as a Security

IEGH announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Investment Evolution Crypto, LLC (“Crypto”), is negotiating to purchase a gold project with gold metal in the ground and prospecting licenses. IEG Holdings plans to utilize a gold resource to investigate creating, through Crypto, and a joint venture with Investment Evolution Corporation, also a wholly owned subsidiary of IEG Holdings, its own gold metal-backed crypto/blockchain currency, and potentially offer loans and accept loan repayments in its own crypto/blockchain currency.

IEGH increases loan originations

The company stated that it provided $960,000 in new consumer loans through its online property mramazingloans.com, from the October 2017 to December 2017 period. This represented a 12.3% increase over its July to September 2017 operating period, during which the company’s new loan originations were $855,000.

Desperate to get into bitcoin, investors slip into debt (CNBC), Rated: AAA

Roughly 18 percent of people who buy bitcoin use a credit card to do so, according to a new survey by loan marketplace LendEDU. Of those, 20 percent have not paid off their balance. The phrase “buy bitcoin with credit” has been trending on Google for weeks.

Another problem with going into debt for cryptocurrencies is that people will have to pay back their debt before they see sufficient returns, said Erika Safran, founder of Safran Wealth Advisors. That may require tapping other resources, potentially creating further financial trouble.

Credit card debt from CNBC.

Small Business Financing Trends To Stay Abreast Of (CXO Today), Rated: AAA

  • Traditional bank loan rejections are notoriously high in all markets
  • Small Business Administration (and equivalent agencies) are nefarious for overextending the time-to-credit tolerances of small businesses
  • Volatility of markets, and exposure of almost all markets to disruption by startups could pose urgent cash needs for businesses, which are generally not considered for loan applications by traditional lenders.

Online Lending And Its Deepening Hold Over The Small Business Finance Market

In 2014, a Federal Reserve (US) survey concluded that one in five small business owners opted for loans from online lenders. Since then, the proliferation of online lending platforms has been on the surge, to the extent that traditional brick and mortar lending institutions have also had to move base to the online domain. In the coming years, multiple factors will result in the success and sustainability of online lending platforms. These include:

  • Growing confidence among small business owners to trust online lending platforms
  • Availability of cheaper, quicker, and more convenient loans
  • Options to truly personalize and customize the loan repayment terms to suit the business’ interests

The Call for Transparency in the Online Lending Market

Though the online lending market has been growing year on year, this doesn’t detract from the concerns around lack of transparency in the way some of these platforms operate. Some of the key concerns are around undisclosed APRs and hidden fees. In fact, some online lenders have been castigated for charging significantly high rates of interests from borrowers, often with service quality issues post-approval. Thankfully, there’s already some progress towards bringing a degree of regulation in place for online lending platforms to be at par with traditional lending regulations.

JPMorgan Chase Competitive Strategy Teardown: How The Bank Stacks Up On Fintech & Innovation (CB Insights), Rated: AAA

JPMorgan is making a bigger push into payments technology as digital banking becomes a strategic priority.

In 2016, the bank spent $9.5B on technology and Dimon has committed $300M alone to improve JPMorgan’s technology for its asset management products. Relative to its peer group, JPM claims the highest number of mobile banking customers and its Chase Mobile app currently sports a 4.7 (out of 5) rating in the App Store.

Earnings call analysis – Barclays, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley talking up digitization

  • JPM discussed continued digital consumer banking growth, which grew 6% in Q3’17.
  • Bank of America spent portions of its Q1’17 and Q3’17 talking about digital banking initiatives and technology investment. Specifically, CEO Brian Moynihan mentioned the bank spent $2.25B on technology initiatives in the first three quarters of 2017. The bank also now sees mobile devices account for 1 of every 5 deposit transactions.
  • On Morgan Stanley’s Q3’17 earnings call, Morgan Stanley CFO Jonathan Pruzan mentioned the bank is beta testing new customer-facing digital products it plans to launch, potentially in the robo-advisory space. Specifically, Pruzan noted: “When we think about our wealth business, it’s a business that’s built on scale. And it’s built on the fact that people with wealth want personal advice. So it’s going to be both a mix of technology and digital with the personal element of the advice channel. And we think that’s the winning formula going forward.”

Based on the data, JPMorgan ranks ahead of most bulge bracket banks when it comes to overall fintech investment since 2013, but behind its peers Goldman Sachs and Citi.

Online Marketplace Lender Nav Facilitated More Than 20,000 Small Business credit Approvals in 2017 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Nav, a small business marketplace lending platform, announced this week it has facilitated more than 20,000 small business credit approvals in 2017.

The company currently has more than 327,000 entrepreneurs now using its platform to manage their data and access capital.

Bono’s Fund Makes Its First Fintech Investment, Backing Acorns (Bloomberg), Rated: A

The Rise Fund, a private investment firm co-founded by the U2 lead singer, is making its first known bet on a fintech business by backing Acorns Grow Inc., said people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the details are private.

Georgia Company Acquires S.D. Fintech Startup LoanHero (San Diego Business Journal), Rated: A

LoanHero, one of San Diego’s few financial technology startups, has been acquired by Georgia-based company LendingPoint.

Terms of the deal, announced Jan. 11, were not disclosed.

Small-dollar lender Oportun to open 20 offices in Florida (American Banker), Rated: A

Oportun, a community development financial institution that provides small loans to individuals with little or no credit history, is planning to open 20 lending offices in Florida.

The Redwood City, Calif.-based lender said this week that it has already opened four offices in Miami and Hialeah and that it expects to add 16 more in the Sunshine State, primarily in South Florida, by the end of the year.

6 Key Trends in Fintech to Watch in 2018 (Lend Academy), Rated: A

  1. Convergence of Software and Financial Products  One of the important lessons that Square taught the market is that bundles of software solutions (loyalty, POS, analytics, scheduling and many others) and lending are essential drivers in advancing growth of payment processing.
  2. InsureTech
  3. The Power of the Machines  Companies like LendingClub are using machines to discover new relationships and patterns to introduce more tailored financial offers to their customers.
  4. Emerging Economies  Many growing companies in Africa, Asia, and Latin America are developing and adopting financial solutions, often faster and with more innovation than in developed economies.
  5. Wealth Management
  6. Rise of Crypto and Blockchain

Google Pay brings payment tools under a single brand (Tearsheet), Rated: A

The Internet giant is finally putting its many payments capabilities — Google Wallet, Android Pay and Pay with Google — under a single name, Google Pay, after lagging for years behind Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.

Ladder Secures $ 30M Series B Led by RRE Ventures (coverager), Rated: A

CA-based life insurance MGA Ladder announced it has raised $30M in a Series B round led by RRE Ventures, with participation from Thomvest Ventures, as well as Ladder’s existing investors: Canaan Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Nyca Partners . Ladder launched its fully-digital life insurance solution in California on January 10, 2017, and has since expanded to nearly every state across the country.

Fifth Third regains top CRA grade, an entree to M&A (American Banker), Rated: A

Fifth Third Bancorp has received top marks from the Federal Reserve on its most recent Community Reinvestment Act examination as expected.

Fifth Third announced the results on Wednesday, saying in a press release that the Fed gave it an “outstanding” rating on its most recent exam. The Cincinnati company had said in a regulatory filing last month that it expected to ace the test, which covered the period between Jan. 1, 2014, and June 30, 2016.

A Beginner’s Guide to Applying for College Loans (Student Loan Hero), Rated: A

Student loan debt statistics show that more than 70 percent of students graduating from four-year colleges have debt, so you aren’t alone if you need to borrow to cover educational costs.

Step 1: Understand your options

  • Federal loans for students
  • Federal loans for parents
  • Private loans for students
  • Private loans for parents
Source: Federal Student Aid

Step 7: Determine if you’ll need to apply for private loans

  • Family contributions if parents or other family members are willing and able to pay
  • Savings
  • Scholarships or grants from community groups or other sources
  • Parent PLUS Loans
  • Private student loans

Step 8: Learn how to apply for private student loans

Because there are many private student loan lenders, it’s a good idea to shop around. You should consider:

  • Loan eligibility requirements: What do you need to qualify?
  • Loan terms: How long do you have to repay the loan?
  • Repayment terms: When do you need to start repaying, and is there a prepayment penalty?
  • Fees: Is there a cost to apply for the loan or a loan origination fee?
  • Interest rates: Is the rate fixed or variable? How much will you pay to borrow?

You can visit our private student loan marketplace to find private student loan lenders offering loans to parents and students.

Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!

LENDER RATES (APR) ELIGIBLE DEGREES
CHECK OUT THE TESTIMONIALS AND OUR IN-DEPTH REVIEWS!
2.58% – 7.25% Undergrad
& Graduate
VISIT SOFI
2.57% – 6.39% Undergrad
& Graduate
VISIT EARNEST
2.76% – 7.25% Undergrad
& Graduate
VISIT COMMONBOND
2.99% – 5.15% Undergrad
& Graduate
VISIT LAUREL ROAD
2.74% – 7.26% Undergrad
& Graduate
VISIT LENDKEY
3.11% – 8.46% Undergrad
& Graduate

 

 

Roostify adds tech veteran Adnan Habib as vice president of engineering (Housingwire), Rated: B

Roostify announced Thursday that it hired Adnan Habib as the company’s new vice president of engineering.

In this role, Habib will lead Roostify’s growing product delivery team and will be responsible for making improvements to the Roostify’s digital lending platform.

Roofstock Appoints Suresh Srinivasan as Chief Marketing Officer (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Roofstock (www.roofstock.com), the leading online marketplace for buying and selling leased single-family rental homes, today announced the strategic hire of Suresh Srinivasan as chief marketing officer. Srinivasan has 20 years’ experience leading marketing, product, and e-commerce functions at Fortune 500 and high-growth tech startups. Most recently serving as the SVP of Marketing for Xome, Srinivasan brings a deep understanding of the fast-growing real estate technology sector to Roofstock where he will be responsible for accelerating growth of Roofstock’s marketplace for single-family rental homes and developing the company’s partnership network.

United Kingdom

An invisible banking reform that ‘could fundamentally change how we manage our money’ is days away (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Regulators in Europe and the UK are ordering banks and credit card companies to share customer data with other companies if their customers agree. The companies will also be able to carry out payments on a customers’ behalf.

Open Banking forces lenders to offer a digital “fire hose” of data that any third party can use to get standardised access — provided the startup is registered with the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the customer agrees to share their data. They won’t have to negotiate deals with banks, just plug into their digital systems and go.

The aim of Opening Banking is to give customers greater control over their data and to encourage account switching.

An investigation by the UK Competition and Markets Authority in 2015 found just 3% of customers switched their banks in the last year, meaning many were left with accounts that were not right for them.

 

ThinCats Says 2018 is Poised for Growth in SME Lending (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

ThinCats says 2018 is poised for growth. The online lender reports that December was a record month booking £12 million of funding listed on the platform followed the biggest-ever ThinCats-listed loan of £6.7 million to the Chelsea Yacht & Boat Company at the end of September.

Loan Store Reveals to Reduce Interest Rates on Instant Cash Loans for the UK People (MENAFN), Rated: A

Loan Store is the responsible lending hub that reveals to reduce the interest rates on instant cash loans for the UK people.

Hennery Dicosta, a senior adviser of Loan Store, has offered the complete details about this announcement. This is what he said- In a recent scenario, people usually try to borrow a small loan amount. That is why we have decided to provide the loans for bad credit people with no guarantor and no fees on an instant decision to resolve their short term emergencies. We never charge any processing fee and we are now providing these loans on quite low rates of interest. Besides, we do not judge the creditworthiness of the borrowers with their credit rating and give an instant decision on their loan request.

Crowdstacker joins the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

CROWDSTACKER has joined the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA), becoming the self-regulated trade body’s eighth member.

The business lending P2P platform will be represented by chief executive Karteek Patel.

China

3 Growth Stocks at Deep-Value Prices (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

With that in mind, we asked three Motley Fool investors to each profile a company that has a low valuation now compared to its earnings-growth potential. They identified Yirendai (NYSE:YRD)Criteo S.A.(NASDAQ:CRTO), and Changyou.com (NASDAQ:CYOU) as strong contenders trading at attractive discounts.

China’s first P2P online lending platform

The Chinese P2P lending market blossomed in the late 2000s, catering to  customers who were underserved by traditional banks, and is worth about $60 billion today.

Analysts expect Yirendai’s revenue and earnings to rise 74% and 14% respectively this year, followed by 43% revenue growth and 41% earnings growth next year. Yet the stock trades at just 14 times earnings, compared to an industry average of 26 for credit service providers. Based on those numbers, Yirendai looks likely an undervalued growth stock.

But there are some obvious reasons why investors are discounting it.

First, Yirendai is a subprime lender. Just 1.7% of its loans were rated as prime “Grade A” last quarter. Another 8.7% were Grade B, and 14.1% were Grade C — but 75.5% were rated Grade D. Yirendai collects higher fees from lower rated borrowers, but its business could collapse if its delinquency rates rise.

The company only discloses delinquency rates for loans past due by 15 to 89 days, and that rate came in at a low 1.8% last quarter. But it doesn’t report any data on loans delinquent for over 90 days.

Chinese finance platform Black Fish raises $ 145m from Gobi, Lightspeed, others (Deal Street Asia), Rated: AAA

Black Fish, a consumer finance platform based in China’s Nanjing region, has received $145 million in a series A round from a cluster of firms  including Lightspeed China Partners and Shanghai and Kuala Lumpur based Gobi Partners.

Others who participated in the round include Morningside Venture Capital, JAFCO Asia, Fullcent Capital and Zhang Tao, founder of Dianping.com.

At this point, the average annual growth rate of consumer finance is 16.4 percent.

China’s Renren Is Poised To Unlock Value From Its Investment Portfolio And Grow With Blockchain (Seeking Alpha), Rated: A

Renren holds a significant investment portfolio that is easily worth $12 per share.  This value will likely be realized in the near term due to multiple catalysts.

The company has started to get involved with blockchain-related businesses, which potentially turns them into a “blockchain play”.

This situation leads to an asymmetrical payoff structure in which there is very little downside and significant upside. My target price is $18.

Renren was an early VC investor in Sofi, taking part in its seed round of financing as well as a later follow-on round. They currently hold a 13% stake in SoFi, having sold 14.1% of their holdings (representing 2% of SoFi) in April 2017 for $92 million.

Source: Seeking Alpha

Dianrong Signs Strategic Agreement with Dalian Finance Development Bureau & Dalian Finance Industry Investment Group (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Dianrong and the Dalian Finance Development Bureau and Dalian Finance Industry Investment Group (DFIIG) recently signed a strategic cooperation agreement to drive financial innovation in Dalian and across China. According to the agreement, Dianrong will develop a series of specific projects in partnership with the Dalian government, including:

  • Assist the Dalian Finance Development Bureau in creating a financial technology (fintech) cloud platform to provide fintech capabilities for small loan and guarantee companies, and other small and medium-sized financial institutions in the region and at large. Tools and services will include sophisticated fraud detection, big-data risk management tools, payment channel integration, and compliance reporting. The fintech cloud platform will also provide regulators with easier monitoring of local lending activities and trends in an ongoing and comprehensive way, helping them provide timely policy guidance and support on risk management.
  • Work with DFIIG to establish a special Internet finance investment fund for Dalian. The fund will focus on investment in fintech projects and startups with the potential to strengthen Dalian’s new economy and financial services industry.
  • Develop a supply-chain trading platform in Dalian utilizing advanced fintech and blockchain capabilities to help more small and medium-sized suppliers secure needed funding. Last year, Dianrong created the first blockchain platform for supply-chain finance with FoxConn Group, a global leader in consumer electronics.

Shanghai tightens financial sector supervision (Ecns), Rated: B

Shanghai is one of China’s largest financial markets by market trading volume. In 2017, its trading volume was 1,438 trillion yuan ($220.9 trillion).

Shanghai has already launched a campaign against fraud and illegal behavior in financial consumer markets, such as internet-based peer-to-peer lending, cash loans to college students, and pay-day loans.

European Union

Rocket Internet CEO says ready to pounce with cash pile (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Germany’s Rocket Internet needs to hold on to its mountain of cash so it can compete with rivals from the United States and China and pounce when investment opportunities arise, the chief executive said in an interview.

CAUTIOUS MARKET

Rocket is invested in more than 100 start-ups, including in financial and property tech, logistics and travel sites, with its stakes in the five biggest of them potentially worth more than 1 billion euros to Rocket, according to Berenberg bank.

International

MoneyGram Signs Deal to Work With Currency Startup Ripple (WSJ), Rated: AAA

MoneyGram International Inc. MGI +2.63% signed on to run a pilot program testing XRP, a digital currency created by San Francisco startup Ripple, in its payments network, the companies said Thursday.

The Dallas-based company agreed to test XRP as a tool for reducing money-transfer costs and settlement times.

How Banks Can Use Trade Finance Services and Data to Increase Share of Wallet (Traxpay), Rated: AAA

While global trade presents tremendous growth opportunities, businesses of all sizes are none-the-less finding it difficult to access much needed credit, resulting in a global trade finance gap. According to an Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) 2017 Trade Finance Gaps, Growth, And Jobs Survey, that gap was $1.5 trillion in 2016.

Non-financial institution competitors are aggressively targeting this market, using innovations such as blockchain to develop products and tools that not only replace outdated paper and manual-based processes, but also deliver unprecedented levels of cybersecurity that are critical in today’s digital transaction space. The same ADB survey revealed more than $13 billion in venture capital was invested in FinTech trade finance in 2016 alone.

The recent Simmons & Simmons Hyperfinance studyof the world’s leading trade banks found that only 7% believe they are at the forefront of digital innovation in spite of the fact that 80% of innovation leaders report digitally-driven products and services introduced over the past three years have expanded revenue growth. This illustrates the reality that financial institutions recognize the importance of developing a digital strategy, but few are moving aggressively enough to take advantage of these new technologies.

PRINCIPLES, ESG, AND CREDIT RISK (All About Alpha), Rated: AAA

The question before the house right now, though, is: what about the credit rating agencies? The question comes in three parts: there are the global CRAs; the smaller/regional CRAs in most of the world, and regional CRAs in the special case of China.

First, the global CRAs [there are just two of them, Moody’s and S&P] are making “strong efforts” to incorporate an understanding of ESG issues. They are hiring staff with ESG backgrounds, equipping their existing analysts with the relevant expertise, and drawing on third party providers.

Then there is China. Its CRAs include Dagong Global, China Chengxin, and Golden Credit Ratings. The idea of integrating ESG into their analyses is thus far limited to the issue of green bonds, that is, bonds issued for the development of brownfield sites. Government policy in China encourages green bonds and the CRAs have responded. The resulting assessments are focused on the “E,” not so much the “S” or the “G.” And their environmental assessments rely on measuring the impact of the project the bond aims to finance.

  • Research very generally supports the hypothesis that there exists a causal link between ESG factors and the credit worthiness of a borrower;
  • Academic research in limited in that it is too exclusively content to measure credit risk by credit ratings, rather than testing the ratings themselves against alternative measures;
  • But some research does employ the spread of credit default swaps as an independent measure of risk;
  • Anecdotal observation indicates a clear link between G and defaults, although the linkage between E and S and defaults is more difficult to pin down;
  • There is much evidence in the linkage of ESG to macroeconomic factors and potential growth, which in turn are important to sovereign risk in particular.

ABS braces for more auto deals after strong start to year (IFR), Rated: A

The asset-backed bond market is braced for a slew of new issues next week, with deal flow expected to be dominated by auto issuers including BMW and Mercedes.

Just two issuers sold deals this week – GM Financial and Consumer Portfolio Services – and both auto trades were met with strong demand from investors. One banker on the GM deal said the deal was over-subscribed across the capital stack.

The biggest tightening though was seen on the smallest and lower rated tranches. The 3.58-year Class B, rated Aa3/AA by Moody’s and Fitch, priced at 30bp over interpolated swaps versus guidance of 35-40bp and whispers of 45bp area.

The 3.58-year Class C, rated A1/A, priced at 50bp over interpolated swaps versus guidance of 55-60bp and whispers of 65bp area.

FROM BANKING TO BITCOIN, FINTECH IS POISED TO CHANGE THE WORLD (Tech Genix), Rated: A

Currently, it represents only 1 percent of the global financial industry. By comparison, digital media accounts for 40 percent while eCommerce accounts for around 10 percent.

Source: Tech Genix

To give you a perspective, venture capitalists invested more than $13 billion across 840 different fintech holdings in 2016, according to a report by KPMG. This is 7 percent more than they invested in 2015.

According to the McKinsey report, five areas will see high growth over the next decade. They are consumer finance, mortgage, lending, retail payment, and wealth management.

Online payments

PayPal handled $1.73 billion worth of transactions in the first quarter of 2017 alone, representing a 30 percent increase year-on-year.

Borrowing and lending

However, the delinquency rates have been increasingover the last few years. These rates have increased from 0.56 percent in January 2015 to 0.75 percent in December of the same year.

Overstock.com’s 2017 Highlights: Innovation, Expansion, and Recognition (Business Insider), Rated: A

Overstock’s blockchain-focused subsidiary, Medici Ventures, named its board of directors in 2017, and also saw a number of its portfolio companies continue to use blockchain to revolutionize industries including capital markets, money and banking, property registry, voting, identity, and underlying blockchain technology, including:

  • tZERO, the world’s first SEC approved, blockchain-based alternative trading system, launched its initial coin offering (ICO), which attracted over 10,000 subscribers and raised $100M in commitments in the first 12 hours of its pre-sale. A significant portion of the tZERO security tokens issued will be available to accredited investors in the public sale beginning in January, 2018.
  • DeSoto Inc., a joint venture between Overstock.com founder and CEO Patrick Byrne and world-renowned economist Hernando de Soto, was created to develop a global property registry system to surface the property rights of billions of people in the developing world.
  • Bitt, a Barbados-based financial technology company using blockchain to create central banking tools and mobile money applications, named Rawdon Adams, son of former Barbadian Prime Minister Tom Adams, as its CEO. Bitt also fully launched its new mMoney digital payment product, bringing to market a blockchain-based mobile wallet that allows users to participate in digital transactions on their smartphones without the need for a traditional bank account, helping to foster financial inclusion in the region.
  • South-American based Ripio (formally known as BitPagos), participated in an ICO that raised $37M to fund its Ethereum-based peer-to-peer lending platform, Ripio Credit Network.
  • Belgium-based SettleMint launched a token sale for its DataBroker DAO, a peer-to-peer marketplace created to provide Internet of Things (IoT) sensor-owners with a clear path to data monetization, and data consumers with a decentralized marketplace in order to buy IoT sensor data. SettleMint also signed an agreement with The Islamic Research and Training Institute, the research arm of the Islamic Development Bank Group, to work with local partner Ateon on developing blockchain-based financial products that can be used to support development and inclusion in IsDB member countries.

Global lender selects Aussie fintech, Trade Ledger, as worldwide technology partner (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Zürich-based lender, TradePlus24, has selected Australian deep tech startup, Trade Ledger, as its global technology partner to roll out its new trade insurance wrapped lending product across their European lending network, and enter the Australian market.

Bankers fear they will get Amazon-ed in tech disruption (Financial Times), Rated: A

According to IDC, only about a quarter of US bank technology budgets is spent on digital transformation, as opposed to business as usual. They expect this to grow to nearer 40 per cent in 2020.

Secondly, this spending could substantially boost banks’ productivity, and profits.

Banks will drive up the cost of customer acquisition for start-ups who will increasingly struggle unless they build network effects and scale very quickly. Roboadvisers and peer-to-peer lenders will be on heightened alert. Some start-ups will need to rethink their plans to disrupt and look to form partnerships instead.

Changes in financial regulation, such as a lighter touch fintech charter being examined in the US or the second payment services directive in Europe, could potentially make this more likely. The tech giants have the brands, customer reach, digital processes and flair to develop good products, and to take swift advantage of any regulatory changes.

Karma token trading opens after successful million ICO campaign (Crypto Ninjas), Rated: B

India

German Online Lender Kreditech Heads to India (Bank Innovation), Rated: AAA

German online lender Kreditech is making its way to India, Bank Innovation has learned.

For this expedition, the fintech has teamed up with SaaS banking platform Mambu for providing short-term lending products specifically tailored to local consumers.

Kreditech selects Mambu’s SaaS banking engine for its passage to India (Finextra), Rated: A

Kreditech currently operates in Europe and Latin America and will expand into India in early 2018, together with its partner PayU, a global online payments provider and Mambu client in Latin America.

The loan product is expected to go live in the first quarter of 2018, all data will be hosted by AWS India.

NiYO Solutions Raises $ 13.2M in Series A Funding (FINSSMES), Rated: A

NiYO Solutions Inc., a Bangalore, India-based fintech startup for salaried employees, raised $13.2m (85 crore) in Series A funding.

APAC

Myanmar takes small steps towards providing greater liquidity for SMEs (Myanmar Times), Rated: AAA

A rising number of start-ups as well as small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are emerging in Myanmar as business opportunities rise. However, many companies fail to achieve their full potential and contribute substantially to the economy because capital assistance is lacking in the country.

A rising number of start-ups as well as small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are emerging in Myanmar as business opportunities rise. However, many companies fail to achieve their full potential and contribute substantially to the economy because capital assistance is lacking in the country.

Currently, local banks extend loans at interest rates ranging between 8.5 percent and 13pc. The local banks began offering SME loans at8.5pc interest in 2015. Since then, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and KfW Development Bank from Germany have also launched SME loans.

P2P lending

To get around the financial constraints, borrowing from family members and peers is common.

In fact, a rising number of businesses have resorted to P2P lending for funds to build up their businesses. Without any guarantees of success though, many entrepreneurs ultimately end up in debt. Others fall prey to fraud. Last year, The Myanmar Times reported at least three cases of fraud involving fake promises of repayments with up to 30pc interest.

Cloud Lending Solutions Recognized as a Top 25 FinTech Company of 2017 (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Cloud Lending Solutions was recognized as a “Top 25 FinTech Company for 2017” by APAC CIO Outlook Magazine. A panel of industrial experts and executives collaborated with the editorial board to curate the list with an aim to provide clarity into the ideal FinTech partners.

Africa

Local digital currency eyes real estate disruption (ITWeb), Rated: AAA

Cape Town-based fintech company, Wealth Migrate, has launched a global   – WEALTHE Coin.

According to Wealth Migrate, while almost half of the world’s wealth is held in real estate, fewer than 13% of people have access or the resources to invest in and  from this lucrative market.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday November 28 2017, Daily News Digest

interest rate and value of loans

News Comments Today’s main news: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to sue Santander. Welendus surpasses 150K GBP fundraising target. Klarna’s profits increase. The CFPB leadership fight migrates to email. Chinese regulator looks at online lender custodian banks. ETHLend, Brickblock partner on blockchain lending. Today’s main analysis: Everything you need to know about the P2P lending market in New Zealand. Today’s […]

interest rate and value of loans

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Africa

News Summary

United States

CFPB Set To Sue Santander Over Auto Protection Product (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)  is gearing up to sue Spain-based Santander Bank, claiming the bank has overcharged its car loan customers.

Citing sources familiar with the CFPB’s plans, Reuters reported that the CFPB suit could happen as soon as Monday (Nov. 27). The lawsuit is focused on Santander’s guaranteed auto protection financial product that protects car buyers from a portion of the cost if there is a serious crash.

Auto lending is big business for Santander, representing $38.5 billion of the bank holding company’s $137 billion in assets.

Cards, Bank Loans And AltFin Easing SMBs’ Search For Financing (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

New reports from Biz2Credit, Reliant Funding and Mercator take a look at how small businesses are accessing external financing towards the end of the year as the holiday rush descends.

25 percent of SMB loan applications at large banks were approved in October, according to the latest research from Biz2Credit. That means large banks (with $10 billion-plus in assets) have boosted their SMB loan approval rates to a new post-recession high, researchers said.

56.8 percent of SMB loan applications were approved by alternative lenders, according to Biz2Credit.

12 percent of SMB owners told Reliant Funding they are aware of alternative lending and have used it. Nearly half said they are at least familiar with alternative lending. 39 percent of SMB owners told Reliant that they have never even heard of alternative lending.

42 percent of SMBs that use alternative finance say they use it to buy inventory, while more than one-fifth said they use it to replace or buy new equipment. One-fifth also said they use it for marketing initiatives, Reliant Funding found.

Workers Get Faster Access to Wages With These New Apps (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Uber Technologies Inc., McDonald’s Corp. and Bloomin’ Brands Inc.’sOutback Steakhouse are among a growing group of employers giving workers near-instant access to their wages through payday apps.

New tools that allow people to spend the money they just earned have provided some workers an alternative to short-term, high-interest loans, say the technology startups offering the services. The payment plan also can boost employee attendance and tenure, managers say.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Daily payments could help some workers smooth out the financial volatility of fluctuating work schedules and income, economists say.

Mulvaney Shows Up For Work At Consumer Watchdog Group, As Leadership Feud Deepens (NPR), Rated: A

President Trump’s pick to lead the consumer watchdog, Mick Mulvaney, arrived at the office early Monday morning with a bag of Dunkin’ Donuts in hand. Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, is the acting director of the group until Trump can get a permanent leader through the Senate confirmation process — at least, according to the Trump administration.

But the former head of the CFPB, Richard Cordray, appointed Leandra English to lead the group following his departure. English has since filed a complaint in U.S. district court in Washington, D.C., to block the Trump administration’s rival appointment.

On Monday morning, English was communicating with CFPB staff through an all-staff email — a Thanksgiving message expressing gratitude and saying it was an “honor” to work with her colleagues.

Mulvaney, meanwhile, sent a competing all-staff, advising staff to “please disregard” messages from English in her “presumed capacity as Acting Director.”

Picking the best gift card this holiday season (Consumer Affairs), Rated: A

Online student loan marketplace LendEDU has ranked the best gift cards, pointing out the attributes that make one gift card a better choice than another.

According to LendEDU, roughly $1 billion in gift cards sold last year were not redeemed.

“The most important question to consider when buying a gift card is this: Is it versatile?” he told ConsumerAffairs.

Another important consideration, Brown says, is a gift card’s resale value. The recipient might rather sell the card for cash on one of the many gift card exchanges. The most popular gift cards often sell for 80 to 90 cents on the dollar, while less popular cards can go for half their face value or less.

A LendEDU poll of consumers found that 78.7 percent of consumers plan on giving at least one gift card this holiday season and 75.6 percent of consumers would rather receive a gift card than an actual gift.

Immigrant lending clubs provide capital, at a cost (Marketplace.org), Rated: A

When Chinese immigrants in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park have problems — legal, financial, marital — they come to see John Chan.

Lately, they’ve been coming to John Chan about money — specifically the collapse of informal lending clubs known as “biao hui.”

Biao hui are essentially informal banks made up of immigrants lending money to each other. A group — in China, this would traditionally be a group of close friends or relatives —gets together and throws money in the pot. One person acts as the organizer or banker and the money is then lent out on a rotating basis, with varying interest rates depending on how much money is needed, and when a person needs it.

But in New York City this year, two  biao hui worth a combined $22 million collapsed.

MERTON ON FINTECH, RETIREMENT, MORE (Top 1000 Funds), Rated: B

“Fintech will do a lot of good things, and help us, but it won’t do many of the things people are talking about, or it’s not going to do them well.”

United Kingdom

Short Term P2P Lender Welendus Surpasses £150,000 Funding Target Through Latest Seedrs Round (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Less than a week after launching its latest equity crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs, short-term peer-to-peer lending platform Welendus has successfully secured its initial 150,000 funding target from more than 100 investors. 

One in five save less because they can’t get advice (FT Adviser), Rated: AAA

More than one in five are saving or investing less because they cannot access advice on how to handle their money, research for the Nottingham Building Society has suggested.

The study found 21 per cent of adults believe they are not saving as much as they could and would be able to put away an extra £134 a month on average if they could get financial advice – the equivalent of more than £1,600 or three weeks’ average earnings before tax.

The research showed younger savers and investors were affected most by this, with nearly one in three (30 per cent) of under-35s believing they were not saving enough because of a lack of advice compared with just 12 per cent of over-55s.

P2P Lender Lendable Signs £300 Million Loan Deal With Castle Trust (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

UK-based peer-to-peer lending platform Lendable has entered into £300 million loan deal with investment and mortgage firm Castle Trust.

According to AltFi, the agreement with Lendable is Castle Trust’s second major transaction in the alternative finance industry this year.

City veterans aim for ‘Google of finance’ with new digital bank (The Telegraph), Rated: A

Three senior City bankers are masterminding the launch of a new digital bank focused on shaking up the UK savings market.

The trio is led by Huy Nguyen Trieu, a fintech entrepreneur who led a capital markets team at US bank Citi in London until quitting last summer. He is working on the project with his former colleague Lionel Durix, who remains in a senior Citi role, and Paul Hanks, the former chief technology officer of UK digital bank Atom.

They plan to launch a mobile savings app that uses artificial intelligence to give savers tailored advice and offers “risk-free” products such as Isas and high interest rate savings accounts to help them reach their financial goals.

Open Banking Will Unlock the Door for Digital-Only Banks (AltFi), Rated: A

Yet in parallel to this, there is a growing cohort of digital-only banks that are bucking the trend – the most famous of which include MonzoAtom Bank and Starling Bank. Not only do they have different client service delivery models, they have cultivated a customer base that is highly supportive and engaged.

But while Monzo has acquired over 400,000 customers for its pre-paid card since 2015, as Barclays has seen over 142,000 customers switch from its current account over a similar period – digital-only banks still remain relatively unknown.

Yet Open Banking – set to launch on January 13th – stands to change this.

Addressing the housing shortage is not someone else’s problem (Mortgage Strategy), Rated: A

Last September we launched our first LendInvest Property Development Academy. A year on, it’s fair to say that the response has been overwhelming.

For too long, the housebuilding crisis has been someone else’s problem. It’s been up to the big builders to get on with, or whichever ambitious politician has been handed the housing brief this week. And let’s be honest, that strategy has been an abject failure, lacking in direction and impetus.

No, if we are going to tackle the shortage of homes across the UK, we need to recognise that it is something we can all play a part in. So if the big builders on their own are unable to build the homes the nation needs, we must do more to cultivate a generation of smaller builders, taking on more modest but no less meaningful projects. A wider source of housing developers will inevitably mean more homes are built.

London’s Startups Stress Out Over Brexit—and Ping Pong (Bloomberg), Rated: A

For all of the cheer and hip-hop thumping throughout the hall, there was an unmistakable undercurrent of anxiety this year as London’s tech community reckoned with the coming of Brexit.

“It isn’t just that we’re at risk of losing our engineering talent,” Meekings said, half-joking. “We might lose our ping-pong stars as well.”

More than 30 percent of Funding Circle’s London employees are non-British EU nationals. Ever since the company was founded in 2010, many have gravitated to the ping-pong table that co-founder Samir Desai set up in its lobby, next to a cabinet that has steadily filled up with trophies. Funding Circle is one of four companies Bloomberg is following through the Brexit process.

The deals showed that even as Brexit dents the U.K. economy, the fledgling online-lending industry continues to grow. In the third quarter, Funding Circle arranged 114 million pounds in net lending to its borrowers. That surpassed comparable loans by U.K. banks, on a combined basis, for the first time.

China

Regulator Assessing Custodian Banks for Online Lenders (Caixin), Rated: AAA

A national inspection team, led by the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC), has recently asked local authorities that supervise online lending to assess commercial banks appointed by P2P platforms to provide custodian services for investors’ funds, multiple bank employees told Caixin.

Credit information platform will lift safeguards (China Daily), Rated: A

The National Internet Finance Association of China recently passed a resolution to jointly launch a personal credit information platform with eight third-party credit service agencies.

The NIFA will hold a 36 percent stake in the forthcoming platform, which is expected to have registered capital of 1 billion yuan ($152 million), and it will invest no more than 360 million yuan in the platform within five years.

The platform will mainly serve online personal lending institutions, in addition to other market players including traditional commercial banks, regulators and third-party credit service agencies.

Chinese Online Lender’s IPO On Shaky Ground (PYMNTS), Rated: A

LexinFintech Holdings Ltd., operator of China’s leading online lender Fenqile, was slated to meet with advisers over the weekend to decide if it will go ahead with a proposed initial public offering (IPO) in the U.S.

According to Bloomberg reports, the company is expected to decide soon if it should launch a roadshow for its IPO or wait until a later time to go public.

European Union

Swedish payment services firm Klarna posts profit rise (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Swedish online payment services firm Klarna, one of Europe’s highest-valued tech startups, on Monday reported sharply higher revenues and earnings for the first nine months of 2017.

Klarna said in a statement its sales rose 24 percent year-on-year to 3.16 billion Swedish crowns ($382 million) in January through September while net earnings climbed 75 percent to 349 million.

New EU rules increases competition and security between banks and fintech (Independent), Rated: A

The European Commission approved rules on Monday to increase competition and toughen up security in how people pay for goods and services across the European Union, pitting banks against financial technology firms.

The rules flesh out an update to the bloc’s payment services law and are among the most disputed in recent financial regulation, sparking intense lobbying as banks and fintech firms clashed over access to customer data.

The revised law comes into force on 13 January, though some of the security elements approved on Monday won’t be binding until September 2019 to give banks and fintech firms time to adjust.

Irish P2P Flender Close to Raising Over €2 Million Through Latest Funding Round (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Irish peer-to-peer lender Flender has reported attracted close to more than €2 million through its latest funding round. This news comes less than a year after the lending platform secured £501,700 through its equity crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs.

International

ETHLend and Brickblock team up for lending on the blockchain (Finextra), Rated: AAA

ETHLend and Brickblock are announcing a strategic partnership to explore the possibilities of lending with Blockchain technology.

A primary focus will be on the tokenization of assets to simplify lending and bring secure real-world assets into the lending procedure as collateral.

The application is ideal for token holders who are in need for liquidity and those who want to participate in a free lending market. Instead of selling and closing a token position, a borrower can easily pledge digital tokens to receive Ether. Moreover, ETHLend is introducing token lending, which enables profiting from down market by enabling short selling market.

Tokenizing real-world assets such as real estate achieves three disruptive objectives:

  1. A strong collateral that can be expected to keep its value for a short-medium time period.
  2. An opportunity for people to collateralise their property with Brickblock, and then using it to secure their loan.
  3. New investment opportunities for downside market by enabling short selling for tokenized real assets.
Australia/New Zealand

Everything you need to know about the P2P lending market (Interest), Rated: AAA

Nearly nine in every 100 loans written through New Zealand’s peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms are in arrears, according to the Financial Markets Authority (FMA).

Borrowers responsible for 1,469 loans, worth more than $20 million, are overdue on their loan repayments.

While the bulk of lenders are investing smaller amounts of money (IE under $5,000), 48 have lent an average of $1.54 million each. Totalling $73.84 million, this is equivalent to a quarter of the $289.10 million of loans outstanding (loans that were still within their specified term at the end of the reporting period).

Harmoney – the first P2P lender to launch in New Zealand in 2014 – is also the largest, with 83% of outstanding loans in the market written through its platform.

The FMA’s data also shows there are 207,230 borrowers registered with P2P platforms, 843 of which are repeat borrowers, who have repaid their loans and taken out new ones.

Source: Interest
Source: Interest

FMA publishes benchmark P2P lending, crowdfunding figures (Scoop), Rated: A

The figures show individuals took out $121 million of new loans in the year ended June 30 through P2P platforms and businesses borrowed $31.5 million with total loans outstanding at $259.6 million and $29.6 million respectively as at June 30. Meanwhile, crowdfunding platforms raised $74.2 million from retail and wholesale investors, with 34 successful offers out of 50 in the year.

The data show peer-to-peer lending still pales in significance to the established lending channels, with $10.89 billion personal consumer loans with banks as at Sept. 30 and a further $6.88 billion with non-bank lenders. Business loans with banks totalled $101.61 billion as at Sept. 30 and$4.59 billion with non-banks. Peer-to-peer lenders had 16,977 outstanding personal loans and 92 business loans as at June 30. In terms of asset quality, 1,469 P2P loans worth $20.4 million were in arrears, or 8.61 percent of total loans outstanding, while 833 loans worth $8.5 million were written off.

Fintech firm to undertake study into financial advice (SMSFAdviser), Rated: A

Fintech firm Valuiza will conduct an Australia-wide study of the state of financial planning by gathering feedback from existing clients of practices to measure their experience and intentions. It is currently inviting advice practices to participate in the study.

The data for the report will be collected during January and February next year with practices able to review the results in real time, he said. The results for individual practices will be confidential.

 (The Australian), Rated: B

Peer-to-peer lending platforms RateSetter and Bigstone both called for better disclosure of rates and fees, which are currently expressed in a variety of different ways by industry players. RateSetter chief executive Daniel Foggo said borrowers should be told the cost of the loan expressed as an annual …
India

Are You a Credit Risk? Indian Banks Dig Deep in Your Phone to Find Out (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Indian banks have started mining data on customers’ smartphones for fast loan approval, testing out cutting-edge but controversial technology in what is potentially a huge market for such products.

Long hampered from lending to the hundreds of millions of Indians without credit histories, banks are hoping to slash risk-assessment costs and trigger a new wave of consumer lending with apps that look at everything from Facebook connections to online shopping habits to rate potential borrowers.

India’s most sophisticated banks are working with local and international fintech startups to develop, test and launch a version of a technology used by microlenders in Africa, China and elsewhere.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Commercial banks had around $1.09 trillion of loans outstanding in September, according to the Reserve Bank of India. Of that, about $270 billion were personal loans, a portion whose growth is outpacing the overall loan market.

But about 40% of HDFC’s 8 million and 12 million loan applications a month are from people without credit histories. Most Indians have never had a credit card or taken a home loan.

What does India’s fintech leader of the year have on her mind? (YourStory), Rated: A

Before she co-started one of India’s few digital EMI startups, Lizzie served as the India head for Wonga, the British payday loan company.  She then joined Development Bank of Singapore to help launch ‘digibank’, the new mobile-only virtual bank of India. Very recently, the India FinTech Awards 2017 named her Woman Leader in the Fintech category.

“I think fintech, especially in India, is one of the most exciting and biggest opportunities in the world. The opportunity here is not just to build huge valuable businesses, but also make a real impact on people’s lives and the economy. I think fintech is taking off in such a big way because the timing is right. It’s such a HUGE problem to solve, and we finally have all the pieces of the puzzle in place – whether it is KYC, mobile adoption or digital payments,” she added.

“I am biased of course, but I expect to see a lot more focus on payments coupled with credit in the form of ‘Paylater’ solutions, EMI solutions and all things related to transactional credit. This is such a great solution for this market where credit cards don’t make sense but consumers are keen to shop,” Lizzie said.

Asia

Japan insurer Sompo sets up fintech base in Tel Aviv (Reuters), Rated: A

Property-and-casualty insurer Sompo Holdings Inc (8630.T) has set up a fintech hub in Israel, becoming the first Japanese insurer to do so in a country where it hopes to tap local expertise in digital and cyber-security technologies.

Africa

Fintech firm Ovamba moves into African commodities exports (Global Trade Review), Rated: AAA

Ovamba, a fintech firm that uses blockchain and other new technologies to connect investors with African SMEs, has facilitated a €30mn deal for the purchase and export of cocoa for Cameroonian commodity marketing company Producam.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday October 2 2017, Daily News Digest

marketplace lending uk

News Comments Today’s main news: CEO-less SoFi will have to wait to get a bank. Zopa partners with Saffron Building Society. Zopa updates credit risk model. Assetz Capital lowers commercial mortgage interest rate to 6.9%. RateSetter reports 56% of investors switch from cash. Beehive raises $5M. African billionaire invests in digital bank. Today’s main analysis: UK marketplace lenders struggle to find […]

marketplace lending uk

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

APAC

MENA

South Africa

News Summary

United States

SoFi’s CEO Hiatus Stalls Its Big-Time Banking Ambitions (The New York Times), Rated: AAA

One of the most valuable private financial technology startups in the United States, SoFi’s $4.3 billion valuation was based on expectations it could develop into a major lender but Cagney’s departure this month and the circumstances around his exit complicate efforts to create a new-generation bank that could compete against JPMorgan or Bank of America.

The company has hired headhunters over the past few days to help find his replacement, but an appointment is not expected to take place until the end of the year, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The gap at the top is likely to stall SoFi’s application for a banking license, according to the source, because regulators assess whether a company has a capable CEO before allowing it to accept deposits.

A banking license was a key part of Cagney’s push to grow SoFi beyond its core business of student loans and unsecured personal loans.

But without Cagney at the helm, the emphasis is expected to shift.

The company will be more disciplined about testing new products before selling them widely, a source close to the company said.

Square Wants To Be A Bank, And Real Banks Are Pissed (BuzzFeed), Rated: AAA

Small businesses love Square because it charges them less than the bigger, bank-owned payment processors, and the little white card-swipes that plug into a smartphone are easier and more convenient than handheld credit card terminals. Square also — through a partnership with a tiny bank in Utah — makes loans to small companies and entrepreneurs banks would turn away.

As much as small merchants love Square, smaller banks distrust it, particularly now that the company, which is based in San Francisco, has applied to become an industrial loan company (ILC), a controversial type of banking license offered in Utah and a few other states.

And while Square insists it only wants to make small loans to the merchants it serves, banks see this as a backdoor way into their bread-and-butter business of taking deposits and making loans, both to businesses and consumers.

And Square, with its at least 2 million merchant customers, may look to today’s bankers a lot like Walmart did a decade ago. The company has been aggressively soliciting the merchants who use it as a payment processor, offering them small-dollar loans by email.

Take Courtney Foster, who runs a one-chair salon in the Murray Hill neighborhood of Manhattan and has used Square to accept payments for years. One day she got an email from Square Capital with an offer of a loan of $1,000 to $1,500, which would be paid back directly out of her payments processed through Square.

She has since borrowed about $3,000 in total from Square using the money (supplied by Celtic Bank) to start her own line of hair products.

The average loan approved by Square is about $6,000, and the company has either advanced or loaned almost $2 billion since 2014. The amount due back is typically 10% to 16% more than the amount loaned out — which is on the low end for similar types of small business finance  with payments coming out of a fixed percentage of the merchant’s receipts received through Square. The whole balance is due after 18 months, though Square customers can repay early.

Utah has 16 industrial banks, and most fall into the latter category, while some are retailers that issue their own loans, like BMW. Other companies that operate Utah industrial banks include American Express, USAA, UBS, and Sallie Mae.

Acting OCC Head Noreika Comments on FinTech Charter and Online Lending (PeerIQ), Rated: A

Also, in a major shift from prior OCC Head Tom Curry, Noreika affirmed that the proposed FinTech charter could be granted to commercial firms. Former Chair of the FDIC, William Isaac, was also constructive on the concept of enabling commercial firms to engage in banking to drive greater competition, customer choice, and expand access to credit to the 60% of Americans that cannot access a loan from a US bank. Historically, the separation of banking and commerce under the Bank Holding Company Act has prevented commercial firms (outside the ILC charter) from offering banking services. Our interpretation of the above is that, under the FinTech charter, commercial firms such as Walmart, Amazon, Google, and Facebook would have a path to offering banking services.

Cross River Bank CRO Adam Goller moderated a panel including PeerIQ (Ram Ahluwalia), Affirm (Alex Karram), Marlette Funding (Jeff Meiler), and former Massachusetts Commissioner of Banks, David Cotney. PeerIQ cited data and research from Columbia and Harvard Law concluding that the lack of regulatory clarity stemming from Madden-Midland has reduced the availability of credit in District 2.

On Timing for Issuing Charters:
“Interest also remains in the possibility of the OCC offering special purpose national bank charters to nondepository fintech companies engaged in the business of banking. … We have not, however, decided whether we will exercise that specific authority to issue special purpose national bank charters to nondepository fintech companies. We will keep you posted.”

PeerIQ Context: The Conference of State Bank Supervisors and NYS Dept of Financial Services have challenged the OCC’s authority to issue charters. Also, the OCC may be waiting for the nominee of Head of OCC Joseph Otting to be confirmed by the US Senate before introducing the FinTech Charter. Otting was approved by the Senate Banking Committee in early September.

Will They or Won’t They: The OCC’s Fintech Charter (Payments Journal), Rated: A

“The Fintech Charter Decision is an unlawful assertion of power that usurps New York consumer protection laws and would preempt plaintiff’s ability to regulate any number of the over 600 non- depository institutions she currently regulates,” wrote Matthew Levine, the executive deputy superintendent for enforcement at the department.”

“Acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim, representing the defendants, argued that DFS lacks standing in the complaint because the OCC’s regulations addressing the special-purpose national bank charter have resulted in no injury-in-fact, because the office has not reached a final decision on whether it will offer the specific type of national bank charter that does not take deposits and conducts activities other than fiduciary activities. The U.S. Attorney’s Office also argues that the complaint should be dismissed for failure to state a claim.”

Scott Robinson of Plug and Play Fintech (Lend Academy), Rated: A

One of the leading accelerator programs today is Plug and Play, they claim to be the world’s largest startup accelerator. Lending Club and many other big names have gone through their program. In 2014 they started a dedicated fintech accelerator program, founded by Scott Robinson, who is our latest guest on the Lend Academy Podcast.

The Massive Hedge Fund Betting on AI (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Man Group, which has about $96 billion under management, typically takes its most promising ideas from testing to trading real money within weeks.

What spooked him was an experiment at his firm, Man Group Plc.Engineers at the company’s technology-centric AHL unit had been dabbling with artificial intelligence—a buzzy, albeit not widely used, technology at the time. The system they built evolved autonomously, finding moneymaking strategies humans had missed. The results were startlingly good, and now Ellis and fellow executives needed to figure out their next move.

The program stayed in quarantine until 2014, when a senior portfolio manager with a Ph.D. in mathematical logic named Nick Granger decided it was time to take it out of testing. He gave the AI system a small amount of money from a portfolio he was managing—then more, then more again. At each step, the program was profitable.

Source: Bloomberg

Matic Insurance Services and LendingQB Team Up to Eliminate Stress, Mortgage Delays Related to Homeowner’s Insurance (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Matic Insurance Services (Matic), a digital insurance agency that enables borrowers to purchase homeowner’s insurance during the home-buying transaction, today announced a new partnership with LendingQB, a provider of “lean lending” loan origination technology. Matic announced the news as part of a live demonstration at San Francisco’s Digital Mortgage conference.

Matic’s integration with LendingQB’s flagship loan origination software (LOS) makes it easy for borrowers to upload or secure a homeowner’s insurance policy during the mortgage application process. The result is a less stressful experience for borrowers and the elimination of costly insurance-related delays for LendingQB’s lender clients.

Is Yahoo a fintech company now? (Quartz), Rated: B

Fintech generally refers to companies like SoFi, TransferWise, and Revolut, whose ambition is to use technology to challenge traditional banks. What Yahoo Finance is doing is a little different—its app will add online brokers like Fidelity and E-Trade to its platform, but it won’t make any money from the brokerage charges. Instead, Yahoo Finance (now part of Oath, a Verizon-owned company), which has about 41 million mobile users, is trying to boost usage of its app.

The platform is targeted at devoted investors and provides more financial data for free than you can get outside of a Bloomberg terminal, according to Michael La Guardia, Yahoo Finance’s head of product.

Alipay almost accidentally started the world’s biggest money market fund (paywall) when it gave users a way to park their money from mobile payments. Amazon, meanwhile, offers credit to its merchants and has made more than $3 billion of loans, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF). Facebook has ambitions for its app to do just about everything, including financial activities. Tencent’s WeChat in many ways already does.

United Kingdom

Zopa searches for new borrowers through Saffron Building Society loan partnership (City A.M.), Rated: AAA

Zopa is partnering with a building society to offer its loans as it seeks to add more borrowers to the platform.

The online peer-to-peer lender will provide loans at 11 bricks-and-mortar branches of Saffron Building Society across Hertfordshire, Essex and Suffolk, as well as online.

Zopa Announces Credit Risk Model Update (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Friday, online lending platform Zopa announced the latest update of its credit risk model. This news comes just a few weeks after the lender announced updated on improving loan sale time progress, rebate period, and ISA transfer-in. Chief Product Officer at Zopa, Andrew Lawson, revealed he and his team are continuing to monitor leading macroeconomic indicators carefully alongside how Zopa’s loans are performing compared to expectation:

Marketplace lenders struggle to find borrowers (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Zopa, the world’s first peer-to-peer lending company, hoped the partnership whereby drivers for the ride-hailing app were directed to its website for loans would mark its entry into a multibillion-pound market for secured loans in the UK.

But barely six months after the deal was struck it collapsed, with the partnership failing to attract as many drivers as expected.

Zopa’s experiment with Uber underlines the enormous difficulty faced by marketplace lenders attempting to find new borrowers. These borrowers are crucial for the platforms to grow at a time when there is strong interest from institutional investors to provide crowdfunded loans.

Source: Financial Times

According to Mr Zhang, institutional investors such as hedge funds, asset managers, pension funds and family offices now account for between 30 and 40 per cent of peer-to-peer consumer and business lending, compared with less than 5 per cent before 2014. BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, made its first significant retail investment in peer-to-peer loans last year when it bought a stake in Funding Circle’s investment trust.

So far, however, they have struggled to attract borrowers to match this demand. Competition is increasing from traditional banks — Goldman Sachs has its own online lending platform — especially for prime and super-prime debt that is less likely to default.

Source: Financial Times

Assetz Capital Lowers Commercial Mortgage Interest Rate From 7.9% to 6.9% (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Assetz Capital, one of the UK’s fastest growing peer-to-peer finance platforms and the largest property backed peer-to-peer lender, announced on Friday it has lowered its entry interest rate for commercial mortgages from 7.9% to 6.9% in an unprecedented move to give access to even lower rates for lower-risk borrowers looking for commercial mortgages. This is one of the lowest rates available from any alternative finance providers.

Three million small businesses still don’t accept cards, despite move away from cash (The Telegraph), Rated: AAA

Around three million of Britain’s small businesses do not accept card payments, despite the UK rapidly becoming a nation of card-only shoppers.

One in six British shoppers now uses cards only to pay. A further 38pc would typically try to pay with a card first before they have to pay with cash, according to a study by Square, the payment company belonging to Twitter founder Jack Dorsey.

Small companies could be missing out on millions of pounds’ worth of business by not offering card payment facilities, Square warned.

Card payments overtook cash payments as the main method of purchases in the UK for the first time in July this year, according to the British Retail Consortium. The average Brit has just £32.54 in cash in their purse or wallet right now – not enough to cover more than one of the average transaction size of £18.42.

Wonga on course for profit this year after major changes (Express), Rated: A

The company, which has been overhauled under new management after being accused of targeting the vulnerable and being forced to compensate nearly 200,000 borrowers who overpaid owing to “system errors”, cut its annual pre-tax loss from £80.2million to £64.9million.

Revenue grew by 18 per cent to £76.7million as more products boosted customer numbers by 6 per cent.

Wonga confirms £64.9m loss in year it ended Newcastle United sponsorship (ChronicleLive), Rated: A

Britain’s biggest payday lender Wonga has revealed it remained deep in the red last year with losses of £64.9m, but confirmed plans to return to profit in 2017.

Nutmeg loss widens to £9.3m as it develops advice offer (Citywire), Rated: A

Nutmeg’s 2016 losses have widened £9.3 million as it continued to invest heavily, as it presses ahead with developing the ‘most approporate’ advice proposition for its customers.

The loss, revealed in its accounts published on Companies House, follows the £8.9 million loss it posted in 2015. Its operating expenses rose from £10.8 million to £11.9 million over the year.

At the end of the year Nutmeg managed around £600 million in assets under management on behalf of 25,000 clients.

Turnover rose by almost 50% from £1.72 million to £2.56 million.

Wealthtech is coming to the High Street (Banking Technology), Rated: A

One area of fintech that is of interest is wealthtech. This sub-sector is likely to become more visible over the next few months. Wealthtech has become defined as utilising technology to enhance wealth management and the retail investment process.

The most visible players in the UK are the robo-advisors with Nutmeg the best known (and RiskSave following behind!) but other concepts are also deserving of attention, such as Munnypot.

These developments will soon be more visible at branch level.

An offering of automated financial advice from the retail banks could go a long way towards alleviating this. Santander and HSBC have already launched product offerings in this space, RBS is trialling a service through its Coutts’ sub-brand and Lloyds (with a quarter of the UK market) are sitting on the sidelines awaiting the results of the regulator’s Financial Advice Market Review (FAMR).

Fintech start-up Curve adds cloud-based accounting software to its app to simplify expenses (CNBC), Rated: A

Fintech start-up Curve will now let users claim business expenses across multiple bank cards through its app.

The London-based firm’s app allows its users to link all of their bank cards to one contactless MasterCard. Curve said it hopes to automate the tedious process and remove any friction associated with business expenses. It is predominantly targeted at small business owners and the self-employed.

Curve said Monday it would add online accounting software developer Xero to the app, meaning users will now be able to claim business spending across all their accounts.

The hottest startups in London (Wired), Rated: A

As London’s startup community awaits the result of Brexit negotiations – and its impact on single-market access – one might think tech would have ground to a halt. But growth continues: the last 18 months have seen billion-dollar valuations for TransferWise, Funding Circle and Improbable, and a near-unicorn valuation for Deliveroo.

Monzo

Monzo wants to make banking smarter. Founded in 2015 by Tom Blomfield, Jonas Huckestein, Jason Bates, Paul Rippon and Gary Dolman, it offers pre-paid cards connected to an app that tracks spending and lets its customers analyse their financial activity.

Nested

One of a growing number of UK property – or proptech – startups, Nested guarantees that it will sell your house within 90 days, or buy it themselves.

Habito

Habito scours more than 15,000 mortgage products to suggest the best option, and takes a commission from the eventual lender. In January 2017, the startup raised £5.5 million in a Series A round led by Ribbit Capital.

Ravelin

Founded in 2014, Ravelin analyses online behaviour in real time to reduce payment-related fraud. According to its clients – including Deliveroo, Karhoo, and Easy Taxi, its technology reduces fraud incidence by more than 50 per cent. The company has raised £4.3 million to date from backers including Passion Capital and Errol Damelin.

P2P needs the FSCS stamp of approval (Citywire), Rated: B

Some commentators estimated nearly half a million new investors would try their hand at P2P lending when the Innovative Finance ISA brought eligible platforms into the ISA fold.

This is unsurprising given that, according to government statistics, British consumers have around £500 billion either saved or invested in ISAs.

However, the stampede has not arrived yet.

Plenty of people think the FSCS offers an insurance policy against poor investment performance. It does not. If a share portfolio tanks, for example, the scheme will not be there to save you. That is the risk you run by choosing to invest in the equity markets.

The FSCS is, however, on hand to compensate investors if a provider has been shown to mismanage its product, and has subsequently gone bust. Only then does it offer up to £50,000 (2017/18 tax year), not the larger amount doled out to savers.

Hull has fast become a profitable city for buy-to-let landlords (Mortgage Introducer), Rated: B

LendInvest’s buy-to-let index ranked the city as the fifth best buy-to-let postcode for landlords in the third quarter of 2017, up from 33rd in the second quarter.

“Cities such as Hull and Nottingham making significant gains in the Index (up #33 to #5 and #35 to #12 respectively) is encouraging, and points to competitive market conditions in those areas and higher than average levels of activity.

The top 10 areas for investors in order of ranking are Luton (#1), Colchester (#2), Manchester (#3), Rochester (#4), Hull (#5), Stevenage (#6), Romford (#7), Southend-on-Sea (#8), Ipswich (#9) and Ilford (#10).

China

Wealth-Management Industry at Turning Point (Caixin), Rated: AAA

China’s wealth-management industry is undergoing profound changes, shifting away from short-term, fixed-income products to longer-term, equity-based investment, said Tang Ning, chief executive of Beijing-based fintech conglomerate CreditEase.

Last year, the Forbes listed a record 400 billionaires from the Chinese mainland, compared to 335 a year ago. The listed members held a total of $947 billion assets, a 14% rise from the previous year. Meanwhile, China’s per-capita GDP exceeded $8,123 in 2016, up from $8,069 a year earlier, according to the World Bank.

Unlike investors in the U.S. and other developed market, Chinese investors have long favored most the fix-income products like bonds and bank bills, betting on governments’ implicit payment guarantee. But as China’s economy slows and its financial market liberalizes, the government has become increasingly hesitant to offer such sweeping guarantees.

A number of wealth management companies including CreditEase have launched private equity FOF over the past few years. In early September, the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) approved the first batch of six firms including China Asset Management, China Southern Fund Management and Manulife Teda Fund Management to set up publicly offered FOF products.

Tang estimated that there are 200 million active investors in China who do not have access to human advisers and asset managers because of their hefty fees.

Alibaba’s Jack Ma places bet on China’s online insurance market (Asian Review), Rated: A

When the heads of three of China’s most prominent companies join hands to launch a start-up, investors notice.

Jack Ma Yun of Alibaba Group HoldingTencent Holdings‘ Pony Ma Huateng, and Peter Ma Mingzhe of Ping An Insurance Group — collectively known as the “three Ma’s” — did just that. Looking to turn Ping An into a full-blown financial technology company within ten years, Peter also enabled the growth of Lufax, which started as a peer-to-peer lending platform in 2011 and became one of the most valuable e-finance company worldwide as of September.

Four years ago they founded China’s first online-only insurer. It was a company with an untested business model and making no money, but it sparked an investor frenzy.

Source: Asian Review

HSBC: Mobile banking in China begins with your face (Enterprise Innovation), Rated: A

Mobile banking continues to soar in China. According to China Internet Watch, total transactions of China mobile banking clients totaled 55.63 trillion yuan (US$44 trillion), up 5.1% quarter on quarter. China Construction Bank (26.1%) and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (21%) have a combined market share of close to half of mobile banking in Q2 2017.

European Union

French Real Estate Crowdfunding Grows Steadily and Delivers (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The French real estate crowdfunding market grew by 50% in 2016 and keeps growing at the same linear growth pace in 2017. While new platforms continue to join, first entrants strongly dominate the nascent market. With €160 million worth of real estate projects funded, the French platforms have a positive record of delivering expected returns.

It has since grown at a fast, but more linear pace of +53% to reach €68 million in 2016, and is expected to grow by 50% again in 2017.

French real estate crowdfunding attracts new platforms. In 2016, their number grew from 26 to 42, with 19 new entrants and 3 withdrawals. Indeed, more than 90% of real estate crowdfunds are raised by the top 10 platforms and 75% by the top 5. Between them, the two leaders, WiSeed and Anaxago, account for more than 50% of the market.

Top 10 French real estate crowdfunding platforms
Platform

Regulatory Status

Regulated Real estate since

Projects

Value

Repaid

Wiseed

PSI

2014

123

€53,197,600

33 %

Anaxago

CIP

2014

83

€38,908,333

18 %

Lendix

IFP

2014

14

€15,875,000

7 %

Clubfunding

CIP

2015

30

€10,075,500

27 %

Lymo.fr

CIP

2015

29

€8,196,500

45 %

Fundimmo

CIP

2015

23

€7,734,900

26 %

Homunity

CIP

2016

22

€6,732,200

18 %

Koregraf

CIP

2015

17

€4,935,500

47 %

Proximea

CIP

2015

5

€3,490,000

20 %

Immovesting

CIP

2016

7

€2,932,000

Source : , September 2017

 

Source: Crowdfund Insider

WINNERS ANNOUNCED FOR INVESTOR ALLSTARS EVENT (BusinessCloud), Rated: A

The winners of the 15th annual Investor Allstars awards were announced this week, with Funding Circle co-founder and CEO Samir Desai being crowned Entrepreneur of the Year and CoderDojo winning the Tech4Good award.

The Entrepreneur of the Year award went to Samir Desai of Funding Circle and online property lending and investment platform LendInvest was announced as Europe’s Allstar Company.

The full list of award winners is:

  • Exit of the Year: Skyscanner (Scottish Equity Partners)
  • Growth and Buyout Fund of the Year: Livingbridge
  • Entrepreneur of the Year: Samir Desai (Funding Circle)
  • VC Fund of the Year: Idinvest Partners
  • Europe’s Allstar Company: LendInvest
  • Corporate Development Team of the Year: Sage Group
  • Investor of the Year: Benoist Grossmann (Idinvest Partners)
  • VCT of the Year: Octopus Ventures Specialist
  • Debt Provider of the Year: Kreos Capital
  • Seed Fund of the Year: LocalGlobe
  • Service Provider of the Year: Orrick
  • Tech4Good Award: CoderDojo Foundation (part of Raspberry Pi Foundation)
  • Digital Innovation in Art: Articheck

That viral ‘mermaid dog’ video was too good to be true (The Daily Dot), Rated: B

It seemed too good to be real. A hairy creature, which some people guessed was an afghan hound, effortlessly floats underwater and moves its arms with the grace of a ballet dancer. It’s pure euphoria, captured in a video that lasts only a few seconds.

When Klarna, a tech bank with a focus on online shopping, posted the video to its Instagram account on Sept. 17 with the caption, “When you’re swimming into the weekend like… #noworries,” many people assumed it was a video of a real animal swimming in a pool. Or maybe they just wanted to believe.

It’s an animation that is part of an ad campaign for Klarna, which is trying sell people on the company’s “smooth” payment system.

International

Regtech Startups On Pace For Record Deals, Against Backdrop Of Shifting Regulatory Landscape (CCB Insights), Rated: AAA

Deals to regtech startups have increased steadily (if at times slowly) over the past few years, from 83 deals in 2013 to 147 last year. At the current run rate, deals in 2017 are on track to hit a new high, while funding is on pace to grow 14% to nearly match record funding levels set in 2015.

In 2017 YTD, regtech startups have seen 103 deals worth $894M in disclosed equity funding. At the current run rate, deals in 2017 are on track to reach a new high of 148 (up slightly from 147 in 2016). Funding is also on pace to grow, potentially bringing total disclosed equity investment over the last 5 years to more than $5B.

Source: CB Insights

Last quarter saw 34 deals, dipping 13% from Q1’17 to hit a 6-quarter low. Though deals were down, funding was up 14% from the previous quarter — and grew 64% year-over-year — to reach $326M.

H1’17 has seen 73 investments, up 3 deals from H1’16, while funding is up approximately 54% over the same period.

Source: CB Insights
Australia/New Zealand

Yield-hungry investors switch their cash to peer-to-peer lenders (The Sydney Morning Herald), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lender, RateSetter, says 56 per cent of money invested with it is from savers withdrawing their money from their bank savings accounts.

Yield-hungry investors are understandably frustrated with earning next-to-nothing on their cash held at their banks, with interest rates at historic lows and likely to stay that way for the foreseeable future.

With the the advent of peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders, online platforms that match investors and borrowers, investors can get up to  three times the interest paid by term deposits.

NZ named Asia Pacific’s fintech champ (NZ Adviser), Rated: A

New Zealand has the highest per capita fintech lending volumes of any country in the Asia Pacific, and has embraced fintech faster than any other neighbouring Asia Pacific countries.

According to the research, peer-to-peer consumer lending forms the bulk of market activity in here. The second largest was donation-based crowdfunding, for which US$16.8 million was raised in 2016 – an increase of around 100% over the previous year. Equity-based crowdfunding was the third largest model in New Zealand with US$13.85 million across 2016 – up from US$11.86 million in 2015.

Appetise’s ASX listing; Study Loans & RateSetter close funding (Deal Street Asia), Rated: A

UK startup Appetise looks to list on the ASX, Study Loans has secured seed funding and P2P lender RateSetter Australia has closed additional funding from a private equity (PE) fund.

Melbourne-based fintech Study Loans, which offers a credit engine targeted at the student loans sector, has raised A$2 million ($1.56 million) in seed funding from investors that include the Simonds family and RMY Corp, as well as A$5 million ($3.9 million) in debt equity.

RateSetter Australia, a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform, has secured A$8.5 million ($6.65 million) from private equity fund Five V Capital. The deal values the company in excess of A$100 million. Existing equity investors in RateSetter are RateSetter UK, Carsales and Strattons.

India

Chqbook – Gurgaon Based Fintech Startup Raised Funds (Bizztor), Rated: B

Chqbook – a fintech startup that allows customers to explore, compare, book and get personal finance products like home loans, personal loans and credit cards, raises undisclosed funds from Youwecan backed Startup Buddy, Apurva Chamaria, global head of corporate marketing, HCL, Sachin Arora, ex-CTO Myntra, Bharat Gupta, Founder of Net Asset Consulting LLP, Amit Manocha, Private equity professional based out of Singapore, and others.

APAC

Indonesian P2P lending platforms recorded 496.5 per cent year-to-date growth of funding allocation (e27), Rated: AAA

Indonesian Financial Services Authority (OJK) revealed that peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms in Indonesia in total has channeled up to IDR1.4 trillion (US$106 million) in funding for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country. The number is a 496.5 per cent year-to-date (YTD) growth from December 2016’s number of IDR242.48 billion (US$17.9 million).

Funding Societies Dubbed First Southeast Asian Company to Win Global SME Excellence Award from United Nations’ ITU Telecom (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Singapore’s and Southeast Asia’s SME crowdfunding platform Funding Societies announced on Friday it was named the first southeast Asia company to win the Global SME Excellence Award from United Nations’ ITU Telecom, which was held this year in Busan, South Korea. 

PLDT unit disrupts businesses (Manila Standard), Rated: A

Vea, 67, now heads Voyager Innovations Inc., the digital arm of PLDT and the one behind digital platforms such as Smart Padala (mobile remittances), PayMaya Philippines Inc. (formerly Smart e-Money), Freenet (free sponsored data platform), VYGR (digital performance-based marketing), Tackthis! (electronic commerce platform), Hatch, (marketing technology and innovations platform), Lendr (digital consumer loan platform), FINTQ (financial technology unit) and Voyager DX (digital transformation).  Voyager, which has 600 employees, introduces solutions that allow customers to participate in the digital economy such as by using digital money.

Marzan presented data showing that 60 million or 58 percent of the Philippines’ 103 million people are Internet users.  Active social medial users are 60 million as well.

“In the Asia-Pacific region with 4.2 billion population, 46 percent are already Internet users and active social media users are 1.5 billion or 36 percent.  Mobile connection is 3.99 billion and active mobile social users are 1.44 billion. This is exponentially growing and we have to prepare for it,” Marzan said.

How FinTech uses technology to help the ‘unserved’ (Manila Bulletin), Rated: B

TrueMoney, a new financial technology player, seeks to have one TrueMoney center in each of the country’s more than 42,000 barangays to serve those who need a remittance network but have no bank accounts.

To meet that goal, TrueMoney teams up with cooperatives and groups in different regions. Its latest partnership is with Cebu People’s Multi-Purpose Cooperative (CPMPC), a community-based savings and credit cooperative with over 55,000 members to-date.

At this point, TrueMoney has over 5,000 centers in the Philippines.

MENA

Fintech Peer to Peer Lending Platform, Beehive, Raises $ 5m Investment (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Beehive, MENA’s leading peer to peer lending (P2P) platform, has secured $5m investment as part of a Series A round led by Riyad TAQNIA Fund and supported by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Fund (MBRF), the financial arm of Dubai SME, as well as several other regional investors. This latest fundraise brings the total raised by Beehive to $10.5m since its launch.

To date, Beehive has successfully facilitated finance over $35 million (AED 130 million) to more than 200 business funding requests and registered more than 5000 international investors.

South Africa

African Billionaire Patrice Motsepe Invests In Digital Bank (Forbes), Rated: AAA

South Africa’s first black billionaire Patrice Motsepe has reportedly invested in TymeDigital, an online lender that has recently been awarded an operating license by the South African Reserve Bank.

African Rainbow Capital (ARC), an investment firm founded by Patrice Motsepe, recently acquired a 10% stake in TymeDigital, which is a subsidiary of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, one of the world’s largest banks.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

What is the Auto Loan Crisis?

auto loan crisis

The auto loan market has become a big bubble waiting for a small needle. In this report, we will answer the questions: How big is the bubble? How will we know it is ready to burst? What are the best ways to capitalize on what comes next? Anytime a central bank lowers interest rates to […]

auto loan crisis

The auto loan market has become a big bubble waiting for a small needle. In this report, we will answer the questions: How big is the bubble? How will we know it is ready to burst? What are the best ways to capitalize on what comes next?

Anytime a central bank lowers interest rates to nothing, creates $4 trillion out of nowhere, and does “whatever it takes” to re-inflate the world economy, there is bound to be a credit bubble somewhere.

Last decade it was housing. This decade it’s the auto industry.

Once the dust settled on the mortgage crisis of 2008, lending standards for loans on new homes tightened. Banks, desperate to start lending money, looked for places where standards hadn’t been touched.

They found autos. Armed with low interest rates, and tons of quantitative easing the Federal Reserve was force feeding the banks, securing an auto loan became easier than ever. Over 86% of Americans commute to work by car, so this proved to be a good market. Include the 1 million Americans who want to keep working in a buoyant auto industry, and you have the making of a new credit bonanza.

Starting in 2010, sales for both new and used vehicles hit new records. They have broken yearly sales records ever since. Auto manufacturers are producing more cars and trucks than before, riding the great recovery of the past half-decade.

But it is all based on financing. Auto leasing, where the buyer puts some money up front, pays a monthly amount for a number of years, and then returns the car to the dealership, has also reached record numbers. Since 2008, the percentage of auto purchases based on leases has doubled.

The total amount of auto loans outstanding has reached over $1.2 trillion, roughly the same amount of money lent out for student loans.

Given that stock markets are at record highs, interest rates are low, unemployment is at historical lows, and America is enjoying a pro-business president, what could go wrong? We may be reaching our limit. Warning signs are getting louder that the credit system in the auto industry has reached a speculative frenzy.

It all began right after the crisis when interest rates dropped to almost nothing. Normally, an auto loan would be given based on the lender paying a 6% interest rate on the money they lent. By 2010, that rate dropped to 2%.
As a result, the banks ceased to be the only lenders. Car dealerships began to issue loans. The car manufacturers expanded their finance arms, making more money available. Then came the venture capitalists, setting up auto loan lending businesses.

The more players in the field, the more they compete for new business. Prospects, or potential borrowers, were given a lot of leeway in securing new car loans. In short time, having a prime grade credit score (over 620) was no longer necessary. Eventually, having a credit score at all was no longer necessary. Subprime lending in the auto industry has sunk to dangerous levels.

The Latest Entry to the Race Soups Things Up for Everyone

As auto loans became a rare diamond in the ruff of a slowly recovering economy, lenders entered the market from outside the traditional banking system. Nonbank lenders like credit unions, or independently funded loan originators, started to issue loans, often with little to no lending standards.

As banks evaded subprime lenders, nonbank lenders came in to fill the gap. They were able to borrow money at 2%, then offer it to borrowers at well over 10% to get a car. This gave the nonbanks every reason to dole out money to subprime borrowers like it was water. A note from UBS put it all into perspective, “Greater regulation of banks coupled with excessive liquidity supplied from monetary policy has triggered an unsustainable surge in nonbank lending as lenders ease underwriting standards to boost market share.”

Nonbank lenders went from obscurity to controlling over 45% of the auto loan market. Subprime lenders now make up over a quarter of all auto loans. Weak borrowers are why default rates are skyrocketing, so much so that a New York Federal Reserve Bank warned that the problem was of “significant concern.”

Crossing the Wrong Line

The danger for subprime excess is twofold.

The first risk is credit quality. If people who cannot afford a loan get financing, eventually they will default. This is basic arithmetic we learned from the mortgage fallout. Without proper due diligence on the borrower, issuing a loan is like throwing money down a black hole.

Today, over 6 million Americans are delinquent on their car loans.

The second risk is fraud. Borrowers are now able to get financing right at the dealership. The loans require little research. Quite often, the borrower doesn’t have to produce a credit score to get a loan. Even if they have a history of defaulting on previous debts, they get financing right away. After all, the people issuing the loan are the ones selling the merchandise. If the loan doesn’t go through, the dealership doesn’t sell the car. What reason do they have to exercise caution or due diligence?

This poses a major risk for fraud.

One example is Santander Bank. They verified income on just 8% of their borrowers, then packaged all the loans into a security they sold to an investor.

According to UBS, as many as one in five auto loans may have occurred as a result of fraud.

This has not been priced into the market, which makes it especially dangerous. Markets price in everything that is known, and expected. The real shocks come when something unexpected suddenly occurs. Even if people doctor the numbers to get the loan, if they don’t have the money to make their next payment, the loan goes to default and their car gets repossessed.

If we don’t have exact figures on the extent of the fraud, we don’t know how bad things can get once people start to default en masse. This is exactly what led to the 2008 meltdown in home loans.

Santander Bank settled with Massachusetts and Delaware for issuing “unfair and unaffordable” loans to the tune of $26 million. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said, “These predatory practices are almost identical to what we saw in the mortgage industry a few years ago.”

According to Experian, almost 15% of all auto loans have been issued to borrowers with credit scores ranging from 300 to 500.

What to Watch For

As the undercurrents intensify, it takes a lot less to topple the ship. As the auto loan bubble expands, it takes much less pressure to pop it. The following are the fundamentals which set the environment for free money. If one of these assumptions were to suddenly change, you could see sudden and violent movements in the value of all auto loans.

Unemployment. Rising unemployment means more people will not be able to make payments on their loans, and default rates will rise. It also means more people won’t be able to take out new loans. This means lower sales for car manufacturers, and lower cash reserves to handle all the loans they underwrote but cannot collect.

Interest Rates. The past 5 years have made the auto industry doubly sensitive to interest rates. 80% of auto sales are made on credit. If rates go up, and the Fed has signaled at least 2 rate hikes in 2017, the terms for auto loans deteriorate and less people take out new loans. Current auto loans pegged to general interest rates will demand higher monthly payments from borrowers, adding to already high loan default rates.

Another big sensitivity to interest rates is duration. The length of the average car loan is longer than it has ever been, 70 months. The longer the loan, the more sensitive it is to interest rates. Even small movements can have huge impacts on credit quality. A couple of rate hikes in this environment can have a greater impact than a big rate increase just 10 years ago.

Another worry is “delinquencies.” Auto loans at least 90 days delinquent rose to 7.5% during the first quarter of 2017. A loan can be delinquent for a number of months before it goes into default. The ballooning number of loans that are late in payment implies a sharp rise in defaults in the coming months. A quarter of banks are forecasting a rise in delinquencies for 2017, an unprecedented event.

Of lesser import are trade issues and commodities. If President Donald Trump implements a 35% tariff on Mexican made goods, prices for cars will rise, requiring car manufacturers to up their prices, and consumers to take out more debt. If Mexico were to retaliate and a trade war ensues, the cost of producing a car can continue to rise, along with the price manufactures will have to charge to maintain profit margins. Oil and gas prices are low. However, if the proxy war between Saudi Arabia, the second largest oil producer, and Iran, the world’s fifth largest producer, were to move from Syria to their own countries, the price can go up very quickly.

Is a Collapse Imminent?

While subprime auto loans amount to over a quarter trillion dollars, the entire auto loan portfolio amounts to over $1.2 trillion. Car loans, unlike mortgages, can be paid off quickly. They are shorter loans. If a borrower defaults, it is easy to repossess the car and sell it.

Interests rates are low, inflation is in check. The economy is still expanding, and unemployment is low. In 2008, the total amount of consumer debt was 100% of household income. Today, it is only 80%. The auto industry is a lot smaller than housing, and most analysts maintain that an implosion of subprime auto loans is not big enough to expand beyond autos. In the US, $1.1tn in car-loan debt is less than 10% of the $14tn in home mortgages.

We may be seeing a slow deflating of the bubble rather than a quick pop. Defaults are rising. Less money is being invested into assets backed by auto loans. The amount of subprime auto loans has also plateaued, and even begun to decline. The money invested in nonbanks is “fickle” money. If things no longer look good, they will quickly move their money elsewhere.

As more and more cars are repossessed, used car lots are filling up. Prices for used cars are falling. 2017 saw a 5% decline in used car prices, the biggest decline ever. Used car dealers who have been in business for over 20 years are closing their doors due to too much inventory. This year, 4 million cars are coming off their lease.

This is having an impact on car sales, which are down 2% for the year.

These indicators show a definite slowdown in the auto sector, but not necessarily a crash. The situation is very serious, but not yet critical.

Echoes of Housing 2008

How does the auto loan market compare with conditions right before the 2008 credit freeze? How close are we to the edge of the cliff?

More than 1 million Americans are delinquent on their car payments. The last time the number was so high was in 2008.

Due to a glut of new cars coming on the market, and a rapid fall in car prices, most leased or credit financed cars are underwater. The loan is higher than the value of the car. Even if the car is repossessed, the borrower will have to make payments on a car they no longer have.

According to Morgan Stanley, the share of auto securities holding a bundle of auto loans with a FICO credit score below 550 has risen from 5.1 percent in 2010 to 32.5 percent today. Credit spreads are 40% higher today than right before the crisis.

Subprime delinquency rates are creeping up while the subprime market is ballooning in size. 3% of auto loans default without a first payment being made. That’s on par with the level in the mortgage market before the financial crisis

Here’s what Morgan Stanley said:

Across prime and subprime ABS, [60-plus-day] delinquencies are currently printing at 0.54% and 4.51%, respectively, with the latter approaching crisis-era peak levels (4.69%). Default rates are also picking up in similar fashion (prime: 1.52%; subprime: 11.96%), printing close to crisis levels.

U.S. vehicle sales have lagged behind 2016 levels every month this year. If that performance continues, this year will mark the first since 2009 that industrywide sales declined.

How to Play It

The obvious choice would be to short subprime auto debt. Based on packaged securities by banks, nonbank entities, and the financing arms of the major automakers, you can find the right securities and sell them short.

A great value play is to find the asset securities you believe will be paid off regardless of the financial environment and buy them at a deep discount. As the full portfolio of loans is paid off in half a decade, you will quickly see a rise in the value of your holdings, and a return of at least your investment. It’s possible to buy debt at $.30 to the dollar, only to see 75% of the money paid off.

The Equity Play

Automakers stand to lose the most from a meltdown in subprime loans.

  1. A huge portion of car loans come from the majors themselves. GM, Ford, and others all have financing arms which originate auto loans to help people buy their cars. If defaults rise, these companies stand to have huge write-offs.
  2. Lease expirations and repossessions create an inventory glut. As more cars return to the lots, prices decline. There is also a less need for new cars to be produced. Major automakers generate less by producing less and making less for each sale on depressed auto prices.
  3. Lending standards for autos will tighten. This will create a long-term ceiling on auto sales by tightening the limits on how many people are eligible for a new car loan.

The fact that 2017 has seen a slowdown in sales, even as the number of units delivered rivals record breaking years of the past means that dealerships are offering big discounts to customers to buy their car. This indicates that the auto industry is “buying” sales for this year at the expense of sales in future years. This implies a cyclical downturn for the auto industry right on the eve of a possible credit implosion.

Shorting the automakers is a practical play. You can short the big ones, like GM (ticker symbol GM), Ford (ticker symbol F), or Fiat Chrysler (ticker FCA). Fiat has more debt than cash on hand. GM also has huge amounts of debt, well over their current cash reserves. Their debt is so big, their cash flow after debt service last year was negative.

Ford has more debt than the size of the economy of Hungary.

You can short any of these, or short all of them. The auto ETF, ticker symbol CARZ, is tied to a basket of the major automakers.

The Great Hedge

Install an Airbag on the Fast and Furious Auto Loan Market

If car values become less than the loans, or interest rates make the monthly payments too prohibitive, borrowers may decide to stop paying. Even if they lose their car, they may decide it’s worth it just not to have to make the next payment.

This can put severe downward pressure on most bundled car loans. A credit crunch will depress all values for asset backed car loans.

Even if auto loans are unsecured, some loans are more reliable than others.

The best solution for investors of securitized debt is a portfolio heavy on cosigned loans. Cosigned loans require a lower interest rate, giving the borrower more reason to keep paying. It also puts and additional borrower on the loan. With cosigning originators like Backed, Inc., the cosigner is alerted the moment a payment is missed, enabling the cosigner to make payments before the loan goes into default.

The collateral of a cosigned loan is not just the car. It’s the relationship between the borrower and someone who put their credit on the line on their behalf. A cosigner can be a father, a brother, a friend, boss, or an army buddy. The borrower has far less reason to destroy a relationship he has his life invested into, than to let the loan go into default.
Using relationships as the ultimate human collateral is the surest investment in a volatile environment. Cosigned loans will have a higher paydown rate than all other types of auto loans. A great play is to invest in cosigned loans at depressed prices, if money leaves the entire auto market and the prices for all loans sell cheaper than a 1983 Chevy.

Author:

Gilad Woltsovitch is the Co-Founder and CEO at Backed Inc., responsible for designing the company’s first-class platform, UX and UI. Before Backed, Gilad co-founded iAlbums, a semantic curation engine for media players in 2010 where he served as the company’s CEO from 2011-2014. In 2013, Gilad also served as the entrepreneur in residence for Cyhawk Ventures and joined the Ethereum project, establishing the Israeli Ethereum meet-up group. Gilad holds a Masters of Art Science and Bachelors in Sonology from the Royal Conservatory of The Netherlands in The Hague, University of Leiden.

Peer-to-Peer Loans: Can Economically Intuitive Factors Improve Ability of Proprietary Algorithms to Predict Defaults?

LendingClub unemployment default rates

As compared to traditional lenders, peer-to-peer platforms (P2P) are supposed to use sophisticated data-intensive proprietary algorithms to assess a borrower’s credit risk. Since an increasing number of loans are now being underwritten by these algorithms, either directly through the platform or via partnerships with traditional banks, investors and regulators now need to understand how the […]

LendingClub unemployment default rates

As compared to traditional lenders, peer-to-peer platforms (P2P) are supposed to use sophisticated data-intensive proprietary algorithms to assess a borrower’s credit risk. Since an increasing number of loans are now being underwritten by these algorithms, either directly through the platform or via partnerships with traditional banks, investors and regulators now need to understand how the algorithms work in practice. In this post, we evaluate one aspect of the performance of these algorithms, namely, whether they make adequate use of predictors that economic theory suggests are drivers of credit risk. Specifically, we focus on unemployment rates in the area where the borrower resides. Using peer-to-peer consumer loans offered by LendingClub, we find that local unemployment rates can significantly improve the predictive power of their algorithm.

Our analysis is based on 600,000+ 36-month maturity loans originated between 2011 and 2015. The number and dollar amounts of loans issued over this period is shown in Figures 1 and 2.

Total number of loans issued between 2011 and 2015.
Total dollar value of loans originated between 2011 and 2015.

To examine whether unemployment can boost LendingClub’s algorithm, we compare the default rates of loans that have similar default risk according to LendingClub but were issued in areas with different unemployment rates. For each year of loan origination, we first categorize a loan according to LendingClub’s assessment of its credit risk. Specifically, we categorize a loan as “low risk”, “moderate risk,” or “high risk” based on its interest rate — which is set by LendingClub’s algorithm. Then, we categorize a loan as being in a low, moderate, or high unemployment area based on the unemployment rate in the zip-code where the borrower resides. Finally, we measure the unemployment rate effect as the difference in default rates for loans in the same risk category but different unemployment rate category.

The default rates for loans in different risk-unemployment categories is shown in Figure 3.

The average percentage of loan defaults in low and high-unemployment areas by three risk categories. Shadowed bars show default rate in low-unemployment areas and solid bars present default rates in high-unemployment area.

This figure plots the average default rates for each risk-unemployment category, averaged across the years of origination. Loans issued to borrowers who live in areas with high unemployment rates default at markedly higher rates. For example, for high-risk loans, the default rate in high unemployment areas is about two percentage points higher in that of low unemployment areas. Furthermore, loans in high unemployment areas default at a higher rate across all years. In Figure 4, we plot the differential in default rates for the high-risk loans for each year of origination.

The difference in loan default rate between high and low-unemployment areas for high risk loans.

As seen, the differential is positive across all years in the sample and is about 1.5% even for the most recent years.
Returns on the loans in the high-unemployment category have also been noticeably lower. In Figure 5, we compare annualized rates of return across loans from the different risk-unemployment categories. For example, for the high-risk loans, the returns differential is 60 basis points.

Annualized returns for loans. Shadowed bars show returns in loans originated in low-unemployment areas and solid bars show returns in loans originated in high-unemployment areas

Using a Cox proportional hazard model, an industry-standard framework for analyzing default risk, we confirmed that the unemployment effect described here is statistically significant.

Our analysis on drivers of credit risk for P2P loans is ongoing, and we will update you with our new findings in future posts.

Authors:

Written by Atay Kizilaslan and Aziz Lookman.