News Comments Today’s main news: Better.com raises $160M. Funding Circle passes $10B in global small business lending. Numbrs Personal Finance achieves unicorn status. Tala raises $110M, expanding into India. LendingKart raises $2.95M. Today’s main analysis: LendingTree Personal Loan Report–July 2019. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Slack’s direct listing and the future of security tokens. Is Funding Circle […]
Better.com, one of the fastest-growing homeownership platforms in the country, today closed its Series C fundraise at $160 million, bringing the company’s total funding to $254 million to date. Activant Capital, Ping An Global Voyager Fund, Ally Financial, Citi, AGNC, Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) and American Express Ventures joined existing shareholders Goldman Sachs, Pine Brook, and Kleiner Perkins in the round.
The new investment round comes amid a period of tremendous growth for the fin-tech disruptor: Better.com has grown 3x year-over-year and is currently funding $375 million in mortgages a month. This puts the company on track to lend over $4 billion in 2019. Better.com also funded $1 billion of loans in Q2 of this year alone, more than in all of 2016 and 2017 combined.
Removing the middleman through security tokenization also means democratizing access to investment opportunities. By breaking up large assets into individual tokens, exclusive investment opportunities that would otherwise be reserved for the super-rich are opened up. Essentially, security tokenization is doing to private investments what peer-to-peer lending has done to private lending by removing the lock-up, liquidity, and the lower minimum investment involved in traditional venture capital and private equity investing.
Elevate Credit (NYSE:ELVT) released its quarterly earnings results on Monday, July 29th. The company reported $0.13 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.07 by $0.06, Briefing.com reports. The business had revenue of $177.76 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $187.48 million. Elevate Credit had a net margin of 2.45% and a return on equity of 19.19%. Elevate Credit’s revenue for the quarter was down 3.6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $0.07 EPS. Elevate Credit updated its FY 2019 guidance to $0.55-0.65 EPS and its FY19 guidance to $0.55-0.65 EPS.
Today, Inc. magazine revealed that Reliant Funding is number 3,838 on its annual Inc. 5000 list, the most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. The list represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the American economy’s most dynamic segment—its independent small businesses. This is Reliant Funding’s seventh consecutive year the Inc. 5000.
A year ago the prevailing view was the era of low rates was over. We find ourselves now testing record low 30-year US Treasury yields, and potential issuance of 50-year and 100-year bonds. Mohammed El-Erian is raising the concern that with the panic headlines we might be talking ourselves into a recession.
Steve Eisman, famed for shorting subprime mortgages, took a direct shot at Zillow’s new business model. We highlight the excerpt of Steve’s comments, particularly as a number of FinTechs are entering the market for intermediating residential homes:
Zillow has one of the most flawed business models I’ve seen in a very, very long time.
The part of it I find the most problematic is what they call, I believe, their iHome business, their internet buying business, where they actually go out and buy homes and flip them. I actually think the company doesn’t understand the real risks of this business, which are massive.
“It’s not only about access, but also the size of some of these transactions. The average consumer can’t buy a $10 million building, however they can take on a $100 share of it.”
What it costs to make money with real estate investing
For example, CrowdStreet requires a minimum investment of $10,000 for a minimum 36 months, but doesn’t charge account fees. Fundrise lets you get started with $500, but charges a fee of 1% per year, which is relatively steep compared to fees for roboadvisors, which tend to be around 0.25% to 0.60%.
Joseph Hogue of My Stock Market Basics examined average returns on real estate crowdfunding platforms: Open investments had a return of around 14.7%, with completed deals averaging 14.6%.
Fund That Flip, an award-winning fintech platform and marketplace lender of residential real estate loans, today announced a raise of $11 million from Princeton, NJ.-based growth equity firm Edison Partners.
After origination, Fund That Flip offers accredited and institutional investors the opportunity to purchase fractional shares of the loan and earn an 8%-9% annualized yield.
3G Capital Advisors, LLC, a boutique real estate advisory firm focused on developing creative capital solutions for its partners, announced today the closing of $179.2 million in permanent financing for Watermark J&L Partners, LLC originated through Greystone and provided by Freddie Mac. The loans will refinance a portfolio of four multifamily communities with a total of 1,188 units in Arkansas, Colorado and Texas.
To take a look at how expensive town life can get, LendingTree, the nation’s largest online loan marketplace, ranked the 50 towns in the United States with the most expensive median home values. Our study also looks at the median income in these towns to determine how attainable homeownership is for the average person living there. What we found: The towns with the most expensive home prices are unaffordable to median income earners who live in those areas.
Vineyard Haven, Mass., Summit Park, Utah, and Breckenridge, Colo., are the three most expensive towns in the country. Each of these towns is known for its proximity to natural features like mountain ranges or the ocean. While high levels of wealth tend to pool in these towns, the majority from these areas make an income well under the national household average.
The majority of the towns featured in this study are unaffordable for the median income earner living in them. Both renting and owning a home are out of reach for median income earners in 42 of the 50 towns looked at in this study. This suggests that many people who work in the towns featured in these studies don’t necessarily live there, and instead commute.
As our study makes clear, living in a small town does not necessarily make the cost of living more affordable. Many people living in the towns featured in our study would have an easier time affording a home in a major metropolitan area than in their current area. That being said, some of these towns are still relatively affordable like Los Alamos, N.M. or Gillette, Wyo.
But that’s also the Apple Card’s biggest hindrance. Sure, having a credit card that lives on your phone in a digital wallet is ideal for convenience and security. Yet it also makes the experience of using the Apple Card more limiting than other options, especially when it comes to paying your balance, managing your card, and the rewards you get.
Silvergate is the leading financial services provider for top Crypto exchange companies such as Xapo, Bitstamp, and Coinbase. The latest report indicates that the bank intends to roll out Crypto lending services.
Three blockbuster deals for financial-technology companies pushed takeover spending to a record $120 billion in the first half of the year as bidders targeted payments firms, according to research from consulting firm Hampleton Partners.
Welcome to Ohio, where the average student debt is $28,947, according to a new study by LendEDU, an online student loans marketplace. Ohio’s average student loan debt is smack dab in the middle of the state-by-state rankings, with average student debt ranging from $19,742 in Utah to $38,776 in Connecticut.
About 58 percent of all students graduating from a four-year college or university in Ohio and the U.S. received a student loan to finance their education.
Capital Trading Group, LP (“CTG”), an investment firm specializing in execution and account management for commodity trading advisors, has announced the release of its new Managed Futures Podcast hosted by firm principal and alternative investments specialist, Nell Sloane.
Funding Circle, the leading small business loans platform in the UK, US, Germany and the Netherlands, today announced that investors have lent more than $10 billion to small businesses globally through its platform. Achieving this milestone in less than a decade, Funding Circle has proven that its model has become the preferred option for small business funding that fuels economic growth — with every $1 lent to a small business through Funding Circle in 2018 contributing $2 to GDP, according to Oxford Economics.
The image below, which you can click on for greater detail, shows that at June 2019 Funding Circle Holdings had debt of UK£146.8m, up from none in one year. But it also has UK£449.9m in cash to offset that, meaning it has UK£303.1m net cash.
Zooming in on the latest balance sheet data, we can see that Funding Circle Holdings had liabilities of UK£180.2m due within 12 months and liabilities of UK£19.3m due beyond that. On the other hand, it had cash of UK£449.9m and UK£14.9m worth of receivables due within a year. So it actually has UK£265.3m more liquid assets than total liabilities.
UK-based private asset infrastructure service, Delio, has secured £3.3 million in an equity investment round led by Maven Capital Partners, which will purport the company into markets across Asia, the Middle East and North America.
If an industry as new as P2P can have legacy issues, there’s clearly a ‘second move advantage’ for new potential entrants who have an opportunity to build systems and processes ready for the new Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) rules:
SMCR – the new governance rules are not just about assigning responsibility to individuals.
Three lines of defence – will you need a dedicated compliance function? risk? internal audit?
Recovery and resolution plans – we’re in discussions with a number of potential new entrants who are at the very early stages of their IT planning.
Appropriateness tests – whilst incumbent firms are progressing with their plans to comply with the requirements, it is far easier to build the process from scratch – and price it in to the strategy.
Existing players continue to hit new milestones (such as Funding Circle’s $10bn announced this month), and secure increased funding.
In the UK, the new revenue potential generated through open banking-enabled small- and medium-sized business and retail customer propositions was £500 million ($700 million) in 2018, per PwC — and Business Insider Intelligence expects that to grow at a 25% compound annual growth rate to reach £1.9 billion ($2 billion) by 2024.
Numbrs Personal Finance raised $40 million to bring the total capital invested to almost $200 million, Chief Executive Officer Martin Saidler said in an interview. Numbrs offers an app that enables users to manage their existing bank accounts in one place and to buy financial products.
Brocc, a Swedish company specialized in P2P Consumer Lending, has raised funding from Goldman Sachs Private Capital (“Goldman Sachs”). Brocc intends to use this financing to issue consumer loans, allowing consumers to consolidate existing debts at lower rates.
To help over three billion underbanked adults have a chance at a loan, Tala has raised $110 million in a Series D round led by RPS.
The company currently has 500 employees across locations in Southern California, Kenya, Mexico, the Philippines, and India. The new money will be used to expand its India presence, as well offer new services. To date, Tala has raised $219.4 million in funding from investors like Revolution, Institutional Venture Partners, and PayPal Ventures.
Australasia’s largest marketplace lender is meeting a rapid pace of growth by ushering financial services leader David Stevens into the business from September 1, 2019. Stevens steps into the CEO role in early 2020, a transition that will free Harmoney’s founder and current CEO Neil Roberts to focus on strategy and product as the platform continues to innovate and lead across both markets.
Indian startup Lendingkart announced that it has raised $2.95 million in new funding from Sistema Asia Fund.
The investment comes days after the company raised $30 million in a Series D financing round led by existing investors including Fullerton Financial Holdings, Bertelsmann India Investments and India Quotient. The total funds raised by LendkingKart is now at $146 million.
More than 500 Lakhs MSMEs exist currently and over the last 5 decades in India. This SME sector has grown dynamically contributing 45 percent of India’s GDP according to ‘Micro Merchant Market Sizing and Profiling Report’ which also shows it provides employment to around 46 crores people in India and is growing at a fast rate of 11.5 percent every year.
There are many aspects of the business that needs to be handled by a small business owner when he runs a business. As a small business owner, he doesn’t have resources to waste. But he needs to the optimal performance of every resource/department, so that cost of production is kept at a minimal level. And the profits are also enhanced. But when an individual multi-tasks and handles various functions all by himself, there are chances that some aspects of the business may miss his attention.
A recent study by the Singapore Fintech Association (SFA) and PwC said that 94% of fintech companies are eyeing workforce expansions over the next 12 months, with 28% expecting to double their employee numbers in the next three years.
Notable Singaporean fintech firms include digital insurer Singapore Life, remittance company InstaRem, and peer-to-peer lending platform Validus. The latter two companies are backed by Vertex Ventures, a venture capital firm under Temasek Holdings, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund.
The Israeli Capital Market Authority is seeking to make changes to its licensing regime in order to encourage competition and grow the financial technology (fintech) industry in the country. According to a report by local daily Calcalist, the regulator has established dedicated teams that will specialize in blockchain and other emerging financial technology.
With billions of dollars in monthly origination and listed players like Lending Club, alternative lending is now mainstream in the United States. Experian’s Clarity Services, a specialist in alternative financial services data and solutions, has released a report titled Alternative Financial Services Lending Trends. It includes deep insights into the online consumer lending industry and […]
With billions of dollars in monthly origination and listed players like Lending Club, alternative lending is now mainstream in the United States. Experian’s Clarity Services, a specialist in alternative financial services data and solutions, has released a report titled Alternative Financial Services Lending Trends. It includes deep insights into the online consumer lending industry and leverages data points of over 350 million consumer loan applications and 25 million loans.
The report threw a lot of expected statistics and some surprises that should help online lenders pivot to more fertile territory.
Understanding the Channels
Alternative financial services can be obtained from both online and offline platforms. Though online platforms are mushrooming, brick and mortar still remains dominant in the consumer lending industry.
Types of loans
The types of loans in the report are broadly classified in two categories-
Installment loans – Loans repaid in a series of regular payments (months or years) are known as installment loans.
Single pay – Single pay loans are repaid in a single payment (Lump sum) and usually have a shorter tenure (days/weeks).
Market Trends- Product Mix
Everybody is aware of the fact that online lending has grown, but the growth numbers presented by Clarity are staggering. Following are the charts that capture the growth pattern of online installments and online single pay loans in regards to funded loan volume and the number of funded loans from 2014 to 2018.
The online installment loans marked a growth of approximately 643% in 2018 starting from 2014 whereas the single pay loans’ market doubled in four years.
The number of loans analysis threw similar growth numbers as the loan volume analytics.
Data suggests that online installments loans are the most popular choice in the alternative lending space. The number of unique borrowers has increased by 30% for the past three years.
Loan amount –Almost 60% of loans fell between the $500 to $2000 range in 2018, rising from 43% of all loans in 2014. Only 15% of the funded loans were under $500 in 2018. Therefore the average loan amount is increasing on a year-on-year basis.
Loan Tenure – Maximum loans (over 62%) had a repayment period of over 7 months in 2018 whereas only 9% online installment loans have a payment period of fewer than three months.
Scheduled monthly payment amount – The monthly payment amounts have declined over time. Around 34% of monthly repayments were less than $200 in 2018. This number is an increase from 17% in 2015.
Single Pay Loans
Loan Amount – Loans above $500 grew from 23% to 28% between 2014 and 2018. The overall trend is towards an increasing loan amount.
A credit profiles analysis indicates that online lending is finding favor among not only the subprime category but also the prime and near-prime, which are aggressively adopting alternative financing options. Clarity reports that 29% of consumers with an alternative credit inquiry fell into the prime or near-prime categories in 2018 compared to 21% in 2017.
Age – The online installment borrowers were older than the online single pay borrowers whereas the age of installment and single pay loans’ borrowers remains the same in the case of the storefront channel.
Income trend – The online borrower reported a higher income as compared to one borrowing through a storefront.
In the online segment, income values tend to be higher for Installment loans than single pay loans.
– Forty-five per cent of online installment borrowers reported an annual income over $40,000, while 37% of single pay borrowers reported incomes in this range.
– Conversely, 15% of single pay borrowers reported an income of less than $20,000, as opposed to only 8% of installment borrowers.
Hence consumers falling under the category of online installment loans are likely to have a higher income as compared to other sub-groups.
Consumer Choice – Consumers that prefer privacy opted for online lending whereas the consumers that were looking out for a reliable personalized experience went for the storefront option.
Location – California and Texas are the obvious leaders due to their size. Ohio is steady at third place for the last 3 years with Illinois at the 8th position.
Clarity’s alternative credit loan data provides key learning points for all in the alternative lending industry.
The Online Installment Loan market is growing and the demographics support further growth.
The online installment loans are being increasingly characterized by larger loan amounts, longer payment terms, and smaller scheduled payment amounts.
There are early signs of deterioration in credit performance.
Over half of the online borrowers in 2018 were new to the alternative lending space.
Applicants new to the alternative lending space in 2018 have higher credit scores than those previously seen. However, 2017 borrowers who migrated to traditional lending in 2018 also had higher credit scores than those who stayed with alternative financial services.
California, Texas, and Ohio continue as the top three states for online lending in number of loans, while the largest growth in borrowers is in the middle states like Nebraska and Kentucky.
Insight: Online Lenders will be well served to identify patterns like an increase in loan amount and loan tenure and the rise of Middle America looking for hassle-free lending options.
LendingClub shared a few stats on borrowers who choose this method:
Save an average of nearly $900 over the course of their loan
Cut their credit card interest rate nearly in half
Increase their credit score in just three months
The product has been tested for over a year and LendingClub is working with a partner network of over 1,700 credit card, bank and loan companies to make the process seamless. What’s interesting is borrowers can add up to 12 creditors per loan which is an important feature since borrowers often hold balances across many cards.
US Core CPI rose by 2% YoY in May, just at the Fed’s target rate but below economists’ expectations. Consistently low inflation is boosting calls for a rate cut next week. The market is pricing in a 24% probability of a rate cut next week and a 76% probability of a rate cut in September.
Algorithmic fintech lending is less discriminatory against minorities than traditional loan officers, according to a recent study of US mortgages. The findings signal hope that technology could provide financing that’s more fair, but the research also underscores how widespread discrimination remains.
The US housing market has long been prejudiced against minorities. When Latino and Africa-American borrowers are looking to buy a home, they usually end up paying 7.9 basis points (0.079 percentage points) more than whites to take out the mortgage, and 3.6 basis points more when they refinance the debt, according to a National Bureau of Economic Researchworking paper published this month.
When Clear Point Gardens, a 604-unit apartment complex in Columbus, Ohio, recently changed hands, it produced a nearly 43% gain in 16 months, an amazing windfall for investors in the deal.
All 68 of them.
The sale of Clear Point, financed with help from investors on CrowdStreet’s online platform, is the latest example of how online syndication is revolutionizing the way deals are financed in the $6 trillion commercial real estate market.
One of the world’s largest banks is about to join the digital mortgage revolution, as HSBC Bank USA, the U.S. arm of HSBC Group, announced that it is partnering with Roostify to launch a digital mortgage platform.
The Los Angeles-based company, backed by investors including Mark Cuban, the DJ Diplo, and hedge fund Mark 2 Capital, said on Tuesday it’s rolling out a new checking account product that reports all rent payments to credit agencies. The new feature, added to Dave’s original app, helps customers to build their credit. Dave plans to begin reporting utility payments later this summer.
With Marketrac Platinum, lenders and title companies can utilize the interactive platform to identify top performing real estate agents and brokerage firms to prioritize professional relationships based on market trends.
Sprout Mortgage, the innovative force in Non-QM lending, today announced the launch of its ACORN automated underwriting system (AUS) as part of an ongoing effort to deliver value-added services to its third-party origination clients.
Finicity announced today an integration with LendingQB. LendingQB’s platform now uses Finicity’s digital Verification of Assets (VoA) solution to allow lenders to free up resources, increase processing speed and reduce mortgage fraud while providing borrowers with a more efficient and positive experience.
Last week, three Capital One cardholders filed a putative class action in the Eastern District of New York, Cohen v. Capital One Funding, LLC,1 alleging that the rates of interest they paid to a securitization trust unlawfully exceed the sixteen percent threshold in New York’s usury statutes. The Plaintiffs seek to recoup the allegedly excessive interest payments and an injunction to cap the interest rates going forward.
Fundbox Tapped By Top B2B E-Commerce Software Provider OroCommerce to Power Net Terms (Fundbox Email), Rated: A
Cross River Bank, a Teaneck, N.J.-based bank that focuses most of its energy on supporting fintechs, is hiring several people from the student loan refinancing company Laurel Road to its capital markets team.
Cross River’s fintech partners include Affirm, Circle, Best Egg, Coinbase, Rocket Loans, Stripe, Upstart and Transferwise.
Optimisation platform Optimizely has closed US$105 million in financing, including US$50 million in Series D funding. The funding, led by Goldman Sachs Private Capital Investing, also included Accenture Ventures.
Quicken Loans Mortgage Services (QLMS), the second largest mortgage lender serving the needs of brokers, regional banks and credit unions, today announced that Austin Niemiec has been named Executive Vice President.
Self Lender is pleased to announce its inclusion in the inaugural list of winners of the Inclusive Fintech 50. The Inclusive Fintech 50 is a competition launched in February to help early-stage fintech companies attract capital and resources to benefit the world’s 3 billion financially underserved people. The competition was organized by MetLife Foundation and Visa Inc., with global nonprofit Accion and World Bank Group member IFC.
The early days of a company’s life on the stock market tends to set the tone for what follows. The grief around Funding Circle’s listing began even earlier and has continued to plague it.
Days before trading in shares of the specialist online lender began at the end of September, Funding Circle and its bankers were gunning for a valuation of up to £1.75 billion, only to be forced to narrow the expected range shortly before it came to market, and then to price the shares at the lower level of 440p apiece.
Three Biggest Overperformers And One Underperformer In Peer-To-Peer Lending (4th Way Email), Rated: AAA
Over £300 million lent.
Maximum loan size to property valuation (LTV) 80% – better than all the major high-street banks.
Average LTV: 72% – highly suitable for these kinds of mortgages.
Average rent: 190% of the monthly mortgage payment.
Over 90% of mortgages are to experienced and professional landlords.
Reserve fund: 0.6% of outstanding mortgages – modest but useful.
Type of lending: residential BTL.
Typical risk of this type of bank lending: very low.
P2P bad debts: none.
Interest rate: 3.54% after expected bad debts.
£65 million lent.
Maximum loan size to property valuation (LTV) 75% and investors can choose to limit to 50% – lower than all high-street banks.
Average LTV 60% – highly suitable for these kinds of mortgages and loans.
Minimum rent on rental properties usually 110% of the monthly mortgage payment.
Type of lending: residential and commercial rented properties up to five years; some development lending; a mix of senior and junior debt (junior means other lenders get repaid first if the borrower’s property has to be forcibly sold to repay the loans).
Typical risk of this type of bank lending: low to moderate for shorter-term rental properties; moderate to high for developments and junior debt.
P2P bad debts: none.
Interest rate: 7.32% to 9.43% after expected bad debts (7.32%-12.13% before bad debts).
£35 million lent.
Maximum loan size to property valuation (LTV) 70% and investors can choose to limit to 50% – lower than all high-street banks.
Average LTV 61% (against starting value of property) – very low for these kinds of loans.
Type of lending: property development lending.
Typical risk of this type of bank lending: moderate to high.
P2P bad debts: none.
Interest rate: 8% after expected bad debts (7.32%-12.13% before bad debts).
Rebuildingsociety – the Underperformer
£15 million lent.
Type of lending: unsecured small business lending to sub-prime.
Typical risk of this type of bank lending: moderate to high.
P2P bad debts: 17% of total lent in pounds
Interest rates: estimate an average 5% after heavy losses.
One-fifth of UK investors are increasing their exposure to debt amid low interest rates and Brexit uncertainty, according to research from FJP Investment, which found this number climbs to 34% when 18-to-35 year-olds are considered in isolation.
However, the independent survey – which comprises 950 investors – discovered 44% of participants are more focused on short-term debt investments over this financial year due to both political and economic uncertainty; this figure rose to 68% among under 35s.
London-based java developers lead the pack, commanding starting salaries of up to £60,000, followed by software developers in the capital on up to £55,000.
Intense competition between UK-based fintechs – lead by Revolut, TransferWise, OakNorth and Funding Circle – and high street banks attempting to upgrade their services has led to bidding wars in order to gain top level IT professionals, said the report called The UK Fintech Revolution.
A number of incumbent banks are known to be developing new digital-first products in a bid to keep the new wave of challenger banks at bay and now it appears that the latest to make that move is J.P. Morgan.
According to sources, the investment bank has begun recruiting for a secretive skunkworks project within London’s booming fintech industry. Very few details are known about what exactly J.P. Morgan plans to build, although TechCrunch understands the bank is busy hiring high level developers with full-stack and cloud-based dev skills for the new project, along with other personnel.
Over 60% of YRD’s FY 2018 revenues stem from “haircut loans” (P2P service fees charged to borrowers) that are prohibited by Chinese regulation. Recent developments in the P2P lending sector with regards to questionable lending practices, unethical collections, and usury are not being disclosed in YRD’s SEC filings, leaving U.S., Canadian, and international investors completely in the dark.
The Chinese P2P Lending Market
Unlike in developed countries, there are no administrative bodies (such as the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission) which regulate peer to peer lending exchanges in China. Instead, such services are regulated by self-organized internet associations and retail banks. The lack of meaningful oversight has caused the Chinese P2P lending market to bubble into $178.9 Billion in FY2018, almost 22 times the size of the P2P lending market in the United States and 447 times that of Japan’s.
A slew of Chinese fintech and peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms are looking to more lenient markets in Southeast Asia (SEA), following a prolonged industry crackdown in China that has left the sector reeling.
Over the past year, China’s regulatory clampdown on risky financial practices has wiped out more than half of the country’s P2P lending platforms. As of May, just 900 survived, down from almost 1,900 recorded a year ago.
In early June, Indian daily newspaper the Economic Times reported that Chinese fintech companies, including WeShare, 9F Group, and CashBUS, are exploring investment opportunities in the country’s burgeoning online lending sector, particularly in the P2P lending space.
When Stockholm studio Snask was approached by Klarna, one of Europe’s biggest banks, to help communicate how its revolutionary payment solutions make life easier for its customers, it set out to create seven “never-seen-before” worlds.
You might wonder why that is relevant as most readers are unlikely to be LHV Bank customers. LHV Bank is a bank in Estonia.
I think it is highly interesting, as it is – to my knowledge – the first time a bank has integrated p2p lending investments in its customer interface. So the LHV bank customers, not only see their accounts and stock depots, but also their Estateguru investments conveniently listed in their online bank dashboard. Much has been talked about what role could banks have in p2p lending (mere transaction banks? providing credit lines?) and also there is a lot of speculation if PSD2 (open banking) will help fintechs to seize the access to the customer from banks because they could control the user interface in the future. But this is actually a first step a bank takes in the opposite direction. By aggregating “non-bank” information inside the dashboard, they aim to make the banking interface more useful for the customers.
Klarna is the latest Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) app to sweep through the world. Originating in Sweden, the BNPL platform allows users to purchase goods and schedule repayments in timeslots. At this point in time, Klarna is the first and only BNPL platform that’s available in the U.S. It’s also available in the UK, Denmark, Norway, Belgium and many other European countries.
In April 2019, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) released its third report on marketplace lending, the Survey of marketplace lending providers: 2017–18. The report paints a clear picture of a once-nascent industry enjoying growth with new borrowing increasing by nearly 45% in the 2017-18 financial year. The report notes that this growth is moderating compared to the near doubling in funds borrowed the previous year (from $156 million to $300 million). By contrast, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reports that overall personal lending has declined by an astonishing 24% in the 12 months to March 2019.
The ASIC report found that the average interest rate charged for marketplace loans entered into during the 2017–18 financial year was 11.5%, up from 10.5% in the 2016–17 financial year.
Vinay Mathews, Founder and COO, Faircent and Sanjay Gakhar, Vice President, MCX talks about the benefits of investing via the P2P platform and Commodities, ET Wealth investment Workshop in Delhi Listen in!
Small companies in Asia-Pacific are tapping new funding sources, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) study commissioned by Mastercard, with peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms in Indonesia reportedly posting USD1.4bn worth of transactions in 2018, an increase from USD20m in 2016.
News Comments Today’s main news: Funding Circle sets new high on loans under management. SoFi partners with Lemonade, Root. Salary Finance hires SoFi co-founder, raises $32.8M. Dianrong to raise $100M. Klarna may be headed to the stock market. Linked Finance sees record quarter. Today’s main analysis: European online alternative finance grows 36%. (A MUST-READ REPORT […]
LendIt Fintech USA 2019 slide presentations. Everyone should be able to find something of interest here. Start with the keynote speaker addresses: Mike Cagney of Figure, Renaud Laplanche of Upgrade, and Rob Frohwein of Kabbage.
Groundfloor doubles year-over-year revenue. Groundfloor is one of the few opportunities for non-accredited investors. They are looking better every day. Disclosure: I own stock in and have an account with Groundfloor.
SoFi has announced two new partnerships in the insurance space. The partnerships expand SoFi’s portfolio of offerings to include homeowners’ and renters’ insurance through Lemonade and auto insurance through Root.
As the world continues to wait for the US SEC’s decision on the Bitcoin ETF applications that are still being processed months after a decision was expected, some investors may find themselves seeking alternative methods of entering into the Bitcoin market without actually having to do the dirty deed of investing in Bitcoin itself.
Crypto lending serviceshave recently reported record profits; crypto futures exchanges are also reporting higher-than-ever trading volumes.
Young adults are getting married later than previous generations. In 1980, the median age for men and women at their first marriage was 24.7 and 22, respectively. In 2018, the ages increased to 29.8 and 27.8, for men and women, respectively.
Millennials make up the largest share of homebuyers at 37%, according to a report from the National Association of Realtors.
Nearly a quarter (24%) of millennial first-time homebuyers want to own a home before getting married.
On the flip side, this means just over 3 in 4 millennial buyers (76%) want a marriage before a mortgage. Additionally, 27% of millennial buyers are postponing parenthood until they’ve achieved homeownership. Among homebuyers of all ages, nearly 2 in 5 are waiting to get a pet until after purchasing a house.
More than a quarter (26%) of first-time buyers have poor credit.
Just 15% of first-time buyers have a score of 740 or higher. Nearly 2 in 5 (38%) aren’t satisfied with their credit score, yet more than a quarter of those who are dissatisfied haven’t taken steps to improve their score. By contrast, more than 70% of repeat homebuyers are satisfied with their credit score.
GROUNDFLOOR, an investing and lending platform that allows anyone to invest fractionally in real estate, is today announcing its Q1 results and momentum. Despite the government shutdown of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for 35 days, GROUNDFLOOR still experienced 123% percent non-GAAP Q1 revenue growth compared to the prior year Q1.
Additional Q1 momentum for GROUNDFLOOR includes:
Achieving a 166% increase in unit volume for loans closed in Q1 ’19 vs. Q1 ’18
More than doubling loan application volume for Q1 ’19 vs. Q1 ’18 (121% increase)
Selling more than $14.5M in real estate investments to retail investors on the platform
Surpassing more than 60,000 registered users
Eclipsing $100MM in loans to real estate developers to-date in more than two dozen states
Expanding product offerings, such as new construction loans and a fixed annualized notes product returning 5 percent on a 90-day term
Launching a second online public offering to purchase stock in GROUNDFLOOR directly
A San Francisco-based startup called Returnly is seeking to solve at least a portion of the headache—namely, the payment delay—by issuing instant store credit when you decide you don’t want an item. The company says that by assessing a shopper’s risk, it can offer store credit to 85% of customers on the spot, without first requiring that the item has been received or even put in the mail.
Returnly announced on Wednesday that it has raised $19 million in a Series B funding round, led by venture capital firm Craft Ventures and with participation from Max Levchin, the PayPal cofounder who currently runs Affirm.
Last year 32% of credit-seeking small businesses applied to an online lender, up from 19% in 2016, according to the survey, which was released Tuesday. Over the same period, large banks, small banks and credit unions all saw either steady application rates or a slight decline in interest from those same small businesses, which typically had fewer than 10 employees.
Mastercard (NYSE: MA) today announced it has acquired Vyze, a technology platform that delivers more choice – and purchasing power – to people who want their point-of-sale payment options to match the flexibility and convenience of today’s shopping experiences.
Increasingly, consumers are seeking alternative financing options,1 leaving merchants and financial institutions with a need to deliver these services at the point of sale. In the U.S. alone, these solutions represent a more than $1.8 trillion opportunity, according to Accenture.
Earnest today announced that it’s modernizing student loans with a new in-school student lending offering.
Built based on feedback from students and people with student debt, an Earnest student loan incorporates four unique differentiators:
Innovative eligibility check – A quick two-minute eligibility check requires only basic personal information, school details, and an estimated credit score.
Cosigner invite – Earnest’s application makes it simple and easy to invite a cosigner to the process.
Checkout– Clients can customize their loan according to their individual financial needs with easy-to-understand terms and a clear understanding of their monthly payments after graduation.
9-Month grace period – Earnest found through talking with recent graduates that they wanted the flexibility of a longer grace period after graduation to get settled. Earnest offers a 9-month grace period after graduation compared to the 6-month industry standard.
In the “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” world of bank-fintech relations these days, TD Bank’s recent agreement with the online lender Avant fits right in.
Avant is expanding its efforts to license technology to traditional banks, and TD Bank in March announced it will use the Chicago company’s technology platform, called Amount, to power the bank’s unsecured loan product, TD Fit Loan. HSBC, Regions Banks and Banco Popular also use Amount.
Over the past decade, the digital-lending industry has evolved to become more sophisticated. For example, companies are integrating big data and proprietary algorithms to analyze a borrower’s credit risk score in a matter of seconds, according to Juniper Research.
According to the firm, MPLs are projected to generate US$588 billion in loan origination value annually by 2023. This is estimated to account for 41 percent of SME funding around the world.
The research firm further reports that revenue from MPLs are predicted to grow at a 48 percent CAGR. This brings MPL platform revenue to US$137 billion annually by 2023, a 400 percent return from the estimated US$30 billion in revenue in 2019.
The odds of winning the $654 million Mega Million prize last year were put at one in 302 million, while the $345 million Powerball offered one chance in 292 million. But those astronomical odds apparently haven’t deterred the many Americans who are banking on using a lottery jackpot for their retirement nest egg.
Thirty-one percent of Americans don’t invest because they think it’s risky, but 39 percent, including 59 percent of millennials, feel it’s reasonable to think of the lottery jackpot as a potential means of retirement, according to the survey.
Miillennial men in particular (66 percent) believe the lottery is a reasonable retirement plan, compared to 58 percent of millennial women. However, if they did win the lottery, more millennial men (61 percent) than women (42 percent ) would save or invest the entire amount.
Documents filed in a New York Supreme Court case by the receiver managing Direct Lending Investments (DLI), revealed that DLI had more than 950 investors worldwide with collective investments on the books totaling over $780 million.
A loose-knit group of Virginians, stung by triple-digit interest rates on payday and other loans, is trying to do what the General Assembly won’t — make sure all lenders, including online ones, follow Virginia laws.
The latest lawsuit, filed last week, alleges that four web sites — Golden Valley Lending, Silver Cloud Financial, Mountain Summit Financial and Majestic Lake Financial — set up in the name of the Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake tribe in northern California were actually operated by non-tribal members in a Kansas City suburb, including the son of a payday loan executive convicted of fraud and racketeering.
Lendio has announced the opening of a new Lendio franchise in Phoenix. Through the Lendio Franchising program, Sam Foreman will help local businesses apply for loans, review their options and secure funding, easing the financial hurdles for area small business owners.
Ocrolus today announced a partnership with BlueVine. BlueVine leverages Ocrolus technology to accelerate growth and scale operations efficiently, creating a faster and more seamless experience for its customers.
Shanghai-based peer-to-peer lending platform Dianrong is looking to raise $100 million in fresh funding, according to a Financial Times report, a move that should give it enough buffer to meet China’s strict capital requirement for P2P players.
The GIC-backed firm has not made any official statement about its fundraising plan but analysts said the move is part of the firm’s efforts to meet Beijing’s proposed Rm500 million ($74.5 million) capital requirement for P2P operators nationwide.
It will not be soon for China’s commercial banks, consumer finance service firms and other institutions to see a national regulation governing internet-based lending activities, despite recent progress on specific rules for online peer-to-peer lending and microloans, Caixin learned.
Swedish tech unicorn Klarna is nearing the point where it could seek a stock market listing, but it’s unlikely to be this year, the CEO and co-founder of the fast-growing online payments services firm said.
The Stockholm-based fashion house Acne Studios has expanded their existing European partnership with Klarna. Showing at Paris Fashion Week, Acne Studios encompasses women’s and men’s ready-to-wear, shoes, accessories and denim, but also moves across the borders of fashion, art and design. With Klarna now available in Acne Studios’ online store, shoppers in the U.S. can choose to checkout with four equal payments – with no interest or fees.
The first quarter of 2019 saw the platform provide more than €11.3 million in loans to Irish SMEs, an increase of 32% over the same period last year.
Since its establishment in 2013, Linked Finance has helped provide more than 2,000 loans and €92 million in funding to businesses across Ireland. Lenders who have supported SMEs through the platform have earned more than €7.1 million in interest and received more than €50.4 million in repaid principal since the business launched in 2013.
Linked Finance issued its largest loans ever in the quarter with a number of €300,000 loans provided. The average loan increased to €70,000.
According to new research commissioned by SME lender OnDeck, Australia’s small to medium enterprises (SMEs) are bracing for “a double whammy” of disruption from the back-to-back Easter/Anzac Day public holidays.
Over one in four (27 per cent) of SMEs expect the Easter/Anzac Day period to disrupt normal trading.
In the wake of the Royal Commission we’re seeing a tightening of finance for SMEs with even long time customers being turned away for loans. For years, banks have taken too long and required too much, like property collateral, from SMEs. Innovations like marketplace lending are giving SMEs transparent and prompt access to.capital when they need it.
Stephen Barnes, Principal at Byronvale Advisors Pty Ltd
I would say that the term ‘redundant’ may not be so appropriate but certainly through a number of factors the ‘Big 4’ may be less able to meet the needs or timeliness requirements of small business. A large number of small business owners need to use personal assets, usually the family home, as security for loans.
A little more than a year after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) came out with guidelines for peer-to-peer (P2P) lending companies to convert into non-banking finance companies (NBFCs), micro and small enterprises (SME) lending has turned out to be the focus area for these companies.
However, the current regulation does not allow a single lender to lend more than Rs 10 lakh across P2P platforms at a time. This is hampering growth prospects, say P2P players. The association of P2P lenders has sought relaxation in the norm, and requested the RBI to raise the limit to Rs one crore, according to sources in the industry.
Fintech startups have started offering a broader set of banking services beyond payments and lending, pointing to a deep integration with lenders that has the potential to change the way customers access banking products.
South Korean Financial Services Commission (FSC) has identified three sectors — payments, data, and lending — to protect consumers, foster fintech innovation, and ultimately remove uncertainties that may restrict investments into Korea.
Legal Framework Around Marketplace Lending
South Korea is a country that has gone through two economic crises which has made banks extremely conservative especially in terms of lending. As such, 40% of the population cannot receive loans from tier one banks and must resort to secondary markets such as savings banks with extremely high interest rates above 20% and shady underground loan sharks.
This paper provides case studies and market analysis from the Arab Middle East and Africa as examples of fast-growing economies, open to best-in-class solutions, with both wealthy and underbanked populations. Key go-to-market findings serve to inform fintech firms, investors and others about participating in the region.
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 […]
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:
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.
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.
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.
In early October, TIME Magazine released its inaugural list of the top 50 Genius Companies, and two online lending companies, CommonBond and Oportun were included. The magazine asked its global network of editors and correspondents to nominate companies that are inventing the future. They then evaluated the candidates by such factors as originality, influence, success, […]
In early October, TIME Magazine released its inaugural list of the top 50 Genius Companies, and two online lending companies, CommonBond and Oportun were included. The magazine asked its global network of editors and correspondents to nominate companies that are inventing the future. They then evaluated the candidates by such factors as originality, influence, success, and ambition.
What they were looking for
A video titled How We Chose the 50 Most Genius Companies of 2018 includes snippets of interviews from founders and CEOs whose companies made the list. Viewing these gives us more insight into what the magazine saw as worthy of “genius” thought. Bob Igor, CEO of Walt Disney, talks about having “constant curiosity, constant desire for more knowledge about what is new.” Luis von Ahn, CEO of Duolingo, whose company’s goal is to give “equal access to education to everybody,” reminds us that it’s “OK to fail.” Anne Wojcicki, co-founder and CEO of 23andMe, says that “it’s not that taking risks is essential, it’s that being open-minded to a different way of looking at a problem is essential.” She adds: “Risk…is essential to creating a new path and making change.”
These are all revelations that the 50 companies represented have made, whether they are time-tested and proven companies or promising start-ups.
Notables on the list
The list has a good mix of both types of companies, those which are proven winners and those that are trying to make their mark by helping to better the world. Long proven household names like Apple, Disney, and Lockheed Martin are joined by newer companies that now define so much of our world, like Amazon, Netflix, Spotify, and Pinterest, and those who look to shape the future more differently than the past, like SpaceX, Slack, and Lishtot.
And then there are the two online lending standouts–Oportun and CommonBond.
Oportun and CommonBond are moving to make money more easily accessible for sectors of the population that need it. Oportun is working to make loans available to higher risk borrowers than those that have access to more traditional means of lending while CommonBond is looking to transform access to student loans.
Oportun is a Menlo Park California company that provides emergency loans for low-income consumers who can’t get a loan from a traditional bank and who don’t want to get into the vicious cycle of high fees and triple-digit interest rates of payday lenders.
Oportun began with a focus on serving the Latino community but has expanded to open borrowing to the estimated 45 million Americans who have little or no credit history. In lieu of credit scores, Oportun relies on other data to assess applicants, such as the length of time that a person has had the same job or address.
CEO Raul Vazquez says that Oportun is “committed to building a sustainable business that helps people shut out of the financial mainstream.”
Proven Track Record
To this point, the company has proven it can make a profit while providing $5.4 billion worth of loans to people who didn’t meet banks’ criteria. In so doing, the Oportun team has helped some 600,000 customers establish credit scores and open themselves to future borrowing by reporting successful payments to credit bureaus.
A CDFI (Community Development Financial Institution), Oportun issued its first securitization in June 2013, and it announced its twelfth securitization last week, issuing $275 million of three-year asset-backed bonds secured by a pool of its investment loans. Morgan Stanley and Co. LLC served as lead book-running manager, and Goldman Sachs and Co. LLC and Jefferies LLC were joint book-runners.
As of now, the company has loans available at retail locations in nine states: Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas, and Utah. Online loans are also available in Idaho, Missouri, and Wisconsin.
Rates of Service
The company’s interest rates average about 35 percent, a reasonable rate for high-risk borrowers.
The Economist, Consumer Reports, and The Wall Street Journal are among the publications that have reviewed the company favorably. Oportun was even named one of the three finalists in The Wall Street Journal’s 2018 Financial Inclusion Challenge.
The team heading up the company has many notables, including Vazquez, who is the former CEO of Walmart.com. Chief Credit Officer, Patrick Kirscht, previously served as Senior VP of Risk Management for HSBC Card Services Inc., and Johnathon Coblentz, who serves as CFO and CAO, is the former CFO and Treasurer of MRU Holdings Inc. and was Vice-President of Fortress Investment Group LLC.
With the rising price of college tuition and the more than $1.5 trillion in active student loans in the United States today—more than car loans and credit card debt—the market is ripe for new players in the scholastic financial space. CommonBond has been working to put a new face on student loan refinancing since 2011.
By staying small and using technology to keep costs down, CommonBond seeks to offer borrowers refinancing rates lower than those of the federal government and private banks. The firm estimates that it saves borrowers on average $24,000 over the life of their loans.
CommonBond offers three types of loans (Undergrad, Graduate, and MBA) and repackages and refinances existing loans at lower rates.
The firm offers loan terms of five, 10, and 15 years, with amounts ranging from $5,000 to the cost of tuition. The loan cap for any borrower is $500,000. The company offers the customer a personalized rate before he or she applies. Loan origination fee is two percent, and the company charges no prepayment penalties. CommonBond’s late fees might be especially attractive to college-age students, who might not always get their payments in on time. The late fee is only the lesser of $10 or five percent of the monthly payment.
Being a father of school-age children, CommonBond is a company I could see myself using in five or six years, and I read the reviews of the company as a potential customer. The reviews aren’t all glowing, but they give me an overall feel that this is a firm I could do business with, if I so needed. Fast Company named CommonBond the Most Innovative Company in Education earlier this year, and thecollegeinvestor.com, despite thinking the rates could be more competitive, continuously puts the company on its Best Companies to Finance Your Student Loan list. CommonBond is also one of only three lenders the site recommends for finding the best student loans.
Double Bottom Line
Charitable work and philanthropy being so important in today’s world, it can’t hurt for a company to have a strong double bottom line. This is one area where CommonBond sets itself apart from others in the space. Every time a loan is funded, CommonBond covers the price of a child’s education through its “Social Promise.” The firm’s partnership with Pencils of Promise has provided schools, teachers, and technology to thousands of students in the developing world, and its commitment to social equality also distinguishes it as a true difference maker in the United States. Loans and restructuring are available to anyone with a degree from a not-for-profit American university regardless of citizenship, as long as the customer meets the other criteria.
Those of us in and around the online lending space can be heartened by the addition to these two companies to this list. We can also be heartened by the continued efforts of business founders to make funds available more easily and affordably for Americans just trying to navigate the business aspects of life. Both of these companies should be recommended to those who may benefit from their services.
Banks have to struggle with a lot of challenges – from issuing credit to operational risks, and technological troubles to good old fashion fraud. In addition to the risks of yesteryear, modern banks face falling long-term rates, growing fintech competition, and low profitability. In this challenging environment, savvy modern banks focus more of their attention […]
Banks have to struggle with a lot of challenges – from issuing credit to operational risks, and technological troubles to good old fashion fraud. In addition to the risks of yesteryear, modern banks face falling long-term rates, growing fintech competition, and low profitability. In this challenging environment, savvy modern banks focus more of their attention to mitigating risks.
Chief among these challenges are low-performing loan portfolios, which are a constant thorn in the side of lenders. For example, European non-performing loans stand above €1 trillion with more than one third of banks having NPL ratios above 10% (ECB, 2017).
This minefield of factors has driven lenders to seek out new ways to increase profits and cut funding costs in order to stay competitive.
Artificial Intelligence in Fintech: Will it take over?
“AI is a powerful tool for banks, thanks to its ability to harness vast quantities of data to learn more about customer patterns and behaviors”, says Steve Ellis, head of the innovation group at Wells Fargo.
As powerful as artificial intelligence (AI) is, traditional banking is still heavily reliant on statistical methods that were developed over half a century ago. Lenders determine creditworthiness based on 20+ data points, which leave otherwise worthy customers behind.
Modern machine learning (ML) makes it possible to go much deeper when analyzing data, and allows lenders to extract valuable insights from available data patterns.
According to a McKinsey report, a number of European banks have already replaced the antiquated statistical-modeling approach with machine-learning techniques. The results speak for themselves: a 10% increase in the sale of new products, 20% savings in capital expenditures, and a 20% decline in churn.
The data doesn’t lie: Lenders are betting on AI. Evidence of this modern trend can be seen in numerous ‘banks and fintech collaborations’ and AI-based software releases:
JPMorgan Chase pioneered a Contract Intelligence platform designed to “analyze legal documents and extract important data points.”
American MobileBank deploys AI software to lend to thin-file millennials.
Canadian TD Bank uses Layer 6’s AI engine for scoring and cybersecurity.
Deutsche Bank came out with new AI-based equities to predict their pricing and volume more accurately.
Wells Fargo employs its own AI team to provide more personalized services and strengthen digital offerings.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch implements HighRadius’ AI solution to speed up receivables reconciliation for their large business clients.
Logistic regression is no longer the de facto standard
Nine times out of 10, logistic regression is used to build scoring models and solve classification issues. Before it can take over and provide predictive results, there’s an important step of preliminary analysis and data quality control that must be taken. If the dataset contains:
imperfect and missing values, outliers and unstructured data;
numerical and categorical values (age, income vs marital status, education);
raw data that doesn’t fit strict parameters(data with fractions or decimals, etc.)
data analysts will spend days (if not weeks) just to preprocess the data before it can be assessed. Cutting corners and ignoring such data may lead to the loss of valuable insight and incorrect predictions.
How modern AI/ML methods build better risk models
Today, lenders have the ability to collect more data than ever about their clients. In addition to traditional socio-demographic data, this may include transactional data, records from credit bureaus, social media, Google Analytics, as well as other non-traditional sources.
Processing and interpreting this data so that it can be used to issue loans to worthy credit seekers is where modern ML/AI methods give banks the edge they need.
Machine learning techniques like gradient boosting, random forest, or neural networks can better find hidden dependencies in a dataset, which helps to gain more accurate predictions. This assists banks in determining how collected parameters in a dataset should be weighed to predict whether borrowers will consistently repay their loans on time.
This is made possible by data signals, which define significant parameters that affect the power of a scoring model. Depending on the type of business, geography, target audience, and data authenticity, significant parameters may differ. Modern ML can determine which data points contain the desired signal.
Traditional data sources like credit bureaus still remain an important part of the process and provide the data that contain the above-mentioned signal. Unfortunately, they do not cover noteworthy market segments such as millennials, self-employed entrepreneurs, small business owners, immigrants, or the unbanked.
The team at GiniMachine carried out pilot projects to build accurate scoring models with minimal data points and without access to an applicant’s credit history. Some of the most promising and predictive parameters included the applicant’s industry and occupation, the size of their company, the total years they’d been in business, the size of their family, and data from social networks like their overall activity, as well as the quantity and quality of their connections.
The team at GiniMachine has proven that it is possible to capitalize on information about borrowers that is collected from alternative sources to accurately and efficiently assess borrower’s credibility and make effective lending decisions.
Modern ML methods can build more accurate risk models because of their capacity to:
use built-in ‘raw’ data pre-processing tools
find hidden dependencies of arbitrary complexity
harness unstructured, big data, and data from alternative sources
The financial world, and lending businesses in particular, have seen major changes throughout the last few years. Using ML and AI in concert with traditional practices is the way forward for banks that want to remain competitive in the modern world. It’s clear that making good loans to the people of the future requires a futuristic helping hand.
Dmitry Dolgorukov is a CEO and co-founder of GiniMachine & HES, a technology entrepreneur, and an investor with over 15 years of executive experience in software development and fintech. In 2018, Dmitry was ranked as one of the top 200 Fintech leaders in Europe that contribute to the industry as influencers through action.
Established in Russia in 2014, Scorista was born out of the need for a reliable risk-scoring model for Russian lenders. Leveraging the skills of famed Russian programmers, Scorista has created the go-to risk management solution for lenders operating in the sub-prime short-term lending segment. How Scorista Began Maria Veikhman, a business management, IT, and risk […]
Established in Russia in 2014, Scorista was born out of the need for a reliable risk-scoring model for Russian lenders. Leveraging the skills of famed Russian programmers, Scorista has created the go-to risk management solution for lenders operating in the sub-prime short-term lending segment.
How Scorista Began
Maria Veikhman, a business management, IT, and risk management specialist is the founder and CEO of Scorista. It took off when a few lenders in Russia realized the dearth of reliable risk managers in the market and asked Veikhman to create a risk-scoring model for their lending businesses. Scorista was born as a disruptive innovation to automate the area of credit assessment and provide clients with an instant credit decision. They believe they can help lenders achieve the desired KPIs in a very short span of time with a guarantee of results.
What gave impetus to the company was the dearth of risk management solutions for short-term lenders and payday lenders. They only have access to the FICO score, which is not a very bankable option for payday lenders.
More On Scorista
Scorista offers a broad variety of products ranging from credit assessment to underwriting plans, verification plans, individual scoring, and variable kits, which facilitate scoring and dossiers that legally provide access to complete information about the borrowers. Its prime spot is borrowers looking for less than $5k for less than 12 months. According to Veikhman, Scorista has a 93% forecast accuracy rate. This is much higher than anything available for the segment currently.
This performance has led to profitable growth with offices in China and clients in Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Spain, and Latvia. It has just launched its services in the United States. More than 142 lenders are currently using the Scorista platform, and it is processing over 500,000 applications every month. According to its website, Scorista has helped its partners earn an additional $145 million.
The company has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Life.SREDA.
Scorista’s Business Model
Scorista’s business model is transactional-based. In Russia, Scorista charges an estimated $1K for every credit decision depending on the volume of applications. Credit lenders are provided with credit decisions instantly so that they can further approve or deny a loan. When the borrower files a loan application with the lender, the lender communicates the borrower file through an API or web interface. Its system receives the application, evaluates the same with its scoring algorithm, and provides a credit decision for approval or denial of the loan. In cases where the scoring algorithm depicts that the borrower can’t repay the loan, Scorista works out different models to predict the amount that the borrower can pay. So if a borrower is rejected for a $2,000 loan for a 3-month period, Scorista will additionally provide that he is a good bet for $1,000 for a 1-month period.
Scorista has developed artificial intelligence and machine learning-powered proprietary algorithms for its scoring systems. It keeps fine tuning its algorithms to ensure optimum performance. It is focusing only on its specialization of short-term micro-borrowers to ensure highest efficiency rates in the segment.
The money-back guarantee is Scorista’s USP. Scorista is ready to refund the fees to its clients if they are not satisfied with its services. Others in the industry are generic players looking to cover the entire market rather than specializing in any one segment. In the name of alternative data, many peers focus exclusively on the social media footprint. However, research shows that decision-making based on social networking is not very reliable as the quality and quantity of information available on borrowers is circumspect. Moreover, about 40% of borrowers do not have extractable social media information available.
Scorista has also introduced Mindscore, a psychometric scoring method that uses a social networking profile and psychometrics to score borrowers. It helps in predicting repayment ability, and the default rate of the applicant.
According to Veikhman, using alternative data in the credit model is dependent on the country. Credit bureaus across Russia have a lot of data on borrowers, and, as such, alternative data is not able to add a lot of weight. But there are no reliable credit bureaus in China so a lot of e-commerce data from Alipay, Wechat, and other social media is put to use. The company is also using mobile data in some cases and incorporates details like the workplace of the borrower to make a credit decision.
The Russian and Chinese branches of Scorista have launched a white label product for mobile applications for lenders. It facilitates fast issuance requiring the borrower to download the application and then submit information to the lender. Scorista performs the function of scoring and the lender can directly issue money through the application, credit card, debit card, or bank account.
Scorista mainly integrates with short-term lenders and specializes in facilitating short-term loans. Although banks have a broad line of products, Scorista can work with banks that deal in short-term loans apart from full-term loans.
The sub-prime segment that Scorista specializes in is growing across the world. The global economy is not getting better, and many economists agree that it is in the last legs of the growth phase. The last recession was in 2008-09, so considering a cycle of 10 years, we are looking at a recession sooner rather than later. Also exacerbating the trend is the fact that the number of people drawing a lower than average income is increasing in every nation across the world.
Borrowers with low credit scores can improve their credit ratings by following a regular, structured repayment schedule. This will enable them to have access to better loans and banking products with lower rates of interest. Scorista,, with its credit models, helps borrowers gain that access to credit at the right time for the right amount.
Scorista’s Future Goals
Scorista is looking to expand across global markets. It is looking for partners in multiple countries to expand its offering. It is also looking to onboard well-connected financial investors who can help introduce them to their lending networks.
Scorista wants to establish itself as the FICO score for the sub-prime borrower segment. Its key differentiator is its specialization in only short-term microlending and its money back guarantee. The company has been able to build a solid business and is on the precipice of breaking into the big leagues.
News Comments Today’s main news: One student saved $20K on a SoFi student loan. PayPal, Google deepen partnership. Zopa to hire a social media strategist. Ant Financial is a top 10 global bank. Today’s main analysis: Improved MPL pools are no guarantee of ABS performance. Today’s thought-provoking articles: A deeper look at GreenSky. Quants and fundamentalists. Ways to impress a lead investor. Helping […]
Is it clear skies ahead for GreenSky? GreenSky is exiting the gate looking good. To raise this kind of money on an IPO and be profitable for the past five years is a startup’s dream, and they’re living it.
Millennials are leading an investment revolution. I’m all for making an impact and being socially responsible, but if it isn’t profitable, then don’t count on retirement. That said, the millennial generation is definitely a different generation, and it’s quite refreshing to keep reading about them.
Student debt is growing in the US and looming as a major ongoing issue. With a total of $1.48 trillion in student loan debt in the US, spread among 44 million borrowers, Americans now have more student loan debt than credit card debt, according to Student Loan Hero.
Interest rates, meanwhile, are punishing, even more so depending on the type of loan you get, and the level of education you’re paying for. According to data from the Department of Education, rates range from around 3.5% to as high as 8.5% — with most types of loans floating in the 5-7% range. That’s extraordinarily high when you consider that many auto loan rates and even mortgages are lower.
The company offered 38.0 million shares to the public that priced at the upper end of the range at $23. The over allotment grant added another 5.7 million shares to the total offering. Selling shareholders offered all of the shares with gross proceeds of $1 billion.
GreenSky ended the day virtually unchanged at $23.26 at a time when most IPOs trade in more volatile ranges. The stock only had a range of $22.05 to $23.36 suggesting minimal initial interest by traders.
At the current price of $26.70, GreenSky has a market value of over $5.1 billion on 190 million shares outstanding (including the 5.7 million over-allotment option) with sales on pace to likely top $400 million this year.
The numbers though suggest anything but a boring company. Transaction volume jumped 47% to $1.0 billion during the March quarter and active merchants grew equally impressive at 52%. The fintech is even profitable.
PayPal and Google are extending their payments relationship across Google’s entire ecosystem, according to Finextra and TechCrunch. The two firms have worked together for awhile, as customers are able to integrate their PayPal accounts directly into Google Pay, Google’s mobile wallet.
But now, they’re taking the partnership a step further, allowing customers to enter their PayPal credentials once and then have them available for various types of payments, including bill pay and peer-to-peer (P2P) payments, across Google offerings such as Gmail, Google Play, Google Store, and YouTube. The partnership is expected to roll out in full later this year.
Marketplace lenders such as LendingClub and Prosper have made strides in improving underwriting standards in the past year.
In a report issued Thursday, Fitch said investors should still be wary of assuming new-issue MPL securitizations are a step up in quality over previous ABS deals, even though firms such as LendingClub and Prosper have taken steps to tighten lending standards as well as pool greater concentrations of borrowers with higher credit scores into their recent ABS deals.
LendingClub (NYSE:LC), for instance, boosted the weighted average FICO of its most recent prime/near-prime consumer-loan securitizations in December to 703, compared with 692 in its first asset-backed transaction of 2017.
LendingClub’s most recent self-sponsored transaction, Consumer Loan Underlying Bond (CLUB) Credit Trust 2018-NP1, had its base-case loss range tightened to 13.25%-15.25% by Kroll Bond Rating Agency, compared with 14%-16% in its CLUB 2017-P2 transaction. (In December, LendingClub pooled a collection of subprime loans with credit scores below 660, with a base-case loss range of 19.65%-21.65%.)
But the Bloomberg Professional Services Blog has run a piece recently on “quantamental” investing, indicating that a merger of the two approaches is underway. Darwinian pressures aren’t kind to presuppositions or to the purity of paradigms. And it is survival of the fittest that is at work here, because fitness requires on the one hand that the quants use good (human) judgment to monitor and adjust the investment process to the prevailing market conditions, while it also requires that any workable fundamental approach employ “promising aspects of technology … to reduce bias and random noise.”
“Alternative data” means what it sounds like it means: every sort of datumthat one would not traditionally have expected to come up in a discussion of trades, investments, or portfolio allocations.
These sources can include (Bloomberg’s list), “social media posts, credit card accounts, online browsing activity, foot traffic and weather patterns.” Any and all of these can include clues to ongoing and future trends. The use of any such source, or any cross-referencing of sources that can produce patterns, may be novel this week, customary next week, and a bare minimum for survival in the trading jungle the week after that.
Some 92% of millennials agreed with the statement “I care more about having a positive impact on society than doing well financially” compared to 52% of nonmillennials.
We interviewed a handful of millennials, asking them what makes their generation different. They answered: access to information, aligning themselves with brands on social media, and growing up in more comfortable economic circumstances than their parents and grandparents.
Most of us are aware of the importance of small businesses in the US economy. Small businesses employ over half of private-sector workers in the US, so access to capital for small businesses is critical to their success. Fortunately, online lenders such as the ones mentioned in the report have focused on serving the needs of businesses and activity has picked up over the last few years. Both awareness of these alternative options and the amount lent on these platforms is increasing. Originations at five leading online small business lenders increased by 50% in three years, from $2.6 billion in 2015 to $3.9 billion in 2017.
Nearly $10 billion of funding was provided to 180,000 small businesses from 2015 to 2017 according to data which included leading platforms OnDeck, Kabbage and Lendio. This activity has generated $37.7 billion in gross output, created 358,911 jobs and $12.6 billion in wages.
Despite fears of trade wars and increased protectionism, foreign investment in the United States remains robust. In fact, the U.S. continues to be the single largest recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the world: more than
The AI and algo game is nothing new really. A couple decades ago many called it neural networks and neural computing, and that has evolved into today’s version of AI. But what is different today and so disruptive are three elements that were not there in the early days of machine learning: computing power and cloud-based systems, a growing and global population of computer and data scientists and data. Lots of lots of data.
Those three are increasingly working together in the alternative investments markets space, enabling firms to make much more accurate, and potentially, more profitable investments. The AI topic, discussed at Lendit Fintech USA 2018 conference in San Francisco in April, revealed just how integrated it is already and where it is going in the coming months and years. Listen to the full recording HERE.
The former American Express chief Ken Chenault is backing a start-up company that provides credit scores for immigrants who struggle to rent apartments and access other basic services upon their arrival in the US.
Workers on overseas postings, international students and other newcomers have long struggled to secure credit cards and other loans because American institutions hold no records on them.
Nova Credit, which is among a new breed of Silicon Valley companies seeking to shake up the financial system, aims to address the problem. It has secured funding from General Catalyst, the venture capital group that has stood behind companies including Snap, Stripe and Warby Parker.
For online lenders, small business lending continues to grow into big business. Online lenders continue to grow their originations of small business loans, according to a new study released today by Washington D.C.-based economic research firm NDP.
Alternative financing in the form of crowdfunding may be a trending topic, but it’s hardly new. Mozart used the idea in the 1780s to finance the composition of one of his early piano concertos, offering prospective backers copies of his manuscript in exchange for their financial support.
Why choose alternative financing? Because a lot of great deals may never get done without it. Many banks and other traditional lenders won’t finance transactions valued under $50 million because there’s simply not enough profit in it for them. And, because of the late stage of the current real estate cycle, many other lenders are feeling skittish or are simply tapped out. That leaves a big gap in the financing market — and a big opportunity for nontraditional sources of capital.
Layered Insight announced today that Tim McKnight, EVP & Chief Information Security Officer at Thomson Reuters, and Richard Seiersen, SVP & Chief Information Security Officer at Lending Club, have joined Layered Insight’s Advisory Board.
Renew Financial, the inventor of Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing and a leading provider of financing for home improvements, today announced that Kirk Inglis, currently Renew Financial’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO), will succeed Cisco DeVries as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company. Mr. Inglis brings more than 20 years of experience in financial services and technology with a deep expertise in consumer lending. His career includes senior finance and operating roles with Calypso Technology, Prosper Marketplace and Providian Financial Corporation. Mr. DeVries will become the company’s Chief Innovation Officer to focus on key growth opportunities and to help innovate new financing tools for clean energy. DeVries will continue to serve on Renew Financial’s board of directors.
ZOPA is hiring its first-ever social media executive in an effort to broaden its customer base.
The peer-to-peer lending platform is currently advertising for a person who can “translate the brand and social media strategy into tangible plans which encompass day to day content, product content and campaign content”.
The role will involve working with the wider marketing and product team, as well as analysing and optimising performance by channel.
LendInvest announced on Thursday it has named firms JMW Solicitors LLP and Lightfoots Solicitors as its first official panel of solicitors for its Buy-to-Let product. According to the online lender, JMW Solicitors is one of the North West’s leading full-service law firms, with significant experience in handling a range of real estate finance cases for both institutional and private lenders. Lightfoots are experts in complex property finance cases and have over 30 years experience providing legal services to mortgage lenders. Both firms are experienced in dealing with introducer-led business, offering dual representation and coverage across England and Wales.
Digital wealth manager Moneyfarm has got £40 million in a Series B funding round – meaning it has secured close to £60 million in capital so far.
Moneyfarm calls this the “largest funding round by a European digital wealth manager to date” and the company, which launched a personal pension (SIPP) in March this year, will use the capital to launch solutions and expand its investment strategy.
The round was led by Allianz Asset Management, the investment arm of global insurer Allianz, which first invested in Moneyfarm in September 2016.
It had been rumored for some time now. Ant Financial, the Chinese financial behemoth, was raising a very large funding round that would value the company at $150 billion. It has been reported extensively today that this funding round has in fact closed. Ant Financial has raised $10 billion at a $150 billion valuation.
For a brief primer on Ant Financial there is a decent summary on their English language websitebut for a deeper understanding I recommend you read Chris Skinner’s new book, Digital Human (the Kindle version is available now). This has a 30,000 word case study that not only shares the history of Ant Financial but also why they are one of the world’s most forward thinking companies. And if you think they are just a Chinese story, think again. Ant Financial embodies the future of financial services and they will, in my opinion, shape the future of financial services more than any other fintech company on the planet.
Dianrong (点融), a leading Chinese online P2P lending service provider today announced cooperation with R3, a global platform specializing in distributed data technology. The Chinese fintech company’s supply chain finance solutions will land on Corda, R3’s open-source distributed ledger.
Dianrong hopes the cooperation will enable the company’s end-to-end service through a comprehensive supply chain and increase efficiency by ensuring transparency. The company’s initiative is to allow micro and small businesses to access credit and financial services.
As of this week, Wisr will increase its personal loan limit from $35,000 up to $50,000, with a comparative interest rate up to 5% p.a. lower than the four major banks.
Loans will be available for any worthwhile purpose over three or five years, with a comparison rate of 9.36% p.a. for borrowers with a strong credit rating. The neo-lender also offers no early repayment or exit fees.
The report analyses the number of mortgages taken out in the 12 month periods to the end of March from 2014 to March 2018, and breaks them into borrower types – first home buyers, investors, people moving house, those staying put but refinancing and those buying a second home.
According to Real Estate Institute of New Zealand figures, Auckland property sales peaked in their current cycle in the 12 months to March 2016, when 30,631 homes were sold.
That number has steadily declined and in the 12 months to March this year had slumped to 21,628, a decline of 29.4%.
Today’s investors are undoubtedly looking at technology-driven startups with a difference. The best illustration here is Flipkart which managed to introduce the right technology-driven models at a time when people had to wait endlessly to buy products of their choice. With Walmart now having acquired majority stakes in Flipkart, more technology-driven models could potentially come to the fore.
The digital wallet company finally integrated its platform with government-owned unified payment interface (UPI) last week. A week later, numbers related to UPI have popped up that has reached a 5 million mark via @ikwik handles, a VPA (Virtual payment address) handle for UPI, according to an ET report.
The platform is also planning to partner with NBFCs to disburse loans to small businesses in the range of Rs 20,000 up to Rs 5 lakh.
South African investment fund Crossfin has concluded a deal with banking and asset management group Investec that will see the two companies identify early-stage fintech startups in which to invest through Crossfin’s angel funding arm Blue Garnet Investments.
The Crossfin fund, which has a particular focus on fintech startups, was formed in June of last year after South Africa-based private equity and venture capital firm Capital Eye and the Multiply Group signed a strategic investment partnership.
Capital Eye manages a portfolio of investments spread primarily across Sub-Saharan Africa, including South African fintech company wiGroup, which Investec has also invested in.
Today, Fundbox, the small business growth company, announced that the company has won the coveted Israeli Atlas Award for Best Fintech Start-Up. For a third year in a row, the 2018 Israeli Atlas Award event was held in cooperation with the Ayn Rand Center, The Marker and such leading partners as, BDI, IVC, Bank Hapoalim and Israel Aerospace Industries. The prize is awarded to those Israeli startups that have created a technology, idea or product of exceptional value in Israel over the past year.
“We live in a digital world” is an understatement. The next decade, as Generation Z arrives and millennials move into prime spending years, will have profound effects on all industries. Finance, in general, and credit cards in particular, are no exception. Fintechs that can decipher the coming changes are looking at a trillion dollar industry […]
“We live in a digital world” is an understatement. The next decade, as Generation Z arrives and millennials move into prime spending years, will have profound effects on all industries. Finance, in general, and credit cards in particular, are no exception. Fintechs that can decipher the coming changes are looking at a trillion dollar industry currently dominated by traditional banking players.
The latest innovation in alternative lending can have a profound impact on how credit cards are issued, used, and managed in the financial ecosystem. LendIt USA 2018 saw a panel discussion on “Creating the Next Generation Credit Card.” The focus was on how LendUp and Petal, two venture-backed Visa credit cards, have disrupted a stagnant industry with alternate data and fast decisioning. Sasha Orloff, CEO and co-founder of LendUp, and Jason Gross, CEO of Petal, discussed the secret sauce, their insights, and future trends in the industry.
The Journey to the Credit Card Market
Around 40 million Americans do not have any credit score, and around 20 million have a very limited credit file. This results in limited access to the credit market. The disproportionate effect of this is felt by the millennial generation, immigrants, and low- to moderate-income consumers.
The 2008 financial crisis left considerable people under the age of 30 with subprime credit facilities comprising of expensive products. And though they might not have a strong credit score, their strong digital financial footprint can be leveraged to understand and examine their creditworthiness.
Alleviating such deficiencies will help genuine customers gain access to the credit they deserve. They will also be able to receive better pricing with lower interest rates, lower fees, etc. This was the main reason for Gross getting involved with Petal. What differentiates Petal from other companies is the use of pioneering technology to look into the financial “footprints” of consumers and make credit decisions accordingly. Petal can now underwrite on a more inclusive basis and leverage financial data by designing better products for its consumer base.
On the other hand, Orloff evaluated the problems faced by today’s credit card companies who reject almost 85% of consumer applications that come through their websites. This is a massive opportunity loss for all stakeholders.
Also, fintech companies are not directly issuing credit cards; rather, they are partnering with banks. This can lead to a win-win relationship where LendUP can help banks monetize this opportunity by using its proprietary technology. It is a category leader and understands the subprime space. It is currently working with two banks and has recently signed a deal with its third bank. Meanwhile, they are also looking to onboard more banking partners who want to better serve their communities.
Offering the Next-Generation Credit Card
Both companies believe there is a huge opportunity as half of America is underserved or unserved with regard to credit. The exciting part about the original credit card is the piece of plastic in the wallet can be used to build a relationship with customers by understanding their requirements and daily financial habits. With the ability to offer multiple products, credit cards should be a natural cross-selling platform for traditional banks.
When talking about the 60-year-old credit scoring system, Gross discussed how it lacks full financial information and focused only on the liability side of a person’s balance sheet. Petal’s credit scoring system takes a much more holistic view of a person’s finances and focuses on assets and cash flows. Instead of concentrating on any one part, they look at a more complete picture, which helps them assess the borrower granularly on thousands of data points. Its algorithms are powered with machine learning, which assists them in detecting further patterns for enhancing the customer experience.
Orloff cited the results from a study conducted by her company showcasing how supplementary data can be more powerful than using the traditional credit scoring data to evaluate the financial health of a consumer. Talking about the population outside the banking system, he thinks one cannot completely rely on credit scoring. Rather, it is mandatory to use alternative data points to calculate the creditworthiness of the individual.
Credit cards were the first step in understanding banking customers and their paying habits. With smartphones, banks can add a layer of intelligence that will generate insights that were not available earlier. Orloff also discussed how credit cards can now be used to attract consumers and why it is important to customize cards for the individual. LendUp’s card can now optimize according to the financial goals of each single consumer. He laments that the financial industry seems to be the last industry to keep churning out generic products for its clients.
Gross explained that consumer finance and credit scoring is an area with huge opportunities have just scratched the surface till date. Millennials aspire to do business with companies that have their best interests in mind. Companies should focus on re-inventing digital experiences and optimizing for the financial success of the customer. To design this digital experience, there is a need to leverage behavioral science and best practices of product design to make credit intuitive, transparent, and simple.