Thursday April 12 2018, Daily News Digest

Thursday April 12 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: Upgrade to issues ABS–but when? FCA warns Funding Circle clone. Funding Circle Netherlands approved for Guarantee SME Credit Scheme Participant. Today’s main analysis: The metro areas with the most fraud alerts. Today’s thought-provoking articles: The regulation of marketplace lending (A MUST-READ REPORT). LendIt, PitchIt award winners. Is China Rapid Finance close to profit? GDPR consent […]

Thursday April 12 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Ex-LendingClub chief’s new venture set to issue ABS (GlobalCapital), Rated: AAA

Upgrade is said to have a private warehouse facility in place and is looking to debut a securitization in the coming months, according to two people familiar with the matter.

According to an April 2017 press release, Jefferies is advising the company on its capital markets strategy and is….

LendingTree Ranks Metros with the Most Fraud Alerts (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

With millions of Americans affected by data breaches every year, such as recent revelations at Uber and Equifax, LendingTree decided to look at anonymized data from a sample of the over 7 million My LendingTree users to see where people are most likely to have asked a credit bureau to place a fraud alert on their credit report.


Key findings of the study:

  • The average rate of fraud alert requests among all cities reviewed is 6.4 percent.
  • Las Vegas and Houston tie for the highest rate of fraud alerts, at 13.6 percent.
  • Miami and New York are close behind, tied at 12.9 percent.
  • Rochester, N.Y. has the lowest rate of people requesting fraud alerts at 2 percent. Nearby Buffalo, N.Y. has 2.6 percent.

The Regulation of Marketplace Lending: A Summary of the Principal Issues (Chapman and Cutler) Rated: AAA

So-called “true lender” litigation remains one of the most significant risks facing the marketplace lending industry. These are cases involving a claim by a borrower or regulator that the “true lender” of a loan funded by a Funding Bank for a marketplace lender is the marketplace lender rather than the
Funding Bank. Often such litigation involves asking the court to look past the form of the loan transactions to their substance in order to ascertain which party, the Funding Bank or the marketplace lender, holds the predominant economic interest in the loans. The aim of true lender claims is to subject
the marketplace lender to federal and state regulation as a non-bank lender, enabling the claimant to pursue actions based on failure to comply with state lender licensing or usury laws.

Read the full report here.

LendIt Fintech Names PitchIt Competition Winners And Second Annual LendIt Industry Award Winners (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

Out of eight PitchIt finalists, the judge’s winner was CreditStacks, a company that offers U.S. based premium credit cards to prime, new-to-credit customers. The audience winner was Narmi, a fintech company the helps credit unions and banks deliver a unified experience with modern and secure online banking, mobile banking and websites.

Below are the second annual LendIt Industry Award winners, per category:

Fintech Innovator of the Year

Affirm

Executive of the Year

Anthony Hsieh, Founder & CEO, loanDepot

Fintech Woman of the Year

Kathryn Petralia, Co-founder & COO, Kabbage

Blockchain Innovator of the Year

ConsenSys

Most Innovative Token Economy

AxiomZen

Top Consumer Lending Platform

Yirendai

Top Small Business Lending Platform

Kabbage

Top Real Estate Lending Platform

LendInvest

Emerging Lending Platform

LendingUSA

Excellence in Financial Inclusion

Oportun

Most Promising Partnership

LendingClub + Opportunity Fund

Most Successful Cross-Border Partnership

Kasisto + DBS Bank

Most Innovative Bank

Cross River

International Innovator of the Year

IrisGuard

Top Enterprise Technology Company

ThreatMetrix

Top Emerging Technology Company

MoneyLion

Top Professional Services Company

Millennium Trust

Most Innovative Mobile Technology

Juvo

Top Fintech Equity Investor

Edison Partners

Best Journalist Coverage

Tony Zerucha, Managing Editor, Bankless Times

Top Investment Bank in Fintech

FT Partners

To modernize consumer lending, it had to strip systems to the core (American Banker) Rated: A

Replacing core systems can be an expensive and risky proposition for banks, but KeyCorp has decided the time is now to replace an antiquated legacy system.

The $138 billion-asset bank announced at the Oracle Industry Connect conference in New York this week that it plans to ditch its existing lending platform in an effort to digitize and modernize the lending process.

Appeal could jeopardize CFPB win in landmark tribal sovereignty case (Reuters) Rated: A

Online lender CashCall filed a notice of appeal Tuesday in a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau enforcement action that set precedent on whether consumer lenders can evade state interest rate caps by affiliating with Native American tribes and invoking tribal sovereignty. In 2016, U.S. District Judge John Walter of Los Angeles granted partial summary judgment to the CFPB, holding that CashCall was the true lender, rather than a company owned by a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, so state laws govern CashCall loans. The company’s notice to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, filed by its lawyers at Latham & Watkins and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, indicated that CashCall will challenge the landmark summary judgment decision on tribal sovereignty, as well as other rulings by Judge Walter.

Judge Walter, however, concluded that the bureau hadn’t shown it was entitled to any restitution and that CashCall had not knowingly flouted consumer protection laws. He awarded the bureau only $10.3 million in penalties.

Optimizing Mortgage Loan Lifecycles With Fintech (the M Report) Rated: A

Integrated properly into both the trading and operational side of the mortgage lifecycle, fintech can not only increase margins but also allow for lenders to originate more loans in less time and in a more efficient and secure manner. Additionally, by using fintech throughout the mortgage lifecycle, each phase of management is enhanced and therefore produces optimized outcomes leading to better investment returns, while still providing the borrower with a great customer experience.

A “High Level” Tech-Enabled Residential Mortgage Lifecycle*

Source The M Report

*This chart is provided as a “high level” example of what types of fintech can optimize the lifecycle. It is not to be considered a complete integration or feature roadmap.

 

Big Banks Using Non-Bank Middlemen to Lend to Subprime Borrowers (Low Cards) Rated: A

If a borrower has a low credit score and needs a loan for a $12,000 vehicle, this would not be of interest to a large bank such as Wells Fargo. But it would be an option for a non-bank lender like Exeter Finance. Exeter would screen the applicant and approve the loan at their discretion. Then, Wells Fargo would extend a loan to Exeter. The bank is still profiting from a sub-prime loan, but they are giving the money to another lender.

This does not eliminate risk on Wells Fargo’s end. However, it does push the burden onto the non-bank lender, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Two’s company (Breakingviews) Rated: A

Silicon Valley is giving two of its most noted fintech outcasts a second chance. Former Social Finance boss Mike Cagney and erstwhile LendingClub Chief Executive Renaud Laplanche are each back with new loan ventures after losing their jobs to scandals.

Between them, both men created what are now the two largest fintech lenders, having originated or facilitated some $63 billion between them in the past few years.

Blockchain makes online lenders taste own medicine (Nasdaq) Rated: A

Blockchain is giving online lenders a taste of their own medicine. The likes of Prosper, Social Finance and On Deck Capital found cryptocurrency technology trying to steal the limelight at their annual get-together in San Francisco this week. It’s a case of the disruptors being disrupted.

United Kingdom

FCA issues warning about Funding Circle clone (Peer2Peer Finance News) Rated: AAA

THE CITY watchdog has issued a warning to consumers about a clone of peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle.

The clone, Funding Circle Loans, had set up a website purporting to be the P2P platform.

Its website, , has since been suspended.

Prestige Funds partners for Innovative Finance ISA bond (The Armchair Trader) Rated: A

Prestige Funds, a specialist direct lending manager, is partnering with UK-based Goji to launch a Renewables Lending Bond which is eligible for inclusion in an Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA). IFISAs are a new, tax-free way for investors to access investment opportunities that are not available on stock exchanges.

The Goji Renewables Lending Bond will include a yield target of between 5.5% and 6.5% over three and five year terms. Interest payments on the bond will be supported by UK government subsidies, such as Feed-in-Tariffs.

The need for speed for loan approvals and payments (Credit Strategy) Rated: A

Arguably, consumer lending has come full circle.

But today’s consumer lenders are having to contend with raised customer expectations. “Empowered borrowers,” says consultancy firm PwC, expect not only a simple, but also a fast loan process.

Consumer lending research published by PwC found that other than economic factors (interest rates and closing costs) or “having an existing relationship,” the speed of the process was the most important factor for borrowers in choosing a lender.

 

Higher salaries giving fintech sector edge over traditional banking (Finextra) Rated: B

The threat from Brexit has also called into question how Britain has – and will – deal with the country’s departure from the European Union in terms of its strong worldwide financial standing. With this in mind, Joblift has analysed and compared the UK’s Fintech and traditional banking sectors over the last 12 months. The analysis shows that traditional banking has felt the effect of the competition from Fintech and the upcoming Brexit with vacancies decreasing by 3% monthly, while Fintech seems to be flourishing, with a huge growth of 9% monthly, in the face of these challenges.

China

China Rapid Finance: Is It Close To Making A Profit? (Seeking Alpha) Rated: AAA

China Rapid Finance (XRF) went public on NYSE on April 28, 2017, as the beginning of the IPO wave for China P2P companies in 2017. The company focuses their business on meeting the credit demand for EMMAs (Emerging Middle-class Mobile Active consumer) in China.

  • China Rapid Finance (XRF) has experienced a business shift from lifestyle loans (larger in size) to consumption loans (smaller size), which will lead to bigger impact from regulatory hammer;
  • Q4 earnings results didn’t satisfy investors and stock price dropped 15% in two days after the ER release;
  • Despite of the short term concerns, operating efficiency has significantly improved in 2017, which makes the profitability outlook of the firm very positive.
Source: Seeking Alpha
European Union

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Approves Funding Circle Netherlands As Guarantee SME Credit Scheme Participant (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate (EZ) has reportedly approved Funding Circle Netherlands as a Guarantee SME Credit (BKMB) scheme participant.

According to AltFi, for participating firms, which are typically major banks, the BKMB provides guarantee of up to 75% of the loan amounts that fit within its criteria. 

GDPR and financial advice: Consent for data processing (Professional Adviser) Rated: AAA

A firm could be in trouble with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) if an individual makes a complaint about being marketed to by a firm and there is no consent in place, since this constitutes a breach of the GDPR.

Article 6 – lawfulness of processing

Processing shall be lawful only if and to the extent that at least one of the following applies:

a. the data subject has given consent to the processing of his or her personal data for one or more specific purposes;

b. processing is necessary for the performance of a contract to which the data subject is party or in order to take steps at the request of the data subject prior to entering into a contract;

d. processing is necessary in order to protect the vital interests of the data subject or of another natural person;

f. processing is necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by the controller or by a third party, except where such interests are overridden by the interests or fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subject which require protection of personal data, in particular where the data subject is a child.

International

Mega-deals continue to shape Asian market

After rounding off 2017 at a remarkable high bolstered by megadeals, Asia continued to see large deals in Q1 2018.

Global Q1 2018 key highlights

  • Global VC investment rose from US$46 billion in Q4’17 to US$49.3 billion in Q1 2018, a solid increase buoyed by five US$1 billion+ megadeals.
  • The number of global VC deals declined for the fourth straight quarter, falling from 3,286 in Q4 2017 to 2,661 in Q1 2018. The number of VC deals has dropped by half since reaching a peak of 5,480 deals in Q1’15.
  • The Americas set a new record for VC investment in Q1 2018, with US$29.4 billion raised across 1,782 deals. Asia raised US$14.6 billion across 317 deals, and Europe raised US$5.2 billion across 548 deals.
  • Corporate participation in global VC deals set a new record for the second straight quarter, rising from 18.5% in Q4 2017 to 21% in Q1 2018.
  • New and old unicorns – companies valued at over US$1 billion – attracted a significant amount of funding with US$14 billion across 32 deals. Two unicorns went public late in Q1 2018: cloud-based security provider Zscaler and cloudstorage provider Dropbox, with both companies seeing positive results to date. With Spotify set for a direct listing in April and UK-based online loan provider Funding Circle planning to go public later this year, the IPO market may be opening up.

How global fintech trends will impact your banking (Bank Rate) Rated: A

In the last few years, the U.S. has seen the launch of a whole crop of neobanks, consumer-friendly startups that are trying to change the way we manage our money. A bunch of neobanks have appeared in Europe, too (they are called challenger banks across the pond), and it seems like they are all eyeing the U.S. market.

Last year, French firm Revolut, which includes a crypto wallet and free international transfers among its features, announced its plans to expand into the U.S. Germany’s N26 recently raised $160 million from venture capital investors to fuel a U.S. expansion. Meanwhile, British startup Cleo, which is more of an AI-powered budgeting tool than a challenger bank, recently began offering its product in the U.S.

What’s Happening with P2P Lending Blockchain Startups in 2018 (Equities) Rated: A

That is why startups like Alchemy, SALT, Eth-Lend and Celsius can be game-changers not only in peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, but for the future of the American economy as well. Based on blockchain technology, these startups are committed to creating a safe, global, and accessible source of P2P lending.

The debt is then pooled into Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDO’s) which are then organized by risk and made available to purchase on the platform. This not only provides an easy and secure source of P2P funding, but creates a sustainable ecosystem and investment opportunity for anyone on the network.

Africa

The future of financial advice is tech and touch (Moneyweb) Rated: A

There is a lot of conversation around investing digitally, right now. Supporters of the idea suggest that investors should cut out their brokers or financial advisors and take their money online by investing through digital platforms. The argument goes that while an advisor might give your investments a bit of an edge in terms of growth, the fees they charge tend to negate the value that they add.

Since both financial advisors and technology have such an important role to play in supporting individuals in making the right financial decisions, and in the convenience of access to information about their spread of financial products, I recommend a “touch-and-tech” model of engagement.

MENA

Dipping Into Digital (Global Finance) Rated: AAA

The MENA fintech sector is booming, with more than $100 million raised by start-ups in the last decade. Dubai-based digital research network Wamda’s State of Fintech report released last March predicted the total for just that year would reach $50 million, an increase of 270% over 2016.

Although online payments, remittances, crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending attracted the largest tickets, fast-growing fintech subsectors include cryptocurrencies, artificial intelligence and digital wallets.

In 2017 some of the major deals included a $20 million capital injection in Saudi Arabia’s online payment solution PayTabs; a $10 million round by three investors, including UK firm Gocompare, for Emirati price-comparison platform Souqalmal; $13 million for Emirati Cloud HR and insurance platform Bayzat; $5 million for Emirati peer-to-peer lending company Beehive; and $3.5 million for Emirati comparison website Yallacompare.

Lebanon was one of the first MENA countries to invest massively in the digital economy. Back in 2013, the central bank, Banque du Liban, issued a circular guaranteeing up to $400 million worth of investments in innovative technologies, later raising that amount to $600 million. Today, the country is home to 15 funding institutions, as well as a myriad of accelerators and start-up support programs.

New Realities, New Technologies (Global Finance) Rated: B

Surprisingly, the UAE accounts for 70% of the investments in areas such as digital banking services, cryptocurrencies, ecommerce and fintech start-up deals. For a nascent market, the growth rate is explosive, with dozens of new start-ups launching every year. So far, online payments, remittances, crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending have attracted the largest investments. Late last year, Bahrain introduced the world’s first shariah-compliant fintech consortium.

Authors:
George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday February 12 2018, Daily News Digest

credit immigrants

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi loan performance suffers, earnings projections missed. Ant Financial to pursue equity fundraising at potential $100B valuation. Elevate publishes FY 2017 results. Symphony, OpenFin join forces. Openwrks, Zopa, TrueLayer get into open banking. Rupeek raises $6.8M. Today’s main analysis: MPL securitizations comparison (SoFi 2018-A, MFT 2018-1, SCLP 2018-1). Today’s thought-provoking articles: Silicon Valley investors fund […]

credit immigrants

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

Australia

India

APAC

News Summary

United States

SoFi Reports Disappointing Earnings as Loan Performance Suffers (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Customers of online lender Social Finance Inc. are missing their loan payments at an unexpectedly high rate, a misstep for a company that has boasted that its focus on high-earning individuals would yield better borrowers.

The privately held San Francisco-based company said it missed its internal fourth-quarter earnings projections, due in part to a markdown in the “value of certain personal loan assets due to lower-than-expected credit performance,” according to a letter to investors that was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The company also cited increased hiring costs and expenses related to recent management changes.

You won’t believe how much grads from these top business schools rake in (Moneyish), Rated: A

SoFi examined 60,000 student loan refinancing applications to determine which MBA programs churn out the highest earners, and which produce grads who are mired in student debt.

According to SoFi, these are the top 10 business schools, ranked by average salary three years after graduation:

1. University of Pennsylvania (Wharton School of Business): $224,034
2. Columbia University: $189,295
3. Stanford University: $186,534
4. Harvard University: $184,463
5. University of California, Berkeley: $171,270
6. Dartmouth College: $169,498
7. Northwestern University: $167,770
8. Cornell University: $167,544
9. University of Chicago: $166,215
10. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: $165,666

These 10 programs have the best salary-to-debt ratio in the US:

1. University of Wisconsin-Madison: Avg. salary = $122,532; avg. debt = $52,568
2. Brigham Young University: Avg. salary = $114,559; avg. debt = $50,224
3. Harvard University: Avg. salary = $184,463; avg. debt = $83,337
4. Stanford University: Avg. salary = $186,534; avg. debt = $85,443
5. Villanova University: Avg. salary = $136,464; avg. debt = $63,014
6. University of Pittsburgh: Avg. salary = $149,157; avg. debt = $71,471
7. Loyola University, Maryland: Avg. salary = $122,915; avg. debt = $59,029
8. North Carolina State University: Avg. salary = $92,184; avg. debt = $46,140
9. University of Florida: Avg. salary = $110,942; avg. debt = $56,035
10. University of Houston: Avg. salary = $105,476; avg. debt = $54,308

Elevate Announces Full Year 2017 Results (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Elevate’s  Fourth Quarter 2017 Financial Highlights are the following:
  • Fourth quarter GAAP net loss due to federal tax law charge, but fourth consecutive quarter of net income on an adjusted basis: Fourth quarter 2017 net loss totaled $12.2 million, or $(0.29) per diluted share, reflecting a one-time $12.5 million charge associated with the change in the federal tax law resulting from the tax reform in 2017. Excluding the impact from the tax law change, net income for the fourth quarter of 2017 would have been $0.3 million, or $0.01 per diluted share, versus a net loss of $4.4 million, or $(0.34) per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of 2016. The net loss for full-year 2017 totaled $6.9 million, or $(0.20) per diluted share. Excluding the impact of the federal tax law, net income for full year 2017 would have been $5.5 million, or $0.16 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $22.4 million, or $(1.74) per diluted share, for full-year 2016.
  • 16% year-over-year revenue growth: Revenues for the fourth quarter of 2017 increased 14.5% from the fourth quarter of 2016 and were up 16.0% for full-year 2017 versus 2016. Revenues totaled $193.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2017 compared to $169.0 million for the prior-year period. Full-year 2017 revenues totaled $673.1 million compared to $580.4 million for full-year 2016.
  • More than 28% year-over-year growth in combined loans receivable – principal: Combined loans receivable – principal totaled $618.4 million, a 28.5% increase from $481.2 million for the prior-year period. The Rise installment loan and Elastic line of credit combined loans receivable – principal balances as of December 31, 2017 were up 19.6% and 47.4% over the prior year-end balances, respectively.
  • Adjusted EBITDA up 45% compared to prior year: 2017 Adjusted EBITDA totaled $87.5 million, up 44.7% from $60.4 million in 2016. Adjusted EBITDA margin was 13% for both the fourth quarter of 2017 and full-year 2017.
  • The ending combined loan loss reserve as a percentage of combined loans receivable was 14.3%, lower than the 16.1% reported for the prior-year period due to the improved credit quality and the continued maturation of the loan portfolio. Charge-offs as a percentage of originations for full-year 2017 continued to trend below previous years at less than 25% of principal originations.
  • The total number of new customers acquired during the fourth quarter of 2017 was approximately 95,000 with an average customer acquisition cost of $231, below the targeted range of $250-$300. This represented a 34.6% increase over the approximately 70,000 new customers acquired in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Equity Market Volatility, GS Dialing Up M&A (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Volatility made an abrupt return to capital markets after a nearly 18 month hiatus. Equity markets dropped almost 10% from their peaks, as investors focused on rising US treasury yields. 10-year yields touched 2.88% – nearly a four-year high. Corporate bonds (CDX.IG spreads) widened 5bps this week to 60bps, while high-yield widened 16bps to 353bps.

US consumer credit grew by $18.4 Bn in December 2017, at an annualized growth rate of 7.7%. Revolving credit card debt increased by $5.1 Bn to $1.03 Tn, the highest on record. Consumer spending has boosted US GDP, although the increasing cost of leverage and rising rates could create a drag on growth.

GS M&A Accelerating

Source: PeerIQ

 

Source: PeerIQ

Taking a cut of student’s future paychecks has Silicon Valley investors funding education (Quartz), Rated: AAA

The model is attracting a new generation of startups, as well as investors, eager to bail out American students drowning in $1.3 trillion in student debt. The Brookings Institute estimates as much as 40% of students who entered college in the early 2000s may default on their loans by 2023, based on historical trends.

One of the first firms to enter the US market was the Chilean firm Lumni founded in 2002 (although it only came to the US in 2009) followed by 13th Avenue (2009), Cumulus Funding (2011), Upstart (2012), Pave (2012), and Vemo (2015). Not all are still signing ISAs, but current interest seems to be based on growing demand.

Are income-sharing arrangements a good deal for students?

The federal government already provides more than $200 billion (paywall) in grants, loans, and work-study assistance for students’ post-secondary education each year. Private lenders hand out about $8 billion in student loans annually, estimates the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Parents and family contribute still more.

Almost 60% of college graduates in the US carry student debt, and about 57% of Americans regard it as a major problem, reports the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Yet many are not even confident their college educations are still the golden ticket they once were. A 2017 survey of 32,000 college students revealed only one-third felt prepared to enter the job market, while only half said their major will lead to a good job.

Four-year universities like Purdue are using them as a way to show their commitment to students as much as reduce their financial burden. The school’s program, Back a Boiler (an abbreviation of the nickname for the student body known as Boilermakers), is offering 175 students almost $2 million in ISA funding. Graduates with high income never pay more than 2.5 times their original ISA amount, while those earning less than $20,000 a year see their payments go to $0.

MissionU, a one-year training program in data analytics and business intelligence, offers students a blended online (80%) and in-person curriculum (20%), and work experience. It charges no tuition. After graduates earn at least $50,000, they pay back 15% of their income for the first three years.

 

2 startups are joining forces — and together they could pose a threat to Bloomberg (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Symphony, a messaging service that has gained some traction among Wall Street firms, has been integrated into OpenFin, an operating system built for financial-services, the two companies announced Thursday.

OpenFin hosts more than a hundred applications on its platform, and the integration means Symphony will be “interoperable” with those apps, the same way social media apps on your phone are able to talk with one another.

In total, Symphony has 230,000 users across 200 firms, whereas OpenFin can be found on more than 100,000 desktops across the Street.Symphony, a unicorn, announced a $63 million fundraise in May, bringing the total amount the company has raised to $234 million. OpenFin finished a $15 million round of venture funding backed by JPMorgan in February 2017. It has raised $22 million in total funding.

For new immigrants, buying a home or getting a cellphone is complicated and expensive. Even if they have financial identities and wealth in their home countries, they have no credit history in the U.S.

It’s a challenge for millions of people, and a handful of fintechs, including Nova Credit, CreditStacks, and Petal, see an opportunity to help with some creative solutions.

Others, like Deserve (formerly SelfScore) and Petal have been hoping to woo immigrants and other thin files with their own credit products, while still others like eCredable are crunching alternative data to help people build up their credit history.

And in January, CreditStacks announced a credit card product aimed at immigrant professionals who want to have a U.S. credit card in hand when they arrive in America.

San Francisco mortgage fintech Lenda expects growth spurt in 2018 (San Francisco Business Times), Rate: A

San Francisco mortgage fintech Lenda, which offers mortgages faster and at lower cost than traditional rivals, expects growth to accelerate this year as it expands into a dozen states and puts to work the $5.25 million it raised in its first venture round.

New Retail P2P Investment: The Worthy Bond (P2P Lending Expert), Rated: A

When I wrote my book on P2P Lending for the retail investor, P2P Investing 101 (the paperback version here), that came out in November, there were only 7 options for retail investors.  Those options were Lending Club and Prosper, as well as 5 options that take advantage of the adjustment to SEC Regulation A known as Reg A+.

We now have an 8th investment option.  The Worthy Bond, which uses Reg A+ and comes from Worthy Financial. By using Reg A+, the Worthy Bond is available to retail investors as a proxy savings account within the p2p lending landscape.

Prices up for January, Subaru 0-percent financing (Kelley Blue Book), Rated: A

While the average transaction price (ATP) for light vehicles hit $36,270 in January, a whopping $1,360 or 3.9-percent gain over a year earlier, the ATP declined from December’s record, dropping $486 or 1.3 percent month over month.

Subaru 0-percent financing

Subaru, which has been setting sales records, typically runs tight inventories and keeps a close rein on incentives. However, through the rest of February it is offering 0-percent financing for 63 months on select models along with a couple of enticing fleet deals.

The 0-percent deal for 63 months is being extended on 2017/18 Legacy models, 2017/18 Outbacks and 2017 Foresters. On the 2018 Legacy, there’s also a $185 per month lease for three years with $2,595 down. The 2018 Outback is being offered on a 3-year lease deal for $239 per month with $1,739 down, while the 2018 Forester can be leased for 36 months at just $219 with $1,719 down.

Interest rates climb

According to Bankrate.com, the average 60-month new car loan is averaging 4.51 percent interest, a two-basis point increase over rates being offered at the end of November. Shorter 48-month loans are slightly cheaper, averaging 4.44 percent, again, two basis points higher than two months ago. On the used car side of the ledger, rates are closing in on the 5 percent level, averaging 4.97 percent on 3-year loans. That’s up from an average of 4.78 percent at the end of November.

Eyeing robo advisors, IBDs to launch new client portals (FinancialPlanning), Rated: A

Independent broker-dealers are rebuilding their online presences for a digital investing era, ushering in new client portals and offering automated investing for smaller accounts.

Advisors have pushed the firms to mimic the speed and look of digital investment platforms. Digital advice clients of all kinds will soar 844% to more than 17 million by 2021, according to a September study by Aite Group. In a nod to incumbents’ services, robos have also started offering human advisors to clients.

Narmi integrates top fintech companies into digital banking platform for credit unions (CUInsight), Rated: A

Narmi, a financial technology company, showcases two of its remarkable fintech integrations – Billshark and Lemonade.

Billshark – Helping Reduce Monthly Bills for Millions of Americans

Billshark helps consumers reduce monthly bills on cable, satellite TV, wireless phone, internet and many other categories. There are currently approximately 375 million monthly bills in America and roughly 80% can be negotiated. The average amount saved per bill is $280-300.

Lemonade – Reinventing Insurance Through Artificial Intelligence

Lemonade provides a mobile-first, artificial intelligence-infused way to obtain a home insurance policy. The company’s focus is on homeowners and renters insurance, and policies start at $25 a month and $5 a month, respectively.

When fintech lite is the right small-business lending strategy (American Banker), Rated: A

Adding a community touch to automation has proved a profitable lending strategy for one bank.

Marquette Bank in Chicago has been able to digitize its lending processes and improve its credit memo creation time by upwards of 25% using technology from the cloud-based loan origination software firm Baker Hill.

Small-business lending has long been a staple of community banking, but in recent years customers have turned to online lenders and other fintechs for credit, in large part due to the speed and digital aspect of the experience.

Zelle’s next phase takes shape at BNY Mellon (American Banker), Rated: A

The banks behind the Zelle network had more in mind than P-to-P payments between consumers, and BNY Mellon is beginning the network’s evolution by targeting the business payments market.

Zelle will help support tokenized digital payments for institutional and corporate clients in a market that is notoriously resistant to automation. BNY Mellon hopes corporates will see the Zelle network’s ability to increase control over cash flow through near-instant processing.

Webster Bank Offers Customers An Automated Digital Investment Platform (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Webster Investments, a division of Webster Bank, N.A., now offers Guided Wealth Portfolios (GWP), an advisor-enhanced, digital investment platform designed to enhance customer experience by providing an additional option to manage their investments. The online investment platform was designed as an innovative option for clients seeking a technology-enabled investment solution combined with the opportunity to have a relationship with a financial advisor.

We’re partnering with SURE to bring you Small Business Insurance (Inc Authority Email), Rated: B

Small Business Insurance is an all-in-one policy that protects you and your growing business from critical risks. Your policy will cover:

  •   General liability
    • Get up to $2 Million of coverage in legal and litigation issues tied to 3rd party claims of property damage, and bodily injury and associated medical costs.
  •   Business personal property
    • Replace lost or damaged property owned by your business, such as computers, furniture, and machinery.
  •   Lost business income
    • Receive up to $250,000 in lost income if your business has to close due to a covered loss.
  •   And other coverage
    • Includes coverage for data breaches, litigious employees, non-business automobiles, and more.
United Kingdom

Openwrks, Zopa and TrueLayer get into Open Banking groove (Finextra), Rated: AAA

The UK’s major banks are being shown a clean pair of heels by non-bank competitors in the Open Banking space, with new announcements by TrueLayer in tandem with Zopa, and Openwrks demonstrating the determination of third party providers to open up access to consumer account data.

Zopa has worked with TrueLayer to create an income verification product which removes the need to manually upload documents to verify income – replacing it with Open Banking data.
Separately, Openwrks – which likewise enables providers of consumer and small business products and services to access consumer’s financial data – has become the first third party provider to successfully connect to all of the banks currently providing functional APIs (Lloyds, RBS, AIB, HSBC and Danske).

Elliott takes majority stake in new Welsh online bank (The Times), Rated: A

China

China’s Ant plans equity fundraising at potential $ 100 billion valuation – sources (Reuters), Rated: AAA

China’s Ant Financial Services Group is planning to raise up to $5 billion in fresh equity that could value the online payments giant at more than $100 billion, people familiar with the move told Reuters.

The new round should start with a valuation of between $80 billion to $100 billion, the people said.

China Fintech Watchdog to Step Up ICO Oversight (CoinDesk), Rated: A

A self-regulatory association that draws support from China’s banking and securities sectors is vowing to increase its oversight over cryptocurrency and initial coin offerings (ICO) in 2018.

In its annual meeting held on Feb. 9, China’s National Internet Finance Association (NIFA) revealed that while it has put special efforts into overseeing the sector in 2017, it expects this work to become a regular part of its 2018 agenda.
Australia

Loans.com.au slashes home loan rates for owner-occupiers, investors (mozo), Rated: AAA

Online lender, loans.com.au has today slashed rates for both owner-occupiers and investors on certain home loans, and is now offering some of the lowest mortgage rates in the market.

One of the changes was to cut the Essentials Variable 80 rate for owner-occupiers looking to make principal and interest repayments by 12 basis points, bringing it to a red hot 3.52% – the lowest rate for a loan of its kind in the Mozo database.

The rate on loans.com.au’s Offset Variable 80 for owner-occupiers making principal and interest repayments was also slashed by 12 basis points, bringing it down to a competitive 3.60%.

India

Online gold loan platform Rupeek gets $ 6.8 mn from Accel, Sequoia (VC Circle), Rated: AAA

Bengaluru-based Rupeek, which operates an online marketplace for gold loans, has raised $6.83 million (Rs 44 crore) in a fresh funding round led by Accel Partners.

Eduvanz Financing raises funds from Blinc Advisors (livemint), Rated: A

Eduvanz Financing Pvt. Ltd, an education technology start-up that provides loans for skill development to students, has raised $500,000 in a round of funding led by Blinc Advisors, a venture capital fund, a senior executive at the start-up said.

Fintech start-up EarlySalary is making emergency loans more affordable (Business-Standard), Rated: A

Neha Kumari needed a new phone urgently after her old one was damaged during a Saturday night party. To add to her difficulties, it was the beginning of the last week of the month and the salary day was 10 days away. Missing client calls for more than a couple of days was out of the question and the weekend was expensive anyway.

Neha, who did not have a credit card, could have borrowed from friends, but most of them were as broke as she was then. And borrowing from the family was ruled out. The last time she had borrowed Rs 10,000 from a friend to book emergency tickets was three …

Preventive measures (The Hindu Business Line), Rated: A

This is with reference to reports on market volatility. Regulators must ensure that this trend does not end up promoting alternative investment avenues of an uncertain nature. Investor interests demand that risk-based P2P lending via online/social marketplaces be regulated. Peer lending has significantly grown and enabled borrowers with a sub-par credit history. P2P lending is highly prone to performance risks on account of a higher probability of a borrower-default, credit risks owing to poor loan-sanctioning decisions & lack of fund-monitoring post disbursal, cash drag risks because of a larger borrower-population than the available lenders, platform Risks driven by borrower insolvency or frauds or technology risks/cybersecurity breaches and market risks owing to interest rate fluctuations and unemployment risks leading to non-payments.

What’s Driving India’s Fintech Boom? (Wharton), Rated: A

With more than 200 million active users in India — the largest anywhere in the world — WhatsApp is expected to drive large volumes on peer-to-peer (P2P) payments and also become a popular platform for merchant payments. India is slated to be the first country globally to get the payments facility from WhatsApp.

Other global giants, too, are zeroing in on this space. For instance, Google has already launched its payments app Google Tez (“Tez” in Hindi means fast), while Samsung has launched Samsung Pay and Amazon has introduced Amazon Pay.

Paytm, India’s largest online payments and mobile wallet company, has invested Rs. 5,000 crore ($786 million) in mobile payments to date.

This was 13% less than $14.6 billion in 2015. On the other hand, fintech investments in Asia increased to $5.4 billion in 2016, up 12.5% from $4.8 billion in 2015.

Fintech Will Change How We Bank (Business-Standard), Rated: A

In the not too distant future, there may come a time, where we cease to interact with the as we know it. which were monolithic organization who created the products, sold it directly and owned the customers are being slowly ceding ground to so called new breed companies chipping away at the edges. While regulations and strict KYC/AML regulations still enable to continue to be in business, the power they once wielded is diminishing. As Niti Aayog Chairman, Amitabh Kant said “Debit cards, credit cards and ATMs might lose relevance in the next four years”.

Peer to peer lending picks pace (Telengana Today), Rated: B

According to the latest annual report of RBI, during Q1 of FY18, as against negative incremental rise in bank credit, the non-bank sources gained space in lending. The total flow of funds to the commercial sector from non-bank sources during the period increased to Rs 1,16,600 crore while the formal banking system trailed behind.

In terms of financial assets, NBFCs recorded a healthy growth — a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19% in the past few years — comprising 13% of the total credit and are expected to reach nearly 18% by 2018-19.

APAC

Asia-Pacific Fintech Market to reach US$ 72 billion by 2020, finds Frost & Sullivan (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Active support and initiatives by financial regulators such as the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Bank Negara Malaysia and Bank Indonesia has enabled the Asia-Pacific Fintech ecosystem to grow significantly in 2017.

The Fintech industry in the Asia-Pacific region is expected to grow at a CAGR of 72.5% from 2015 to 2020, reaching US$72 billion.

Future of Cashless Payments in Singapore

According to Ms Quah Mei Lee, Industry Principal, ICT, Asia-Pacific, the mobile payments market in Singapore was estimated to be worth US$1.4 billion in 2017. The market is still small but is growing fast. There are many supportive regional and local regulations and initiatives that will help Singapore move towards a cashless Society.

Fintech in Singapore’s SME Landscape

In the wake of the global Fintech boom, disruptive market innovations have forced a radical shift of business models in the Financial Services industry, notably within the P2P Lending segment. Frost & Sullivan believes that leading banks and financial institutions are driven to be lean and agile on multiple fronts, including but not limited to new digital services, elevated customer experiences and innovative technological solutions.

Online loan providers have recently begun targeting young adults here in their 20s and 30s in Korea in the name of “providing pocket money.” Other peer-to-peer lending platforms promote their services as an investment fund or shared wallet to relax young people’s vigilance toward the money lenders.

Blockchain spending surges in China and Asia (Shine), Rated: B

Blockchain spending in Asia Pacific excluding Japan will jump 91 percent in the five years until 2021, thanks to applications in finance and supply chain industries, said IDC in a report today.

China will see a five-year annual growth rate of 95 percent, compared with about 81 percent growth worldwide, said IDC in the report, the first blockchain report released by the company.

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

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor