Thursday February 1 2018, Daily News Digest

software hacks

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi lays off 5% of workforce. BlueVine doubles invoice financing credit lines. Chime reaches 750K bank accounts, $2.5B transaction volume. SoftBank injects funding into Moven, who could be buying a bank. Zopa hits 3B GBP in lending. Crowd Genie kicks off ICO. Today’s main analysis: Coincheck’s recent hack could mean big changes in crypto lending, […]

software hacks

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News Summary

United States

SoFi Lays Off 5% of Staff (WSJ), Rated: AAA

The San Francisco-based financial-technology company told staffers on Tuesday it is cutting around 65 jobs, roughly 5% of its 1,300-person workforce, the people said. The layoffs are centered in SoFi’s mortgage-operations centers in Healdsburg, Calif., and Cottonwood Heights, Utah.

He added that SoFi is currently looking to fill more than 175 open jobs.

‘A 401(k) of the future’: How SoFi wants to grow student loan refinancing with WeWork (Tearsheet), Rated: A

SoFi wants to sell its loan refinancing products to WeWork and its member companies by offering them an additional 0.125 percent discount.

growing number of companies have been adding student loan repayment as a workplace benefit. With $1.4 trillion in outstanding federal and private student loans, it’s a huge market.

SoFi’s Top 20 Law Schools Producing the Highest Salary Averages (JDJournal), Rated: A

SoFi examined the salary earned upon graduation from different law schools compared to the cost of the education. They looked at 60,000 student loan refinancing applications that had been submitted to them between January 2014 and December 2016. They took that data and formed SoFi’s Return on Education (ROED) Law School Rankings. The ranking uses the average salary and student debt load of the graduates three years out of law school that is reported to them by graduates looking to refinance their loans.

The top 20 law schools with the highest average salaries are:

  1. Cornell University – $183,377
  2. Columbia University – $177,962
  3. New York University – $177,203
  4. University of Chicago – $174,238
  5. Harvard University – $173,578
  6. Georgetown University – $173,464
  7. Northwestern University – $173,204
  8. Yale University – $171,779
  9. University of Pennsylvania – $170,954
  10. Duke University – $169,096
  11. University of Virginia – $166,396
  12. University of Michigan Ann Arbor – $164,713
  13. University of California Berkeley – $163,940
  14. University of Southern California – $161,823
  15. Fordham University – $160,590
  16. Stanford University – $158,088
  17. George Washington University – $153,302
  18. University of California Los Angeles – $152,469
  19. Vanderbilt University – $149,475
  20. University of Texas at Austin – $147,444

BlueVine doubles invoice financing credit lines to up to $ 5 million (Finextra), Rated: AAA

BlueVine has doubled the credit line size for its invoice factoring product to up to $5 million, underscoring the online business lender’s push to offer fast and flexible working capital financing to small and medium-sized businesses.

BlueVine also increased the limit for its business line of credit product to $200,000 from $150,000, making its Flex Credit product an even more attractive financing option for larger or fast-growing companies.

Court upholds constitutionality of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Politico), Rated: A

A federal appeals court has upheld the constitutionality of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s structure, a decision that preserves the agency’s independence in the face of challenges from business interests and conservatives.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 7-3 on Wednesday that a provision in the 2010 Dodd-Frank law that limits the president’s ability to remove the CFPB director during his or her five-year term does not violate the president’s authority to appoint and remove executive branch officers.

Chime Reaches 750,000 Bank Accounts, $ 2.5 Billion Transaction Volume (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Chime is on track to open more than 100,000 bank accounts per month and expects to reach 1 million total this quarter. With more than 750,000 bank accounts opened to date and over $2.5 billion in total transaction volume, Chime has emerged as the clear leader in the challenger banking segment.

While most Americans pay more than $27 a month on average in bank fees, Chime doesn’t charge overdraft fees, monthly fees or foreign transaction fees. With its award-winning mobile banking app, Chime members avoided more than $225 million in potential overdraft fees from traditional banks in 2017 alone, while putting over $72 million into savings accounts with help from Chime’s automated savings tools.

Moven to receive funding from SoftBank, plans to buy bank (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Moven, the mobile-first “neobank” founded by Brett King in 2011, is getting a multi-million dollar infusion from the Japanese company SBI Group, owner of SoftBank. At the same time, Moven says it is pursuing the acquisition of a bank.

SBI Group will hold one of the six seats on Moven’s board, and the two companies will set up a joint venture in Japan.

At the same time, Moven is making major changes to its overall business, including splitting the company in two.

On one side will be the software provider that already develops digital banking software for TD Bank in Canada and Westpac in New Zealand.

On the other side will be the neobank, which will be called MovenBank.

Is Marcus Going to Launch a Credit Card? (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Ainsley Harris reported in Fast Company today that Goldman Sachs is acquiring the employees who built Final, a credit card startup based in Oakland. Final offered a unique kind of credit card, one that would create a different virtual card number for every merchant, thereby reducing the risk of credit card fraud.

It has been a busy couple of years for Goldman Sachs when it comes to their consumer facing business. This latest deal follows a long list of acquisitions for Goldman recently:

  1. Acquisition of GE Capital Bank – this jumpstarted GS Bank giving it a huge deposit base.
  2. Acquisition of Honest Dollar – the digital retirement savings app was acquired in March 2016.
  3. Launch of Marcus with debt consolidation loans.
  4. Acquisition of Genesis Capital – not really consumer facing but could add a real estate development arm to the bank.
  5. Bond Street – employees of the online small business lender moved to Goldman Sachs.
  6. Addition of home improvement loans to the Marcus offerings.

Why big financial firms are building robos instead of white labeling (Tearsheet), Rated: A

In November, Wells Fargo launched Intuitive Investor, its digital-human hybrid offering from Wells Fargo Advisors. The following month Morgan Stanley launched Access Investing and JPMorgan Chase launched JPMorgan Digital Investing. Goldman Sachs, Raymond James, YF Financial and ICBC are all currently developing their own.

The start of the robo phenomenon was meant to address small, do-it-yourself investors, said Tom Streiff, special consultant to HBW Partners.

“A lot of these big firms have a lot more small accounts than they’re willing to admit,” he said. “Robos were one answer to that. Now they want to have something that has more of their own mark on it … not just to get the technology but to get the smart people inside.”

Typically, the white label provider will take 15 basis points of the total and leave the rest to the bank for distribution, Saxena said. Pricing from independent players, like Betterment or Wealthfront, is competitive.

SmartBiz Loans Launches AI-powered Digital Advisor Tool for Small Business Owners (Digital Journal), Rated: A

SmartBiz Loans, the SBA loan marketplace and bank-enabling technology platform, today announced the launch of SmartBiz Advisor, the first, AI-driven, online education tool that makes the financial insights and analysis provided by a typical CFO available to small businesses at no cost.

SmartBiz Advisor is an intelligent online platform that allows small business owners to easily and quickly learn how banks typically evaluate their business on key criteria before applying for a loan.

The Future of Real Estate, Part 2: A Crowdfunding Revolution? (GuruFocus), Rated: A

A well-managed crowdfunding platform should provide a range of deals, after having done sufficient due diligence itself so as to not place potential investors in financial jeopardy, and itself in legal jeopardy. When dealing in investment assets, whether equity or real estate, investors are still expected to be sophisticated and have the means to weather losses that are part and parcel with any private investment deal.

A growing cast of players

Interestingly, even as equity crowdfunding in startup companies has been slow to take off (Indiegogo’s platform raised just $7.53 million in equity investments during its first year of operation), real estate crowdfunding platforms have been popping up like weeds. RealtyMogul.com, for example, has an investor community of 150,000 people that have invested $318 million through its platform since it went live in 2012. The crowdfunder claims to have returned $70 million to investors thus far. RealtyShares, founded in 2013, has also posted big numbers, with platform users reportedly investing $700 million across more than a thousand deals.

A new breed of of private REIT

Private REITs are obviously opaque and potentially dangerous, but the crowdfunding platform has forged ahead all the same. Perhaps, with their interactive dashboards and high levels of investor transparency, these crowdfunded REITs will be able to correct some of the ills of their less technologically sophisticated forebears.

This College Grad Found an Affordable Way to Start Investing in Real Estate (The Penny Hoarder), Rated: A

The Fundrise Starter Portfolio would invest her money into two portfolios that support private real estate around the United States. It would do all the heavy lifting for her — and play landlord on her behalf.

She didn’t need to have hundreds of thousands of dollars stashed away, either. She could get started with a minimum investment of just $500.

Fundrise lists an average annualized return of 11.44% in 2017. Investors pay 1% in annual fees — a 0.85% asset-management fee and a 0.15% investment advisory fee.

Breaking down the barriers of real estate investment: A Q&A with Peter Vekselman from WeLend (AtlantaAgent), Rated: A

Q: What sort of problems were you experiencing when it came to financing real estate projects?

The problem is that behind the scenes the money is handled by hedge funds. All of the hedge funds on Wall Street do their own thing and no one knows who they are. So what happens is you have a potential investor and the first problem for them is finding the financing.

Q: How exactly does We Lend work, and how does it help solve some of the problems previously mentioned?

I’ve consolidated and cut deals to put all the hedge funds under one roof, so now investors don’t have to go through this huge undertaking to find the funds. They can came to us, and we can underwrite them and then figure out on the back end the best match.

It’s like LendingTree for the investor world.

Q: What types of projects and people does We Lend work with?

We work with small developers or a mom-and-pop builder that does five properties a year. And we mainly work with residential properties only because there are more residential opportunities than anything else.

In terms of price points, we try to stay as low as $50,000 per project.

On Deck Welcomes Paul Rosen & James Hobson As Two New Senior Vice Presidents (OnDeck), Rated: A

Today, On Deck announced the appointments of Paul Rosen as Senior Vice President of Sales and James Hobson as Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Platform Solutions.

Santander Consumer USA And AutoFi Team Up To Provide Car Buyers And Dealers With Fast And Easy Online Sales And Financing (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Santander Consumer USA Holdings Inc. (NYSE: SC, or the Company) today announced that it will work with automotive technology leader AutoFi to streamline and simplify the car-buying process for consumers, while giving dealers a robust digital sales channel.

Climb Credit Reveals A Solution To Student Lending Crisis (Climb Credit Email), Rated: A

A few key findings include:

  • The median student saw a 66.7% salary increase
  • For Climb students who have held two different jobs since attending their program, there is a median pay increase of 38.9% from the first to the second job
  • Nearly three out of four students surveyed said they would not have been able to attend their education program if they didn’t have Climb Credit as a financing option

House Approves New Payday Loan With 200 Percent Interest Rate (Indiana Public Media), Rated B

The Indiana House approved legislation Wednesday to create a new type of payday loan – with interest rates of up to 200 percent – that opponents argue amounts to predatory lending.

The legislation creates a loan of between about $600 and $1,500, with a term of up to 12 months.

Consumers warned not to borrow from unlicensed online lenders (International Falls Journal), Rated: B

The Minnesota Commerce Department warns Minnesota consumers not to borrow money from unlicensed lenders that advertise and offer short-term, payday or installment loans through the internet.

United Kingdom

Zopa hits £3bn lending landmark (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ZOPA said that it now has more than 60,000 active investors and more than 300,000 borrowers.

It has now lent out more than £3bn since inception, Zopa said on its website on Wednesday, having lent more than £985m in the past 12 months.

Investors are lending on average £13,000 while the average loan amount is £6,000.

China

Chinese internet users grow to 772 million (Technode), Rated: AAA

China now has 772 million internet users according to a report published by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) today (in Chinese).

Growth rates of internet users have remained steady. During 2017, a total of 40.74 million new netizens were added with a growth rate of 5.6%. Internet penetration rates have reached 55.8% in China, more than the global average (51.7%) and the average rates for Asia (46.7%).

The number of mobile phone users in China has reached an impressive 753 million. The proportion of internet users using mobile phones rose from 95.1% in 2016 to 97.5% in 2017.

Since the end of 2016, the proportion of internet users that pay with their phones rose from 50.3% to 65.5%.

There was another number that went up at an impressive rate. The number of internet users buying internet financial products in China has reached 129 million, up 30.2% from the same period last year.

Alibaba-backed online lender MYbank owes cost-savings to home-made tech (Reuters), Rated: A

MYbank expects double-digit increases in all growth measures in 2017 due to lower costs enabled by technology, the bank’s president, Huang Hao, said in an interview at his office in Hangzhou, in the eastern province of Zhejiang.

As a result, the cost of approving a small business loan can be as little as 2 yuan, compared to at least 2,000 yuan ($317.97) at a traditional bank, according to data provided by the bank.

European Union

Remarks by Vice-President Dombrovskis at the European Financial Forum 2018 in Dublin (Europa.eu), Rated: AAA

 

Our immediate priority is to complete the Banking Union. For this, we should move in parallel on risk reduction and risk sharing. All elements are on the table. On risk reduction, this includes our November 2016 bank reform package and our ongoing work to reduce Non-Performing Loans. On the risk sharing side, we recently came with ideas on how to unblock negotiations on the European Deposit Insurance Scheme. And we have broad support to finalise the work on the backstop for the Single Resolution Fund. So the time is ripe to move at political level on completing the Banking Union.

The second immediate priority for deepening the EMU is setting up the Capital Markets Union. Deeper capital markets across Europe will increase risk-sharing among private investors and improve the shock-absorption capacity of the economy. In the past three years, we have taken fundamental steps towards deeper and more integrated EU capital markets. Of the 33 actions we announced in 2015, 25 have now been completed.

One strength of Ireland’s financial sector is asset management. As of September last year, Irish fund managers had more than €4.2 trillion assets under management. A true Capital Markets Union would enable Irish fund managers to further benefit from the full scale of the single market. In March of this year, revised rules for the EU venture capital label – EuVECA – will enter into application. Large managers can then run EuVECA funds, providing economies of scale and trusted brands. We have also expanded the range of eligible assets, and decreased the costs associated with cross-border marketing.

We are also looking more broadly at the rules for offering funds across the EU. This market is still predominantly organised along national lines. For example, 70% of the assets under management are held by funds available for sale in only one EU country. The share of alternative investment funds that is marketed in more than three countries is very low – only 3%.

Europe has what it takes to develop a globally competitive Fintech sector. We can rely on our strengths in research and engineering. For example, we have 32 artificial intelligence research institutions in the world top 100, which is more than the US or China. I also see great Fintech potential here in Ireland, with its strong information technology culture.

We will also present a legislative proposal to enable EU-wide crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending.

The future of finance will not only be digital, it will also have to be green.

• Third, we could boost green investments and loans by introducing a so-called green supporting factor. This could be done at first stage by lowering capital requirements for certain climate-friendly investments, such as energy-efficient mortgages or low-carbon cars. However, this exercise would be delicate. Green does not mean risk-free. Any measures would have to be carefully calibrated, and based on a clear EU classification.

CreditEase Founder, CEO Ning Tang Spoke at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: B

CreditEase, a Beijing-based leading financial technology conglomerate specializing in inclusive finance and wealth management, announced that its Founder and CEO, Mr Ning Tang, participated and spoke at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2018 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland.

Under the central theme of “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World”, this year’s meeting has drawn an estimated 2,500 participants, including a record number of heads of state and leaders from politics, business, academia, and civil society.

“Technology has greatly improved access to financial services for Chinese consumers and small businesses in the past decade, and we expect more progress to be made in the SME lending space with the help of FinTech in coming years,” said Mr Tang. “Financial services like angel investing and VC/PE, powered by technology, will bring more high-quality growth to the Chinese economy.”

International

IOU Financial partners with CDE solutions in funding CDE’S network of 26,000 convenience store owners (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

IOU FINANCIAL INC. (“IOU” or “the Company”) (TSXV: IOU), an online lender to small businesses (IOUFinancial.com), is pleased to announce a strategic partnership with Marietta, GA-based POS solutions provider CDE (CDEsolutions.com).  Through this strategic partnership, CDE’s network of 26,000 convenience store owners nationwide will be able to access IOU’s fast, convenient, non-collateral funding solutions.

Crebit: Blockchain DLT in wave of transforming P2P financing (NewsBTC), Rated: A

Adopting Blockchain and DLT for P2P lending system can facilitate capital mobilization within the financial system through flat-out transfer of monetary values from parties unrestricted by barriers-to-entry. Thus, the potential for P2P lending in support of free international financial flows remains vastly untapped.

Ipsos MORI veracity Index shows 75% of investors complain about banks data provision, but rather P2P investment groups maintain a credible and transparent operation.

Crebit is a blockchain-empowered network provider that offers global microfinance lending collateralized by crypto assets, based on the artificial intelligence credit scoring system. This microfinancing solution leverages blockchain technology to finance through top cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple against up to 80% of investors collateralized crypto assets value. Crebit leads the way into crypto financing by building P2P lending agreements on smart contracts in the secured and decentralized Ethereum blockchain. The platform matches funding gaps for crypto holders, traders as well as multiple exchanges and transaction solutions. Crebit aims to provide businesses and individuals a decentralized credit scoring database for innovative and trustless transaction solutions unrestricted by geographical boundaries.

Australia

Trial by fire in an untested market (CMO.com.au), Rated: AAA

But this is precisely why Rebecca James, Prospa’s new chief marketing and enterprise officer, took the job almost five months ago.

“In just five years, the team has lent over $500m. But there are 2.1 million small businesses in Australia, and over half need cashflow support to take advantage of opportunities, to grow, or to cover an unexpected cost. My hope is to take the Prospa proposition and meet the growing needs of this audience. We’re just getting started.”

Launched six years ago, Prospa is now Australia’s number one online lender for small business, providing loans to more than 12,000 small businesses across the country. In November, it placed second in the AFRFast 100 for 2017 thanks to a 239 per cent average revenue growth since 2013-14. Last year, Prospa secured over $50m in equity and debt funding, and doubled the size of its loan book.

Online Cash Flow Loans Australia Announces Unsecured Cash Flows Loans Up To $ 500k (PRWire), Rated: A

Online Cash Flow Loans is a fast emerging player in the online cash flow loans marketplace. The organization is an arm of Magnolia Finance that specializes in offering low cost business loans to small businesses in Australia.

These cash flow loans are tailored to meet the growing business finance needs of businesses operating in the hospitality, retail, construction, medical and agribusiness. Basically any small business operating in Australian and in need of unsecured business loans can apply for business loan online on the company website.

Loan terms from 3 to 24 months
Same day funding
Flexible repayment options
Redraw facility available
India

Budget Reaction Rajat Gandhi, Founder & CEO, Faircent. com (Faircent Email), Rated: AAA

Hon. Finance minister budget speech reflects the government’s intent to increase the credit access for the MSME sector and women entrepreneurs under MUDRA scheme. P2P lending is using technology and new-age data and diligently working towards taking organised credit to the non and under-banked segments of the Indian economy. This is an opportunity for the government to directly invest or co-fund through registered P2P Lending Platforms and ensure credit access for MSMEs, New-To-Credit as well as female entrepreneurs. P2P lending is an asset class ensuring flow of investments from those with surplus to those in need. Hence it’s important that the lenders are supported through tax incentives. We look forward to working with the govt towards common goal of financial inclusion.

The popular FinTech platforms serving MSMEs in India (KNN India), Rated: A

Keeping in view the credit crunch faced by the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector in India due to various reasons, new FinTech platforms are coming up to improve loan disbursal to the sector.

According to a media report, there are four popular FinTech platforms that are helping in robust loan disbursal – CreditMantri, Aye Finance, CoinTribe and Faircent.

P2P Lending Set to Explode in 2018 And Beyond (CXO Today), Rated: B

RBI’s much awaited official guidelines for Peer to Peer (P2P) lending platforms to bring them into the ambit of non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) is set to boost online lending. It is fast emerging as an investment option for retail lenders.

Asia

MAS Regulated Peer to Peer Lender Crowd Genie Announces Initial Coin Offering (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Crowd Genie Financial Services Pte Ltd, regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), has announced an initial coin offering (ICO) via their related entity CGSPV Pte. Ltd. The peer to peer lender states that it intends on issuing 60 million Crowd Genie Coins, or CGCoins, for a soft cap of USD $5 million. The public sale commences today and 400 CGCoins may be purchased for a single ETH. Bonus CGCOINs, between an additional 5% and 25%, will be given to early buyers as an incentive.

Coincheck’s recent hack could mean big changes in the crypto space (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck revealed on Friday that its 

Source: Business Insider

Online lenders join gold rush into SE Asia (Ecns.cn), Rated: A

Chinese online peer-to-peer (P2P) lending companies have been rushing into Southeast Asian countries in recent months to cash in on untapped and lightly regulated markets that feature huge potential, as growth in the domestic market slows amid tightening regulations.

While much of Southeast Asia offers a promising future for these lenders given its huge population and underdeveloped financial services industry, most of the Chinese companies are betting on short-term gains rather than long-term growth, an industry expert noted on Wednesday.

Over 50 Chinese online lenders have launched overseas operations, with Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia and Cambodia being the top destinations, the 21st Century Business Herald reported on Wednesday.

In Indonesia alone, there are more than 50 Chinese consumer lending apps at the moment, up from 30 just a month ago, the report said.

Here are the new services launched by startups in Indonesia this week (e27), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform Investree on Tuesday officially launched a sharia-based P2P lending programme.

The programme has been tested since November 2017. The startup claied that by January it has managed to channel IDR2.7 billion (US$200,000) worth of loan from 1,340 lenders to 313 borrowers.

Bermuda

Peer-to-Peer Lending & Equity Crowdfunding (Bernews), Rated: AAA

A Bermudian expert on information technology, asset and risk management tools is today celebrating the global launch of her book on peer-to-peer lending and the securities crowd funding industry.

“The book, entitled ‘Peer-to-Peer Lending and Equity Crowdfunding: A Guide to the New Capital Markets for Job Creators, Investors and Entrepreneurs,’ highlights the inequality gap is widening and persists worldwide,” a spokesperson said.

“The book not only describes how debt and equity crowdfunding works but also explains investment approaches, secondary markets, governance and compliance, transparency, and risk models that are necessary for investors to make informed decisions.

The book is available here.

 

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday January 2 2018, Daily News Digest

Yirendai

News Comments Today’s main news: Rumor: Former SoFi CEO Mike Cagney is planning a comeback with new HELOC startup. Funding Circle preparing 1B GPB float. Morgan Stanley to offer robo-advice. New bill could make IRS use API. Spice Mobility to invest $1.95M in P2P lending startup. Today’s main analysis: Yirendai still growing, and at a good price. Today’s thought-provoking […]

Yirendai

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United States

The SoFi CEO who was ousted amid sexual harassment allegations is already back with a new startup (recode), Rated: AAA

Cagney has been approaching investors in recent weeks about a new fintech startup with a plan to raise about $25 million, according to multiple people familiar with his outreach. He has pitched investors such as Peter Thiel along with several others who were backers of SoFi, a company that Cagney pushed to become worth almost $5 billion.

Cagney is starting the new company alongside his wife, June Ou, who previously served as SoFi’s chief technology officer, the people said. The company does not yet have a name and has yet to be publicly announced — Ou’s LinkedIn page says she will serve as the COO of a “#newCo.”

The company is said to focus on HELOC, or home equity lines of credit, though the people said the idea was in the early stages and still required more sharpening. Ou this month shared a job posting on GlassDoor for engineers at a company soon to launch.

Morgan Stanley enters robo-advice investment market (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Morgan Stanley has made a late push for dominance in the fast-growing market for “robo-advice” in America, launching an automated service aimed at the offspring of its well-heeled customers.

Funds managed by software will grow to $385bn by 2021, according to Cerulli Associates, more than quadrupling from today’s levels.

Morgan Stanley is the latest to pitch in, offering a choice of ETFs, mutual funds and seven themed portfolios, among them sustainability, gender diversity and next-wave technology. The new online tool, known as Access Investing, is designed to appeal to a younger generation, many of them members of wealthy families.

How a simple tech upgrade at the IRS could transform the economy (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Our credit system runs on the power of data. A simple IT upgrade at the IRS would put more of this power in your hands.

The IRS Data Verification Modernization Act of 2017, recently introduced in Congress by Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), would set up an application programming interface (API) at the IRS.

This API would turn a cumbersome, manual process into an automated one. An API would allow the agency to provide your transcripts the instant you give your authorization. Credit providers would then have more information to make better decisions about your approval and rate. This could cut financial fraud and improve credit prices, speed and access for everyone.

Consumers Want Biometrics – How Will Payments Respond? (PYMNTS), Rated: A

recent study by Visa showed that, unsurprisingly, consumers are ready to say goodbye and good riddance to passwords, both because of the friction they create when trying to remember them – and the inevitable stutter step that the “forgot password” prompt creates – and because in the aftermath of the Equifax breach, the public has never been more conscious of how far passwords fall short in preventing fraud and keeping their data secure.

It was one of the big drivers, Nelsen said, behind the development of Visa ID Intelligence. Nelsen said that ID Intelligence is an ecosystem of authentication solutions to which issuers connect via a single API.

Over the last four years, Nelsen said there’s been an enormous increase in credit applications – a healthy portion of which are from fraudsters who’ve stolen legitimate credentials and have attempted to use them to open new accounts. Banks now recognize that the best way to combat new account fraud is to put knowledge-based authentication in their rearview mirror, in favor of using tools like identity documents and device data to help determine whether an identity is legitimate, stolen or synthetic.

Ebullient Equity And Credit Markets (PeerIQ), Rated: A

2017 has been a great year for equity and credit markets. The S&P500 ended the year up 20%, while CDX IG and CDX HY spreads tightened 46bps. ABS markets enjoy record issuance and all-tight time spreads.

Best of PeerIQ: 

Five ways financial laws could change in 2018 (The Hill), Rated: A

Republicans have made limited progress on President Trump‘s pledge to “dismantle” the Dodd-Frank Act, which the GOP had hoped to gut by the end of 2017. But the GOP and independent regulators could still make critical changes to key parts of the law’s legacy.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters last week that he’d like to hold a vote on a bipartisan Senate Banking Committee bill to exempt small and mid-size banks from aspects of Dodd-Frank.

House members from both parties have lined up behind a Congressional Review Act resolution to repeal the CFPB’s October rule Cyber breaches of financial companies reach across several committees of jurisdiction, and senators on the Banking Committee have expressed interest in a bill meant to protect credit-reporting information.

During the Banking panel’s markup of bipartisan Dodd-Frank rollback bill, Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) sought to add language meant to boost accountability and transparency when credit reporting agencies are breached.

CFPB’s Payday Loan, Auto Lending Rules in Jeopardy (Manatt), Rated: A

As we have previously reported, the Bureau’s final rule on payday, vehicle title and other so-called high-cost installment loans created new consumer protections for a wide variety of short-term loans and provided official staff interpretations of the rules. Nearly 1,700 pages in length, the rule was issued on Oct. 4.

One of the more controversial provisions of the rule declares it an “unfair and abusive practice” for any lender to make covered short-term or longer-term balloon-payment loans, including payday and vehicle title loans, before reasonably determining that consumers have the ability to repay the loans according to their terms. Pursuant to the rule, it would also be an unfair and abusive practice to make attempts to withdraw payment from consumers’ accounts after two consecutive payment attempts have failed, unless the consumer provides a new and specific authorization to do so.

Now the rule—which is currently set to take effect Jan. 16, 2018—may see the same fate as the arbitration rule. H.J. Res. 122, introduced by Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.), states “That Congress disapproves the rule submitted by the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection relating to ‘Payday, Vehicle Title, and Certain High-Cost Installment Loans’ and such rule shall have no force or effect.” Significantly, H.J. Res. 122 includes Democratic co-sponsors.

Auto Finance—Another Bureau rule may soon be on the road to CRA repeal after the Government Accountability Office (GAO) wrote to Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) in response to a query about CFPB Bulletin 2013-02.

Umpqua’s next transformation (Banking Exchange), Rated: A

The long-term vision of the company has not changed: to provide banking products and services to people when they want it. We call it personalized banking for all—anytime, anywhere.

But how do you create a human relationship when more and more business is being done electronically?

So we’ve decided as a long-term strategy to combine the human element with digital components. We call it “human-digital banking.”

What does that mean? We have a new retail application in pilot called BFF—Best Financial Friend—created by Pivotus Ventures [Umpqua’s Palo Alto, Calif.-based fintech/research unit], that customers download on their phones. The first phase of the pilot was a centralized hub. Now we’re rolling it out in stores in the Portland [Ore.] market, training associates to serve as a BFF digitally in addition to working with customers in person. Our intent, as a more robust application becomes available early in 2018, is to introduce it into other metropolitan markets.

Using the app, customers pick a banker in the bank who will be kind of their personal concierge—almost like a personal shopper. They will help the customer do anything with Umpqua except get cash.

 

Always Search for the Best Option (Scotsman Guide), Rated: A

More than 53,000 single-family homes and condos were flipped nationwide in the second quarter of 2017 alone for a home-flipping rate of 5.6 percent of second-quarter home sales, according to Attom Data Solutions. The estimated total dollar volume of financing for homes flipped in second-quarter 2017 was $4.4 billion, the highest level since third-quarter 2007, nearly a 10-year high.

More than 35 percent of homes flipped in second-quarter 2017 were purchased with financing, according to Attom. That’s the highest level since third-quarter 2008, or a nearly nine-year high.

A joint study by the University of Cambridge and the University of Chicago suggests that the alternative lending sector, which includes crowdfunding, “hit a stride” in 2016 and has plenty of room for growth. Total market volume in 2016 for alternative financing in the U.S., Canada, Latin America the Caribbean was $35.2 billion, up 23 percent versus 2015. Real estate crowdfunding accounted for just 2.3 percent of the alternative lending market in 2015, but its volume rose by 70 percent in 2016.

OnDeck Line of Credit: What You Need to Know (Fundera), Rated: A

And finally, short-term lines of credit are more expensive than products that you’d get at a bank. The exact interest rate you’d get on an OnDeck line of credit, for instance, depends on the exact qualifications of your business, but in general, you can expect them to range from 10% to 80%.

3 Other Investments You Should Consider Making in 2018 (LearnBonds), Rated: B

There are several ways you can invest in small businesses. Peer-to-Peer (P2P) lending is a popular way that you definitely need to look into. This lending system eliminates middlemen completely and lets you connect with small businesses across the country with ease.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle, the UK’s biggest peer-to-peer lending platform, is preparing to hire advisers to oversee a £1bn-plus London flotation.

Sky News has learnt that the company has told investment banks that it will hold a beauty parade towards the end of the first quarter of 2018, with a listing possible as soon as the late autumn.

A Brave New World – Will Open Banking Boost The UK Fintech Sector? (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Open banking is coming to the UK. To be more precise, from January 13, 2018, Britain’s nine largest banks and one building society will be required to make customer account data available to approved rivals. If all goes according to plan, the new regime will herald a bold era of competition by allowing up-and-coming challenger banks and fintech (financial technology) businesses to compete on a more-or-less level playing field with  the giants of the financial services industry.

In the business loans market, peer-to-peer platforms have become increasingly accepted as a source of debt finance. For instance, in the three months to September, pioneering peer-to-peer platform, Funding Circle rang up £114m in new net lending to small businesses. This compared with £95m in new net lending by the big four banks.

According to a survey conducted by Decision Technology, 43% of bank retail customers would consider  sourcing a personal loan from a fintech provider. Although consumers were less amenable to opening savings accounts (only 26% would do so).

Mitty Group Secures Nearly £2 Million in Funding From Assetz Capital (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Earlier this month, Liverpool-based property developer Mitty Group secured £1,982,000 worth of funding from UK-based peer-to-peer lender Assetz Capital to develop two new residential and leisure sites in Merseyside.

According to Assetz Capital, Mitty Group has secured a £942,000 loan from the online lender to fund its Regency Court Development in the Old Swan area of Liverpool.

Assetz Capital also reported that Mitty Group secured a £1,040,000 loan to fund its Burscough Street Development in Ormskirk town center.

Becoming a property investor – the crowdfunding option (LinkedIn), Rated: A

Real estate crowdfunding is becoming increasingly popular and it was valued at $3.5 billion in 2016. It is also projected to have the value of $5.5 billion by the end of 2017. It is a great time to think of investing in property UK using the crowdfunding option. However, it is important that you proceed with caution. Here are a few tips to help you make savvy decisions about real estate crowdfunding.

  1. Understand the rules.
  2. Real estate crowdfunding can be risky too.
  3. Take baby steps.
  4. Know your investment company.
  5. Always remember that real estate crowdfunding is generally the same as other investments.The higher the returns, the higher the risks. Try to limit your investment to 5% of your earnings, or 10% for higher net worth individuals.

Players who swapped the bit parts for starring roles (The Times), Rated: A

Satoshi Nakamoto is the anonymous coder, or group of coders, who created bitcoin as a stateless digital currency nine years ago. It’s a pseudonym. Her/his/their true identity remains a mystery, but, as cryptocurrencies continue to rise in influence and as investors lose faith in traditional institutions, that influence is more than likely to grow.

Imagine, for a moment, what it means to be Satoshi Nakamoto. You are, at least digitally, one of the 50 richest people alive and one of the most important people in the financial world.

Robo advisers recognise the need for human touch (Financial Times), Rated: A

Robo advisers promised to shake up the UK investment market by using algorithms to deliver low-cost automated services to the masses. However, British investors have found a bug in the system — when it comes to managing their money, they want to speak to human beings too.

The new breed of “robos” are morphing their business models to provide over-the-phone and face-to-face advisory services, recognising that more of a personal touch is needed to win over customers.

Scalable Capital, the European online robo-advice company backed by BlackRock, is launching over-the-phone and face-to-face consultations for a one-off fee of £200 from January after finding a number of clients wanted to talk to human advisers rather than answering its online questionnaire alone.

57 Insights from leading brands and experts on what it takes to deliver a Wow customer experience (Customer Think), Rated: B

Andrew Lawson, Chief Product Officer of Zopa.com, a UK online personal finance peer-to-peer lending company, believes that Wow service/experience starts with the customer and solving a problem they face. Too often customer service is a team that is set up to solve the problems that are inherent within the products/services that have been created.

China

Yirendai Limited: Still Growing, Still At A Good Price (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

  • Emerging fintech player Yirendai Ltd. is well positioned in the expanding Chinese P2P lending industry.
  • P2P lending has a potentially huge market in China that could actually be enhanced by the government’s development of its Social Credit System.
  • Yirendai has strong revenue growth, a good return on equity, an attractive valuation, a nice cash flow, is free of debt, and plans on continuing to pay a dividend.
  • An uptrend is on the company’s price chart, reinforced by 50-DMA, 200-DMA, and Relative Strength technical indicators.
Source: Seeking Alpha

China looks for right balance between financial innovation, risk (Xinhuanet), Rated: A

But it has also made things easier for scammers. QR codes are so accessible that a simple scanning of an unidentified barcode can lead to a loss of huge money or massive personal information leakage.

For instance, while offering credit support for small and micro-sized enterprises who may not have enough collateral or sound balance sheets is still a headache for the banking sector, banks now can make better loan decisions by evaluating their conditions more precisely with technologies like big data and blockchain.

WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Last month, a number of private banks (except WeBank, MYbank and XWBank) received notification from CBRC that they should stop offering online lending services, which caused quite a stir within the industry.

On December 23rd, a charity-crowdfunding campaign from Fenbeichou received profound attention and donations on China’s leading social platform WeChat. People were encouraged to donate and help underprivileged children who have same birthday as themselves. Applause for the campaign’s creativity didn’t last long when journalists found that there were some beneficiaries on the platform who were labelled with different names (but for the same picture) or even non-existent date of birth (e.g. 2017.2.29). People suspected this “Same-Birthday Crowdfunding” campaign was a fraud.

On December 28th, the Nanjing Municipal Public Security Bureau posted on its official Weibo that the head of online finance platform Qbao.com had surrendered himself to the local police.

On December 27th, a new range of rules were released to ramp up the security in the mobile payment sectors.

Mobile payment scale rises in 3rd quarter (Xinhuanet), Rated: A

The scale of mobile payment in China exceeded 29 trillion yuan (4.5 trillion U.S. dollars) in the third quarter of 2017, a report indicated.

According to the report released by internet research agency Analysys, the amount is a quarter-on-quarter increase of 28.02 percent.

International

The Biggest Fintech Stories of 2017 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Online lending, including marketplace lending or peer to peer lending, is entering a new era. Goldman Sachs and their Marcus platform is schooling early entrants with good tech and access to low cost of capital that is hard to beat. Big tech is moving in too, as companies like Square, PayPal and Amazon are now providing loans. In the US, early online lenders are rushing to launch new verticals and update models to remain competitive and relevant. Elsewhere, such as the UK and China, models are becoming more established as the focus has been different and the regulatory environment more welcoming.

Equity-based crowdfunding is now accounting for 17% of all seed and venture stage equity investment in the UK. Peer-to-peer business lending provides 15% of all new loans lent to small businesses by UK banks.

Today, the Fintech Charter has not moved an inch forward and is arguably in retreat. And why is that? Because the States do not want to lose relevance and Congress is unable to do anything about it. Who loses out? Consumers and small business, of course.

In early 2017, the Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney delivered a pointed speech where he said Fintech could “signal the end of universal banking as we know it.” Why is this important? Because it is the Bank of England: the second oldest central bank in the world.

Australia gets a huge shoutout for being consistently vocal in their advocacy of Fintech from both the private and public sector. FinTech Australia has accomplished quite a bit in a short time as the advocacy group promoting the virtues of financial innovation.

The UK’s impending divorce from the European Union is still meandering down the negotiation path.

The shocking downfall of Mike Cagney, founder of unicorn darling SoFi – a company that once envisioned itself as the future of banking, rocked the Fintech world.

The dramatic rise of cryptocurrency and initial coin offerings (ICO) is nothing short of spectacular.

Australia

Lowest loan rate since 1956 sparks regulatory fears and raises pressure on debt (Financial Review), Rated: AAA

Borrowing rates have fallen to their lowest level for 62 years, triggering debate that Australia’s increasing household debt will force regulators to raise further speed limits to contain new lending, despite an already slowing investor market.

Other lenders, including online lender ING and Newcastle Permanent, the nation’s largest building society, are also targeting the owner-occupied fixed-rate sector with cuts pushing the headline rate to below 3.8 per cent.

Mortgages are a key profit generator for lenders, accounting for about 55 per cent of bank loans and 30 per cent of cash earnings.

India

Spice Mobility to invest $ 1.95 mn in P2P lending startup (VC Circle), Rated: AAA

BK Modi group company Spice Mobility Ltd is set to pick up a 30% stake in Luharia Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which runs peer-to-peer lending platform anytimeloan.in, for Rs 12.5 crore ($1.95 million) in an all-cash deal.

 

Spice Mobility to buy 30% stake in P2P lending startup for ₹12.5 crore (TechStory), Rated: A

Spice Mobility Ltd is buying 30% stake in Luharia Technologies Pvt. Ltd which operates P2P lending platform anytimeloan.in, in all cash deal of ₹12.5 crore ($1.95 million), the company said in a stock exchange filings.

Start-ups all geared, it may well be time for India to make ‘Digital leap’ (Financial Express), Rated: AAA

THE YEAR 2017 has been somewhat of a twilight zone for digital in India.

India is the world’s second largest online market with 460 million internet users and more than 1 billion mobile subscribers. But internet penetration is still south of 20% of our overall population.

I read recently that over 2.4 billion brand-related conversations happen online every day. In one significant trend, consumers are undergoing digital saturation amidst the social media and marketing barrage. As many as 83% of consumer respondents in a recent survey felt that brands didn’t handle their emotions well across different touchpoints.

Good or bad in 2017, there is lot of hope for Indian startups in 2018 (Tech Observer), Rated: AAA

For some startups, especially for Fintech firms like Paytm, 2017 has been an incredible year as they were most ready to reap the benefits of disastrous demonetisation policy announced by Prime Minister  which forced the people to rely on  wallet firms for making payment for even their tea. Further, implementation of GST has push an environment wherein individuals and SMEs are looking to go digital.

Lohia says that 2018 will see scaling up of players in the lending space especially in small business lending.

On the other hand, for peer to peer (p2p) lending platform – OMLP2P – that brings investors and borrowers together for a seamless and transparent loan disbursal experience, the year 2017 was a mile stone year because on October 4, 2017, RBI came out with the guidelines for the P2P industry, which paved the way for the P2P players to get themselves registered as “ NBFC- P2P” with RBI.

For starups like CreditMantri, 2017 has been a good year as they were able to reach out to 3.8 million Indians with their CreditMantri platform.

For Pune based startup Loantap, which focuses on providing lending platform to Salaried Professionals, 2017 has been a good year. He bets that 2018 is going to be great year for LoanTap and his firm will cross 100 crore Loan Book within first few months.

Year 2017-FINTECH Collaboration Kick-start Year (the Banking Finance Post), Rated: AAA

In 2017, Banks have targeted below areas to practice Innovation –

  • Architecture to innovate: Challenges around quick interfacing between systems through API Banking.
  • Operations Overheads: Improvement areas in Operations and Cost optimisation through Robotic Process Automation
  • Skillset Availability: Creation of skillset around new technologies was always main Agenda in 2017
  • Traditional Banking: Banking Services on limited channels for Customers, It’s very important to provide Banking services through many other non-Banking Channels
  • Fintech Experimentations: Challenges around quick partnering with external partners. Availability of API Management interfacing for third-party partnering
  • Agility in Solution: Availability of quick solutions for payments & other Banking Services
  • Remove Barriers of digital transformation like lack of skills, lack of technology, lack of adoption
  • Innovative Culture building for of business Team to drive innovation or digital transformation
  • Digital banking Enhance of channels to drive digital services e.g. Customer Onboarding, customer serving, customer engagement, custom education

So far Bank has conducted 5 Hackathons which is something Unique in the banking industry.

Main achievements through Innovation Carnival

  • 1st Bank in INDIA: DCB BANK – First Bank to conduct National Hackathon in 6 Cities
  • Digital Culture Building at DCB bank – This program touches on all entities in the organisation
  • Corporate Partnering & Training – Model to train participants e.g. by IBM, Redhat, NPCI etc Corporate conducted Sessions
  • Established Mentorship Collaboration with 60+ Fintech Mentors in various areas added value to boost true evaluation
  • 18 Innovation Themes: It keeps motivated internal team thru idea generation for 18 Themes
  • Both Virtual & 6 Physical hackathons: It keeps touch with external parties thru Hackathon, Summit
  • Meeting Bank’s Strategy Goals: It’s helping to execute the strategy for our Bank and to grow bank
  • Unique India Collaboration: Building Innovation Community among Government, Accelerators, Institutes, Corporate, Banks

Indian Startup Funding Of The Week [25-30 Dec] (Inc42), Rated: A

Lendingkart Finance: The Ahmedabad-based SME lending startup raised $3.8 Mn (INR 25 Cr) in debt from the State Bank of India. The latest influx of funds will be utilised to bolster Lendingkart’s loan book. The fresh capital will also enable the startup to expand its geographical reach to over 950 cities.

Foyr: Virtual reality-based prop-tech startup Foyr raised $3.8 Mn in Series A funding led by property consultancy JLL and other individual and non-institutional investors.

Anytimeloan.in: Spice Mobility is gearing up to buy 30% stake in Luharia Technologies, which owns and operates P2P lending platform Anytimeloan.in.

Top fintech trends that India can expect in 2018 (Economic Times), Rated: A

Fintech lending
The fast-paced digitization has unlocked fresher avenues for fintech players, especially the ones associated with SME-based lending.

Virtual agents
With everything going digital, loan officers can’t be too far behind.

Machine Learning and user experience
2018 will also be the year for adoption of new regression models driven by Machine Learning.

Automated Personalization

All of this is being done through automated algorithms that scrape everything from historic transactions, preferences, and supply chain partnerships, down to critical metadata embedded into user information.

IndiaChain
Our nation has taken a giant stride in the realm of technology by developing its own blockchain network.

Open Banking
UPI (Unified Payment Interface) and AEPS (Aadhaar-enabled Payment System) have paved the way for an open banking channel in 2018.

Physical and Digital Merger
In India, despite a commendable effort to bank the unbanked, a majority of the Indian population is still deprived of access to banking services till date. Businesses, on the other hand, have enough data to prove their creditworthiness but fail to acquire credit because of conventional scoring mechanisms that banks use. Lately, fintech startups have begun collaborating with banks and helped them in making good use of their data and increasing ..

The 7 Key FinTech Trends To Watch Out For In 2018 (Inc42), Rated: A

EY’s Fintech Adoption Index (2017), a survey of more than 22,000 digitally active consumers, ranks India second (52%) behind China (69%) in terms of percentage of the digitally active population.

Digital payments reached 1,162 crore transactions between April and November and are expected to exceed 1,800 crore in the current fiscal.

Wallet Usage To Rise

2017 has been the year which saw e-wallets and digital payments come to the fore, placating the masses post demonetization. Come 2018, this trend will likely mature as more and more Indians turn to the digital side of things.

More Emphasis On Data Analytics And AI

Beyond payments, interest in fintech startups in areas like blockchainartificial intelligence andlending are just some of the focus areas that will garner attention.

Banks And Fintech Companies Collaborating

A Secure Digital India

The rise in digital payments and online lending also makes the sector exposed to hackers who are always on the prowl to feed on vulnerable security.

P2P Moneylending

Motivated by the intention of democratising financial services while aiming for exponential growth, these FinTech startups will come up with newer models for lending, especially in the P2P Lending space.

Instant Payments

Open banking – With initiatives such as Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AEPS), banking will become more ‘open’ in 2018.

Proliferation Of Chatbots

In 2018, we can expect more chatbots to be deployed with improved quality of interactions, the speed of responses and accuracy in decision-making.

P2P lending NBFCs to see a promising year ahead (MoneyControl), Rated: A

India will be more than USD 4-trillion economy by 2022. Out of this, USD 1-trillion would be digital economy—and it’s the most conservative estimate the government is working with. As Indians become digitally more aware, India’s emerging Peer-To-Peer (P2P) lending industry will flourish in 2018.

Here’re the top 5 trends to watch out for:

  1. P2P lending platforms to become an important contributor to India’s growth story… Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) contribute about a third of India’s manufacturing output and provide employment to over 10 crore people. Despite this, the share of institutional lending in the total borrowings of MSMEs is less than 10%.
  2. Faster and cheaper loans to SMEs and self-employed borrowers
  3. Fund raising activities of the P2P lending platforms may gather pace… RBI has given 3 months to the existing players and 12 months to the new players for registration. The regulator has made it mandatory for an aspirant P2P lender to have a minimum net worth of Rs 2 crore.
  4. Personal loans to grow at a healthy pace
  5. Awareness about the P2P lending sector to grow among investors

What to Expect in 2018 in the Payments Industry (BW Disrupt), Rated: B

  • The infrastructure to enable digital payments has been strengthened through issuance of debit cards, roll-out of Point of Sale machines, launch of phone-based acceptance through the BHIM app and the Bharat 4.0 app that allows seamless acceptance of QR code and UPI based payment.
  • At the same time, incentives have been provided to merchants to accept digital payments through the new Merchant Discount Rate rules
  • The RBI is helping make digital payment instruments like Wallets more viable
  • Along with these initiatives, the Government has concomitantly undertaken a massive consumer education and information campaign.
APAC

PLDT fintech unit reaching out to unbanked Filipinos (Inquirer), Rated: AAA

FINTQ, the PLDT group’s financial technology (fintech) arm, seeks to bring insurance, investment and savings solutions to 30 million unbanked Filipinos by 2020 through a grassroots-based financial inclusion program KasamaKA.

Launched to veer Filipinos away from usurious informal lenders, KasamaKA enables members to earn by referring applicants to any of the digital financial services offered by Lendr, FINTQ’s digital loan platform.

Indian-led global fintech InstaReM looks at 600 percent growth (ANI), Rated: B

Singapore headquartered fintech start-up, InstaReM, which offers convenient and cost-effective international money transfers to individuals and businesses aims to grow 600 percent in financial year 2018-19.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday November 20 2017, Daily News Digest

weather unsecured consumer loans Orchard

News Comments Today’s main news: PayPal to sell $6B in consumer loans. Cleveland Fed retracts study on P2P lending. China Citic, Baidu launch direct bank. Flender to expand into eastern Europe, Spain. Douugh partners with Choice Financial. Today’s main analysis: Orchard Platform says how hurricanes affect unsecured consumer loans. Is LendingClub shifting to higher quality borrowers permanently? Today’s thought-provoking articles: […]

weather unsecured consumer loans Orchard

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

PayPal to sell $ 6 billion in consumer loans to Synchrony Financial (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

PayPal announced today it has agreed to sell $5.8 billion in consumer credit receivables to Synchrony Financial, in an expanded relationship between the companies. The deal also includes Synchrony’s acquisition of $1 billion in participation interests in PayPal receivables held by certain investors and a chartered financial institution, the company said.

As a result of today’s deal, the two companies will expand their partnership by making Synchrony Bank the exclusive issuer of the PayPal Credit online consumer financing program available to PayPal customers in the U.S. for the next 10 years, replacing Comenity.

Orchard Platform Initiates Analysis: Severe Weather’s Effect on U.S. Unsecured Consumer Lending Industry (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

In a recent blog, Orchard Platform posted initial research how much Hurricanes Harvey and Irma affected the U.S. unsecured consumer lending industry. According to Orchard Platform, approximately 91% outstanding loans in Florida were in designated FEMA disaster areas including metropolitan areas Tampa, Orlando, Miami and Jacksonville.

“The population of loans in the areas affected by Harvey experienced a 3x increase from July 2017 to September 2017,” according to Orchard Platform Credit Analytics Manager Nicholas Del Zingaro. “All consumer unsecured loans in Texas experienced a 170 bps increase in Current to 30 Roll Rate over the same period. Irma made landfall on September 10th, but the Florida and Irma designated areas within Florida and Southern Georgia already show signs of distress, with the Current to 30 Rate increasing from 1.5% to 2.5%. The total population had an uptick of 30 bps from August to September.”

Source: Crowdfund Insider

Why Cleveland Fed should retract its online lending study (American Banker), Rated: AAA

The Marketplace Lending Association is calling upon the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland to temporarily retract and revise its report on online lending due to what we see as serious flaws in the authors’ reliance on certain underlying data.

In our view, this paper — “The Taste of Peer-to-Peer Loans” — and its accompanying materials show that a lack of precision and understanding of subject matter can result in significant inaccuracies. The report’s authors presented findings that seemed to reflect issues with the P-to-P industry, but they actually relied on data from a much broader category of loans. The result was a misleading and brutally critical report about the P-to-P industry that was actually based in part on data from more traditional loans.

Cleveland Federal Reserve Pulls Document Critical of Peer to Peer Lending as Critics Question Research Methodology (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Earlier this month Crowdfund Insider posted a research report published by the Cleveland Federal Reserve that was highly critical of the peer to peer lending industry (marketplace lending) in the US. The report, authored by Yuliya Demyanyk at the Cleveland Federal Reserve, Elena Loutskina at the University of Virginia, and Daniel Kolliner at the University of Maryland, has since disappeared from the Federal Reserve site.

GS Marcus Deep-Dive (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Marcus, was launched in October 2016 amidst mixed perceptions from market participants. One-year later, however, Marcus has achieved its $2 Bn origination objective – making it the fastest growing lending platform that PeerIQ tracks.

GS Marcus expects to originate $13 Bn over three years – the exact amount that Wells Fargo consumer balances have shrunk over the last twelve months as detailed in the PeerIQ Lending Earnings Insights reportGS expects to grow revenue from the Marcus platform to over $1Bn by capturing roughly 6% of the $250Bn unsecured consumer loan market:

Source: PeerIQ

GS CFO Marty Chavez notes that Marcus has an aggressive ~3.5% ROA objective. By comparison, Discover’s ROA is currently ~2.4% and has only achieved a quarterly 3.5% ROA once in the last ten years.

Source: PeerIQ

Although the statistics look similar, each lender is measuring loss-rates somewhat differently:

  • Lending Club and Prosper cumulative loss rates on 36-month prime term loans are ~12% – as estimated by ratings agencies during a base case (not thru cycle) scenario.
  • GS projects thru-the-cycle annual credit losses of 4.0%. Therefore, GS is betting that it will outperform on losses thru-the-cycle.
  • Discover’s 3.2% loss-rate is a realized statistic from the most recent 10-Q.
    • Discover management notes that loss rates are re-normalizing to higher levels. Indeed, Discover’s loss rate was 2.1% two year ago in 3Q 2015 and management expects losses will continue to re-normalizing going forward.
    • We believe a comparable thru the cycle loss-rate for Discover would meet or exceed 4%. By way of comparison, the Discover loan portfolio experienced a peak charge-off rate during the financial crisis of ~7%. (and continued to deliver a positive ROA).
* GS estimate of 4%, Lending Club and Prosper based on 3-year ratings agencies cum. Loss estimate of 12%. Discover based on 3Q-10Q realized
Source: PeerIQ, GS Investor Presentation, Public Filings, Bloomberg.

Is LendingClub Making a Permanent Shift to Higher Quality Borrowers? (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

recent post on the Lend Academy Forum spurred a discussion about the potential future of LendingClub, particularly as it relates to the types of borrowers they serve. While we don’t have insight into what LendingClub’s plans are, there are several things that have happened over the last two years that help us hypothesize that LendingClub’s strategy may be shifting.

LendingClub recently sent an email titled “How LendingClub Notes May Help You Generate Long-Term Wealth”. In it, they tout returns in the 4-6% range, a far cry from the returns some investors saw in LendingClub’s early days. The 4-6% range they present is footnoted, clarifying that this includes only grades A-C.

After I began writing this article LendingClub coincidentally announced in their recent earnings call that loan grades F and G would no longer be available to investors  These loans have an average interest rate of 24.16% on LendingClub’s platform. Moving forward, the loans will be brought in house as part of a test portfolio for LendingClub.

You can clearly see the expansion of C grade loans, which has increased to 36.09% of total originations in 2017, the most ever.

Source: Lend Academy

C grade loans currently make up just shy of 50% of 60 month loans.

Source: Lend Academy

Are Banks and Credit Unions Prepared for a New Mobile Era? (The Financial Brand), Rated: AAA

After years of strong mobile growth being driven by younger demographic segments, the majority of recent, more modest growth can be attributed to the 55 and older generation. In fact, consumers in the 55+age group have a three-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of nearly 8% compared to only 2% for the 18 to 34 segment, according to a study from Deloitte.

As in 2016, close to 90% of consumers viewed their phone within an hour of waking up, with roughly 80% doing the same within an hour of going to sleep.

Interestingly, the Deloitte research found that over 70% of younger demographic groups believe they are using their phones too much and are looking for ways to limit dependence. Alternatively, only 13% of consumers over 55 had the same concerns.

Source: The Financial Brand

When consumers were asked about the way they communicated on mobile phones, all options increased in 2017, including text messaging (91%), voice calls (86%), email (81%), social messaging (72%) and video calls (30%). The increase in voice calls reversed a four-year decline.

The survey found a significant growth in use of mPayments in 2017, albeit against a rather low base number. According to Deloitte, consumers who said they made an in-store mobile payment with a smartphone or other device in 2017 reached 29%, which is a 50% increase over 2016. Those who used mPayments weekly also increased by 50% in 2017, (from 8% to 12%).

This $ 700 Billion Industry Has Been Untouched By Tech, Until PeerStreet Changed Everything (Forbes), Rated: A

The PeerStreet platform lets accredited private investors access the huge market of real estate loans, backed by big data and advanced underwriting to identify loans that can give consistent returns.

Brett Crosby, Co-Founder and COO of PeerStreet, has extensive experience in analytics from his time working at Googleas Director of Product Marketing.

What did you do before this?

I was the co-founder of a company called Urchin, which was early in the web analytics space. We were acquired by Google in 2005, and turned Urchin into Google Analytics. I stayed at Google for 10 years, building and launching Google Analytics, launching mobile ads, local ads, the go-to market on social initiatives at Google, and Google Drive. After that, I was running global growth on Chrome, Gmail Docs and Drive.

Mulvaney as CFPB head? Five things to know (American Banker), Rated: A

If President Trump taps Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney as interim head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, as is widely expected, he will be a sea change from outgoing head Richard Cordray.

Mulvaney, a former congressman from South Carolina, was a fierce critic of the bureau when in Congress and he sat on the Financial Services Committee.

CFPB final payday/auto title/high-rate installment loan rule published in Federal Register (The National Law Review), Rated: A

The CFPB’s final payday loan rule was published in today’s Federal Register.  Lenders covered by the rule include nonbank entities as well as banks and credit unions.  In addition to payday loans, the rule covers auto title loans, deposit advance products, and certain high-rate installment and open-end loans.  For a summary of the rule, see our legal alert.

The controversy around Mark Warner’s payday lending bill, explained (The Week), Rated: A

At issue is the different ways that states try to handle payday lenders. Some states try to crack down on them with caps on interest rates. But other states are more lenient. And the situation is further complicated by big national banks, which operate under federal law and only have to comply with interest rate caps in the state they’re chartered in.

That loophole enables national banks to engage in “rent-a-charter” schemes. Since these banks aren’t subject to an interest rate cap (or are subject to a more lenient one), they can issue a predatory loan, then immediately sell that loan to a smaller payday lender barred by state law from issuing it on its own.

Pavaso Inc. has announced that it has selected eOriginal to support lenders in the digital mortgage process. Specifically, Pavaso will utilize eOriginal’s electronic promissory note (eNote) and electronic vaulting (eVault) services.

Elevate Credit (ELVT) and Its Peers Head to Head Comparison (Dispatch Tribunal), Rated: A

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Elevate Credit 0.13% 1.40% 0.14%
Elevate Credit Competitors -27.28% -16.64% -8.05%

51.8% of Elevate Credit shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 40.9% of shares of all “Professional Information Services – NEC” companies are held by institutional investors.

Gross Revenue NetIncome Price/Earnings Ratio
Elevate Credit $580.44 million -$22.37 million 357.00
Elevate Credit Competitors $242.33 million -$13.85 million 84.22

How Blockchain Technology Can Serve the Have-nots (Wharton), Rated: A

Some 2.7 billion people worldwide today have zero access to capital. Despite lacking any credit history or verifiable economic identity, these so-called unbanked or under-banked individuals can now access global capital markets with a $10 Android phone, thanks to blockchain-based economic identity platforms like BanQu or Humaniq that create a unique hash of verifiable authenticity — similar to a social security number — from a simple retina scan or selfie. The total market opportunity this group represents is a staggering $380 billion, according to a recent report.

Coinbase is going after big hedge fund money with its new cryptocurrency security platform (Business Insider), Rated: A

On Thursday, Coinbase, the San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange, announced a new platform that might quell the anxieties of big money investors looking to invest in crypto. The platform, called Coinbase Custody, was built specifically to meet the needs of such investors, including hedge funds and family offices, according to a Medium post by Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong.

Just last week, an unidentified user accidentally deleted the code library required to use recently created digital wallets within Parity, a popular digital-wallet provider, and cryptocurrencies have long been associated with the chasms of the deep, dark web.

The service will charge users a $100,000 startup fee. Armstrong said there will also be a monthly fee based on assets.

Because index funds pose little competitive threat, expense ratios for the leading alternative funds are far higher than elsewhere in the industry. These days, the vast majority of conventional fund sales go into funds that have expense ratios of less than 0.60%–usually much less. With alternatives, on the other hand, a 1% expense ratio is considered low-cost. Most of the larger funds have expense ratios approaching 1.5%, which would doom them were they not alternatives.

Given all these differences, it’s not surprising that, for alternatives, industry leadership is upside down. The giants are absent. Among them, Vanguard, BlackRock, Fidelity, Capital Research, and T. Rowe Price run a grand total of $7 billion in alternative mutual funds. In contrast, the management firm AQR controls $29 billion.

Source: Morningstar Direct

RealEstateInvestingProfits.com Explain Why Bitcoin and Real Estate Investing are Joining Forces (PRUnderground), Rated: A

RealEstateInvestingProfits.com, a strategic consulting and real estate investing educational platform that is responsible for a combined 1,000 closings and nearly a 100m in total sales volume focused on wholesale/flips with their partners and affiliates, are making a compelling argument, suggesting that real estate and Bitcoin should be natural partners and doing their best to open eyes to possibilities in this area.

With the Real Estate Market Size growing from $7.1 trillion in 2015 to $7.4 trillion in 2016, currency movements effectively reduced the size of the global real estate investing market by approximately 2.3% in the dollar (USD) terms according to MSCI Research, the question many are asking – Can Bitcoin be a positive disruptor to save on third-party fees and high transactions exchanges from lending?

How does Affirm make money? (Vator.tv), Rated: B

Affirm makes it easy to repay the loan, send out email and SMS text messages to remind the customer of upcoming payments. Users can pay theur Affirm bills online, by debit card or ACH transfer, and sign up for autopayment.

The company makes money the same way that a credit card does: by charging interest of between 10 percent and 30 percent.

United Kingdom

In lending its all about the recovery (AltFi), Rated: A

There’s a problem with shadow banking and alternative finance. It’s called what to do when bad stuff happens.

Whereas most consumer lenders will struggle to provide 5%, platforms such as Funding Circle, Assetz and ThinCats can easily provide a net yield in excess of 5%, even after allowing for losses.

This deeper understanding of the lending process and defaults is all for the good but I think it raises a much more critical issue, especially relevant for SME lending – how do lenders cope with problem borrowers?

But Funding Circle also has a sweet spot in lending tens and hundreds of thousands of pounds which means they tend to avoid lending large sums in the £500k to £50m bracket (in fact nothing towards to the top end).

Financial advisers found publishing false credentials online (Which?), Rated: A

Which? Money analysed 43 advice firms which are listed on on Unbiased.co.uk – a comparison service that allows you to find a financial adviser – which stated they employed certified financial planners. These are advisers who hold a specific certification from the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment (CISI).

Some 63% of them (27 firms), however, did not actually employ any such advisers.

Seven out of 24 firms (29%) were also falsely claiming to be accredited by the Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA), and 14 out of 72 firms (19%) claimed to have advisers with chartered financial planner status, despite not employing anyone who was, in fact, chartered.

UK FinTech to Launch a Bitcoin Visa Debit Card with Support for Altcoins (Cryptocoins News), Rated: A

A London-based fintech startup is planning on launching a prepaid Visa debit card, giving users the option to spend a range of cryptocurrencies across the U.K.

On Tuesday, the London Block Exchange (LBX) launched, headed by an 18-year Credit Suisse veteran.

The cryptocurrencies include bitcoin, ethereum, ripple, litecoin and monero.

Fintech startup Glint de-cloaks to offer a multi-currency account and card that supports spending gold (TechCrunch), Rated: B

London-based Glint has been pretty stealthy about what it planned to offer, despite several funding rounds and a vague description that it wanted to a create new “global currency” based on gold. Well, today the fintech startup is finally de-cloaking with a staggered launch of its multi-currency account, app and card that does indeed let you store your money in gold and convert it back to fiat currency at the point of payment.

Komodo (KMD) bringing first dICO to Market with Monaize (Oracle Times), Rated: B

Komodo (KMD) has a much smaller market cap at $233 million. Komodo promises to be a block chain interoperable network to allow transactions across coins to help financial institutions bring banking to freelancers, small business owners, and other underserved customers accept and send payments.

Monaize is now teaming up with Komodo for the first dICO to facilitate financial transactions using cryptocurrency.

China

China Citic, Baidu launch direct bank in fintech push (Reuters), Rated: AAA

China Citic Bank Corp (601998.SS) and search engine giant Baidu Inc (BIDU.O) launched on Saturday a direct banking joint venture, dubbed AiBank, to capitalize on China’s rapidly growing fintech sector.

Young, Carefree and Unsecured (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Consumer lending is booming in China, thanks to a less thrifty younger generation who have cast off the save-at-all-costs mentality of their parents.

China’s unsecured consumer loans amounted to just 9 percent of gross domestic product in the first nine months of this year, compared with 15 percent in the U.S., according to consultants Oliver Wyman. The educated 18- to 36-year-old borrowers LexinFintech targets tend to be ignored by banks, even though their job prospects mean that they’re unlikely to default.

Auto financing, meanwhile, has exploded to account for more than a third of car purchases last year from 8 percent in 2011, according to CLSA Ltd. data.

Peer-to-peer lender PPDAI Group Inc., which listed in New York last week, also said that its rates exceeded 36 percent once fees are included. The company’s shares are trading below their offer price.

WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

People’s Bank of China, China’s central bank, has made plans to launch a united platform by the end of 2017 for collecting personal credit information and assessing people’s credit ratings.

The new platform is expected to cover data from non-traditional market participants, especially Fintech industry (e.g. peer to peer lending), which will complement the existing credit data mechanism, increase supervision over non-traditional financial sectors and effectively reduce systematic risks.

Third-party credit service agencies may also become shareholders in the new platform with a ratio of 8% respectively.

On November 16th, Jianpu Technology Inc. announced it would be listed on the NYSE. Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan are the bookrunners for the deal.

On November 16th, Xiamen Financial Affairs Office released the first P2P lending firms fillings in China. However, what drew the media’s attention more in the fillings is a firm called Jing Dong Xu Hang Online Lending Information & Intermediary Service Ltd. This company is a wholly owned secondary subsidiary of JD Finance. 

European Union

Flender looking at expansion into eastern Europe and Spain (The Business Post), Rated: AAA

Flender, a peer-to-peer lending start-up backed by Ding founder and Esat Digifone co-founder Mark Roden, is eyeing up an expansion to eastern Europe and Spain after it launches in Britain next year.

Charles Egly of Younited Credit (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Younited Credit is the largest online consumer lender in Continental Europe having crossed €500 million in total loans issued earlier this year.

In this podcast you will learn:

  • What the banking environment is like in France.
  • The long road they took to get a banking license.
  • The typical borrowers coming to Younited Credit today.
  • The terms of the loans they are offering today in France.
  • The kinds of investors on their platform today.
  • How they structure their investor offerings.
  • The three different ways they make money.
  • How their insurance product works.
  • The yield to investors of their different offerings.
  • Who Charles sees as their competitors.
  • How they are expanding their business to Italy and Spain.
  • Some of the large investors they are working with today.
  • Their approach to technology and underwriting.
  • Some of the alternative data they are using to feed into their algorithms.
  • How Brexit has impacted their business.
  • How they are using the €40 million they raised recently.
  • Where they are at with regards to profitability.

And more.

Allied Irish Banks invests €30m in payments fintech firm Transfermate (City A.M.), Rated: A

Allied Irish Banks (AIB) has invested €30m in (£27m) in business-to-business international payments start-up Transfermate, it will announce today.

The investment could value Transfermate at between €250m to €300m, sources said.

International

Fintech funding round-up (Banking Technology), Rated: A

As reported in May, peer-to-peer lending start-up Flender was seeking to get €1 million in funding and is targeting a UK launch after getting full authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority.

Over in Israel, Tipigo Ventures, which offers an artificial intelligence (AI) powered wealth management platform, has raised $1 million in seed funding. The firm says this puts its valuation at $10 million.

Kuants, an algorithmic trading platform, will “co work” and “co live” at IA’s start-up academy during a three-month long acceleration programme.

Staying in India, Sumeru Enterprise Tiger Business Solutions, a Bengaluru-based banking software start-up, has raised $900,000 from unnamed investors in India and the US.

Australia

Fintech start-up Douugh scores partnership with US mutual bank Choice (Financial Review), Rated: AAA

Sydney-based fintech start-up Douugh has scored a partnership with US mutual bank Choice Financial, as it readies to launch its smart banking personal assistant, Sophie.

As part of the open banking partnership, Douugh will launch an integrated bank account and debit card with the bank, giving it the ability to accept deposits. Choice Financial has also invested in Douugh, as part of a $2.5 million seed round.

India

Fintech startups simplify digital money lending (Sunday Guardian Live), Rated: AAA

Amongst those startups who have been simplifying digital lending are Rubique, InCred, ZestMoney, Qbera, Loan Singh etc.

Working as a medium for a customer and financial institutions, data analytics performed on hundreds of data points on Rubique’s platform assess the creditworthiness of the customers (loan origination qualification), bringing predictability by giving them eligible offers to choose from.

Using real-time processing is also part and parcel for Zest Money, based in Bangalore since 2015, whose USP is its simple digital process, fast approval time and flexible products, with the benefit of multiple options to pay EMIs.

Using cutting-edge technology and proprietary credit underwriting algorithms, based on alternative data sources, Loan Singh enables frictionless lending to creditworthy and underserved borrower segments. It mainly provides personal loans (for salaried individuals), Professional Certification Loans (for students pursuing skill development and certification programmes), and Small Ticket Unsecured Personal and Consumer Loans (through third-party associations).

Others like InCred, founded in January 2017 and based out of Mumbai, focus on giving credit to those customers who have traditionally been underserved by large banks and NBFCs.

How fintech startups are assisting MSMEs, the biggest contributors to the Indian economy (YourStory), Rated: A

While contributing eight percent to the nation’s total GDP, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) also provide for 40 percent of the total export. Producing over 10,000 different types of products, these small-scale ventures are also responsible for 45 percent of the entire manufacturing output.

To begin with, last year’s demonetisation drive has propelled the digital onboarding of a number of MSMEs.

However, given a favourable environment and a slew of radical changes, there is still a huge credit deficit that is still unmet for the sector. This is exactly where the number of mushrooming fintech startups step in. To disrupt the status quo and level the playing field, a number of fintech lenders are supporting these small-scale ventures. The fact was made evident by McKinsey, claiming that nearly 75 percent of the emerging fintech lenders are helping MSMEs with lending, payment systems, retail banking, wealth management and more.

In digital drive, Aegon Life looking for fintech partnerships (Zeebiz), Rated: B

Aegon Life Insurance is exploring partnerships with fintech firms to expand customer base through a digital push of selling policies online, a top company official said.

Five fintech platforms which will make all your honeymoon dreams come true (Business-Standard), Rated: B

Here is a list of five fintech platforms, which will make all your honeymoon dreams come true:

  1. Loantap.in
  2. Faircent.com
  3. Rubique
  4. CreditMantri
  5. BankBazaar
Asia

P2P lender Crowd Genie targets raising up to $ 31.6m via ICO (Deal Street Asia), Rated: A

Singapore-based P2P lending solutions provider Crowd Genie plans to conduct an initial coin offering (ICO) of its CGCOIN currency, aiming to raise up to ETHB100,000 ($31.69 million).

Are crowdfunding and P2P lending good options for business financing? (e27), Rated: A

For the better part of a decade, banks have relaxed their lending conditions, too, so small businesses are finding more success with being approved for a loan.

But banks are not the only ones providing funding to small businesses, as they are actually reluctant to lend money to such enterprises in some jurisdictions. In China, for example, state-owned banks are not too fond of lending to individuals and small businesses. However, here P2P lending is a booming market, with around 2,200 p2p lenders and a market valued at US$100 billion.

Not all small businesses have the capability to launch their own ICOs, nor build their own blockchains over Ethereum, however. For this purpose, a startup called Starbase will empower any business or individual to crowdfund using cryptocurrencies and tokens without building their own network.

WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

It is based on this point of view that MAS and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority decided to collaborate on a Blockchain-based cross-border trade finance platform. The platform, which is called Global Trade Connectivity Network (GTCN), is an open-sourced Blockchain platform and will be launched at the start of 2019.

OJK Will Fix The Rules Regarding Fintech (Gatra News), Rated: B

The authority noted that as of September this year, 24 P2P lending companies consisting of 16 local companies and 8 foreign companies have been registered and licensed in OJK. Meanwhile 31 P2P lending companies are in the process of registration.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday October 16 2017, Daily News Digest

fintech financing

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi withdraws banking application. SoFi completes largest loan securitization to date. Retailer sues Kabbage. New UK marketplace loan deal mandated. OakNorth achieves unicorn status with 154M GBP raise. PPdai plans $350M U.S. IPO. Linked Finance gets 2M Euro equity investment. Today’s main analysis: Q3 2017 FinTech Insights Report (must-read). New generation of high net worth individuals spur […]

fintech financing

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Middle East

Africa

News Summary

United States

SoFi withdraws U.S. banking application, citing leadership change (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Student online lender Social Finance Inc said on Friday that it is withdrawing its application for a bank license in the wake of the departure of a number of senior executives, including co-founder and former Chief Executive Mike Cagney.

SoFi Completes its Largest Loan Securitization to Date (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

SoFi announced today the closing of a $776.7 million offering of SoFi Professional Loan Program 2017-E notes.

SoFi 2017-E marks the company’s largest asset-backed securities issue to date and its 10th ABS transaction this year, bringing SoFi’s total issuance for 2017 to $5.375 billion.  Since inception, SoFi has closed 30 transactions totaling $12.4 billion in issuance.  With the closing of SoFi 2017-E, SoFi maintains its position as a top ten ABS sponsor. The recent transaction was heavily subscribed with orders totaling $2.3 billion.

Wealth Management Firm GENCapital Partners with SoFi and Celebrates One-Year Anniversary (Digital Journal), Rated: A

GENCapital is proud to announce a partnership with SoFi, a new kind of finance and lending company. In addition, GENCapital celebrated its one-year anniversary in September.

FT Partners Research Publishes Q3 2017 FinTech Insights Report (FT Partners Email), Rated: AAA

Highlights of the Q3 2017 report:

  • Q3 2017 financing volume of $5.1 bn was lower than in Q2 2017 ($8.8 bn), but higher than in Q1 2017 ($4.3 bn). This quarter saw the second highest financing deal count ever at 412 transactions, only behind Q1 2016, which had 438.
  • Financing volume year-to-date is tracking just below 2016’s record level and is on pace for the second strongest year ever. This is even more impressive considering that 2016 was skewed by a handful of megadeals in China.
  • The Banking sector continues to be the most active sector this year in both the number of transactions (356 year-to-date) and financing volume ($6.3 bn year-to-date).
  • 2017 FinTech financing volume in Europe ($5.3 bn) is already more than 2x the financing volume of 2016 for the region ($2.6 bn).
  • Q3 2017 M&A volume ($32.9 bn) was the highest since Q4 2015 ($50.5 bn), which included Visa’s $23.4 bn acquisition of Visa Europe. This quarter had eight $1 billion+ M&A deals, which is the most since Q4 2015 (which also had eight).
  • So far this year, 57% of the total global M&A dollar volume is comprised of international targets, although only 38% of the number of transactions represents international targets.
Source: FT Partners

Get the full report here.

Mass. Retailer Sues Over Alleged High-Interest Loan Scheme (Law360), Rated: AAA

A Massachusetts clothing and sports retailer filed suit in federal court Thursday alleging that financial technology company Kabbage Inc. evaded state law by offering high-interest loans through an industrial bank based in Utah, which places no ceiling on interest rates for commercial loans, all the while serving as the true lender.

NRO Boston LLC and owner Alice Indelicato accuse Kabbage and Celtic Bank Corp. of devastating the retailer with their “rent-a-bank” scheme, whereby the bank was listed as the lender for loans in order to get….

Lending Club founder Renaud Laplanche opens up on his ‘frustrating’ exit and new startup Upgrade (Business Insider), Rated: A

Renaud Laplanche tries to “keep a positive attitude rather than focus on my frustration” when it comes to Lending Club.

“It was very, very frustrating. I’m not commenting on the story, but the best way to actually understand what really happened is to read the filings. I think the press made it sound a lot worse, a lot more sensational, than it really was.”

Upgrade raised $60 million (£45.7 million) in April, the biggest ever Series A funding round for a US fintech startup. Many of Lending Club’s original investors have backed the business and Jefferies, an investment bank burned by Lending Club’s loan term scandal, has signed up to buy loans from Upgrade — a vindication for Laplanche.

Now he is focused on “what can I learn from it, what can I do better. Upgrade has been part of that.”

Global Debt Registry Verifies Over $ 1.5 Billion in Loans (AltFi), Rated: A

Global Debt Registry (GDR), the asset certainty company known for its loan validation expertise, today announced it has exceeded a $1.5 Billion of loans issued by digital lending platforms and verified by the Company’s suite of due diligence solutions. On the heels of the GDR’s announcement of its successful SOC 1 Type 2 and SOC 2 Type 2 attestations last week, this achievement confirms the Company’s role as a leader in online lending’s ongoing expansion, driving capital growth in the sector by providing certainty and transparency around investors’ online lending portfolios and protection against risks surrounding the loan data integrity.

Amex targets Square, PayPal in small-biz lending (American Banker), Rated: A

In the digital age, a lot has changed about how businesses operate — and a lot of new data is being generated in the process.

This creates new possibilities for judging a consumer or merchant’s creditworthiness. Square and PayPal have been taking advantage of this for years with models that rely on a merchant’s sales history to determine their likelihood to repay a loan, and American Express is ready to compete.

Redpoint Capital Group, LLC Enters into Credit Services Agreement with Elevate Credit, Inc. Subsidiaries (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Redpoint Capital Group, LLC (“Redpoint”), an alternative investment company focused on providing financing across an array of asset-based strategies, announced it has entered into two additional Credit Agreements with two separate wholly owned subsidiaries of Elevate Credit, Inc.

Rise Credit Service of Ohio, LLC entered into a Credit Services Agreement with Redpoint Asset Funding Ohio, LLC (“Redpoint Ohio”) whereby Rise Credit Service of Ohio, LLC acts as a credit service organization on behalf of consumers for certain loans originated, funded and collected by Redpoint Ohio.

Furthermore, Rise Credit Services of Texas, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company, entered into a Credit Services Agreement with Redpoint Capital Asset Funding, LLC (“Redpoint”) whereby Rise Credit Services of Texas, LLC acts as a credit access business on behalf of consumers for certain loans originated, funded and collected by Redpoint.

In addition to the agreements with Redpoint and Redpoint Ohio described above, Rise Credit Services of Texas, LLC, Rise Credit, LLC and the Company also entered into new guarantees of certain receivables of the Company and its subsidiaries held by Redpoint and Redpoint Ohio.

True Link Financial Secures $ 8 Million Series A Round (PR Newswire), Rated: A

True Link Financial, the financial services provider for seniors, announced today that it has raised $8 million in a Series A funding round led by QED Investors, with additional investment from Radicle Impact and Initialized Capital. In conjunction with the investment, QED’s Founding Partner Frank Rotman will join True Link’s Board of Directors. With this latest round True Link has raised $15.8 million since the company’s founding in 2012.

The 45 million seniors in America – the largest and fastest-growing segment of the population – are facing new challenges. Average lifespans increased by more than thirty years over the 20th Century, stretching savings further and layering in new medical costs. Since the time today’s retirees entered the workforce, the percentage of workers with a pension has dropped by more than half. 5.5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s today, and more than 16 million will have the disease by 2050. And according to True Link’s groundbreaking 2015 study, financial fraud costs the aging a whopping $36 billion a year. In short, people are living longer with fewer resources and more risks.

The company’s customer base has grown twentyfold in the last three years. Its cards division is the first Silicon Valley startup debit card issuer to turn a profit, and its robo-advisor is Silicon Valley’s first robo-advisor to turn a profit.

Could online lending become the next systemic risk? (American Banker), Rated: A

When banks resisted expanding credit in the years following the financial crisis and passage of the Dodd-Frank Act, online marketplace lending seized on what seemed like a niche opportunity: targeting the credit markets deserted by banks.

But with issuance of marketplace securitizations now exploding — rising 300% cumulatively in the past two years — the idea of online lending as a niche is quickly deteriorating.

Google and Amazon are ready to disrupt small business lending, former Obama advisor says (CNBC), Rated: A

Tech behemoths Google and Amazon are poised to put competitive pressure on traditional banks in the small business lending arena, one of former President Barack Obama‘s cabinet members said Tuesday.

Karen Mills, who served as Obama’s administrator for small businesses, told CNBC that the tech giants would probably push to disrupt the market and deal a blow to established lenders.

“I think they are going to dominate the market, and that is the next phase that’s coming,” she told the LendIt Europe fintech conference in London.

SBA Lending Activity in FY17 Shows Consistent Growth (PR Newswire), Rated: A

The U.S. Small Business Administration today announced fiscal year 2017 lending numbers showing increasing loan levels in small business lending through the 7(a) and 504 loan programs, as well as increases in lending to women, veterans and emerging communities.

SBA approved over 68,000 loans in the 7(a) and 504 loan programs in FY17.  These programs provided over $30 billion to small businesses.

In FY17, the 7(a) program supported a consistent number of loans — more than $25.44 billion combined across 62,430 loans.  The SBA continues to streamline and improve access to its loan program for small loans and emerging communities, delivering more than $5 billion in smaller loans of $350,000 or less in FY17.

7(a) lending to women-owned businesses (both majority and minority owned) grew in total dollar and volume.  FY17 lending exceeded $7.5 billion, an increase of $298 million from FY16.

FY17 504 lending to women-owned businesses reached $955.2 million, a $277 million increase over the previous fiscal year. Loans to veterans totaled $1.15 billion for 7(a) and 504 lending.

Ray Sturm of AlphaFlow (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • What AlphaFlow does and why it is unique in real estate investing.
  • The real estate platforms they are working with today.
  • Why they are looking to also work with offline hard money lenders.
  • How they decide which platforms to work with.
  • Details of their own proprietary real estate analytics platform.
  • The area of the real estate market they focus on.
  • The average duration, rate and LTV of the loans they invest in.
  • Why they decided to become a Registered Investment Advisor.
  • The types of investors coming to their platform today.
  • How they are able to get new investors a diversified portfolio with days.
  • The tech they are using to connect to the real estate platforms.
  • Some of the big names that participated in their recent seed round.
  • Ray’s view on the real estate crowdfunding space in general.
  • How Ray thinks about the long term direction of AlphaFlow.

    

P2B Investor Program Allows Community Banks to Lend More with Marketplace Lending Partnership (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

P2B Investor has launched an interesting partnership program that is good for banks, good for borrowers and good for P2Bi. Banks, typically smaller banks, would like to lend more to SMEs but are risk averse due to multiple reasons. P2B Investor’s new program allows the bank to buy the first half of the loan with their low cost of capital, and P2Bi marketplace buys the second half. Thus the SME has a hybrid line of credit to finance its cash needs.

Payday loans rule could change in 2019 (MSN), Rated: A

Consumers who are caught in a financial squeeze might one day be able to skip the payday loan store and turn to banks and credit unions for lower-cost, quick-fix loans.

Congress could move to overturn the rule — but some say that’s unlikely.

What could change: Lenders eventually would be required to research upfront whether borrowers could afford to repay all or most of  their short-term loans at once — including payday loans and auto title loans — and longer-term loans with “balloon” payments.

What won’t change: People who are cash-strapped still will be looking for ways to cover their bills.

AutoGravity Is Fintech’s Answer To Car Shopping (Benzinga), Rated: A

AutoGravity, a fintech platform for car shopping, has been nationally available for less than a year. The app’s been downloaded more than 750,000 times and processed more than $1 billion in financing requests.

Of the 20 largest automotive lenders, AutoGravity has some form of an agreement with 19, said chief marketing officer Serge Vartanov.

The app’s momentum is building: 100,000 of its downloads came in the month of August alone.

AutoGravity is now available in 49 states after kicking off with a soft launch in California.

While AutoGravity doesn’t disclose its overall lender portfolio, it has previously announced partnerships with Mercedes-Benz Financial Services and Hyundai Capital and a $30 million investment from Volkswagen and Daimler Financial Services.

Cardplatforms disrupts the financial services market (Biz Journals), Rated: A

The Boca Raton fintech company has grown revenues by nearly 400 percent in 2016.

CarGurus races up 72% in a week with 4 strong pops (NASDAQ), Rated: A

CarGurus and three medical device companies each had a strong debut, averaging a first-day pop of 45%.

Issuer
Business
Deal Size
($mm)
Market Cap
at IPO ($mm)
Price vs.
midpoint
First day
return
Return
at 10/13
CarGurus ( CARG ) $150 $1,798 14% 72% 78%
 Online marketplace for buyers and sellers of new and used cars.

The rise of a new kind of finance is setting off alarm bells at the Fed (Business Insider), Rated: A

The challenge is that regulatory bureaucracies in Washington, including the Federal Reserve, may be too slow to react to new technology — from cryptocurrencies and blockchain to crowdfunding — in the same way policymakers missed the risks embedded in the “innovations” in mortgage finance that ultimately fueled the worst housing bust and financial crisis in modern history.

“We’re not going to call it banking — we’re going to call it something else,” Bullard said.

The Unbanking of America, by Lisa Servon (Patheos), Rated: A

Add in the number of people suffering because of the poor economy, especially millennials in the Gig Economy, living from paycheck to paycheck, unable to accumulate enough money for emergency savings, and Americans’ use of businesses such as check cashing companies or payday lenders or other alternate lenders, is entirely rational, in her portrayal, and it’s wrong for policymakers to act as if all Americans need to do is to be told they should get a bank account and that’s that.

Servon’s research for the book consisted, in part, of actually working at a check cashing service and a payday lender.

She then concludes the book by talking about “innovators.”  She profiles a start-up that intends to provide an alternate credit-scoring model that takes into account other types of financial behavior that’s not typically incorporated into the mainstream credit bureaus’ credit scores, and a start-up that intends to make it cheaper to transfer money from one person to another, and a bank, KeyBank, that is more mission-oriented than the usual faceless big corporate bank.

One thing she entirely fails to mention is the fact that interest rates have dropped so dramatically.

A second development in the banking world that she neglects to mention is the rise in prepaid debit cards.

And the third missing item is that of competition.

Corporate Boards Should be Demanding Management Answer These 5 Questions About Company Culture (Entrepreneur), Rated: A

  1. Is the leadership team operating with a high level of professionalism and integrity? Do they value diversity and inclusion?
  2. Do legal and HR have a seat at the table in making key strategy, organizational and business decisions?
  3. Does the company have published policies, processes and trainings so employees easily understand what type of behavior is unacceptable and what to do if they have a problem?
  4. What is the company’s strategy to create a diverse and inclusive environment on the board and in the office?
  5. Does the board have oversight and access to management, so as to be informed about the company’s internal controls and policies and when the same are violated?

Is the way the CFPB handles enforcement about to change? (Housingwire), Rated: B

But regardless of what happens to Cordray, the way the CFPB handles enforcement could be changing as we speak, because the CFPB’s enforcement director is apparently leaving the bureau.

Anthony Alexis, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s enforcement chief, is stepping down after more than two years overseeing the agency’s efforts to combat abuses by the financial industry, a departure certain to fuel speculation that Director Richard Cordray will leave soon to pursue the Ohio governorship.

Alexis, a former Mayer Brown partner who was named enforcement director in 2015 after holding the role in an interim capacity, announced his departure plans to CFPB staff Thursday afternoon, according to a former CFPB attorney who is familiar with the matter.

BREAKING: Auto Racer, Atty Guilty Of Running Criminal Payday Loan Empire (Lexis Nexis), Rated: B

A Manhattan jury on Friday found auto racer Scott Tucker and his attorney Timothy Muir guilty of operating a $2 billion criminal payday loan empire that preyed on millions of vulnerable borrowers and entered into sham deals with Native American tribes.

FINRA ratchets up fintech engagement (FinancialPlanning), Rated: B

FINRA was looking to ratchet up engagement with industry players, he said.

To that end, the regulator has hosted roundtable discussions around the country with fintech firms, robos, vendors, and traditional broker-dealers’ technology departments to get a better handle on how the business is changing, Cook said. Later this month, FINRA will convene a new fintech advisory committee.

United Kingdom

New UK marketplace loan deal mandated (Global Capital), Rated: AAA

The transaction, MOCA 2017-1, will be offered in three tranches and is backed by 31,153  Zopa loans with a total outstanding balance of £208.96m. The loans have an average current balance of £6,708 and a weighted average seasoning of 4.5 months. The average interest rate is 7.2%.

Challenger bank OakNorth nabs £154m, claims unicorn status (AltFi), Rated: AAA

OakNorth, a challenger bank focussed on lending to high growth businesses and property developers, has raised £154m in equity money in a round that values the company at £934m (approximately $1.3bn). The fundraise pushes the firm into “unicorn” territory – a term reserved for private tech firms with a valuation north of a billion dollars.

The money comes from The Clermont Group, Toscafund and Coltrane, which together have purchased a 16 per cent stake in the challenger bank. OakNorth says the money will be used to boost its lending by an additional £1.5bn.

This £4bn problem is stunting SME growth (City A.M.), Rated: A

Every year, tens of thousands of small businesses see their loan applications refused by the big banks.

In fact, figures from the British Business Bank (BBB) indicate that this amounts to around £4bn in loans annually – a staggering figure when you consider that this is preventing businesses from being able to reach their full potential.

SMEs are expected to contribute £241bn to the British economy by 2025, up 19 per cent from last year’s figure of £202bn, according to research from challenger bank Hampshire Trust Bank and the Centre for Economics and Business Research.

Seen and Heard at LendIt Europe: The Future of Finance (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

“Data that the bank holds on the consumer belongs to the consumer and not the bank.”

Imran Gulamhuseinwala OBE, Global Head of Fintech at EY

“Banks have outdated technology. To change that takes a lot of effort. From where they are starting, it is not easy.”

Jaidev Janardana, CEO of Zopa

“Users do not really care about the tech. They just know it works.”

Radoslav Albrecht, CEO and founder of BitBond

“As for Cost of Capital. Marketplace lending has access to a very wide range of cost of capital. A lot of platforms sell loans to banks. You have Credit Unions buying loans. Credit Unions have a return target of 2 to 3%. Lower than Goldman Sachs. Marketplace Lenders have access to similar cost of capital.”

Renaud Laplanche, CEO and founder of Upgrade

“The biggest myth of all is that Banks and other financial services are advantaged at this.  They have all the data. The truth is the data is fragmented across all different tech stacks and it is difficult to utilize. Very expensive and slow. The data is in the wrong place.”

Antony Jenkins, CEO and founder of 10X Future Technologies

BitRent Opens New Horizons for Investors (The Merkle), Rated: A

Blockchain platform BitRent announced a revolutionary solution in the area of new-built property: commercial and residential property shared investing at an early stage of construction and total control over construction process in real time by means of modules and structures chipping. The company operates on blockchain technology and smart-contracts protocol. BitRent platform’s mission is to make real estate investing easy, transparent and profitable all over the world.

Christine Farnish on the changing role of the P2PFA (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

There are changes ahead for the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA). The self-regulated trade body has been shaping industry standards for six years, but as alternative lending enters the mainstream, even the P2PFA has to be willing to evolve.

However, the next board meeting – set to be held in November – is expected to focus on an update to the P2PFA rules, membership criteria, and the association’s role in the wider regulatory community.

The departure of RateSetter and LendInvest (which no longer defines itself as a P2P lender) has brought the P2PFA’s market share down to around 50 per cent of the UK’s P2P sector. Current members include Funding Circle, Zopa, MarketInvoice, Landbay, ThinCats, Lending Works and newest member Folk2Folk but no new members have joined since February of this year. However, Farnish rejected rumours that the association is “a closed shop”.

For now, the P2PFA is focused on reviewing its own rules and Farnish confirmed that a revised version of these rules will be published before the end of the year.

Robo-advice in ten points  (London School of Economics and Political Science), Rated: A

The asset management industry is currently in a state of flux, and the manner in which individuals and institutions interact with their wealth managers is on the cusp of dramatic change. Digitisation and increased use of technology should mean that we are at the point of a low-cost revolution.

Robo-advice in ten points:

  • Robo-advice is online
  • The key is probably cost: Robo-advisors can be 60-70 per cent cheaper than traditional solutions and can provide savings of 1 percentage point per year of assets. Over a lifetime of investing, this would make £100,000s of difference to millions of investors in the UK alone.
  • Growth is strong: Whilst still only a fraction of the market, the assets under management of major players are growing between 50 and 100 per cent per year, and new entrants and concepts are developing all the time. There are currently over 100 robo-advisors in Europe with most based in either Germany or the UK.
  • There is a long way to go: Nutmeg, the UKs’ largest robo, has $1bn in assets, but Legal and General, the UK’s largest traditional asset manager, has over $1 trillion – a thousand times larger. Data in the US is similar, with BlackRock having $6 trillion under management and Betterment, the largest US robo, having a fraction of this.
  • On-boarding is a noted differentiator, but also a concern: The faster process and fact finding may not always be up to date with regulations or as rigorous as it should be.
  • Millennials are less important than predicted: Most of the original players in this nascent market targeted millennials. But older, wealthier and still tech-savvy baby boomers have become core clients.
  • Robo-advisors mainly use ETFs
  • Future robo-advisors will be more sophisticated
  • Robo-advice aids financial inclusion: Both the regulator and the industry are hoping that robo-advice will improve participation and access to the investment process.
  • Robo-advisors typically use Modern Portfolio Theory: Robo-advisors typically use mean-variance optimisation for asset selection, but future solutions are likely to use Liability Driven Investment (LDI) frameworks  for portfolio construction.

Ignoring women: Banking’s £130bn a year own goal? (AltFi), Rated: B

Financial services firms could be missing a £130bn opportunity by not winning over women, according to a new report.

UK financial institutions are failing to connect with female customers at every stage of the buying journey, from advertising to offerings and funds, finds Kantar’s latest research. It shows financial advertising and marketing strategies fail to communicate trustworthiness, dependability or understanding – particularly to women, 65 per cent of whom report low confidence in their financial institutions, compared to 55 per cent of men.

Only 38 per cent of women claim to feel ‘in control of their financial future’ compared to 51 per cent of men.

China

Chinese P2P Lending Platform PPdai.com Plans $ 350M IPO In US (China Money Network), Rated: AAA

Chinese peer-to-peer lending platform PPdai.com will seek an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange, the company said in a filing, marking the latest Chinese financial technology company to go public. PPdai.com is currently values as a unicorn on China Money Network’s China Unicorn List with a US$2 billion valuation.

The company aims to raise as much as US$350 million through the IPO, though it has not determined the listing price or the number of shares to be offered, according to an IPO prospectus filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

This week, China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) announced that it had grant an operation license to Shenzhen Wei Min Insurance Agency Co. Ltd. Tencent owns a majority stake (57.8%) of this new insurer.

On October 10thAlipay announced to introduce house rental service in eight cities (Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Chengdu, Xi’an and Zhengzhou). Users can enter the credit renting platform by searching “rent” in Alipay. If users’ Sesame Credit is above 650, they can enjoy deposit exemption and pay rent monthly.

Hexindai, a less well-known online consumer finance platform, is going to be listed in the US.  Hexindai plans to raise $80 million in this IPO.

October 10th marked the 92th birthday of the world-renowned Palace Museum. It was on the same day that the museum started to embrace a brand new era of digital payment. 

Li Ka-shing shows strong backing for Hong Kong’s fintech sector with MioTech funding (SCMP), Rate: A

Horizons Ventures, Li’s private investment arm, led a US$7 million Series A funding round for MioTech, one of just a few Chinese tech companies in the firm’s portfolio.

Qudian IPO: What Investors Need to Know (The Motley Fool), Rated: B

The Chinese micro-lending specialist is about to hit the U.S. stock market following an IPO early next week. Millions of Chinese consumers and businesses tap Qudian for credit, but does this make the stock a potential buy?

Qudian’s sweet spot is consumer loans. According to a study from Oliver Wyman commissioned by the company, it was the top small lender in the country in terms of number of active borrowers and volume of transactions as of June 30.

These loans are fairly small, even by local standards, and typically have short durations. There sure are a lot of them, though — in the first six months of this year, the company dispensed a total of around 38.2 billion yuan ($5.8 billion).

Over Ten Chinese P2P Lending Platforms expand to Southeast Asian Market (Xing Ping She), Rated: B

Recently, the PINTEC Group has announced a joint venture in Singapore to enter the Southeast Asian market with robo-adviser as its entry point. So far, there are more than 10 Chinese Internet finance companies layout in the Southeast Asian market,including Lufax, Dianrong.com, etc.

Yu-Hang Guo, the co-founder& co-chief executive of Dianrong.com, said that China’s internet finance companies have concentrated on the southeast Asian market, there are active plans as well as passive responses. With Chinese regulations tightening, many of them are looking abroad for growth. It is reported that cash loans, P2P and third-party data services have become the three most promising businesses in the Southeast Asian market.

Actually, before the small and medium-sized internet finance platforms have been set foot, industry faucets such as Ant Financial have already started to move and accelerate into the digital payment market in Southeast Asian.

European Union

Linked Finance Secures €2 Million Equity Investment (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Ireland-based peer-to-peer lending company Linked Finance announced on Thursday it secured €2m in equity funding to support its plans for expansion. The funding round was led by the company’s original venture capital backers, Frontline Ventures. The platform has now lent over €34.5 million to Irish SMEs since its launch in 2013, with more than €16.9 million already repaid to its lenders.

The Revolut founder on why his people work 12-13 hours a day (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

So far this year, Revolut, which started as a foreign exchange card linked to an app, has launched business accounts, loans, loyalty offers, mobile phone insurance, a bill splitting feature, a subscription “Premium” account, a chatbot, and more. Oh, and raised $66 million.

“The vision is very simple,” Storonsky said. “At the moment in the world, all banks are very local. As a result, you always struggle with international activity. That means you always need to open new bank accounts, issue new cards, set up a new credit profile.

“Nowadays people are all international. Banks are not providing this service. The vision for us is alternative global banking. Anyone in the world can just download the Revolut app and set up a local bank account to access any services they need.”

‘A lot of people work on weekends’

It’s a bold ambition. But can the business sustain this pace? I had heard from people in the industry — startup founders, PRs, former staff — that Revolut’s working culture can be tough: long hours, aggressive targets, burn out.

“We are not about long hours — we are about getting shit done,” Storonsky said. “If people have this mentality, they work long hours because they want it.”

It should be said that all the company’s Glassdoor reviews are five-star reviews, even those that mention the hours. “This company is highly addictive,” one reads.

German fintech Compeon scoops €12m fundraise (AltFi), Rated: A

A credit brokerage platform by the name of Compeon has raised €12m in a series B fundraising round. The round was led by existing investor Tengelmann Ventures, with btov Partners and Dieter von Holtzbrinck Ventures also participating.

Compeon processed a total of €2.5bn in loan requests in 2016, with an average loan request of €700,000.

Israel’s Migdal Partners Decentralized P2P Lending Platform Lendoit (Finance Magnates), Rated: B

Lendoit, a new decentralized P2P lending platform, has announced that it has partnered with one of Israel’s biggest institutional investment firms, Migdal Investment Banking. Established in 1965 and part of Migdal Capital Markets Group, it currently manages assets valued at $9 billion for thousands of clients in the Israeli private, business and public sectors.

International

PRIVATE CREDIT INDUSTRY: SUPPLY AND DEMAND (All About Alpha), Rated: AAA

The Alternative Credit Council, an affiliate of the Alternative Investment Management Association, has put out a paper on the present state of the private credit industry, considering both the demand (from borrowers) for its services and the supply (from investors) of capital to lend.

In preparing this paper, the ACC has partnered with Dechert LLP, an international law firm that specializes in financial and regulatory intricacies, to research and present a discussion of how private credit has managed to “cement its place in the lending landscape globally.”

One of the points of the paper is that private credit so understood is no longer stuck in the midmarket. It is moving outward in both directions.

On the other side of the market, there continue to be a number of borrowers who are good risks yet whose needs are not being met by the banking system, which is undergoing its own uneasy transformation in the face of regulatory pressure.

The top three characteristics of private credit that borrowers value most are: the speed of decision making, the ability to develop complex structures, and the flexibility of terms.

FinTech builds on blockchain for international mobile payments (Computerworld), Rated: A

IBM has partnered with a Polynesian payments system provider and an open-source FinTech payment network to implement a new international exchange based on a blockchain electronic ledger.

The new payment network uses IBM’s Blockchain Platform, a cloud service, to enable the electronic exchange of 12 different currencies across Pacific Islands as well as Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

KlickEx Group, a United Nations-funded, Pacific-region financial services company, and Stellar.org, a nonprofit organization that supports an open-source blockchain network for financial services, are backing the new cross-border payments service.

How to Get a Loan with Bad Credit (The Global Dispatch), Rated: B

If your bank does not agree to your request, start exploring alternative lenders. Do not limit your options to institutions. Your friends or family members can lend you the cash you need to handle an emergency. Peer to peer lending is a great alternative to banks, which allows you to borrow from individuals instead of institutions.

You can easily access a quick loan with bad credit online if you have a stable and verifiable source of income. Online lenders run your credit history but will approve your loan request with proof that you can repay in time. In most cases, the lenders offer payday loans that fall due on your next payday. You must be careful when applying for a personal loan online. Most of the search results you will get are from marketing companies and not direct lenders.

Australia

TSYS’ ProPay Sets Up Shop In Australia (PYMNTS), Rated: A

TSYS’ merchant services company ProPay is expanding into new territory.

The company announced in a press release this week that ProPay has launched in Australia, bringing small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) there to its merchant acquiring payment network and enabling them to efficiently accept card payments. The solution is built for direct-selling companies, micro merchants, distributors and payment facilitators.

Australian Government Agencies Flagged For Company Card Fraud (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Australian government agencies are reportedly plagued by company card fraud and misuse, according to new analysis from media company Fairfax Media. By certain accounts, some agencies are seeing more than $100,000 in misspend.

Fairfax analysts found an array of instances in which government purchasing cards were used for personal use, including one that attempted to use a Weather Bureau card for a transaction surpassing $1,000, an Able Seaman who repaid nearly $2,350 after misusing a card and one employee at the Foreign Affairs department who was fired after spending more than $7,000 on the department’s credit card, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

The ABS had 156 cases of inappropriate spend on its cards, Fairfax found, valuing more than $43,000 in misspend.

India

P2P lenders seek clarity from RBI on appointment of trustee (Livemint), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending (P2P) platforms in India have requested the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to allow non-bank trust companies to act as trustees for fund transfers between the participants—investors and borrowers—on their platforms.

“It took us six months to get a trustee. Most of the bank promoted trustees were unwilling to come on board as the industry is nascent,” said Mukesh Bubna, founder and chief executive at Monexo Innovations Ltd, a Mumbai-based P2P platform.

“This creates a monopoly. A limited number of trustees managing transactions for multiple P2P firms may lead to conflict of interest and also a higher fee being charged by the trustees for managing the escrow accounts,” said Raghavendra Pratap Singh, co-founder at i2iFunding.com, a Noida-based P2P platform.

So far, the firms have informally reached out to the regulator, said two people close to the development. They requested anonymity. They are expected to send formal feedback to the regulator soon.

Email sent to RBI did not elicit any response.

Why RBI should ease regulations for P2P lenders (VC Circle), Rated: A

For the sake of brevity, below are summarised certain key issues of the P2P directions after taking into consideration various arguments in the central bank’s consultation paper:

  1. P2P entities as NBFCs
  2. Ambiguous definition of P2P lending – The term “or otherwise” in the definition does not clarify whether P2P lending is restricted only to online platforms.
  3. Net-owned fund and leverage ratio – The RBI in its directions stated that any NBFC-P2P platform needs to have net-owned funds of more than Rs 2 crore or as is prescribed by the central bank.
  4. Limit on lending – However, the P2P directions state that loans are subject to a cap of Rs 10,00,000.
  5. Exempting non-institutional lenders from regulation
  6. Are NBFC-P2Ps intermediaries for banks?

How tech has relaxed Mumbai’s monopoly on finance (India Times), Rated: AAA

Six months after he founded payment gateway company Razorpay in 2013, Harshil Mathur was looking to shift his headquarters from Jaipur. Of his three options — Delhi, Mumbai or Bengaluru, Mathur chose the tech hub of Bengaluru over the financial capital, Mumbai.

Source: Times of India

With the rise of tech startups that focus on financial services, the traditional banking landscape is transforming — and Mumbai, Delhi-NCR and Bengaluru are competing to become the country’s fintech capital. Mumbai is still the financial capital as it is home to major banks and financial institutions, but it is technology that is becoming integral to finance.

Source: Times of India

Watch out for these 5 fintech platforms to revolutionise business in India (Business Standard), Rated: B

A marketplace lending platform in India, Rubique empowers individuals and SMBs with an easy and smoother access to across a wide range of loan, credit card, and products.

LoanTap is a fintech platform delivering flexible EMI free loan products to salaried professionals.

India’s largest peer to peer lending website, Faircent is a platform where people who have spare money, use the means of lending it directly as a form of loan, thereby eliminating intermediaries and their margins.

Having started as an online mobile recharge and bill payments app. Paytm in a short span of time has scaled to over 250 million registered users.

CreditMantri is a multi-services platform that helps borrowers secure loans from its partner financiers.

Asia

A new generation of HNWIs spur shift in investment (Asia Asset), Rated: AAA

HNWIs’ wealth growth remains led by Asia, with ongoing gains from an increasingly affluent middle class, enhanced productivity, and property price gains.

As the largest HNWI market, the US has been the beneficiary of a sustained rally in the equities market, driven by capital inflow and currency appreciation. The recent resurgence in mergers and acquisitions and initial public offerings is also driving wealth growth.

By comparison, Europe remains beset by low yields and flagging economic growth, characterised predominantly by inherited wealth and ‘old money’.

Research from around 940 Asian shows a clear shift towards engagement of financial investment professionals over self-management.

Also notable is the shift in allocation from domestic to international equities. In 2013, there was a 60:40 split favouring domestic equities, but this has reversed to favour international stocks through to 2017.

HSBC, with US$112 billion of private bank client assets under management (AUM) in its core Hong Kong and Singapore markets, is building upon its existing investment platform and network as a new entrant to the Australian market as of November 2016.

Fintech Start-Up fidentiaX Introduces World’s 1st Marketplace for Tradable Insurance Policies (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Fintech start-up fidentiaX is in the developmental phase of creating the world’s first marketplace for tradable insurance policies by disrupting the status quo by empowering policyholders to monetise policies on the blockchain. fidentiaX will also be setting up fidentiaX Open Source Foundation (fSOF) to proliferate the embracing of blockchain technology for the insurance industry.

In 2016 alone, the total market size for insurance premiums in the 40 OECD reporting countries was estimated to be in the north of $3.86 trillion dollars and Asia is projected to the be fastest-growing market for life insurance with an estimated real annual compounded growth rate of 10.2%.

fidentiaX’s marketplace will be a membership-based ecosystem focusing on the key stakeholders and providing the following services:

  • Policy ledger – Break traditional reliance on intermediaries by creating a digital ledger for policyholders.
  • Trustless Marketplace – Provides a platform for buyers and sellers to connect and trade policies via the blockchain.
Middle East

Kuwaiti Fintech Startup Ajar Online Closes Second Investment Round Led by BECO Capital (Albawaba), Rated: AAA

Ajar Online, a fintech startup based in Kuwait, closed a second investment in a round led by Dubai-based venture firm BECO Capital, followed by an investment from Sharq Ventures, since late 2016.

The service allows tenants to pay their rent online, at anytime and anywhere via SMS and email in less than 60 seconds. Simplifying the rent collection process for landlords and providing efficient property management tools to save time, reduce cost and take the right decisions.

Africa

Discovery Gets Go-ahead to Operate a Bank (Tech Financials), Rated: AAA

The South African Registrar of Banks has given the go-ahead for Discovery, South Africa’s medical scheme operator and financial services group, to operate a retail bank.

The firm announced on Monday that NewDisc Limited (to be renamed Discovery Bank Limited) has been granted a banking licence in South Africa by the Registrar in terms of Section 17(1) of the Banks Act.

The company plans to operate a retail bank to be known as Discovery Bank by 2018.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor