Thursday August 22 2019, Weekly News Digest

Funding Circle loan originations

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 […]

The post Thursday August 22 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Funding Circle loan originations

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United States

Better.com Closes Series C at $ 160 Million (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

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.

LendingTree Personal Loan Offers Report – July 2019 (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

The most common reasons for seeking a personal loan are credit card refinancing and debt consolidationThese two categories comprise 67% of loan inquiries in July.

Source: LendingTree

Slack’s Direct Listing: The Non-IPO Threat to Wall Street and its Future in Security Tokens (Global Banking Finance Review), Rated: AAA

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.

As well as tokenized VC investing, it is also becoming possible for a small investor to buy a stake in luxury assets such as a multi-million dollar Manhattan apartment, or a share in a new blockbuster movie or a hit album.

Elevate Credit Issues Quarterly Earnings Results (Mayfield Recorder), Rated: A

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.

Reliant Funding Celebrates Seven Years on the Inc. 5000 (PR Newswire), Rated: A

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.

Eisman slams Zillow; US Consumer Mixed; 30-Yr Hits Record (PeerIQ), Rated: A

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.

Is Real Estate Crowdfunding a Good Investment? (Lifehacker), Rated: A

Ask a rich person how they got rich, and there’s a good chance they’ll say they invested in real estate. In fact, real estate is generally accepted as one of the most solid ways to build wealth.

“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 raises $ 11 million in growth financing from Edison Partners (Finextra), Rated: A

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 Facilitates $ 179.2 Million in Freddie Mac Loans Between Greystone and Watermark J&L Partners (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

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.

The 50 Most Expensive Towns in America (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

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.

Key findings

  • 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.
Source: LendingTree

The Apple Card’s best feature is also its biggest flaw (Business Insider), Rated: A

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 Bank Announces A Crypto Lending Service In IPO Filing (Coin Revolution), Rated: A

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.

Planning for LendIt Fintech USA 2020 is Underway (Lend Academy), Rated: A

LendIt Fintech USA will be held in New York City on May 13-14 next year at the Javits Center.

  • The Small Business Fintech Ecosystem
  • Revolution at the Point of Sale
  • New Approaches to Capital for Growth Businesses
  • Digital Banking Goes Mainstream
  • New Systems for Identity and Trust
  • Applying Fintech to Financial Wellness

Fintech Takeover Spending Hits Record Levels on 2019’s Megadeals (Bloomberg Law), Rated: A

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.

Ohio College Graduates Struggle With Rising Student Debt (CityBeat), Rated: A

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.

Futures Brokerage Capital Trading Group Announces Launch of Managed Futures Podcast (PR Web), Rated: B

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.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle Surpasses $ 10 Billion Lent to Small Businesses Globally (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

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.

Source: Funding Circle

Is Funding Circle Holdings Using Debt In A Risky Way? (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

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.

Source: Yahoo! Finance

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.

ThinCats to lend £400m to growth companies by end-2020 (Growth Business), Rated: A

ThinCats, the growth-business lender, wants to be lending £400m a year to cash-starved scale-up companies by the end of 2020.

Welsh Delio secures £3.3m equity round (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

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.

UK tech firms attract record £5.5bn in foreign investment (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE UK’S tech sector has attracted $6.7bn (£5.5bn) in foreign investment this year so far, which is more than the whole of 2018.

During the second quarter of 2019 more than $1.9bn came via investment deals valued at $100m or more.

Aprao launches development appraisal tool (PlaceTech), Rated: B

London-based startup Aprao has released a beta version of its development appraisal tool to 650 companies.

Aprao currently partners with property marketplace LendInvest, developer Careys New Homes, and design house Fusion to help further develop the technology.

New P2P entrants have a ‘second move advantage’ (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

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.

How banking-as-a-service (BaaS) works and industry outlook (Business Insider), Rated: A

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.

European Union

Swiss Fintech Startup Becomes a $ 1 Billion Unicorn (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

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.

Lendable launches Luxembourg fund with Credit Suisse (AltFi), Rated: A

Lendable has launched its first Luxembourg-based fund initially providing up to £225m of financing into the UK consumer market.

The consumer lender set up the fund alongside Credit Suisse, with the pair raising capital from 10 unnamed investors across seven geographies over a three-year investment period.

Events for every P2P professional’s calendar in 2019 (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

LendIt Fintech Europe 2019

Dates: 26-27 September 2019

et 15 per cent off on your tickets with the discount code P2PFN15%.

Register at www.lendit.com

MoneyLIVE: Lending 2019

Date: 2 October 2019

Open Banking Expo

Date: 13 November 2019

Brocc raises Debt Financing from Goldman Sachs (MyNewsDesk), Rated: B

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.

International

Tala, A Digital Lending Startup, Raises $ 110M, Eyes India For Expansion (Crunchbase), Rated: AAA

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.

Australia

Harmoney earmarks new CEO for NZ, Australian growth (NBR), Rated: AAA

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.

India

Lendingkart Secures $ 2.95M From Sistema Asia Fund (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

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.

These are the top challenges faced by MSMEs, the growth drivers of Indian economy (Money Control), Rated: A

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.

Business Loan Application Process: Explained (Ziploan), Rated: A

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.

Asia

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.

In order to provide an easy and universal assessment of creditworthiness for small medium enterprises (SMEs), CTOS Data Systems Sdn Bhd recently launched the CTOS SME Score.

CURRENTLY, there are almost a million SMEs in Malaysia contributing 37% to the national GDP. This figure is expected to rise to 41% by 2020.

SMEs also make up 98% of local businesses and create employment for two-thirds of all working Malaysians.

MENA

With 2,000 applications, Israel fintech regulator eyes licensing changes (CoinGeek), Rated: AAA

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.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday August 22 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

The Rise of Marketplace Lending Securitization

Cumulative MPL securitizations

With the evolution of digital banking and mobile-commerce, marketplace lending (MPL) has entered a new growth phase. If compared on the basis of loan volume, the U.S. is said to have one of the biggest P2P lending markets in the world (second only to China). According to a report by PwC, the size of the […]

The post The Rise of Marketplace Lending Securitization appeared first on Lending Times.

Cumulative MPL securitizations

With the evolution of digital banking and mobile-commerce, marketplace lending (MPL) has entered a new growth phase. If compared on the basis of loan volume, the U.S. is said to have one of the biggest P2P lending markets in the world (second only to China). According to a report by PwC, the size of the U.S. MPL market is expected to touch almost $1 trillion by 2030. The industry has already crossed $50 billion in originations for 2018, and such numbers have obviously attracted institutional capital to the sector. Financial institutions have been structuring their MPL investments in multiple ways, but, by far, the most important for the growth of the industry is securitization.

The Nascent Stage of Marketplace Lending Securitization

Securitization, in layman language, refers to the selling of illiquid loans by converting them into marketable securities via a process of bundling thousands of small loans into one single security. The buyers of the securities earn returns when people pay back their loans. Securitization provides the twin benefits of increased market liquidity because of easy buying and selling and lower cost to the borrower as the risk of holding (and managing) a small loan gets consolidated.

As per the U.S. Department of Treasury, P2P loan securitization has emerged as a prime funding avenue in the U.S., capturing investment of around $13 billion in 2017. The trend started when Eaglewood Capital Management undertook the first P2P loan securitization in 2013. The transaction was worth $53 million in value. The deal involved securitizing unsecured consumer loans originated by Lending Club.

The securitization of loans helps to tap a new market that may not be available otherwise. In the Eaglewood securitization deal, the final buyer was an insurance company that was not able to directly invest in Lending Club loans. But the securitization deal allowed the insurance company to fund the P2P loans. In 2014, Eaglewood announced yet another round of securitizations worth $75 million.

Along with institutional involvement, the participation of rating agencies in P2P securitizations has also gained momentum. For instance, Blackrock’s securitization of $327 million in Prosper loans was rated by Moody’s and it became the first rated MPL securitization in history. The first quarter of 2017 saw all securitization deals being rated by the rating agencies. Another Prosper loan (Prosper’s PMIT 2017-1) was rated by Fitch, which represents the growing acceptance of P2P securitizations across such agencies. With rating agencies entering the market, even the skeptical institutional investors should not be far behind.

The Growth of MPL Securitization

The increasing securitization of loans is seen as a shift in the P2P loan market as they fight the traditional banking industry for the multi-trillion dollar lending market. This will help the MPL industry go mainstream in its aim to raise funding, and will also deepen the market. Even more importantly, it will bring an additional level of oversight for young lending startups.

Large institutional investors and Wall Street are actively observing the developments in the sector and simultaneously undertaking their research. This signals a strong future of institutional participation in the industry. In the end, if MPL players are able to deliver the promised returns over an extended period of time, fixed income investors will be forced to invest in MPL securities in search for higher yields.

Deal Book

SoFi, the student loan giant, securitized a total of $727 million in loans by issuing SoFi Consumer Loan Program notes in November 2017. The transaction was recorded as the largest offering by an MPL company to date. The company claimed to be one of the U.S.’s biggest sponsors of ABS, completing deals worth $6.5 billion over the past year.

A total of seven deals worth $4.3 billion were finalized in the first quarter of 2018. The total volume indicated an increase of 34% year-on-year against the total volume in the first quarter of 2017. Out of the total issuance, student loan deals accounted for $2.1 billion. SoFi ,who had issued $1.8 billion in just two deals, led the student loan segment.

Average Deal Size Over Time

The Q3 2018 Securitization Report by PeerIQ confirms the growth trend. There were eight MPL securitizations this quarter worth a total of $3.5 billion. The industry has seen a cumulative $40 billion over 134 deals. All deals were rated, and rating agencies seem to be warming up to the sector with 119 upgrades as compared to just 12 downgrades. Wall Street has (as usual) joined the party with Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, and Credit Suisse dominating the issuance league with a combined 57% market share.

Conclusion

The Asset Backed Securities market is backing the MPL industry and record issuances with tightening spreads, and dropping yields are an important testimony to the fact. Investors are voting with their wallets, and they like what they are getting with the burgeoning MPL industry. But the Fed has started with its rate-tightening cycle, and the first wave of defaults will sooner or later hit marketplace lenders. This will help in determining the actual depth in the MPL market and how much the industry has matured.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

The post The Rise of Marketplace Lending Securitization appeared first on Lending Times.

Friday December 15 2017, Daily News Digest

mortgage tech

News Comments Today’s main news: Walmart partners with Even, PayActiv on employee financial wellness. Moody’s says some consumer ABS sectors will be weaker next year. LendInvest has $1B in funds under management. Yirendai’s investment in Lion Rock amounts to $50M. LexinFintech kicked off IPO yesterday. Crowd Genie to launch ICO. Today’s main analysis: Why mortgage tech is finally taking off. Australian […]

mortgage tech

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United States

Walmart Teams Up With Fintech Startups Even & PayActiv to Launch Financial Wellness Services For Associates (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Wednesday, retail giant Walmart announced it has teamed up with fintech startups Even and PayActiv to provide a suite of new financial wellness services for its more than 1.4 million associates nationwide.

Goldman Sachs’ and Morgan Stanley’s Big Growth Opportunities (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) and Morgan Stanley(NYSE:MS) are both trying to expand their businesses into more traditional areas of consumer banking, such as consumer loans and mortgages.

Matt Frankel: Out of all the major unsecured lending platforms — Lending Club, things like that — Marcus was the quickest one to get to $1 billion in loan volume.

The interest rates people have gotten are more competitive than the others, because they can afford to run it at slightly more compressed margins than, say, a Lending Club.

Frankel: Morgan Stanley’s robo-advisory platform just launched. So that’s one way they’re trying to branch out into more traditional areas of banking and investing.

Just to throw a couple of figures out there, Morgan Stanley’s wealth management business, which is not the highest-margin business, which is why they’re not as efficient as Goldman, their wealth management business, they’re margin has gone from 9% to 22% since 2010.

Morgan Stanley estimates that their clients still have about over $2 trillion worth of assets with other asset managers, and they’re trying to bring some of that in.

Nearly 5 Million Americans in Default on Student Loans (WSJ), Rated: AAA

The number of Americans severely behind on payments on federal student loans reached roughly 4.6 million in the third quarter, a doubling from four years ago, despite a historically long stretch of U.S. job creation and steady economic growth.

In the third quarter alone, the count of such defaulted borrowers—defined by the government as those who haven’t made a payment in at least a year—grew by nearly 274,000, according to Education Department data released Tuesday.

The total number of defaulted borrowers represents about 22% of the Americans who were required to be paying down their federal student loans as of Sept. 30. That figure has increased from 17% four years earlier.

 

Mortgage Tech 101: What It Is & Why It’s Taking Off Now (CB Insights), Rated: AAA

By the end of 2017, nearly $1.8T worth of mortgages will have been originated in the United States this year, according to government-backed mortgage lender Freddie Mac.

Yet, despite the size of the mortgage industry, the space still hasn’t digitized. Originating, processing, and underwriting a home loan with a large bank lender still requires faxes and snail mail and take almost as long as it did 20 years.

Source: CB Insights

Driver 1: New lenders increase the competition

Non-bank lenders are becoming much bigger players in mortgages. In 2011, three banks accounted for half of new mortgage loans, according to the Washington Post. As of September 2016, that share dropped to 21%.

In 2011, just two of the top 10 biggest lenders were non-bank lenders. In 2016, non-bank lenders like Quicken Loans accounted for six of the top 10.

Driver 2: Incumbents are looking to improve their technology

At an average cost of $7,000, originating and processing a loan takes over 400 pages and more than 25 humans working hundreds of hours across 50 days. Of the total, approximately $5,000 can be attributed to human processing costs.

Driver 3: Individuals’ debt burden forces them to find alternative lenders

Eighty percent of millennial renters want to buy a single-family home or apartment, but 72% cannot afford to, according to survey data from Apartment List.

Source: CB Insights

Although total US homeownership has risen to 64% as of Q3’17, when examined by age group, the percentage of homeowners under 35 years old is only 36%. This is down from 44% in 2004.

Some consumer ABS sectors to have weaker collateral performance due to pockets of borrower stress and weaker underwriting (Moody’s), Rated: AAA

The anticipated continued expansion of the US economy into 2018 will support overall collateral performance of consumer asset-backed securities (ABS), according to Moody’s Investors Service. However, growing financial strains among some pockets of borrowers and loosening of underwriting by lenders will result in slightly weaker collateral performance for several categories of consumer ABS, including transactions backed by auto loans, credit cards and unsecured personal loans.

Amid further declines in automobile sales and used vehicle prices, Moody’s says issuers will generally maintain the steady collateral quality in their 2018 auto loan and lease deals, with incremental weakening in certain collateral attributes such as loan terms. New private student loan ABS, meanwhile, will likely continue to have strong credit quality and performance.

An Open Internet is Essential for Financial Inclusion (Huffington Post), Rated: AAA

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted today to dismantle internet “net” neutrality: a vote that determined whether the internet should be treated like a public good or service or whether it should be treated like a product.

Another consequence of dismantling net neutrality has to do with undermining financial inclusion and the impending technological revolution of financial services. An array of financial technologies—online and mobile technologies referred to by their shorthand “fintech”—is heralded with the potential to expand access to financial services to underserved households and in underserved communities.

Internet connectivity is required for online and mobile transactions and many lower-income households alreadycannot afford internet service capable of making these transactions.

Online and mobile banking could become less reliable if internet service companies adjust connectivity speeds. Banks are increasingly shifting their products and services online and the number of bank branches is projected to decline by 20% over the next decade.

Prosper brings on JPM Chase veteran as board member (GlobalCapital), Rated: A

Online lender Prosper announced the appointment of Claire Huang as a board member this week as the company looks to enhance its product offerings in 2018.

Huang’s appointment was effective as of Tuesday, according to a company statement. Prior to joining the San Francisco-based lender’s board of directors, Huang was the first ever chief marketing officer at JP Morgan Chase.

INSIKT raises $ 50 million to lend to low-income communities (TechCrunch), Rated: A

An estimated 45 million Americans don’t have a credit score and others have trouble bringing up their scores, even if they are in a better financial position than in years past.

And after facilitating 125,000 loans in three years, INSIKT is raising $50 million to expand. The round is led by Grupo Coppel, with participation from FirstMark Capital, Revolution Ventures and Colchis Capital. INSIKT has raised $100 million to date.

INSIKT has built what they believe is a better alternative to payday loans, breaking up payments into smaller installments. Its white-label loan processing service is used in over 600 banks and credit union locations across California, Texas, Illinois and Arizona.

Kasisto Raises $ 17M in Series B Funding (Finsmes), Rated: A

Kasisto, the NYC-based creator of a conversational AI platform for finance, raised $17m in Series B funding.

The round was led by Oak HC/FT with participation from existing investors Propel Venture Partners, Two Sigma Ventures, Commerce Ventures, Mastercard and Partnership Fund for New York City.

Consumer lending 2017: Bold bets and strategic exits (American Banker), Rated: A

With the economy continuing to improve and household wealth growing, total consumer debt has increased in 12 consecutive quarters and hit a record $12.8 trillion in the second quarter, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. And, for the most part, consumers are staying on top of their bills. The American Bankers Association said recently that the midyear consumer delinquency rate held steady around 1.56%, which is below the 15-year average of 2.16%.

Banks searching for growth pushed and pulled on a variety of consumer lending levers this year. Personal loans, particularly those offered through digital channels, were especially popular as banks aimed to emulate online lenders’ speed and efficiency.

How Twine, John Hancock’s robo-adviser tool, keeps a startup feel (Tearsheet), Rated: A

John Hancock wants to change that narrative with Twine, its robo-adviser and personal finance tool it released last month.  Twine emphasizes simplicity in its look and feel — a user interface similar to many startup-developed apps out there.

John Hancock looked outside, buying San Francisco-based financial services AI startup Guide Financial in 2015.

Twine operates as a separate organizational unit based in San Francisco, while most of John Hancock’s offices are in Boston. The team of around 25 employees includes engineers, product managers, user experience designers and marketing staff. But despite being organizationally separate, Goose said the team stays in contact with the mother ship through travel and video conferencing.

41% of households mix digital, human financial advice (InvestmentNews), Rated: A

But this isn’t a return to the way things used to be, said Hearts & Wallets, the Rye, N.Y.-based research firm that conducted the study of 40,000 individuals.

Today’s investors are what the firm calls “hybrids,” who use a mix of paid and free live professional advice, digital advice and their own insights. They now account for 41% of all U.S. households, the firm said.

Blenders of digital and live advice include 68% of consumers ages 35 to 44 with investable assets between $100,000 and $250,000, and 85% of consumers under age 35 who have over $1 million in assets. In all, over 75% of consumers under age 45 with assets of over $250,000 are “hybrids,” the firm said.

USAA’s Heather Cox is blurring the lines between business and technology (Tearsheet), Rated: A

In hiring Cox, the San Antonio bank, which has a longstanding reputation for being innovative, effectively agreed to restructure the entire company. She has plans to “levelize” the business and technology teams and morph them into “business technologists,” who are empathetic and understand that technology is the enabling function of their entire business — not the checking account or the insurance policy.

The new model will make USAA look more like one of the technology “greats” — the usual suspects like Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google — instead of an old bank or insurance company, Cox said.

 

Despite court win, OCC still faces legal ‘landmine’ over fintech charter (American Banker), Rated: A

Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting has not weighed in on the fate of a fintech charter yet, but the ball is now squarely in his court.

The agency that Otting was just appointed to run scored a victory earlier week when a judge dismissed a lawsuit from the New York Department of Financial Services, which had challenged the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s authority to create a charter for fintech firms.

Jax small businesses turn to site to find lenders (Jacksonville Business Journal), Rated: B

New York-based Fundera has made a splash in Jacksonville with companies looking to find lenders.

Regions Bank Increases Prime Lending Rate (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Regions Bank today announced it is increasing its prime lending rate to 4.50 percent from 4.25 percent, effective Thursday, Dec. 14.

United Kingdom

LendInvest hits $ 1bn in funds under management (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Cutting out retail P2P investors doesn’t seem to have slowed LendInvest down. The UK’s leading fintech property lender now holds £765m (approximately $1bn) under management. Its capital base has more than doubled in 2017, up 104 per cent since the start of the year.

Manchester tops the buy to let index for England and Wales (PropertyWire), Rated: A

The highest yields for landlords are in Manchester at 5.55% and the city is also top in terms of rental growth at 5.76% and has a reasonable capital gains growth at 8.34%, the buy to let index from specialist lender LendInvest.

When it comes to capital gains the top city is Colchester at 11.96%, followed by Southall at 11.09%, Hemel Hempstead at 10.27%, Slough at 10.19%, Harrow at 9.89% and Ipswich at 9.44%.

Millennials will spend £1.1MILLION on rent over their lifetimes if they don’t get onto the property ladder (DailyMail), Rated: AAA

Millennials who began renting at 21-years-old and live in an average-sized property outside of London will spend an average of £110,830 in household rent before buying their first home – typically at an age of 32, according to research by peer-to-peer lending platform Landbay.

For those living in the capital – where property prices and rents are significantly higher – the amount increases to £273,210.

Source: DailyMail

Mortgage write-offs fall 79% in one year (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

The value of residential mortgages written off by banks and building societies has dropped by 79% in the past year, according to the latest research.
Data from the Bank of England revealed that UK lenders wrote off £72m of residential loans in the year end 30th September 2017, 79% lower than the same period in 2015/2016 – when £348m was written off – and even lower than pre-credit crunch levels.

Developer secures £1.9m from P2P platform for Merseyside projects (Development Finance), Rated: B

Mitty Group has secured £1.98m worth of funding from Assetz Capital to develop two new residential and leisure sites in Merseyside.

UK consumers ditching banks for digital loan alternatives (Finextra), Rated: A

UK consumers looking for personal loans are increasingly shifting away from traditional banks towards digital loan providers according to Zopa, the pioneering financial services company.

Research on the price comparison sector* shows loan sales obtained via price comparison sites have doubled in the last two years.
The data highlighted by Zopa shows that over 113,000 loans were sold through price comparison sites in the 6 months to April 30 2017, representing a 139% increase compared to the same period in 2015, whereas the overall unsecured personal loan market grew only by approximately 20% in the same period.

Gibraltar launches world’s first licence for fintech firms using blockchain (Independent), Rated: A

Gibraltar’s financial services watchdog will introduce the world’s first bespoke licence for “fintech” firms using blockchain distributed ledger technology from next month in a bid to attract start-ups to the British overseas territory as it prepares for Brexit.

Twenty-two of the world’s biggest banks and fintech firm R3 have just developed an international payments system using blockchain.

Gibraltar expects firms numbering well into “double digits” to seek authorisation after the new rules come into force on January 1, Gomez said.

China

Yirendai Makes $ 50 Million Strategic Investment in Finance Services Platform Lion Rock (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

China-based fintech Yirendai announced on Wednesday it has made a $50 million strategic investment in Lion Rock through the financial service platform’s Series A funding round.

LexinFintech starts IPO amid sector crackdown (Finance Asia), Rated: AAA

The Shenzhen-headquartered online micro lender, which launched the deal on Thursday, joins a flurry of other Chinese internet finance companies, including Qudian, PPDai and Hexindai, in their rush to  raise capital with a New York listing…with a US share sale worth up to $132 million.

Chinese fintech company PPDAI Group inks partnership deal with Sun Hung Kai (SNL.com), Rated: B

The move comes after Sun Hung Kai became a strategic investor in PPDAI Group through a private placement concurrent with the latter’s U.S. IPO.

European Union

Belgian crowdlending company expands in Europe (The Brussels Times), Rated: AAA

Look & Fin, the largest Belgian player in the field of crowdlending, plans to expand again in Europe.

On average, more than one million euros is invested monthly via Look & Fin. Loans vary between €50,000 euros and €1 million, with an average term of 38 months. Individuals invest on average €2,400 and can count on an average return of 7.6%.

Can a BBVA spinoff crack the digital ID code? (American Banker), Rated: A

Governments, banks and startups have been trying for years to solve the problems associated with identifying people in a digital world. The challenges are only getting harder thanks to identity thieves, data breaches that have exposed the personal information of hundreds of millions of consumers, and the fact that some folks want to avoid having to register face-to-face.

The latest entrant, a recent BBVA spinoff called Covault, is a bit different.

Its app lets consumers store their digital identity documents, passwords and (potentially) digital currency in a secure cloud, and then share pieces of that information with others as they see fit.

Regtech insights from Suade CEO, Diana Parades (Holland Fintech), Rated: A

Diana is the CEO and co-founder of Suade, a software platform which allows financial institutions to better understand and meet their regulatory requirements.

At SIBOS2017, Paredes encouraged financial institutions to think of regulation as being at the centre of their business. More education and research for implementation is needed, suggested Paredes in our interview. Smaller companies like startups offer more agile  implementation as they are technology driven companies. Meanwhile, the big machine of a bank is becoming better at agile acceptance of new technology.

‘Regtech will prevent the next financial crisis.’

Paredes explained this quote saying that while regulation is trying to prevent another crisis, it has no implementation guide. As such, regtech will be needed to give effect to the regulation.

Saxo Payments Banking Circle Nabs Prestigious Award (Holland Fintech), Rated: B

The Banking Technology Awards 2017 has named the organisation’s Banking Circle Virtual IBAN as the Best Corporate Payments Initiative.

International

Exclusive Interview with Celsius CEO Alex Mashinsky (ChipIn), Rated: A

Celsius is a peer-to-peer (P2P) and blockchain-powered global lending and borrowing network designed to enable coin holders to earn interest.

First off, why did you decide to use the blockchain to build Celsius?

The blockchain is the first real technology threat that the large banks have faced for the past 100 years. It has the potential to spur a new financial revolution from which they cannot adjust. We decided to build Celsius using blockchain to leverage the technology’s global presence and decentralized design to extract the bank’s profits and distribute them to our members.

What was your thought process behind it?

We want to find the best way to add the next 100M crypto users to the market, and we came to the conclusion that offering coin holders 5-7% in interest on their coins would be the best way to get there.

Did you face a problem within the consumer credit industry or do you think there is a gap in the market for Celsius to fill?

Unfortunately, the continued concentration in the banking sector has allowed banks to pay people less than 2% interest but charge our credit cards 25% interest when lending us the same dollars.

THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE GLOBAL REINSURANCE INDUSTRY (All About Alpha), Rated: A

A new paper from Milliman, a consultant to the insurance and financial services industries, discusses the ongoing transformation in and of the global reinsurance industry that alternative investment has created.

By the end of 2016, Milliman says, alternative capital in the catastrophe space consisted of around $76 billion, which breaks down as follows:

  • Collateralized reinsurance $39 billion
  • CAT bonds, $25 billion
  • Sidecars $8 billion, and
  • Industry loss warranties $4 billion.

As a proportion of the whole: alternative capital now represents roughly 13% of the available capital in global reinsurance.

Since 2011 the percentage of bonds with indemnity triggers has increased from 30% to roughly 70%.

Australia

Behind the 500% increase in small businesses using marketplace lending (SmartCompany), Rated: AAA

The number of small business customers signing onto loans through marketplace lenders has increased more than 500% over the past year, but experts say scrutiny must be put on the alternative finance sector now to ensure smaller operators get the best deal.

In 2015-16, ASIC’s survey of the sector put the total value of loans through this kind of model at $156 million, but that figure has doubled over the past year to now sit at $300 million. Total borrowers for the year jumped from 7,448 last year to 18,746 this year.

Australian Securities & Investment Commission Publishes Report on Marketplace Lending, Shows Double the Loans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Earlier today, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) published a report on the marketplace lending industry (peer to peer lending).  ASIC believes that by monitoring Fintech they are better positioned to assess any risk as the industry develops.

The survey covers marketplace lending activities of 12 platforms that are regulated by ASIC – so it is not comprehensive of the entire online lending sector.

In summary, there were 353 incidents or suspected incidents of fraud , compared to 126 incidents or suspected incidents of fraud during the 2015 – 16 survey. There was one cyber security incident, compared to zero during the 2015– 16 survey. There were reports of some borrower complaints but most appeared to be minor. The average default rate was 2.2%.

Source: Australian Securities and Investments Commission
Source: Australian Securities and Investments Commission

Read the full report here.

India

Impanix Fuels Loans Marketplace Finbucket With $ 1.87 Mn Funding (Inc42), Rated: AAA

New Delhi-based online loans and investments marketplace FinBucket has raised $1.87 Mn (INR 12 Cr) from Impanix Capital.

As evident from her statement, the online loans marketplace aims to use the newly raised funds in the growth of business and infuse new technology to scale further.

Asia

CROWD GENIE ASSET EXCHANGE TO HOLD ICO (Bitcoinist), Rated: AAA

Crowd Genie, a fully operational Singapore-based peer-to-peer digital lending platform licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), has been selected by the token holders of the ICOS platform as the latest promising project to hold its own ICO.

Unlike most projects contemplating an ICO, Crowd Genie is not a startup but rather a debt-based lending platform that has been in operation for more than 12 months. It is one of only four P2P lending platforms licensed by the MAS. The project’s vision is to build a tokenized Pan-Asian lending exchange based on smart contracts, to ensure cost-effective, safe and efficient cashflows between lenders and borrowers.

The public ICO will begin on January 15, 2018, and will run until February 15, 2018. On offer will be 50,000,000 CGCOINs, a utility token which can be used to trade on the Crowd Genie platform.

Credit Suisse Snaps Up Fintech Stake (FiNews), Rated: A

Singapore-based fintech Canopy announced it has raised fresh funding of $3.4 million from investors including Switzerland’s second-largest bank Credit Suisse as well as Lionrock Capital.

Canopy, formerly known as Mesitis, is a Singapore-based anonymous account aggregation and analytics platform for financial institutions, wealth management professionals, and high net worth individuals.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday November 27 2017, Daily News Digest

fintech TransUnion

News Comments Today’s main news: Ant Financial bans high-interest consumer loan products. Lending Club boosts MPL credit metrics in 3rd self-sponsored ABS. Funding Circle to launch Isa next week. Zopa reforms how returns are displayed. Robo-advisors in China must be licensed. CreditEase to pioneer fund of funds for direct real estate purchases. New Zealand publishes first P2P/crowdfunding statistical returns. Today’s main […]

fintech TransUnion

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Africa

News Summary

United States

Lending Club boosts MPL credit metrics in 3rd self-sponsored ABS (Asset Securitization Report), Rated: AAA

LendingClub’s third self-sponsored securitization of online marketplace loans is benefiting from the company’s recent tightening of credit standards.

The loans backing the $330 million Consumer Loan Underlying Bond (CLUB) Credit Trust 2017-P2 involve borrowers with higher FICO scores that have allowed LendingClub to reduce its credit enhancement levels on the deal.

CLUB Credit Trust 2017-P2 has a collateral pool of 22,062 prime, consumer loans with a cumulative net balance of $368 million, or an average balance of $16,681.

TransUnion Study On FinTech Market; PayPal Enters Robo Advice Market (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York reports that household debt totaled $12.95 Tn last quarter – the 13th straight quarterly increase. As a share of GDP however, household debt stands at 66% below a peak of 87% in early 2009.

PayPal continues to expand the range of its consumer offerings. PayPal started with payments initially, moved to personal and small business loans, and is now delivering asset management solutions. The partnership will offer Acorns a unique channel for customer acquisition and allow Acorns to compete with Betterment and Wealthfront. Paypal led a $30 Mn investment round in Acorns Grow in April 2016.

FinTechs are Growing and Taking Market Share

FinTech’s market share has grown from virtually zero in 2012 to 30% in 2016. The outstanding balances on personal loans have doubled to over $100 Bn in 2017 from late 2013, with 128 lenders making more than 10,000 personal loans annually. FinTechs compete with banks to originate loans to prime consumers, and FinTech’s originate 30% of their loans to non-prime consumers where there is less competition from banks.

Source: TransUnion

FinTechs Have The Most Robust, Risk-Based Pricing

Source: TransUnion

Brian Dally of Groundfloor (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • Where the idea for Groundfloor come from.
  • Why Brian decided to start in the real estate asset class.
  • How many states they are operating in today for both borrowers and investors.
  • How they go about sourcing real estate deals.
  • Why they decided to focus on non-accredited investors.
  • How their securities offering is structured.
  • The minimum investment allowed per deal.
  • How returns have been for investors.
  • Which side of the marketplace is constraining growth today.
  • How they differentiate themselves from their competition.
  • The performance of their loan book to date.
  • Their business model and how they make money.
  • Details of their first institutional investor and why this is good for retail investors.
  • Their goal for an institutional/retail investor mix.
  • What the future holds for Groundfloor.

Online lenders pull out the popcorn, as the Trump administration fights to control the CFPB (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Republican lawmakers have long sought to reduce the CFPB’s oversight. Now dueling appointments put its immediate future in question. Last night, President Trump named his budget director, Mick Mulvaney, as acting director of the agency hours after its current leader, Obama-appointed Richard Cordray, announced he would leave the job.

To counter the administration’s plans, on his way out the door, Cordray named his chief of staff, Leandra English, as the agency’s deputy director.

Under the law, the appointment should make English the agency’s acting director, though the White House says that Mulvaney plans to show up at the CFSB Monday morning anyway. The White House further says Mulvaney will keep his current job as head of the Office of Management and Budget.

If the Trump administration follows through on its threats, Mulvaney will lead both agencies until a permanent head of CFPB is chosen and confirmed by the Senate.

Nobody Knows Who the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s New Boss Is (New York Magazine), Rated: A

On his way out, he appointed his chief of staff, Leandra English, to take over the CFPB, citing the Dodd-Frank Act, which states that the agency’s deputy director will take over the agency if the director leaves. Trump responded by naming Mulvaney as expected, pointing to the Federal Vacancies Reform Act as justification for his move.

The eventual director must be confirmed by the Senate; Trump’s pick is expected within weeks.

3 trends powering the rise of financial robo-advice (VentureBeat), Rated: A

1. Availability of data

We generate more than 2.5 billion GB of data every day.

In one notable example, JP Morgan and Intuit earlier this year announced their companies will make data available via the Open Financial Exchange API. Their goal is to make it easier and more secure for consumers to use their data across various financial apps and websites.

2. Increased power and storage

  • Google Tensor Processing Unit.
  • Nvidia Volta.
  • Huawei Kirin.

3. Advancements in AI

In particular, deep learning and boosting models enable significant leaps forward in the application of machine learning. These include design concepts such as Google’s Capsule Network, which offers an alternative to traditional neural nets, and replicative and transfer learning, which enable pattern discoveries and accuracies impossible by human counterparts.

The results of studies using these ideas are impressive. In one example, University of Mannheim researchers showed how ontologies help some machine learning models validate data 50 times faster. And Google’s AutoAI demonstrated it can create better machine learning code than the researchers who made it.

Student debt relief trumps other benefits (Employee Benefit Adviser), Rated: A

Student loan repayment programs are climbing the pantheon of employee benefits, suggests a recent survey of full-time workers with student loan debt.

Pollfish found that 23% would gladly give up healthcare benefits for a student loan repayment benefit. In addition, 46% would relinquish paid time off and 33% would do the same for retirement benefits in exchange for a repayment benefit. Also, 53% said they’d consider a salary cut in exchange for a student loan repayment benefit.

Of 1,000 college graduates polled by SoFi, an online personal finance company, 90% were more willing to accept a job offer at a new company if their employer offered a student loan contribution benefit. In the Pollfish survey, 84% gave the same response.

The Most Well-Funded Fintech Startup In Each State (CB Insights), Rated: A

State Company Total Equity Funding ($M)
Arizona CampusLogic $ 17.5
Arkansas LumoXchange $ 0.2
California SoFi $ 2,040.5
Colorado IP Commerce $ 54.7
Connecticut PayVeris $ 14.2
DC Fundrise $ 52.6
Delaware College Avenue Student Loans $ 50.0
Florida YellowPepper $ 34.0
Georgia Kabbage $ 490.0
Idaho VisitPay $ 18.4
Illinois Avant $ 655.0
Indiana Allied Payment Network $ 2.6
Iowa Dwolla $ 39.1
Kansas C2FO $ 99.7
Kentucky Inked Brands $ 4.0
Louisiana Zlien $ 7.2
Maryland Regent Education $ 39.7
Massachusetts Toast $ 138.0
Michigan Clinc $ 7.5
Minnesota Bright Health $ 240.0
Missouri Clearent $ 27.5
Nebraska D3 Technology $ 35.6
Nevada Filament $ 31.8
New Jersey Billtrust $ 104.5
New York Oscar Insurance Corporation $ 727.5
North Carolina AvidXchange $ 558.2
Ohio Aver $ 23.2
Oklahoma CreditPoint Software $ 1.1
Oregon NVoicePay $ 21.5
Pennsylvania InstaMed Communications $ 101.9
Rhode Island Upserve $ 191.5
South Carolina Ceterus $ 10.2
South Dakota ReliaMax $ 3.9
Tennessee Digital Reasoning Systems $ 75.6
Texas BigCommerce $ 164.5
Utah MX $ 54.1
Virginia StreetShares $ 18.9
Washington Avalara $ 253.0
Wisconsin Dynamis Software Corporation $ 4.3
Source: CB Insights

Bridge loan helps borrowers as they pursue graduate degrees (SFGate), Rated: B

The sellers wanted to accept the offer but were concerned about the VA financing with an online lender who was unresponsive to the listing agent’s calls. The Realtor advised the couple that if they could find a local lender who could preapprove them with conventional financing, their offer would be accepted.

Wyatt held a video conference with the couple to clarify the structure of the file and learned that both clients were pursuing their graduate degrees and took time off work to attend classes. In addition, the co-borrower had recently received an employment offer for a salaried position.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle Isa to launch next week (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer platform Funding Circle has announced that it will start rolling out its Isa account to all current investors from next Thursday (30th November).

UK peer-to-peer lenders plan to raise millions from ISAs (Financial Times), Rated: A

Britain’s largest peer-to-peer lenders plan to raise hundreds of millions of pounds from savers in the coming weeks even as many of them say they will reduce higher risk lending in case there is a downturn.

“We expect a lot of demand,” Samir Desai, chief executive of Funding Circle, told the Financial Times. “We have done lots of surveys and a huge proportion of the base told us they would like to put all of the money they invest with us through the ISA.”

Zopa addresses default concerns by reforming how returns are displayed (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ZOPA is working on improving the way long-term returns are displayed so investors do not become overly concerned with monthly defaults in their portfolio.

The peer-to-peer lender said it is working on a prototype that would show investors their current portfolio performance, a range of what their returns will be and what their target rate is.

The display, currently in testing, includes a graph showing portfolio growth, and the net cash earnings after losses, a range of what the returns will be that narrows closer to maturity and what the target rate is in comparison to what was advertised.

Welendus launches new £150,000 crowdfunding campaign (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

PEER-TO-PEER payday loan platform Welendus has launched a new crowdfunding round on Seedrs this morning to raise an additional £150,000.

The lender, which raised £100,000 from investors during a Seedrs fundraise in March, has already reached 92 per cent of its target by attracting funding from the existing crowdfunding backers.

NatWest joins the robo-advisers (This is Money), Rated: A

High-street bank NatWest has launched a fully regulated robo-advice proposition charging £10 for customers seeking to invest sums as low as £500.

Unlike some rival robo-advisers that offer guidance based on responses to just a few questions, or simplified advice that doesn’t factor in your complete financial position, NatWest said its process will offer full-fat advice akin to the traditional face-to-face process but online.

57% of SMEs support European Free Trade Agreement (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

More than half of small business owners (57%) are supportive of joining the European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA), a new survey has revealed.
Research by peer-to-peer platform Funding Circle has found that the key reasons cited by businesses for wanting to join the EFTA included the ease of exporting and importing (59%), a larger customer base (46%) and lower tariffs (42%).

 

Was the Budget boom or bust for personal finance? (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

PEER-TO-PEER lenders are split about the outcome of the Budget for people’s finances.

RateSetter said there was “a notable absence of measures to help people put away more for the future” in Wednesday’s fiscal event, but Lending Works called it “a boost for personal finance”.

Rethinking bricks and mortar: alternatives for property investors (Your Money), Rated: B

A mismatch of supply and demand has made UK property more unaffordable than ever for would be buyers. Property investors pursuing the buy-to-let route are also facing challenges due to a recent crackdown in tax legislation. Against this backdrop, peer to peer (P2P) and equity crowdfunding have grown in popularity as alternative ways to access the property market.

Key considerations before picking an investment route

 

  • Investment risk
  • Debt or equity
  • Liquidity
  • Who’s the provider

RateSetter Appoints Richard Steele Regional Manager of Midlands (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

UK-based peer-to-peer lending platform RateSetter announced on Friday it has appointed Richard Steele as its regional manager for the Midlands. According to the online lender, Steele has more than 15 years of business lending experience and prior to joining RateSetter, he held the relationship manager position at Barclays and business development manager at BCRS Business Loans.

China

WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On November 17th, top financial regulators in mainland China (including PBOC, CBRC, CSRC, CIRC and SAFE) released a new set of rules covering the country’s asset management market. It is the first time that the regulators designated one of the articles to Robo-advisors.

According to the article, financial institutions that conduct Robo-advisory services or AI-driven investment programs should be granted license from financial regulator before carrying out any operations.

Here Comes Tencent Credit

Two years ago, Ant Financial, the financial affiliate of Alibaba, launched its own credit scoring system Sesame Credit. This week, Tencent, Alibaba’s main rival in China, finally followed suit by launching a similar and competitive product, Tencent Credit. The credit score ranges between 300 and 850.

Sesame Credit Ceases Cooperation with Cash Loan Platforms

On November 21st, a cash loan platform told the media that they had received a notification from Sesame Credit, the credit scoring services of Ant Financial. According to the notification, Sesame Credit will cease to cooperate with cash loans from December 12th of 2017 due to some of its illegal behavior regarding interest rate setting and debt collection.

Chinese fintech firm CreditEase to pioneer funds of funds as alternative to direct real estate purchases (SCMP), Rated: AAA

CreditEase, one of China’s largest financial technology companies, has set its sights on funds of funds focusing on real estate projects as founder and chief executive Tang Ning anticipates a new property investment scenario.

At present, high-net-worth individuals in China seeking returns from property investment often directly buy and own residential or commercial units, betting on the appreciation of assets.

CreditEase, which specialises in lending to small businesses and consumers as well as wealth management for affluent investors, plans to set up a clutch of funds of funds that will allocate capital to leading global real estate funds managed by big names such as Blackstone and KKR.

China Online Lender Qudian’s Latest Plunge Knocks CEO From Billionaire Ranks (Forbes), Rated: A

Qudian lost 24.3% on Friday to end at $12.22, the worst close since it listed at $24 on Oct. 18.  Friday’s decline left Luo’s fortune at $776 million.

Luo, 34, ranked No. 255 on the 2017 Forbes China Rich List published on Nov. 16 with an estimated fortune of $1.48 billion.

Shares in Qudian, which is 11% owned by Alibaba Group affiliate Ant Financial, and other Chinese online lenders have been falling on reports that regulators plan to tighten restrictions on microlenders. On Friday, Qudian said it would cap charges and costs to customers linked to Alipay at an annual interest rate of 24% (see announcement and details here).  Qudian also said it is working to extend credit through its own app where it can charge up to an annual rate of 36%.

Alibaba Affiliate Bans High-interest Consumers Loan Products (ValueWalk), Rated: AAA

Ant Financial, the financial arm of Alibaba, has barred consumer loanswith an annual interest rate above 24% on its Alipay platform.

Ant Financial stated that it has increased monitoring of the financial service providers on Alipay and its credit platform, Sesame Credit, and found some inappropriate collection methods and interest rates above legal limits, according to Reuters. Further, Alibaba’s Ant Financial stated that it would withdraw cooperation with some cash loan providers. Sesame Credit is a proprietary credit scoring system, which gives Alipay e-wallet users a credit score.

China Fintech Firm Is Said to Mull Fate of $ 500 Million IPO (Bloomberg), Rated: A

LexinFintech Holdings Ltd., owner of Chinese online lending platform Fenqile, plans to meet advisers this weekend to discuss the fate of its proposed U.S. initial public offering, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The company aims to decide whether to imminently start its IPO roadshow or wait for a later date when market sentiment may be better, according to the people.

Yirendai Awarded ISO 27001 Certification (Business Insider), Rated: A

Yirendai Ltd. (NYSE: YRD) (“Yirendai” or the “Company”) announced today that it has been awarded certification to the international standard for Information Security Management (ISO 27001) from British Standards Institution.

The ISO 27001 certification is an internationally recognized best practice framework for an information security management system (“ISMS”) and specifies the requirements for establishing, implementing, maintaining and improving information security management within an organization. It also takes into account risk assessment and risk treatment with regards to security of information.

Tencent to set up fintech lab in Xiongan (ECNS.cn), Rated: B

Tencent Holdings Ltd, Asia’s most valuable firm, is planning to set up a financial technology lab and digitize public medical services in the Xiongan New Area, as part of a broader push to gain a foothold in China’s latest economic zone.

European Union

One Idea to Make Europe Bigger in Tech Is to Pay Employees More (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Europe isn’t producing the kind of large, globally-influential technology companies like those coming out of the U.S. and China. A perennial question is why?

One reason might be that European startups don’t give employees as much of a chance to strike it rich, according to a new study by the European venture capital firm Index Ventures. While startup employees in the U.S. are often rewarded with stock options — allowing them to cash out handsomely if a company is sold or goes public — young firms in Europe don’t offer the same scale of incentives.

In an analysis of 73 companies, Index found that European employees own on average about 10 percent of the startup where they work, compared to 20 percent for U.S. workers. European companies often skew stock options to executives rather than rank-and-file employees.

A tech VC explains why Revolut is such a hot ticket as the fintech app hits 1 million users (Business Insider), Rated: A

Revolut announced the milestone on Friday, saying that customers have now completed 42 million transactions on its app worth a combined $6 billion (£4.5 billion). The company began as a foreign exchange app linked to a pre-paid card but has since branched out into broader financial services, such as current accounts, insurance, and investments.

Revolut, which is applying for a full European banking license, said that 42% of its customers are aged 25-35, “a clear indication that traditional banks are no longer meeting the needs of younger, tech-savvy generations.”

Flender closes in on £2m funding round (Independent), Rated: A

Dublin-based peer-to-peer lending business Flender is close to raising more than €2m in its latest funding round.

Some €400,000 of the money has been raised from its own platform – the first peer-to-peer equity investment on an Irish platform. Terms are close to being agreed for the remaining balance of a £2m (€2.25m) round.

CS Invests in Swiss Fintech (finews), Rated: B

Credit Suisse has bought a majority stake in Tradeplus24, a Zurich-based fintech firm specialized in small- and mid-sized business loans. The Swiss bank bought into a series A1 financing through its subsidiary, SVC, the bank said in a statement.

International

2 investment trusts for income investors seeking reliable high yields (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

With interest rates still near historic lows, it can be hard to find mainstream investments that will pay out a significant yield.

But for investors who don’t want to go through the trouble of setting up their own account with a peer-to-peer lending platform, P2P Global Investments (LSE: P2P) offers an alternative route to gain access to the sector. It’s an investment trust that offers investors a ready-made and diversified portfolio of peer-to-peer loans, saving time from building a portfolio from scratch and enabling investors to earn income straight away. At its current share price, it has a trailing 12-month dividend yield of 6%.

ETHLend – A Fully Decentralized & Democratized P2P Lending Platform On The Ethereum Blockchain (Chipin), Rated: A

The main feature of ETHLend is the financing options available in ETH, which allows users to borrow or lend ETH using ETHLend’s digital tokens in an efficient manner or by using ENS domains as a collateral.

The ETHLend platform can be also used as a tool for both B2B and B2C transactions.

An interesting aspect of ETHLend is that both borrowers and lenders will receive 0.1 credit tokens (equal to 1 ETH) each for every loan that is repaid successfully.

These credit tokens can then be used as collateral for loans on the platform or sold for profit.

Here are the details of the upcoming LEND token sale:

Token name: LEND

Token base: Ethereum (ERC-20)

Token supply: 1,000,000,000

Token sale duration: 25th November, 2017 – 27th December, 2017

Token sale target: 37,600 ETH (hard cap)

Token exchange rate: 1 ETH = 25,000-27,500 LEND (depending on period of sale)

Celsius – The P2P Decentralized Credit Protocol Built On Smart Contract Technology (Chipin), Rated: A

The modern credit system is a mess, particularly for millennials and the Generation X youths.

Celsius is a P2P and blockchain-powered global credit network designed to improve the efficiency of modern credit and financing systems.

There are 4 types of loans in the Celsius platform:

    • The platform will enable millennials to establish a digital credit score and be issued a credit line; the credit can then be accessed by a sponsored credit card from Celsius.
    • Celsius will also allow the platform’s users to expand their credit limit against their own cryptocurrency asset holdings they have at Celsius. The extended credit can be easily accessed through several options.
    • Members can also choose to lend any cryptocurrencies they own and earn up to 5x the normal interest rates they get from banks. Finally, members can borrow cryptocurrencies in a secure and transparent manner
    • To safeguard the platform’s ecosystem, both lenders and borrowers on Celsius are verified and carefully selected to prevent fraud.

Here are the details of the upcoming DEG token sale:

Token name: DEG

Token base: Ethereum (ERC-20)

Token supply: 1,000,000,000

Token sale duration: 25th of January, 2018 – TBA (pre-sale is currently LIVE)

Token sale target: $100,000,000 (hard cap)

Token exchange rate: $0.20 = 1 DEG

Australia/New Zealand

Why SocietyOne needs more than its billionaire backers (Financial Review), Rated: AAA

The other is it’s in the midst of what is expected to be its last funding round before listing the business, raising up to $20 million in equity based on a valuation of up to $200 million, which is based on a multiple of one times its loan book.

The raising, managed by Venture Advisory and due to close late this month, is part of a long-term, highly anticipated plan to target a sharemarket listing in 2018.

SocietyOne is expected to need a book worth $500 million or so before it starts breaking even.

Chief executive Jason Yetton has said previously the company is eyeing a 2 per cent to 3 per cent share of the $105 billion consumer finance market in the long term, of which credit card debt comprises $42 billion.

Fortress backs $ 120m capital raising by MoneyMe (Financial Review), Rated: AAA

Global credit investor Fortress Investment Group will invest $100 million in debt capital to support MoneyMe’s consumer lending growth as the fintech considers an initial public offering in early 2019.

Fortress’s investment is part of a $120 million asset-backed securitisation deal, which also includes a $20 million bond, issued by Evans & Partners, which was oversubscribed.

MoneyMe, which has made $150 million in personal loans to 70,000 customers in the past four years, is both cash flow positive and profitable, very rare for an Australian fintech.

Of its $150 million in lending, $80 million has been advanced in the past 12 months.

New Zealand’s Financial Markets Authority Publishes First Peer-To-Peer/Crowdfunding Statistical Returns (MondoVisione), Rated: AAA

The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) today published its first statistical reporton peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding in New Zealand.

The data shows $259.9 million is currently loaned to individuals and $29.5 million loaned to businesses through peer-to-peer lending in the year ending 30 June 2017.

A total of $74.2 million was raised from investors through crowdfunding, including wholesale investors, in the same period.

Tic:Toc to undercut broker distribution in white label play (TheAdviser), Rated: A

Mortgage brokers are facing a double threat from online lender Tic:Toc, which is seeing a surge in demand from consumers and interest from banks and non-bank lenders looking for cheaper distribution.

The fintech started lending four months ago and has received approximately $330 million of applications in that time, with conversions hovering around 17 per cent this month.

Financial regulator shines light on P2P lending, crowdfunding (Stuff), Rated: A

Kiwis have nearly 17,000 loans through “peer-to-peer” lending platforms, but more than one in 12 borrowers were behind on repayments, according to the Financial Markets Authority.

There were 16,977 loans outstanding with P2P lenders at the end of June, it said, of which 1469 were in arrears. The average size of loans being taken out was $8771.

During the year, 833 loans with a total value of $8.5 million were written off.

Why banks and fin-techs need each other (NZ Herald), Rated: B

Chris Russell, HSBC New Zealand chief executive, said history was littered with banks who had spent large sums of money on developing new technology, only to find it had gone in another direction while it was working on it.

Globally Russell said HSBC was setting up innovation labs to work with financial technology firms and it was China and India where it saw the biggest sources of development.

In New Zealand it is also partnering with a local fin-tech, although Russell won’t name who yet.

India

The quick and safe way to build a credit score (livemint), Rated: A

If you are new in the workforce, you can start by getting a low-limit credit card from the bank where you have a salary account, said Sumit Bali, senior executive vice president and head-personal assets, Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd.

Alternative credit scoring

While the RBI-regulated credit bureaus are currently not allowed to use alternative data for credit scoring; in other developed markets parameters like utility bill payments, insurance premium payments have been used for credit scoring (read more on it here.

However, financial institutions including top public and private sector banks and NBFCs in India, have started using alternative data in multiple verifications and validations across the credit value chain, Agarwal said.

Asia

Considering an ICO… then read this (The Star), Rated: AAA

The ICO euphoria is likely being fuelled by the fact that despite all the negative news surrounding ICOs and cryptocurrencies, the price of bitcoin has generally kept soaring, despite the many mini crashes it tends to suffer.

For sober markets like Malaysia and Singapore, the regulators’ stance is clear. They are not outlawing ICOs but making a simple statement: if fund-raising is your main objective, then please take note of existing securities laws, which have been built and refined over a very long time.

Malaysia should not become a hotbed for dodgy ICOs.

Asian regulators should focus on light touch for ICOs (Asian Review), Rated: A

China banned initial coin offerings in September as “a form of unapproved illegal public financing behavior.” South Korea followed suit a few weeks later. Regulators in Hong Kong, Singapore, the U.S. and other countries have also expressed concerns. What is it that has them so worried?

Africa

A Digital Transactions Takeover right under our nose – Cassava Fintech (Newsday), Rated: AAA

Cassava Fintech is a specialized Pan-African Fintech company that delivers innovative digital transaction solutions across the mobile ecosystem. Sounds fancy right? Not quite. Simply put Econet’s vision has expanded beyond Telecoms and our Zimbabwean borders. Econet’s premise sits within an inclusive connected future that leaves no African behind.

Fintech SMEs to drive 72% of bank innovation (The Star), Rated: A

Financial technology startups, commonly known as fintechs, will be responsible for 72 per cent of financial innovations in the next three years, a new industry report shows.

Financial technology startups, commonly known as fintechs, will be responsible for 72 per cent of financial innovations in the next three years, a new industry report shows.

81 per cent of financial institutions said they are currently partnering with start-ups or intend to in the next 12 months.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday August 28 2017, Daily News Digest

artificial intelligence

News Comments Today’s main news: Blend lands $100M investment. Funding Circle achieves ISA manager status. Hive raises over $8M. Innovate UK invests 700K GBP in Paybase. China Life, Baidu launch $1B internet fund. Klarna’s profits increase 138 percent. Today’s main analysis: Bank of America Merrill Lynch to implement AI. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Congresswoman asks FDIC to hold public hearing on […]

artificial intelligence

News Comments

United StatesFlipkart, Amazon pose new competition for fintech lenders.

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Canada

News Summary

United States

LendingClub Hit with Lawsuit (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

LendingClub (NYSE:LC) has been hit with a lawsuit that names former CEO Renaud Laplanche alongside current and former board members and former CFO Carrie Dolan. The complaint, filed in the Court of Chancery in Delaware, states;

“Throughout the period December 11, 2014 and continuing through May 9, 2016 (the “Relevant Period”), the Individual Defendants breached their fiduciary duties to LendingClub by failing to institute adequate internal controls regarding financial disclosures, related party transactions, and data integrity and security, all while causing LendingClub to represent in the Registration Statement and a series of subsequent filings that such controls were sufficient.”

The suit has been filed by two shareholders; Kelvin Farley and Jay Fink.

Waters Calls on FDIC to Hold Public Hearing on SoFi’s Application for Bank Charter (House.gov), Rated: AAA

Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services, sent a letter to Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Chairman Martin Gruenberg, calling for the FDIC to hold at least one public hearing on Social Financial, Inc.’s (SoFi) application to establish an Industrial Loan Company (ILC).

In the letter, Ranking Member Waters states that changes in the financial services industry and financial regulation necessitate a public hearing to examine the policy and legal implications of granting federal deposit insurance to ILCs generally, as well as to obtain greater input on the unique risks posed by granting it to a financial technology (fintech) company like SoFi.

I am writing to request that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) hold at least one public hearing on Social Finance, Incorporated’s (“SoFi”) application to establish an industrial loan company (“ILC”) to provide FDIC-insured Negotiable Order of Withdrawal (“NOW”) accounts and credit card products. As you know, because de novo ILC formations have been affected by regulatory and statutory moratoria for several years, the FDIC has not approved a deposit insurance application for a new ILC charter for some time. Since the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank Act”), changes in the financial regulatory regime and financial services industry justify a public hearing to examine the policy and legal implications of granting Federal deposit insurance to ILCs generally, as well as to obtain greater input on the unique risks posed by granting it to a financial technology (“fintech”) company like SoFi, a number of which I will discuss in more detail below.

Appropriate regulatory oversight of any ILC is an essential prerequisite to approving any application for deposit insurance backed by taxpayers. The FDIC has previously acknowledged the importance of strong oversight of any insured bank and its parent company when discussing oversight of ILCs.[1] In reaction to a number of concerns previously raised on the regulation of ILCs, the FDIC even went so far as imposing several moratoria on its ability to approve ILC applications for deposit insurance in 2006 and 2007 to, in the words of former FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair in testimony before the House Financial Services Committee, “allow the FDIC to carefully weigh the safety and soundness concerns that have been raised regarding commercially-owned ILCs. At the same time… the moratorium provides an opportunity for Congress to consider the important public policy issues regarding the ownership of ILCs by commercial companies.”[2]

While some experts have touted the possibility that fintech firms can help promote financial inclusion, others have underscored the challenges posed for our current regulatory regime to oversee these types of companies and have underscored the need for policymakers to carefully evaluate the consequences of allowing them access to deposit insurance and the Federal Reserve discount window.[11] Thus, Federal regulators have taken a varying degree of actions focused on fintech companies and services. For example, while the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”), under its “Responsible Innovation” initiative, has proposed a Special Purpose National Bank Charter for fintech companies (“fintech charter”)[12] questions have been raised about whether the benefits to consumers for this new charter will be widely and fairly shared, and whether there is adequate legal authority, let alone a clearly defined and modern regulatory framework, for such a fintech charter.[13] Indeed, a lawsuit has been filed by state banking regulators challenging the OCC’s authority.[14] As should be the case with the OCC and its proposal to use its authority to federally charter fintech companies, the FDIC should thoroughly consider the implications of offering access to the deposit insurance fund for ILCs that will result in expanding the type of institutions to it, like fintech firms. Fintech firms, whose operations cross state and international boundaries, and may exist entirely online, were undoubtedly beyond original congressional intent in permitting ILCs to access deposit insurance and it is appropriate for stakeholders to weigh in on whether it is appropriate for these firms to have this access without proper oversight of their parent companies.

The chartering of a fintech company as an ILC also raises a number of consumer protection concerns that the FDIC should consider. For example, the California Reinvestment Coalition (“CRC”) has opposed SoFi’s application on the basis of concerns with the institution’s Community Reinvestment Act (“CRA”) plan, as well as its intended approach to financial inclusion, fair lending, and consumer protection.[17] CRC notes that SoFi’s business model targets “students from elite universities that have strong earnings and wealth potential,” and offers products and services “designed to exclude working class households.” CRC also notes that SoFi’s CRA plan is grossly inadequate, considering that: (1) SoFi’s assessment area will be limited to areas in Utah, but the company will accept deposits and operate nationally; (2) SoFi’s current core products are not designed to serve the “convenience and needs” of low- and moderate-income (“LMI”) communities in which the bank would operate,[18] but rather are focused on serving SoFi’s members; and (3) SoFi’s CRA plan does not encompass measurable commitments to lending, investments, and services for LMI communities.

The full letter is here.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch has become the latest bank to implement AI (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML) has 

Bo Brustkern and Emmanuel Marot (Lend Academy), Rated: A

On this episode of the Lend Academy Podcast I brought together both CEOs to talk about this merger; what it means for their respective customers as well as the industry as a whole.

In this podcast you will learn:

  • The original idea that led to the founding of both companies.
  • The strengths of both companies and why they are a complementary fit.
  • Why they decided to come together and merge companies now.
  • The scale and profitability of the combined company.
  • The unique aspects of the LendingRobot Series investment offering.
  • The platforms that the LendingRobot Series invests on.
  • The different funds that make up the Lending Robot Series.
  • The choices for non-accredited investors on the combined platform.
  • Their value proposition today for investors.
  • Who the target customer is today for the combined company.
  • How the two brands will operate going forward.
  • What the combined company will look like in 12 months time.
  • Where marketplace lending is going in the future.

LendKey, Earnest Alter Student Loan Refinancing Rates (LendEDU), Rated: A

Two student loan refinancing companies, LendKey and Earnest, have changed their student loan refinancing interest rates in recent weeks, according to LendEDU.

Effective August 10th, LendKey’s variable interest rate range for their student loan refinance product was altered slightly. LendKey, a leading lending partner of both banks and credit unions, now offers a variable rate range between 2.67 and 6.31 percent for student loan refinancing.

This new variable rates for LendKey mark an increase on both the low and high ends of the range. Previously, the online lending partner offered a variable interest rate range between 2.52 and 6.16 percent since June.

Online Mortgage Lender Blend Lands $ 100 Million Investment Led by Greylock (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Blend has landed a significant funding round to the tune of $100 million. The funding was led by Greylock Partners with participation by Emergence Capital. Existing investors joined in the round as well.

Wells Fargo, U.S. Bancorp Turn to Startup to Speed Up Mortgage Applications (WSJ), Rated: A

Wells Fargo & Co. and U.S. Bancorp have signed deals with mortgage-software startup Blend Labs Inc. to move more of their loan applications online.

Ethereum-Based Invoice Finance Platform Hive Raises Over US$ 8 Million (Coin Journal), Rated: A

The Hive Project, which intends to build the world’s first cryptocurrency-based invoice financing platform, has raised 2,087 BTC, or over US$8.9 million, from 2,234 investors through its initial coin offering (ICO).

Using invoice finance, the business “sells” its outstanding invoices at a small discount to a financier. The business immediately receives up to 85% of the value of the invoice instead of having to wait the usual 30 to 90 days to get paid by customers.

Hive uses the Ethereum blockchain and smart contracts to assign a unique fingerprint to every invoice issued. These invoices are then tokenized and published on a blockchain, and made available as a shared source of liquidity for factoring and invoice financing.

Debate on Regulatory Reform (PeerIQ), Rated: A

JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon in his annual letter would agree that the banking system is safer and stronger today. Nevertheless, Mr. Dimon believes that economic growth and lending is below potential. For instance, JPM estimates $1 Tn in loans could have been generated in recent years generating an additional 50 bps in annual GDP growth thru regulatory reform.

The specific regulatory reform areas Mr. Dimon identified include:

  • Simplification of the annual stress-testing process
  • Release or enable banks to deploy excess capital towards small business loans, lower middle market, and near-prime mortgages
  • Rationalization of supplementary leverage ratios and operational risk capital
  • National servicing standards for the mortgage servicing market
  • Federal Housing Administration (FHA) reform
  • Complete securitization standards to encourage private capital and reduce exposure to taxpayers

Role for 3rd party risk infrastructure to strengthen markets

Large banks are increasingly playing the role of financial intermediaries that connect non-banks to the capital markets. Banks are providing liquidity facilities (“lending to the lenders”) and capital-light securitization programs. Although Yellen is right that lending continues to grow, critically, the nexus of credit formation–including for a majority of personal loans, auto loans, student re-fi loans, and even mortgages–now takes place between a consumer and a non-bank.

Under this new landscape, the soft underbelly of the credit markets has shifted from bank wholesale funding to non-bank wholesale funding. And when investor confidence seizes, the transmission mechanism connecting policy to the real economy can break down. Spreads widen, funding costs increase, and markets freeze exactly when policymakers seek to ease financial conditions.

Q&A with Head of Alternative Lending at Fintech Marqeta (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Recently, Crowdfund Insider published an article about Marqeta signing a partnership with Visa on payments and loans. The marriage is designed boost innovations in commercial and consumer payments and online lending. Visa also made a strategic investment in Marqeta at that time to the tune of $25 million. Total investments in Marqeta now stand at over $70 million.

Isn’t this just all about borrowers getting a better interest rate [and investors earning more]?

Candace: Lenders are looking to increase renewals (repeat borrowers are easier to sell than new borrowers), beat out the stackers (top of wallet, top of mind) and decrease risk (new data on spending reduces risk for future loans). On the heels of 2016, these have become as important as the interest rate for the lender.

For the borrower, speed to funds has become increasingly important, and distributing loan funds to a  card allows a way to immediately spend the funds without waiting for the funds to be deposited into the borrower’s bank account.

If Credit Cards drop their rates then they can become competitive. For Visa to partner with Marqeta – isn’t it just how the debt is carried? For the consumer / business, they are indifferent?

Candace: The rates apply to the underlying loan per the agreement between the lender and the borrower, not to a prepaid card that is used to assist with making purchases. The prepaid card bears no interest charge. The terms for the loan (from which the loan proceeds are distributed to the card) continues as agreed upon between the lender and the borrower. That debt does not change.

How Riskalyze Won The Hearts Of Financial Advisors And Upgraded The Advice Industry (Benzinga), Rated: A

Ahead of Riskalyze CEO Aaron Klein’s speaking engagement at the Benzinga Fintech Summit in San Francisco, Benzinga caught up with him to learn more about how the company is upgrading financial advice.

BZ: How did you go about identifying this need for financial advisors? What kind of research did you do?

What’s interesting is that we invented a new space. There was no risk-alignment platform that helped advisors do that. There were questionnaire products that answered half the question, there were a few portfolio analysis tools that would answer the other half, but we invented the concept of the risk number. We can help advisors pinpoint the client’s risk number and then we score portfolios using that number.

Klein: I’ll talk about the two different sides of the coin. A lot of the innovation was figuring out those sides of the coin and bridging the two together. On the one hand, we took some concepts that had really never made it out of academia and into everyday use. They’re centered around the economic framework called prospect theory, which won the Nobel Prize for economics in 2002. We took prospect theory and built a bunch of proprietary technology on top of it to understand how to move up and down a client’s personal financial spectrum to understand when they prefer risk and when they prefer certainty.

Once we do that, we built a mathematical formula behind the scenes that lets advisors turn that into the client’s risk number. That’s how the client-side works.

On the flip side, we need to match that up with a portfolio. So, the inputs for that piece of the technology are largely market data. We effectively take daily pricing data for nearly a quarter-million securities — every U.S. stock, ETF, mutual fund, variable-annuity sub accounts, SMA third-party money managers, proprietary non-traded strategies, all kinds of different products. We take all the data for those, we have new data streaming into our systems every night on those securities.

 

This Week In Retail: Funding, Finance And Tech (PYMNTS), Rated: A

This week in retail, we’ve seen news coming in from multiple sides, including that of Apple’s projected increase in smartwatch salesU.K. online lender Prodigy’s funding news for expansion into the U,S.,  Walmart’s two new partnership announcements, and the news that the CFPB is ordering American Express to pay out money to those hurt by unfair practices.

American Express is in the hot seat this week as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) ordered the credit card company to pay out a very large amount to consumers in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It’s being confirmed that over a 10-year period, American Express  provided inferior card offerings to people in those territories than what was being offered in the U.S.

Here are the numbers:

  • $240 million | Amount Prodigy Finance raised in its venture capital equity funding round
  • $96 million | Amount CFPB ordered American Express to pay out to affected Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands consumers
  • $200 | Starting point for potential Walmart installment loans

5 Trends That are Changing the Millennial Economy (Huffington Post), Rated: A

According to statistics from the U.S. census bureau, Millennials make up about 83 million of the nation’s current population. The unique experiences of the Millennials will shape the way we buy and sell, forcing companies and businesses to adjust their business strategy for decades to come.

For example, a growing number of Millennials are choosing to live with their parents. They have been reluctant to buy items such as cars, music, and luxury goods. Luxuries that used to be important for previous generations are not as important for Millennials. They are reshaping the real estate market and are responsible for the growth of the sharing economy.

A recent survey of Interns conducted by Goldman Sachs in 2013, found out that 30% of millennials do not intend to purchase a car in the future. 25% said they will only buy one if there is a need for it, otherwise they are indifferent. Another 25% said buying a car is important but not a big priority. 15% said purchasing a car is extremely important. And the last 5% do not feel strongly about it.

recent report shows that student loans have increased by 84% over ten years with an average student having a loan balance of $29,000.

How to choose and switch to a better bank for you (WPXI), Rated: B

Online banks are now offering much higher rates on savings accounts — significantly higher than the current rates at traditional, bigger banks. So with that in mind, why not just move your savings to take advantage of the bigger return?

To give you some context, online bank ally recently increased the rates on its savings accounts to 1.15% — while the rate on a regular savings account at Bank of America currently sits at only 0.01%.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle receives ISA manager status (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle has received ISA manager status from the HMRC, Peer2Peer Finance News can reveal.

Approval was granted in July, less than two months after the platform won full FCA authorisation.

However, the platform has no immediate plans to launch its IFISA product, telling customers earlier this week that it intended to roll out the tax-free investment wrapper “before the end of the tax year.”

How Funding Circle is helping small businesses face the challenges of Brexit (Prospect Magazine), Rated: A

Fast forward to today, we’ve originated over £3.2 billion worth of loans through the platform. In the UK, that lending has helped create about 60 thousand jobs, and the £2.5 billion of loans has created about £5 billion of GDP or gross economic value added, according to an independent survey by the Centre for Economics Business Research.

In fact, we think we make up about 2 per cent of the total money that’s going to gross-lending small businesses. And if you actually look at the money going into the economy, we make up about a third of net new lending— which is the preferred Bank of England measure. We did about 300 million versus 600 million in the entire banking system in the first half of this year.

Say a small business decides to come to you: what is it they’re getting that they don’t get with a bank?

We turn around loan applications specifically within 24 hours. We are better in that we give better service; everyone can find an account manager.

We’re cheaper, in that our prices are very, very competitive, and often we’re often providing cheaper loans than businesses would be able to get at the bank. We also don’t have the overheads that banks have.

We all know that Brexit is going to shake up the financial sector. What can Funding Circle do to help businesses rise to the challenge?

Net lending by banks fell by 220 million in Q4 last year. Ours actually rose to 167 million.

On top of that, we’ve also had large insurance companies like Aegon, which is a big Dutch insurer, commit to fund £160 million in year one, but actually committed over a four-year period to purchase our loans. The fact a large foreign insurer would want to do that shows that actually, despite Brexit, there’s a vote of confidence in the UK economy, particularly in small business.

FinTech startup Paybase gets £700,000 from Innovate UK (UK Tech), Rated: AAA

London-based FinTech startup Paybase has received a grant of almost £700,000 from innovation agency Innovate UK.

Expected to launch later this year, Paybase has developed an ‘end-to-end solution for payments, compliance and risk’, which can be accessed through a unified API.

Why P2P is still the crowd despite passive lending (AltFi), Rated: A

There’s been much collective gnashing of teeth over the last few months at the evolution of peer to peer lending, as practised by ZopaRatesetter and most latterly Funding Circle. The big bone of contention has been a shift amongst all three – with FC falling into line just a matter of days ago – to a passive lending model. This means that lenders on said platforms now lend passively to a full slice of borrowers rather than picking their borrowers individually. To the critics this implies that the traditional peer to peer (P2P) model is slowly dying out. If you’re not lending to your peers, don’t you just sound like any other finance business such as a bank?

I’m not convinced by this criticism. Collectively a crowd – many peers – are still lending to another crowd, but just in a format that looks closer to a passive, collective fund basis rather than one on one. There is no bank balance sheet lurking around and the ‘crowd’ still sets the rate at which it’s happy to lend. Credit scoring has always been a feature of all the platforms, whether they be ‘pure’ P2P or passive P2P. Someone, somewhere at the centre of the online marketplace needs to set the lending criteria and make decisions about who to lend to.

What about peer to peer? (Library of Things), Rated: A

In this week’s bonus episode co-founder Emma looks at the sharing economy, peer to peer lending, and explains why Library of Things have chosen to operate from a physical space.

Listen to the podcast here.

How Risky Is Borrowing Money Online Through Peer-to-peer Lending (FX Daily Report), Rated: B

It is almost true that borrowing money from traditional financial institutions is a thing of the past.

It has been observed that P2P online lending platforms are not the source of the problem or the risk. However, it seems to be the ease with which loans are available that causes the problems.

Online P2P lenders also offer student loans. It is very important to realize that student loans these days are available everywhere. But what is ultimately the truth is that the loans are burdensome. Any student that avails of such a P2Ponline student loan emerges as a graduate burdened with a heavy debt.

If an individual wants to apply for a P2P online loan, it is best to start with checking credit reports. It is a good idea to fix any errors that may be found on these reports. Otherwise, the interest rates may be hiked up. It is also a good idea to do some research prior to applying for the loan. It is worthwhile to find out as to which lender offers a lower rate of interest even if they fall outside the ring of online P2P lenders. Never decide on which loan to pick up by looking at the monthly amount to be paid. The total amount that you are going to repay and the time period of the repayment are the more important factors to be considered. This gives the total cost of the loan.

China

Big banks strike partnerships with technology companies as part of fintech wave (South China Morning Post), Rated: AAA

Bank of Communications, the nation’s fifth biggest lender, joined with Suning Holdings and its financial affiliate Suning Finance as strategic partners last week, the latest of the big five banks to ally with internet firms.

So far, all big-five banks, accounting for more than one-third of China’s banking assets, have allied with technology giants.

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China allied with e-commerce major JD.com for cooperation in sectors including fintech, retail financing, corporate credit and asset management. Agricultural Bank of China agreed to work together with dominant search engine operator Baidu. Bank of China and Tencent Holdings jointly set up a fintech lab, focusing on cloud computing, big data, block chain and artificial intelligence.

Earlier this month, mid-sized Industrial Bank and JD.com’s financial affiliate JD Finance launched a debit card in Beijing and most cities in affluent Zhejiang province.

China Life and Baidu to launch $ 1 billion internet fund (Reuters), Rated: AAA

China Life Insurance Group Co and Baidu Inc will form a 7 billion yuan ($1 billion) private equity fund, targeting internet and other technology investments, China Life’s listed arm said on Thursday.

The Baidu Fund Partnership will be capitalized by China Life through a special partnership, which will contribute up to 5.6 billion yuan, China Life Insurance Co Ltd said in a Hong Kong Stock Exchange statement.

Baidu, the Chinese language internet search provider, will contribute as much as 1.4 billion yuan.

Ant Financial’s “TechFin” vs JD Finance’s “FinTech” (ASEAN Today), Rated: A

Alibaba’s Ant Financial Services Group and JD Finance are at loggerheads in the Chinese, and increasingly, global e-commerce scene. In 2015, JD Finance recommended the use of “FinTech.” In December 2016, Ma Yun coined the ”TechFin” as a rebuttal, and as a show of thought leadership.

Ant Financial’s unveiling of “TechFin” shows the firm’s focus on building technology rather than financial products.

Critics believe there is not much difference between TechFin and FinTech. Critics believe Ant Financial coined TechFin to gain a foothold from the conceptual standpoint; a counteroffensive to JD Finance’s aggressive marketing of FinTech. This is inevitable considering “FinTech” as a term already achieved credibility within the finance and other related industries.

Ant Financial and JD Finance are more complementary than competitive

Onlookers see Ant Financial and JD Finance as longstanding rivals. JD.com’s recent sale of JD Finance for US$2.1 billion in cash was seen part of a deal to spin off its burgeoning finance arm and raise its game against Ant Financial.

Ant Financial focuses on the traditional model of the Internet while JD Finance focuses on product innovation, for a start. Each business model has its advantages.

Ant Financial also seeks to leverage on Ant Check Later (花呗), a virtual credit card, to open up a whole new road map for credit distribution in Internet finance. In contrast, JD Finance aims to boost user’s consumption through its products. Its Jingxiaodai (京小贷) appeals to merchants who need fuss-free and almost instant access to credit.

European Union

Klarna just posted some impressive half-year figures — profits soar by 138 percent (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

The Swedish e-invoicing giant posted 2,05 billion Swedish crowns ($254,2m) in revenue for the first two quarters of 2017. Meanwhile, operating profits jumped to 228 million ($28m) from last year’s 96 million ($11,9m), reports tech site Di Digital.

Yesterday, Breakit reported that the company is teaming up with Stripeto boost growth in the U.S.

Credit Suisse Eyes 2018 Launch for Blockchain Loans Platform (Coindesk), Rated: AAA

A group of banks led by Credit Suisse is eyeing the launch of a commercial platform for blockchain-based syndicated loans, according to reports.

The group involved finished the second phase of their testing in March.

Using smart contracts to reduce those turnaround times could increase the market’s appeal to potential lenders and investors, according to Aidoo.

Worldcore Payment Institution Announces ICO (Coin Idol), Rated: A

Worldcore announces an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), as part of their wider expansion plans.

The company envisions to become a worldwide reference for the financial tomorrow, by integrating its successful payment solution into the blockchain sector of economy.

Worldcore ICO starts on October 14 of 2017. In total, a maximum supply of one billion WRC tokens at $0.10 USD each, will be available for purchase.

Corlytics named by Allen & Overy in its regtech programme (Finextra), Rated: B

Magic Circle law firm, Allen & Overy, has named Corlytics as one of the eight companies selected to move into its Fuse programme. Fuse is a newly launched innovation space where its lawyers and technology firms team up to develop legal, regulatory and deal-related improvements.

International

Ten Fintech Conferences to Attend This Fall (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

FinovateFall

When: Sept 11-14, 2017
Where: New York City Hilton Midtown
Link:  /> Discount code: F17FALLLAT

LendIt Europe 2017

When: Oct 9-10, 2017
Where: London
Link:  /> Discount code: LENDACADEMYVIP

American Banker’s Digital Lending & Investing

When: November 2-3, 2017
Where: New York, NY
Link: 

AltFi Global Summit

When: November 7, 2017
Where: Amsterdam
Link: 

Marketplace Lending & Alternative Financing Summit 2017

When: December 3-5, 2017
Where: Dana Point, CA
Link: 

This event is put on by the Opal Group and is the only west coast event this fall. This is its second year and while I did not attend last year I heard it was a good event with a focus on the investor side of marketplace lending.

Digital Banking – Old Wine in New Bottle? (Fintech Weekly), Rated: A

There was a time when digital banking was perceived as synonymous with online banking and mobile banking. Financial services industry, along with other sectors, is experiencing an explosion of digitization thanks to smartphones, tablets and access to affordable high-speed internet. The number of smart phone users is expected to equal the number of bank accounts in near future as all mobile users link their bank accounts to their smart phone and get onboard with mobile-based digital wallets and savings platform.

Given this, it is imperative to take a fresh look at whether digital banking means the same as it did a decade ago – both for banks as well as customers – especially since there does not seem to be a consensus on the definition of ‘digital banking’.

Customers today do not have the patience to navigate through multiple screens. They do not want to fill the same KYC details over and over for each product. Presenting paperwork at the branch to support an online application is a big no-no. They expect to resume the application they started on Smart phone on their home computer and may want to talk to the customer care executive on phone while doing that. They do not want to be bothered with cold calls and random sales pitches; they prefer to see only personalized and contextual cross-sell offers with direct purchase links. In short, digital customer today wants one-touch, one-click, personalized and integrated user experience across channels.

On the flip side, while customers enjoy the convenience of digital banking for routine tasks, they also want to continue using the branch when they need some face time with a seamless switch between digital and personal interaction. They do not want to forego the privilege of walking into the local branch despite being able to do all their banking via the web or smartphone.

Australia/New Zealand

Fintech startup shares $ 7m of investment (NZ Adviser), Rated: AAA

Since its launch in June, fintech startup Ilumony has reported more than $7 million in financial investments. Of the $7 million, it has charged no fees for advice on $1 million worth of customer KiwiSaver money.

India

Fintech lenders have new competition: Flipkart and Amazon (The-Ken), Rated: AAA

Though Flipkart launched in 2007, it was only in 2013 that e-commerce really took off in India. That was the year Amazon entered India through a marketplace model, and Flipkart too launched its own marketplace model.

From selling smartphones, books, and apparel to customers, the two of them now started offering warehouses, packaging, and logistics to sellers.

No Flipkart or Amazon for EzCred; this startup wants to pursue offline shoppers (India Times), Rated: A

When ecommerce companies like Flipkart and Amazon wanted to expand to the nooks and corners of the country, they borrowed the idea and recently started offering “No cost EMI” option on selected products. Taking a step further, you now have many fintech companies that have lined up on ecommerce platforms to offer loans to consumers.

Launched in January 2017, EzCred is an alternate lending startup which offers loans to consumers who walk into shop at offline stores.

“Offline is a much larger play than online. A majority of transactions are still done offline,” says Maheshwari.

The startup now has plans to roll out an app for customers to enable them to apply for loans directly. The platform has a credit assessment system which enables the startup to assess the borrowers’ repayment capabilities. This involves various data sources like the borrowers’ CIBIL score, bank statements, information provided by customers, which are then matched with the credit policy of EzCred.

India’s draft data protection law to hinge on user consent; will be ready only next year (Factor Daily), Rated: A

A draft data protection law, which is at the core of the Indian government’s stance that Aadhaar does not violate citizen privacy, will have user consent as its mainstay with a few exceptions.

The draft legislation is expected to be ready in about a year.

This was revealed in interviews with a member of the committee set up by the government to come up with the draft framework — B N Srikrishna, a former Supreme Court judge who is heading it, and a second person with knowledge of the committee’s thinking.

P2P lenders may be allowed to operate offline (The Hindu BusinessLine), Rated: A

In a bid to impart vibrancy to the fledgling peer-to-peer (P2P) lending space and also further the cause of financial inclusion, the Reserve Bank of India is believed to be looking at allowing players in the sector to have an offline presence besides an online one.

On-the-ground presence may help the platforms reach out to those who are currently not being served by banks/non-banking finance companies and also help break the vice-like grip of money lenders on local lending, especially in rural areas and small towns.

Asia

Why e-commerce firms could replace banks as the region’s leading lenders (Southeast Asia Globe), Rated: A

Peer to peer lending (P2P lending) first entered the wider public’s consciousness when it rose from the ashes of the global financial crisis in 2007. By cutting out traditional intermediaries, such as banks, the lending platforms, were able to offer borrowers lower interest rates and lenders higher returns. They were populist alternatives to the casino capitalism that had brought Wall Street to its knees.

According to a 2015 report by Deloitte, in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand there exists “a clear disparity between what SMEs want and expect from banks and what the banks can deliver”. In Indonesia, the report found as few as 6% of SMEs were able to access bank loans.

Recent statistics from the Asian Development Bank show that the situation is similar in Myanmar, which the bank says suffers from a $2 billion shortage in available credit, a shortfall that Brad Jones, CEO of Wave Money, attributes to the country’s excessively cautious banking regulations.

According to data from Singapore-based venture capital fund Dymon Asia Ventures, less than 0.1% of loans in the region currently originate from P2P lending sources, compared with 10% in China and 2-3% in the UK and US. There is, therefore, sufficient growth potential for the Southeast Asian P2P lending market.

Peer-to-peer lending bears risk of bad debt (The Jakarta Post), Rated: A

Despite the rising trend of peer-to-peer (P2P) lending in Indonesia, an economist believes that online-based businesses have increased risk of bad debt if the lenders ignore the importance of supervision.

The credit application mechanism in P2P lending is risky. There is no integrated costumer blacklist data-base like in the banking industry, said Samuel Aset Manajemen economist Lana Soelistianingsih said in Jakarta on Friday.

Moreover, she said P2P lending offered annual interest rates of up to 18.5 percent to investors, adding that such aggressive offers could increase the risk of business failure.

Canada

FLINKS PARTNERS WITH MERCHANT ADVANCE CAPITAL (Betakit), Rated: B

Flinks, a financial API for banks and credit unions, announced a partnership with Merchant Advance Capital, an online lender for small and medium-sized businesses.

Merchant Advance Capital partnered with Flinks to reduce loan approval time for its customers. Flinks will allow Merchant Advance Capital to connect its app directly with customers’ banks, allowing the company to validate account ownership, account balances, and transaction histories.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday March 6 2017, Daily News Digest

Monday March 6 2017, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: Lending Club wins motion to compel arbitration, avoids class action.  Orchard: Q3 originations move up. A quiet crash in bank lending? Abundance IFISA attracts nearly 10m GBP investment. Dubai regulates first P2P lender. Today’s main analysis: The Velocity of money. Today’s thought-provoking articles: SFIG Vegas 2017 recap. Legacy banking systems are the risk. Indian FinTechs attracting […]

Monday March 6 2017, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

  • Lending Club (LC) wins motion to compel arbitration, avoids class action. GP:”While the agreement between Lending Club and the borrower was supposed to compell arbitration, the industry was concerned that a ruling could override that clause of the contract. Had that been the case the cost of disputes would have been much higher, which is great for the attorneys but not that good for anybody else. We are glad the arbitration clause held the scrutiny of the court.” AT: “This is a huge plus for Lending Club, and for all platforms.”
  • AltFi adds Prosper to AltFi Data Analytics platform. GP:” A good validation point for AltFi Data. We continue to believe that data transparency is a must in order for the industry to succeed. We would like to see more student loan, SMB lending data and Real Estate Crowdfunding Data. I strongly believe that Lending Club’s openness with their data put this industry on the map. And for Prosper having a 3rd party independent company validate and publish their own research on their raw data also should serve as an addition point of confirmation and comfort for anybody doing business with them.”
  • How the velocity of money affects economic growth. GP:” Inflation is controlled by inventory of money and velocity of money. This piece means that inflation is still nowhere in sight, which should affect decisions on central interest rates. And interest rates are at least a little bit important for our industry. ” AT: “Some interesting points, but it isn’t good news for optimism.”
  • SFIG Vegas 2017 recap. GP:” MPL ABS issuance up 59% YoY.”
  • Money360’s unique variable for real estate lending success.
  • REITs vs. RECF. AT: “Again, a good read, but not favorable toward RECF. Actually, this piece attacks head on the selling point RECFs use to attract investors over REITs. Investors shouldn’t make decisions based on sales pitches, anyway.”
  • Cinch is the Uber of financial advice.

United Kingdom

European Union

Australia

India

Asia

MENA

 

News Summary

United States

Lending Club Wins Motion to Compel Arbitration. Avoids Class Action. (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Lending Club (NYSE:LC) has was a significant court victory regarding its ability to compel arbitration. The case Bethune v. LendingClub Corp. was filed in the Souther District Court of New York in 2016.

The issue pertained to the interest rate a New York resident was being charged (29.5%). The amount was higher than the statutory limit of 16% under New York’s usury laws. The judge presiding on the case sided with the defendant, Lending Club, by granting the motion the motion to compel arbitration on an individual basis and thus stayed the case pending the outcome of the arbitration. The decision also means Lending Club will dodge a class action lawsuit.

 

Lending Club Bethune Case 1:16-Cv-02578-NRB Document 46 Filed 01.30.17 by CrowdfundInsider on Scribd

AltFi Data Announces the Addition of Prosper Marketplace to the AltFi Data Analytics Platform (AltFi Data Email), Rated: AAA

AltFi Data today announced that it has added the Prosper loan portfolio historic origination data to AltFi Data Analytics USA. The data for loans originated through the Prosper platform can now be presented according to AltFi Data’s established standards. This allows investors to review a track record of net return, together with all supporting metrics, to perform like-for-like analysis against the other marketplace lending platforms that make up AltFi Data Analytics UK – including Zopa, Funding Circle, RateSetter and MarketInvoice.

The availability of standardized data will further facilitate the due diligence that ultimately drives investor adoption of this asset class. The addition of loan data from the Prosper platform also represents the first time that a viable comparison has been made available across geographies.

Prosper Marketplace Net Return to the AltFi Data Marketplace Lending Returns Index methodology

The 12 month trailing net return that investors have achieved through Prosper Marketplace can now be reviewed based on the same standard as the major UK platforms.  In addition to analysis of net return, AltFi Data also provides further analytics covering lending rates, bad debt, arrears, term, gross origination, and net lending/change in outstanding principal.

Champagne corks pop as a ‘Trump rally’ sends Wall Street stocks parabolic (Generatioal Dynamics), Rated: AAA

Back in the 1980s and 1990s, politicians could always count on having their debts and spending programs bailed out by economic growth. Politicians are expecting the same thing today. All they talk about is how they will spend money to grow the economy, and the economic growth will wipe out the debt. It’s a fairy tale that used to work at the end of the last century, in a generational Unraveling era, but stopped working about 13 years ago when we entered a generational Crisis era.

What nobody wants to talk about is the velocity of money. This indicates the rate at which people are willing to spend money. You can’t have economic growth if people aren’t willing to spend money, which means that the velocity of money would have to increase. Instead, we have this:

When the real estate bubble burst in 2007, and the financial crisis occurred, millions of people went bankrupt or lost their homes. At that point, people stopped spending money. They used what money they had to pay off their debts and save money. As a result, the velocity of money has continued to fall steadily since then, just as it did during the Great Depression and World War II.

Investors who are pushing the stock market to new parabolic heights are completely oblivious to the fall in the velocity of money, and in fact have the vaguest clue what it means. Similarly, they’re oblivious to the debt ceiling crisis that’s approaching.

Orchard Publishes Quarterly Online Lending Report: Originations Move Up From Q3 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Orchard’s platform published their quarterly report a few days back covering Q4 of 2016. According to Orchard, loan volume increased in Q4 reversing a trend that began in Q4 of 2015.  While originations ticked up in Q4 versus Q3, they are still nowhere close to where they were back in Q4 of 2015 where they hit an all-time high of more than $3.8 billion.

According to Orchard:

  • Loan originations totaled $2.045 billion in Q4. In Q3 of 2016, loan originations came in at $1.85 billion
  • 2014 and 2015 vintage charge-offs have increased more steeply than in prior years.
  • Borrower rates continued their decline in Q4, falling another 42bps from Q3 levels, largely due to a sharply falling share of subprime originations in the second half of 2016.

SFIG Vegas 2017 Recap (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

The SFIG Vegas conference set an attendance record this year, mirroring improved investor sentiment amidst an improving economic backdrop. Several participants drew comparisons to the 2004 environment which also featured a rising rate environment, deregulatory agenda, and conditions leading to an acceleration in ABS volumes.

On the regulatory front, the US District Court of the Southern District of New York issued a decision in Madden v. Midland on remand.

Money360’s Unique Variable for Real Estate Lending Success (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Money360 is experiencing rapid growth in the marketplace lending sector for real estate. Recently Money360 announced it had surpassed $200 million in commercial real estate loans after exceeding $100 million last August. Money360 expects to top $500 million in real estate financing by the end of the year representing a rapid acceleration for the peer to peer lending site. Money360 launched in California in 2010 and expanded across the US two years later.

The company looks to provide financing for real estate loans between $200,000 and $5 million.

REITs Vs. Real Estate Crowdfunding (Seeking Alpha), Rated: A

When searching for ‘REITs versus Crowdfunding’ on Google, one can quickly find many different Crowdfunding websites trying to sell their product in a very biased manner relative to REITs. The main arguments that they seem to make are always the same: REITs are not real estate, REITs are riskier, and REITs are therefore less attractive than real estate crowdfunding investments. I disagree with all these points and will aim to explain why REITs offer in fact much superior investment characteristics compared to any crowdfunding platform.

MYTH #1: REITs are not real estate

Crowdfunding websites make sure to quickly point out that REITs are traded in the form of stocks to try to scare investors away from these supposedly “highly volatile and risky” investments. On the other hand, crowdfunded real estate investments are independent of the stock market and are hence pure real estate.

While this is true, it is in my opinion very unreasonable to assume that REITs are less of a real estate investment than crowdfunded deals simply because of how they are traded.

MYTH #2: REITs are riskier

REITs offer the opportunity for investors to invest in broad and widely diversified portfolios of properties in a liquid and cost efficient manner. Crowdfunding websites, on the contrary, allow you to invest in a concentrated, illiquid and often cost inefficient manner with potentially higher conflicts of interest between sponsor and investor.

Crowdfunding investors are also able to diversify by investing small sums in multiple deals. But this will never achieve the same scale as investing in REITs, which (often) own thousands of properties across different property types and geographical locations.

MYTH #3: Crowdfunding is superior to REIT investments

You are at the mercy of the deal sponsor and pure luck. Real estate is a local business and if you are not actively involved in the local market, you simply cannot assess an individual property investment. You need to be able to analyze the macro and micro location, the surrounding infrastructure, the growth trends, the demand and supply factors, etc.

This is the beauty of REITs: You do not need to know everything; you have a professional management team taking care of all the operational work.

My conclusion: If you are not a professional real estate investor, forget any form of private real estate investing including crowdfunding. And even if you are a professional investor, you might be better off investing in REITs.

Uber Of X: Cinch Is The Uber Of Financial Advice (PYMNTS.com), Rated: A

One company looking to help with that advice is Cinch with its on-demand app. We sat down with Cinch’s cofounder and head of company development, Kerri Moriarty, to learn more about how the company is helping guide everyday financial consumers with on-demand finance advice.

KM: Cinch is about making it easy for everyone to have access to unbiased financial advice, specific to their personal situation.

KM: Cinch comes with a free trial and then has a monthly fee for continued use. We think of it like a true client and advisor relationship. To truly remain unbiased, we ask customers to pay a fee.

KM: There are some budgeting and credit card tools like Mint or NerdWallet that we consider competitive that offer on-demand financial recommendations, but hardly any do so in the context of consumers’ entire financial situation. We think there is a big opportunity for Cinch to be one of the first companies in the FinTech space to offer a dedicated and unbiased financial advisor anytime it’s needed.

KM: We’ve definitely learned a lot along the way. I think one of the most important lessons learned, especially when it comes to tech or software, is that it’s important to just get something out in front of users. The longer you wait to test designs or features or even launch your product, the more risk you have of something “better” coming along or the needs of your customers changing.

United Kingdom

A quiet crash in big bank lending? (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Net loans to small businesses by the largest UK banks fell by a hefty £536m from December to January, according to the latest statistics from the Bank of England. It’s by far the biggest retrenchment in SME lending in the past two years, which is as far back as the data set stretches.

Gross lending by the banks in question fell further still, nosediving from approximately £5.1bn in December to £4.05bn in January. The figure for January is, again, by some distance the lowest figure for monthly gross lending by the banks to SMEs over the past two years.

Brexit may well lie at the root of the problem. It’s no secret that the banks have been pulling back from certain segments of the small business lending space since the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, but the January drop-off is by far the sharpest we’ve seen.

Funding Circle, the world’s largest marketplace lending firm for small businesses, lent £103m in January (£50m net). Meanwhile the peer-to-peer lending sector as a whole lent £208m during that same period, according to AltFi Data. There are then a raft of balance-sheet based alternative lenders, which are also lending millions of pounds to SMEs each month.

Abundance receives £10m boost from IFISA (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ABUNDANCE has attracted almost £10m of investment into its Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA), the peer-to-peer lending platform’s managing director has revealed.

Davis said £6.5m has now been invested and £3m is being held in a new cash holding account launched last month, which pays two per cent interest, in anticipation of new projects coming onto the platform.

Crowdstacker last month revealed it was attracting £7,000 on average in its IFISA, which is just above the average subscription of £6,338 across cash and stocks and shares ISAs in the 2015-16 tax year.

It’s the end of Crowdfunding 1.0… but that’s a good thing (Property Week), Rated: A

Crowdfunding platforms have recently enjoyed great successes, with Simple Equity having raised £1.4m in a handful of days for East Eight Developments.

Only last week, Cogress confirmed that it had already raised £4m for Bellis Homes’ latest project in Chalk Farm. Two years ago, fundraises of this size were almost unthinkable.

Consequently, some retail investors – and some ‘sophisticated’ ones too – are going to lose money in the next 24 months as the effects of Brexit show up some very poor underwriting.

Another problem for the platforms is the number of them currently in the market, particularly in the lending space. The sheer competition for deals is forcing platforms to take on riskier positions than they should or alternatively investing in or lending against security that is highly illiquid.

I predict that only a few well-established operators in the market will survive the next 18 months.

I still believe that property crowdfunding is here to stay in the long term and will become a dominant funding method over the next 10 years. In many ways, the end of Crowdfunding 1.0 is a good thing.

I have £1,000 to invest in buy-to-let: Should I opt for peer-to-peer or invest in a property Isa? (This Is Money), Rated: A

Bricklane.com offers a property Isa that buys buy-to-lets with cash and provides a return based on rental income and capital appreciation.

Landbay, on the other hand, is a peer-to-peer lender that allows landlords to borrow from private investors so they can purchase buy-to-lets. Returns are generated as the landlord repays the loan with interest.

It’s possible to put some peer-to-peer investments into the new innovative finance Isa, with many of these set to launch in April.

If you do consider investing, make sure that you do your own research, question any suggested returns carefully and weigh up the fees that are charged, which will eat into any money that you make.

Simon Heawood, chief executive of online Property ISA Bricklane.com, replies: People often like the security of investing in real bricks and mortar, and it has historically delivered strong returns – around 9.6 per cent a year through a combination of price growth and rental income.

You should remember though that property prices can rise and fall, and rental income isn’t guaranteed, so as with all investing, you need to do your research and invest sensibly. Any investment platform should clearly explain the risks to you and you need to make the decision that’s right for you.

If you’re looking for a simple way to invest your money in the property market, then you might want to have a look at something like our residential property Isa, which launched last autumn.

It is similar to an investment Isa and offers the same tax benefits as both a cash and stocks and shares Isa.

However, rather than returns being linked to interest rates or stock performance, they come from rental income and property price changes. As an example, whilst the best cash Isas are currently offering returns of between 0.9 per cent and 1.3 per cent, our Bricklane.com property Isa is presently delivering an average return of 3.5 per cent from the rental income alone.

Unlike crowdfunding, it can be included within a £15,240 2016/7 Isa allowance. If you find a property Isa that also uses the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) structure, then it will give you even greater benefits, with zero tax to pay on property price increases and rental income.

John Goodall, chief executive of buy-to-let peer-to-peer lender Landbay, adds: Your situation sounds similar to that faced by a growing number of people, keen to reap some of the well-publicised rewards from the UK property market, but without getting directly involved with the demands of owning, renovating or renting yourself.

As you rightly say, investing through a platform that lends to property developers, such as LendInvest is one obvious option – these loans help finance mid to large scale developments and offer returns of around 4 to 8 per cent depending on the risk you’re willing to take on.

Property development is a relatively higher risk investment than buy-to-let, there all manner of complications that could potentially derail a development project, but the returns do typically reward the higher risk.

For those after a more secure route into property-backed peer-to-peer, the buy-to-let sector is another option. A few platforms now allow investors to lend money to a diversified pool of buy-to-let mortgages lent to experienced and professional landlords.

Not only has this proven itself to be statistically the lowest risk sector in the peer-to-peer mix, but the demand for rental property is growing at pace, as the UK’s housing shortage leaves millions of people unable to buy a property outright.

Landbay for example lends solely to experienced and credit-worthy landlords and as such is positioned at the conservative end of the market, offering interest of up to 4 per cent, with many layers of protection for investors’ money.

4 in 5 British housebuilders have gone out of business in the last 30 years (Business Insider), Rated: A

A report by LendInvest, an online property marketplace, found that in 1988 — when Britain’s last housebuilding boom stalled — the number of smaller UK housebuilders stood at 12,200.

That figure fell to 5,700 by 2006, and to 2,400 by 2014.

It says that, by driving that figure back over 5,000, Britain could build 25,000 more homes every year. Currently, just over 140,000 are built every year.

How to work out which Isa is right for your money (BT), Rated: A

With four adult Isas now available, you could be confused as to which one is right for you.

The total amount of money you can invest in one or more Isas is capped at £15,240 for the 2016/17 tax year. However, this limit will rise to £20,000 for the new tax year, which starts on 6 April.

Cash Isas

You can save all or part of your annual Isa allowance into a cash Isa.

These accounts are available from banks, building societies and credit unions and can take the form of an easy access account, notice account or a fixed-rate bond.

Right now the top rate on an easy access account is 1.05% from Paragon Bank which you can open with £1.

Suitable for: Anyone uncomfortable with risk and willing to accept a lower rate in return for security.

Stocks & shares Isas

Alternatively you can invest all or part of your annual ISA allowance into a stocks and hares Isa.

You should only really invest in a stocks and shares Isa if you are happy to take a risk with your savings as investments can go down as well as up in value.

Suitable for: Long-term investors who are happy taking on an element of risk in order to get a potentially better return.

Innovative Finance Isas

Investors can use an Innovative Finance Isa to get tax-free returns from the money they put into peer-to-peer loans made via platforms like Lending Works and Landbay.

What kind of returns can you get? Annoyingly, most of the biggest peer-to-peer lenders, including Zopa and RateSetter, have yet to launch their Innovative Finance Isas.

However, you can get a rate of 7% at Crowdstacker.

Suitable for: Investors who understand the risks involved with peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding.

Help to Buy Isas

The Help to Buy Isa was launched to help first-time buyers save a deposit for a home worth up to £450,000 in London or up to £250,000 in the rest of the country.

You can save up to £200 a month into a Help to Buy Isa (or £2,400 a year) and when you first open an account you can deposit a lump sum of £1,200. The money you save will boosted by a government bonus of 25% when you come to buy your first home.

Suitable for: Aspiring first-time buyers trying to build up a deposit. Ideally able to set aside money each month rather than in a lump sum.

European Union

It’s legacy banking systems that are the risk, not fintech (BANKNXT), Rated: AAA

Every once in a while the financial community gets itself in a fluster about fintech. Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, is the latest person to raise concerns about the technology. Speaking at a G20 conference in Berlin, Carney said fintech presented “systematic risks” to the banking system, hinting that the next financial crisis could be caused by tech. The usual reasons were rolled out: liquidity, risk of cyber attacks, and the ability to subvert anti-money laundering laws.

Many bankers are mortally scared of new technology; of changing their systems or reforming the way things are done.

Secondly, you can’t ‘contain’ the reach of fintech.

The truth is that technology can actually make banks and the financial system safer.

Regtech allows regulatory officers in investment banks to detect suspicious figures submitted by potentially rogue employees; banks to detect hidden signals in their data which might suggest fraudulent activity or money laundering; and regulators to monitor the early warning signs of crises.

New machine learning technology also gives us the power to monitor the financial markets in real-time, looking for telltale warning signs of crises, and alerting regulators and officials when something needs investigating more thoroughly with a human eye.

The irony is that the real risks lie in the legacy core banking systems that many of our banks run on.

The result is that three quarters of a bank’s IT budget is now spent on maintaining legacy systems rather than acquiring new technology that could make their systems safer.

Australia

Ex-ING chief Richtor joins RateSetter board (The Australian), Rated: AAA

RateSetter, the nation’s second-biggest peer-to-peer lender, has wooed former ING Direct chief Vaughn Richtor to accelerate the fintech company’s quest to gain scale and take on the big banks.

The appointment expands RateSetter’s board to five, including co-founder of the British group Peter Behrens, chief of the Australian arm Daniel Foggo, Stratton Finance boss Rob Chaloner and Martin Dalgleish.

India

Gender Agnostic Fintech Space Inducting More Women Entrepreneurs (Entrepreneur India), Rated: AAA

When money and technology is gender agnostic, then any space of the business cannot be gender bias towards women, be it fintech. However, the smart phone penetration happening rapidly across the country and fintech has become a vibrant space before and after the demonetization. Now we see more number of women entrepreneurs venturing in fintech space.

There is no more talk of absence of women entrepreneurs instead the focus is on their competencies and equipping them to be more competitive and exploring the potentials.

Indian women are very good money manager, responsible investors and wealth creators in the world. In the fintech space women can be a great leader and rise to the top of the hierarchy with the help of regular mentorship.

In India Inc the participation of women as an entrepreneur and board of director is just 8 percent compared to 33 percent globally.

Asia

Credit Suisse Partners with Singapore based Fintech Firm Mesitis (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Credit Suisse has announced, “enhancements” to its digital private banking platform in Asia by partnering with Fintech company Mesitis Pte Ltd to provide its clients the ability to access “Canopy”, an automated account aggregation platform and reporting solution through Credit Suisse’s digital private banking platform.

MENA

Dubai’s DFSA regulates first peer to peer lender (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Dubai-based Beehive said on Sunday it had become the first peer-to-peer lender to become regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), the regulator for the Middle East and North Africa’s largest financial centre.

Beehive is one of the few peer-to-peer lenders in the region. Nearly 4,500 investors have provided more than 75 million dirhams in loans via Beehive since the platform launched in November 2014.

The DFSA last month launched a consultation on its proposed framework for regulating loan-based, crowdfunding platforms.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor