Monday April 30 2018, Daily News Digest

LendingClub

News Comments Today’s main news: GreenSky files for IPO. LendingTree hits $181M consolidated revenues. KBRA assigns preliminary ratings to Morgan Stanley resecuritization. Zopa says savers are abandoning cash ISA. KBRA assigns first European ratings. Today’s main analysis: FTC vs. LendingClub, dueling unicorns. Today’s thought-provoking articles: JD Supra on LendingClub’s FTC issues. Aussie borrowers should embrace for rate hike. Brazil’s amended payment […]

LendingClub

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Fintech Firm GreenSky Files for IPO (Wall Street Journal) Rated: AAA

Financial-technology firm GreenSky Inc., a provider of point-of-sale financing and payments technology, disclosed plans to go public.

The Atlanta company, which operates a lending platform that enables retailers, health-care providers and home contractors to offer loans to their customers, filed preliminary documents Friday for an initial public offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

FTC Sues Lending Club For Deceptive Advertising (JD Supra) Rated: AAA

According to the FTC, this deception is made worse by the fact that Lending Club never adequately discloses the up-front fee to consumers during the entire online application process.  The fee is only mentioned once—inside an explanatory “pop-up bubble” that only appears if the applicant happens to click or tap on a relatively small and inconspicuous icon. Because applicants are not required to click or tap on the icon in order to move forward with their loan application, many applicants never saw the disclosure at all.

LendingTree’s 1Q consolidated revenue grows to record $ 181m (Mortgage Professional American) Rated: AAA

Online loan marketplace operator LendingTree saw its consolidated revenue rise to a record $181m during the first this year – up 37% from the same period in 2017, according to a financial statement released Thursday.

January to March revenue from mortgage products stood at $73.5m, up 17% from the first three months of 2017. In particular, purchase and refinance revenues went up 13% and 18%, respectively. Citing the Mortgage Bankers Association, LendingTree said originations industry-wide were projected down 4% in the comparable period.

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Morgan Stanley Resecuritization Pass-Through 2018-SC1 (Business Wire) Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to one class of notes issued by Morgan Stanley Resecuritization Pass-Through Trust 2018-SC1 (“MSRP 2018-SC1”). This transaction represents the securitization of the consumer loan asset-backed trust certificates issued by SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2015-1 Trust (“SCLP 2015-1”) and supported by a portfolio of prime unsecured personal loans (“Underlying Loans”) that were originated by SoFi Lending Corp (“SoFi”).

Preliminary Ratings Assigned: Morgan Stanley Resecuritization Pass-Through 2018-SC1

Class Preliminary Rating Initial Class Principal
B BBB (sf) $36,700,000

 

Diversify Into Real Estate With Your IRA Or 401(k) (Forbes) Rated: A

The IRS does allow 

Navient Reports Greater Earnings and Fewer Student Loan Charge-Offs (Lend EDU) Rated: A

On April 24, Navient stated from its earnings report in the first quarter that it had $500 million of originations in private education refinance loans, a 43 percent fall in private education loan charge-offs and a 32 percent jump in business processing fee revenue year over year, according to a press

Business processing earnings: Earnings were $10 million in the first quarter, compared to $3 million in 2017’s first quarter.

Consumer lending earnings: Earnings were $50 million in the first quarter, up from $38 million in 2017’s first quarter. This jump came from a $7 million increase in net interest income, an $18 million decline in loan losses provision and a $9 million fall in income tax expense.

Federal Education Loans earnings: Earnings were $141 million, up from $129 million in 2017’s first quarter.

Unitus Ventures Marks The First Close Of Its $ 45.2 Mn Fund II With $ 15 Mn (Inc42) Rated: A

Unitus Ventures (formerly known as Unitus Seed Fund), an impact venture fund investing in early-stage startups, has announced to have raised $15 Mn (INR 100 Cr) towards the first close of its $45.2 Mn (INR 300 Cr) Unitus Ventures Fund II.

The fund will be utilised for onward investing of $753K – $2.2 Mn (INR 5 Cr -INR 15 Cr) each to 25 to 30 startups specialising in education, healthcare and inclusive fintech.

Yolande Piazza of Citi Fintech (Lend Academy) Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • The origins of Citi Fintech and the goal of their group within Citi.
  • How they have created a new and innovative culture within Citi Fintech.
  • Why Citi Fintech released a global open banking API.
  • Citi’s Canvas platform that is their internal sandbox product.
  • How they create these products hand in hand with their customers.
  • Why this is about more than just creating mobile offerings.
  • What Citi’s newly announced national digital bank means for the overall bank.
  • How Citi will help non-bank customers as well as their own customers.

 

Mastercard: Serving The Financial Needs Of The ‘New Middle Class’ (PYMNTS) Rated: A

Whether an applicant has recently immigrated and lacks the background data to be approved, or is recovering from a drastic life event such as a divorce or death of a spouse, demonstrating their creditworthiness is often impossible by traditional means – i.e. the FICO score – leaving as many as 160 million Americans up the creek with no paddle.

Haymond said Mastercard has already put its philosophy into practice by partnering with CreditStacks, a FinTech that focuses on providing credit to new Americans, as well as launching its Inclusive Futures Project in December 2017 to address the needs of gig and on-demand workers.

Mastercard Meets Elevate

Some of the features of the new product will include purchase and fraud alerts, credit score monitoring, a full-service mobile app and on/off functionality for the credit card. Cards will be awarded based on the analysis of data from alternative sources, Haymond said, which can fill in the blanks to evaluate a customer’s creditworthiness when traditional data points are not present or don’t meet requirements.

Millennials now more bullish about finances than baby boomers — study (Spears Magazine) Rated: A

Almost nine in ten (88 per cent) HNW millennials feel more confident about their finances than a year ago- but less than half of baby boomers (47 per cent) shared the same sentiment.

A new study from SunTrust Bank also found that millennials are more confident than their generation X counterparts, of whom 66 per cent are more confident than last year.

Some 16 per cent of those surveyed attributed their increased optimism to ‘having a great investment firm’, while 13 per cent cited increases in income and assets.

Possible Finance launches with small, short-term loans designed for low-income borrowers (Geek Wire) Rated: B

Tony Huang was inspired to create Possible Finance because “it’s so damn expensive to be poor.”

Possible Finance customers can apply for small loans and receive approval quickly using a mobile app. Customers can build credit when they make payments, unlike traditional payday loans, which typically do not report to credit agencies unless a borrower misses payments.

LendingPoint is the fastest-growing company in metro Atlanta (Atlanta Business  Chronicle) Rated: B

Being a successful financial technology (fintech) lender requires focusing more on the lender portion of your business than the fintech portion. That’s the way Tom Burnside, CEO and founder of LendingPoint, runs his company, the number-one overall fastest-growing private company in the metro area.

 

 

United Kingdom

Zopa executive: “Savers are abandoning the cash ISA en masse” (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

SAVERS are “abandoning the cash ISA en masse”, as the personal savings allowance (PSA) makes the tax-free wrappers less relevant for consumers, a Zopa executive has said.

New data from UK Finance showed that investment in cash ISAs fell from £773m in March 2017 to just £332m in March 2018 – a decrease of 42 per cent.

Immigration rules ‘could choke fintech’, says lobby group Innovate Finance (The Times) Rated: A

The prospect of tighter immigration rules after Brexit risks choking off a boom in Britain’s burgeoning fintech industry, according to a new study by lobby group Innovate Finance.

The report says the financial technology sector is on course to top 100,000 employees by 2030, with 30,000 jobs set to be created.

The result would be a shortfall of 3,200 highly skilled workers by 2030, at a cost to the fintech sector of £361m, the report said.

Investment trusts back “substantial opportunity” in alternative lending (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

Victory Park Capital Specialty Lending (VPC) and P2P Global Investments (P2PGI) released their annual reports on Friday morning, insisting there were still opportunities for online lending and consumer credit as banks continue to scale back.

VPC reported a NAV return of 3.07 per cent for 2017, up from 0.95 per cent in 2016 but below its eight per cent target.

Similarly, P2PGI posted NAV total returns of 3.03 per cent for 2017, down from 4.1 per cent in 2016 and below its target of six to eight per cent.

Is there still life left in P2P investment trusts? (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

But four years on from the launch of P2PGI, the investment trust has admitted in its 2017 annual report that historic performance was ”more volatile than we would like.”

But P2PGI still sits at a discount to NAV of 17.5 per cent and VPC is at 12.5 per cent.

Putting Your Bitcoin Investments to Work (Coinspeaker) Rated: A

One pioneer in the field to consider is Nebeus, a crypto bank that brings together cryptocurrency opportunities and a standard bank service. Its Nebeus trading platform supports peer-to-peer (P2P) lending and a multi-cryptocurrency wallet. The platform enables customers to buy, sell, store, remit, lend and borrow cryptocurrency funds.

Nebeus offers two cards that allow holders to spend their cryptocurrency at their convenience online, offline, or to get cash at ATMs, and the convenience and protection this card offers is hard to beat.

The Nebeus Exo Card lets users top up their card with all major cryptocurrencies and spend that money with over 30 million merchants online. Users can make $1,500 ATM withdrawals per day, worldwide. And they get 3% cashback In NBTK tokens monthly. There is no monthly fee for the card for NBTK holders.

China

China: WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

On April 23, China’s leading financial inclusion platform FINUP filed a listing application for the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX).

Ant Financial Invests in Bangladesh-based Fintech Startup bKash

On April 26, Bangladesh-based mobile financial service provider bKash and Ant Financial jointly announced a strategic partnership to promote the development of financial inclusion for the unbanked and underbanked communities in Bangladesh.

NIFA Establishes e-Contract Standards for Online Lending

On April 23, the National Internet Finance Association of China released a draft of standards on “Safety Regulations for Internet Finance Contracts”.

With $ 1.9 Billion Investment, Former Baidu Unit Challenges Fintech Rivals (Wall Street Journal) Rated: A

Baidu Inc.’s former financial-services unit has attracted a $1.9 billion investment from firms including U.S. private-equity giants TPG and the Carlyle Group, giving it fresh ammunition to compete in China’s increasingly crowded financial-services space.

Chinese VC Firm Sky9 Capital Reaches Final Closing Of $ 200M For New Fund (China Money Network) Rated: B

Sky9 Capital, a venture capital firm founded by a former partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, announced today that it has completed the final closing of a new fund with total commitments of US$200 million.

Sky9 Capital Fund III, L.P. will invest mainly in China-based businesses with a focus on early-stage companies in the Internet, enterprise, and deep technology sectors.

European Union

KBRA Issues First European Ratings (Business Wire) Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency Europe Limited (KBRA) is pleased to announce its first published European Structured Finance ratings. KBRA issued its inaugural published European ratings on Small Business Origination Loan Trust 2018-1 DAC (“SBOLT 2018-1”), a £206.6 million ABS transaction collateralized by unsecured loans made to small and medium-sized enterprises (“SMEs”) incorporated in the United Kingdom (“UK”). This transaction represents the second ABS securitisation collateralised by unsecured loans to SMEs originated through the online lending platform operated by Funding Circle Limited (“Funding Circle”). The full rating report can be accessed here.

This is KBRA’s first publicly rated European ABS securitisation after being registered as a Credit Rating Agency by ESMA in November 2017.

International

The FTC vs LendingClub, Banking through the Post Office, Dueling Unicorns (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

On Thursday, Amazon reported $3.27 EPS earnings well above the $1.26 estimates. The stock jumped 7% to record highs in reaction to the beat. The news comes just days after Amazon invested $22mm into Capital Float, India’s self-proclaimed largest online lender. We recently discussed Amazon’s path to the banking sector via its reported partnership with JP Morgan.

The lines between tech and banking continue to blur. Square announced the acquisition of Weebly for $365 Mn.

Dueling Unicorns

Source: PeerIQ, Company Websites, Crunchbase

FTC vs LendingClub

On Wednesday, the FTC charged LendingClub with deceiving borrowers.

In response to the lawsuit, LendingClub posted a detailed rebuttal, refuting the FTC’s claim. As seen in the image below from LendingClub’s blog post, the company believes they provide borrowers multiple opportunities to understand the Origination Fees mentioned in the FTC’s lawsuit. LendingClub goes on to refute each claim made by the FTC individually.

Source: LendingClub

In a post on Lend Academy, Peter Renton questions the cause of this lawsuit, and points to the fact that only two of the five FTC Commissioner seats were occupied at the time of the complaint, and one of the two left on Friday. Renton’s understanding is that LendingClub and the FTC were cooperating and this lawsuit “came out of left field.”

Are You Ready To Give Fintech A Try? (Forbes) Rated: A

In just three years, Germany’s 

Blockchain Startup ShareRing is Facilitating the Adoption of Cryptocurrency (Coinspeaker) Rated: A

ShareRing will achieve this by employing a dual-coin mechanism through its own ShareLedger blockchain that will operate with two distinct tokens. The first – ShareToken (SHR) – will be the utility token of ShareRing. SHR will drive the consensus algorithm and act as a tradable coin on cryptocurrency exchanges.

The second currency, SharePay (SHRP) will be pegged to fiat and can be purchased directly from the ShareRing app using a credit card. A user can then use their SHRP to buy sharing services within the ShareRing application. ShareRing foresees a wide range of partners for the platform, sharing not just apartments and cars, but time, labor, as well as peer-to-peer lending and group tours.

FintruX Network (FTX) Will Be Listed In 3 Exchanges in their first week of token unlock (satPRNews) Rated: B

Qryptos exchange was the first exchange to list FintruX (FTX) On April 22, Bancor network quickly followed suit by listing Fintrux on April 24.

Potential investors, who missed their ICO, will now be able to buy the tokens on Qryptos, Bancor Network and HitBTC as well.

Australia

Borrowers should ‘brace’ themselves for rate hikes (The Adviser) Rated: AAA

After online lender ME claimed that it was “forced” to hike interest rates on its owner-occupier and investor loans as a result of increased funding costs, comparison site finder.com.au asked a panel of economists whether they believed other banks would follow.

According to the finder.com.au survey of 17 economists, 78 per cent said that they expected more lenders would raise their rates out of cycle as a result of rising US interest rates.

 

India

Fintech Startup Rubique Raises Fresh Round Of Funding (Inc42) Rated: AAA

Kalaari Capital-backed online lending marketplace Rubique has raised fresh funding led by Japan’s Recruit Group and Russian venture capital management company Emery Capital.

Blacksoil and existing investor Kalaari Capital also participated in the funding round. Apart from this round, the startup is also in the final stages of closing another tranche’ of funding, to be led by a couple of marquee investors

The startup plans to use the funds to hire more data scientists, enhance technology and reach a monthly revenue of $1.8 Mn (INR 12 Cr) by September.

Crowd Genie Opens India Office to Expand Asia-Pacific Asset Exchange (BC Focus) Rated: A

Crowd Genie Financial Services Pte. Ltd. is incorporated in Singapore and was granted a “Dealing in Securities” license by Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) in March 2017. This makes Crowd Genie one of the handful licensed platforms in Singapore.It is a peer-to-peer lending online platform that lets Singapore-based SMEs obtain financing from investors.

Crowd Genie is contemplating to establish a blockchain based Asia-Pacific asset exchange. It recently started an office in Bangalore, India and named Kunwar Singh as its Chief Technology Officer. The company completed its CGCOIN token sale in March this year. It intends to work on the regulatory elements to drive India centric assets onto its exchange.

A primer on crowdfunding (The Hindu BusinessLine) Rated: A

P2P lending is when individuals lend to small businesses/individuals for either a social or a commercial initiative. P2P lending can also be for non-income-generating activities. The consideration here is the interest on the amount lent. The return varies with the risk associated with the business and the individuals running the business — higher the risk, higher the return. Some of the prominent P2P platforms include Milaap, Kiva, Faircent and Cashkumar.

P2P platforms insist on KYC fulfilment for both lenders and borrowers. Diligence exercise is done on borrowers to assess credit-worthiness, genuineness and repayment capability.

Crowdfunding for non-financial consideration is of two types — social lending/donation crowdfunding and reward crowdfunding. Here the return or consideration may or may not be commensurate with the money raised.

 

Latin American

Brazil: Amended payment method regulation (IFLR.com) Rated: A

On March 26 2018, the Brazilian Central Bank enacted amendments to the existing regulation on payment methods, proposing more flexible rules on payment arrangements, payment institutions and on interchange fees charged to issuers of debit cards. The Central Bank expects these changes to foster competition among market players and as a result provide reduced debit card costs for end users.

This new regulation follows an international trend already observed in several developed and developing countries. In the US and Mexico, for instance, maximum limits for interchange fees charged in debit cards transactions led to average cost reductions on such fees of 40% and 50%, respectively.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday April 26 2018, Daily News Digest

Hong Kong IPO

News Comments Today’s main news: FTC says LendingClub misled customers on fees. Credit Karma expands ID theft monitoring to include dark web data. Two startup robos were top performers in Q1. Shanlin Finance leaders charged with operating Ponzi scheme. TransferWise launches borderless accounts in European nations. Today’s main analysis: Small-dollar loans. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Elevate’s safe credit. Hong Kong makes […]

Hong Kong IPO

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Lending Club misled customers about hidden fees, regulators say (CNN Money) Rated: AAA

The Federal Trade Commission said the company, which connects borrowers to investors without banks in the middle, “lures” customers with the promise of no hidden fees.

Instead, Lending Club deducts money up front — hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars, the FTC said.

The FTC also accused Lending Club (LC) of falsely leading customers to believe they have been approved for a loan.

The FTC further accused Lending Club of withdrawing double payments from the accounts of its customers and charging customers who had canceled auto-payments or already paid off their loans.

LendingClub (LC) Said FTC Allegations are Unwarranted (Street Insider) Rated: A

Following an inquiry that began in May 2016, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) brought an action against LendingClub(NYSE: LC) earlier today in the Northern District of California alleging that certain LendingClub practices do not, or in the past did not, comply with the requirements of the FTC and Gramm-Leach-Bliley Acts.

LendingClub believes that the allegations in the FTC’s complaint are legally and factually unwarranted. The company is disappointed that it was not possible to resolve this matter constructively with the agency’s current leadership and intends to oppose the claims and work towards an early resolution of the matter in Federal Court. Additional information about the complaint and LendingClub’s response are on its blog.

Why LendingClub Corp Stock Plunged Today (Motley Fool) Rated: B

Shares of peer-to-peer (P2P) lending company LendingClub Corp (NYSE:LC) are down by about 15% as of 3:30 p.m. EDT after the Federal Trade Commission charged the company with deceiving customers.

Elevate Provides Safe Credit To People Banks Can’t Serve With FICO (Forbes) Rated: AAA

Providing credit to 160 million Americans who are being ignored by banks sounds like a great business. And indeed, Elevate, which does just that, has been growing faster than Lending Club, SoFi, or OnDeck and is more profitable than any of them, said Ken Rees, the company’s CEO .

“Forty percent of Americans show monthly income swings of 30%. The majority of Americans need access to emergency credit but the banks have pulled back. Credit is particularly important because they have very low savings.”

Credit Karma expands its identity theft monitoring tool to include dark web data (Tech Crunch) Rated: AAA

After introducing a free identity monitoring tool for its users late last year, Credit Karma is widening the scope of its fraud-fighting scans to include data from the dark web.

Credit Karma’s  existing ID-monitoring tool searches 4.5 billion public breaches for a user’s personal data, but the improved service will scour additional breaches culled from the dark web. Added up, the tool will now search through 13 billion data breaches.

The company estimates that 65 percent of its users have experienced a data breach, whether they know it or not, so Credit Karma is well-positioned to issue a wake-up call about protecting identifying information online.

2 New Robo-Advisors Among the Top Performers in Q1 (ThinkAdvisor) Rated: AAA

Two relative newcomers to the robo-advisor space are among the industry’s top three performers in the first quarter, according to the latest Robo Report from BackEnd Benchmarking.

SoFi Wealth Management, which launched in May 2017 as an offshoot from the SoFi online lending platform, took first place; TIAA SRI, the socially responsible investment portfolio of its TIAA Personal Portfolio robo, placed third; and sandwiched between the two was Schwab Intelligent Portfolios.

All three robos lost money in the first quarter in their taxable, balanced portfolios, split roughly 60/40 between stocks and bonds, but they performed better than other digital advisors and the overall stock market, which was down 0.76%, for the S&P 500. Their losses ranged from 0.14% for SoFi and 0.45% for TIAA SRI.

Schwab Intelligent Portfolios excelled largely because of its fixed income allocation, which included high-yield bonds and international debt, according to the Robo Report. It placed first for fixed income performance not only for the first quarter of 2018 but for the one-year and two-year trailing periods.

Source: Think Advisor

Small-dollar loans (Lexology) Rated: AAA

The Trump Administration has also taken notable steps to ease the burden placed on the payday lending industry. These include terminating the Obama-era “Operation Choke Point,” which was designed to discourage banks from doing business with payday lenders,11 as well as removing payday-bank partnership restrictions for at least one payday lender.12 This signals a significant departure from regulatory constraints put in place a decade ago prohibiting affiliations between national banks and payday lenders that sought to circumvent state interest rate caps.13

In addition to established market participants targeting borrowers with high credit scores, new internet-based startups are offering small-dollar loans to non-prime borrowers, directly targeting the payday lenders’ customer base. Fintechs aim to compete with traditional payday lenders by marketing a more customer-centric approach, as well as flexible terms and lower fees. These new market entrants generally rely on the use of AI-driven scoring products and non-traditional data analytics to assess a borrower’s creditworthiness. In addition to fair lending considerations, these new online startups generally rely on mobile devices and related technology to host their software and undertake lending decisions, thereby raising privacy and cybersecurity concerns.

Source: Lexology

Navient reports higher earnings in first quarter (Delaware Business Now) Rated: A

Wilmington-based Navient reported higher earnings in the first quarter as the company expanded its segment reporting to reflect a broader array of businesses.

Results that included the origination of $500 million of private education refinance loans, a 43 percent decrease in private education loan charge-offs and a 32 percent increase in business processing fee revenue from the year-ago quarter.

For the first-quarter 2018, GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) net income was $126 million compared with $88 million ($0.30 diluted earnings per share) for the year-ago quarter.

California merchant accuses lender of ‘rent-a-bank’ scheme (Rueters) Rated: A

Utah-based Celtic Bank and Georgia-based lender Kabbage Inc have been hit with a proposed class action accusing them of creating a “rent-a-bank” arrangement to issue high-interest loans to small businesses in California and evade the state’s usury laws.

The case was removed by Celtic Bank to federal court in Los Angeles on Tuesday after being filed last month in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

How employees build and shape the rock-solid cultures at 5 local tech companies (Built In Chicago) Rated: A

What is the foundation of Enova’s culture?

If I may grossly generalize and speak for the majority of the millennial workforce, workplace culture is a big job-hunting factor. Of course, we want to make decent salaries and have access to good health insurance. We also want to be spending those 40 or more hours per week with people we enjoy working with, tackling independent and collaborative work, constantly learning new things, and developing our skills — all of which Enova does a great job of cultivating.

What is the foundation of Avant’s culture?

Avant’s culture is based a lot around letting the best idea win. No matter what part of the business someone is in, if they have an idea that really shines through and will resolve the issue at hand, they are heard. In my experience, even if you’re not in your domain, people will listen to you as long as you come in with a clear spec. If you ask for something and have a good explanation as to why it’s needed, you can get it.

 

 

CEO of student loan marketplace LendEDU admits the name of the founder of a partner site is fake (CNBC) Rated: A

A spokesman cited in publications, including a CNBC story in March about students using their financial aid money to invest in cryptocurrencies, is a fake, the CEO of a partner website has admitted.

Nate Matherson, CEO of student loan refinancing company, LendEDU, said he started The Student Loan Report — studentloans.net — in 2016.

 

Where to Get a Loan of $ 5,000 or Less (Student Loan Hero) Rated: A

Many online lenders have personal loans that offer more flexibility. Some lenders set borrowing minimums as low as $1,000.

Pros: Some online lenders offer flexible repayment plans. For example, Avant allows you to make changes to your upcoming payments online, including the amount and date of your current or future payments. The company says it’s willing to work with you if you’re unable to make a payment, making it easier to repay your loan.

Kirsten Gillibrand Unveils A Public Option For Banking (Huffington Post) Rated: A

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) is introducing legislation Wednesday that would require every U.S. post office to provide basic banking services, an ambitious step aimed at improving the lives of Americans with limited financial resources.

The postal system’s 30,000 locations touch every community. A majority ― 59 percent ― are in so-called banking deserts, or zip codes that have either no bank branches or just one.

Upgrade Personal Loans Review: Low Rates and Free Credit Monitoring (Student Loan Hero) Rated: A

Upgrade is an online lender that primarily offers unsecured personal loans between $1,000 and $50,000. You can use these loans for a variety of purposes, including home improvement, debt consolidation, or a big purchase.

As unsecured loans, these personal loans don’t require any collateral.

Source: Student Loan Hero

How to Cope With the High Costs of Infertility (US News) Rated: A

According to the National Survey of Family Growth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in eight couples have trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy and more than 85,000 women in the U.S. undergo in vitro fertilization each year.

According to a 2015 study about the sentiment, costs and financial impact of fertility treatments in the U.S. by Prosper Marketplace, a peer-to-peer lending marketplace, nearly half of those polled said that prices impacted the level of treatment they sought. Almost 34 percent of those women surveyed had to stop treatment due to the financial burden. Meanwhile, 70 percent of participants reported acquiring some degree of debt in their quest to conceive with more than 26 percent taking on over $30,000 of debt. The cost of treatments was also the single largest factor for those respondents who initially decided to delay fertility treatment at nearly 82 percent.

Washington Wants to Weaken Bank Rules. Not Every Regulator Agrees. (The New York Times) Rated: A

In recent weeks, federal banking regulators have proposed softening a requirement that puts a hard limit on how much the largest banks can borrow. The rule, known as the supplementary leverage ratio, requires that banks prepare for a disaster by maintaining a certain level of capital on their balance sheets based on their total size.

Banks have long complained that the rule is too restrictive and makes it harder for them to do business, including lending, in important markets. They have asserted that the ratio is too blunt of an instrument and often the strictest of the various capital requirements that were put in place after the crisis.

Which Is Best: REITs or Real Estate Crowdfunding? (US News) Rated: A

Who can invest in REITs and real estate crowdfunding? The best investors for REITs and real estate crowdfunding might not be the same. Joseph Hogue, chartered financial analyst and owner of Crowd 101, a crowdfunding website, says that although real estate crowdfunding is less work than direct investment in properties, it still involves more due diligence than REIT investing.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of REITs and real estate crowdfunding? For hands-on investors, who want to customize their real estate investing, crowdfunding fits the bill, says Javier Benson, senior vice president of strategy and implementation at crowdfunding site RealtyShares. RealtyShares specializes in funding commercial real estate projects valued at more than $50 million, certainly not a market for the individual investor.

Benson summarizes the benefits of real estate crowdfunding: “lower fee loads, increased transparency and the opportunity to select individual projects.”

Lenders reject 9% of CT loan applications (Hartford Business) Rated: A

Mortgage lenders rejected 9 percent of loan applications in recent years from Greater Hartford borrowers, which is the nation’s 10th worst denial rate, according to a recent study.

The study by national lending exchange marketplace Lending Tree said lenders denied mortgage shoppers in Hartford, West Hartford and East Hartford at a high rate mainly due to insufficient debt-to-income ratios and collateral.

Hartford’s would-be borrowers ranked second in the nation for cities where collateral issues resulted in their mortgage denial, which amounts to 24 percent of its denials.

LendingTree and COMPLY2018 Announce the Kraken Innovation Award (PR Newswire) Rated: B

COMPLY2018 announces that LendingTree, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, will award one company as The Most Innovative Company during the annual RegTech and Compliance Conference May 16-17 in New York City.

United Kingdom

Growth Street Celebrates Full FCA Authorization & New GrowthLine Lending Product: Need to Borrow £2M? (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

UK alternative finance firm Growth Street has been granted full FCA authorization,  a significant milestone for Growth Street, which had been operating as an Appointed Representative of Resolution Compliance Limited since 2016.

Growth Street has simultaneously rolled out an update to its flagship business lending product, GrowthLine. The firm is now accepting applications from businesses looking to borrow up to £2M, a substantial increase from the previous maximum limit of £1M.

Borrowers unaware of how to check loan providers as scams increase (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

A THIRD of personal loan applicants have admitted they weren’t confident about how to check if their provider was legitimate, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has revealed.

Research by the City watchdog found 36 per cent of those who took out a loan product in the past three years didn’t do any checks to ensure the legitimacy of their loan provider.

The FCA has revealed that more than £3.5m has been lost to loan fee fraud and said reports to its consumer helpline on this issue had increased by 44 per cent.

China

Eight charged in China over ‘Ponzi scheme posing as P2P lender’ that took US$ 9 billion (China Morning Post) Rated: AAA

Eight ringleaders of the Shanghai-based Shanlin Finance have been charged with illegally obtaining deposits and taken into custody, according to local public prosecutor the Shanghai Pudong district People’s Procuratorate, the official Xinhua News Agency reported on Tuesday.

The scheme was disguised as a peer-to-peer lending platform, police said. Shanlin’s online lending platforms and mobile apps have been suspended from service.

Big Bang Means Buyer Beware in Hong Kong IPOs (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. will allow innovative companies that use shares with weighted voting rights to apply for IPOs starting April 30, and will also admit unprofitable biotech firms. That’s a landmark departure from the exchange’s longstanding adherence to the one-share-one-vote principle and the requirement for a three-year profit track record.

China has also opened the door for companies listed on its National Equities Exchange and Quotations market – an over-the-counter trading venue that’s developed something of a reputation as a casino – to sell H shares in Hong Kong.

Looser entry rules will create a vastly different market.

The Fall of Peer-to-Peer Lending in China (Caixin Global) Rated: A

P2P lending, which was designed to bypass traditional lending by matching individual borrowers and lenders, began to flourish on the Chinese mainland in 2011 as the government encouraged the wider use of technology to expand financial services to small businesses and individuals. At P2P lending’s peak in late 2015, there were more than 3,300 platforms operating, according to Wandaizhijia, a portal site that tracks the sector.

However, due to the absence of unified regulations, a great proportion of P2P lenders began collecting cash from investors, offering high returns. A market worth more than 1 trillion yuan ($158 billion) quickly developed.

China’s online lenders reel from industry shake-out (Financial Times) Rated: A

A survey by FT Confidential Research shows the online lending industry in China continues to consolidate from new regulations; the days of significant growth and platform expansion have ended as the government looks to weed out the smaller players; since 2016 the government has capped borrowing limits, shut down secondary markets and forced platforms to file with local regulators

European Union

Fintech unicorn Transferwise launches a ‘borderless’ account in Sweden, Finland and Denmark (Business Insider Nordic) Rated: AAA

Transferwise is today rolling out a “borderless” consumer account and linked debit card, which will let people hold money in multiple currencies.

The service, which Transferwise says is the first one of its kind, has been openly trialed among a few thousand customers since January, and goes live globally including in Sweden, Denmark and Finland. Norway will follow later on.

This means that people will be able to transfer and spend money abroad, with little or no exchange or mark-up fees. They will also be able to make withdrawals through a Mastercard debit card. The debit card will me made available for larger businesses later in 2018.

RBS plans to move 1m users to new challenger bank, says report (AltFi News) Rated: A

According to an insider at the Royal Bank of Scotland, the bank has set an internal target of switching more than 1m users from Natwest to its latest project, a “next generation mobile-only bank”, in time for its debut in the third quarter of 2018.

In another interesting move, the insider has said that RBS’ mobile-only bank will be pursuing a marketplace business model, aiming to forge third-party partnerships as its primary source of revenue over lending. This is a model that is now well-known in the digital banking sector, hailed by dominant players like Monzo and Starling Bank as the future of next generation banking.

GDPR and financial advice: Processing data on children (Professional Adviser) Rated: A

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) makes special mention of children and, for the purposes of the regulation, consent cannot be granted without parental approval by anyone under the age of 13. Upon their 13thbirthday, data subjects can freely consent to how their data is processed – in other words, they can sign up to newsletters and appropriate alerts.

Unlikely as it may be that a 13-year-old will be signing up for newsletters from financial advisers, advice firms will still be processing large amounts of data on under-13s. Taking Intelligent Office as an example, there are currently more than 75,000 records of people under the age of 13 and so it is important that appropriate checks are in place and that parental consent has been granted at the beginning of the process.

Deposit Solutions shows potential of open banking (Euromoney) Rated: A

However, don’t tell that to Deposit Solutions. The Hamburg-based provider of an open-banking platform that lets deposit-rich banks offer their account holders insured savings products from other banks is growing fast. It launched its own business-to-consumer marketplace Zinspilot in September 2015 and by the end of 2016 had transmitted $1 billion in deposits.

Deposit Solutions also has 50 banks in 16 European countries on its B2B platform. These include Deutsche Bank, FFB – the German subsidiary of Fidelity – and MünchenerHyp in Germany, and Atom Bank and Close Brothers in the UK.

So-called product banks, such as Atom, that are seeking funding, but don’t want to invest in a traditional deposit-gathering infrastructure, can offer terms to so-called client banks, such as Deutsche, with lots of customers, but already an excess of deposits.

International

Inside Santander’s plans to digitize money (Tearsheet) Rated: AAA

The Spanish banking giant’s U.K. arm recently launched One Pay FX, a mobile payments service for its U.K. debit card holders that want to send payments to people in Euro Zone countries and the U.S. It’s the first market-ready product built on blockchain technology, Ripple’s xCurrent protocol, for retail customers. It had been running as a pilot for employees for the last 18 months.

Santander, one of the founding members of R3 CEV, a prominent consortium of banks investing in the company’s blockchain technology for financial applications, soon became one of the first members to exit the group as it concentrated on other payments-focused group work like the Utility Settlement Coin — “a tokenized version of central bank money,” in Faura’s words — and the Global Payments Steering Group.

Source: Tearsheet

This MBA Loan Provider Is Helping International Students Start New Careers Abroad (Business Because) Rated: A

According to BusinessBecause data, 90% of MBA applicants would consider studying abroad. At the same time, over 60% say they wouldn’t be able to pursue an MBA without financial aid.

Prodigy Finance has lent more than $505 million in loans to over 10,300 students globally. Those loans have enabled international students such as Alex Brack, originally from Brazil and a recent MBA graduate for The F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College, to thrive.

ZPER Secures Crypto Mobile Wallet with Trustonic (Global Banking and Finance Review) Rated: B

Following an increase in incidents such as the January 2018 theft of $425 million from Coincheck Inc, ZPER, the decentralised peer-to-peer (P2P) financial ecosystem, is launching the most secure cryptocurrency wallet available. ZPER is achieving this by embedding advanced security solutions from app and device security leader, Trustonic, to provide best-in-class protection. This move is in response to growing concerns about the vulnerability of cryptocurrencies when stored in exchanges.

Australia

 

Instant cash loan machines may target most vulnerable with quick dollars, financial counsellor says (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) Rated: A

The emergence of instant cash loan machines across parts of New South Wales has sparked fears about low-income families being potentially caught in a debt trap.

The machines, which look like ATMs, only require identification and bank details before users are approved for cash loans almost immediately.

Financial counsellors have expressed concern about the devices, which they say appear to be popping up in low socio-economic areas.

India

 

RentoMojo is using machine learning to create credit profiles of users (Tech Circle) Rated: AAA

It raised $10 million (Rs 64.3 crore) in a Series B round of funding led by Bain Capital Ventures and Renaud Laplanche, a French-American entrepreneur. The company had earlier raised $2 million in a pre-Series A round from Accel Partners and IDG Ventures India in November 2016.

Asia

Emerging Asian leaders in Blockchain and Cryptocurrency to watch out (Finextra) Rated: A

Crowd-Genie, an Asia-wide cross-border lending platform, concluded its ICO on March 1, raising over $5.5 million. Under the stewardship of CEO and Co-Founder,Akshay Mehra, Genie is aiming to build a private capital hub using smart contracts to make borrowing safer, cheaper and more efficient. Mehra is certified in CMFAS by the MAS and has over 15 years industry experience. His goal of creating a tokenized lending platform puts him at the forefront of blockchain and cryptocurrency technology in Asia.

Under Mehra’s leadership, Crowd Genie’s goal is to develop a Business Loans Asset Exchange on which lenders can enhance their liquidity by transferring asset ownership. Crowd Genie Financial Services Pte. Ltd. is one of a handful of licensed platforms in Singapore to hold a ‘Dealing in Securities’ license by MAS and GenieICO’s token – CGC – was listed on the Cobinhood exchange on March 19.

Latin America

Brazilian bank IPO tests disruption potential of fintech firms (Reuters) Rated: AAA

The first initial public offering (IPO) by a Brazilian retail bank in nearly a decade, set to price on Thursday, will test if investors expect new technologies to give smaller lenders a fighting chance against Brazil’s dominant big four banks.

Banco Inter SA, a tiny mortgage lender that has reinvented itself as a purely online bank, is the first in a wave of feisty digital challengers planning to go public – and looking to trade at higher multiples than many of Brazil’s largest lenders.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

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

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Bermuda

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

Thursday January 25 2018, Daily News Digest

blockchain equity rounds

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi to roll out checking accounts. Zopa re-opens to new customers. Roostify integrates with LendingTree. China regulator says credit market should adopt blockchain. ETHLend hits 1M GBP in P2P crypto loans. Borrowell launches free Equifax credit report monitoring. Brazilian payments company sets post-Snap IPO record. Today’s main analysis: Blockchain equity funding vs. ICOs. Today’s thought-provoking articles: […]

blockchain equity rounds

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Egypt

Canada

South America

News Summary

United States

SoFi will roll out checking accounts this spring (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

SoFi is rolling out checking accounts without a banking license, demonstrating the new reality that a company doesn’t have to be a bank in order to bank customers.

By partnering with the Wilmington, Delaware-based WSFS Financial, SoFi will roll out a fee-free checking account and debit card this spring in a bundle it’s calling SoFi Money, designed to address the pain points customers have with day-to-day banking products, like high fees and clunky digital interfaces, executives said at a media gathering in New York Tuesday morning. SoFi Money will include peer-to-peer transfers between SoFi customers, mobile check deposit and high yield interest rates on deposits (0.75 to 0.85 percent). It will be available first to current SoFi members before the broader rollout.

Five challenges facing SoFi’s new CEO (American Banker), Rated: A

Reforming SoFi’s culture.

Determining when to go public. SoFi has a number of key shareholders who might like to access wealth that is tied up in the company’s shares. That list includes the Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, which led a $1 billion equity financing round in 2015, and the venture capital firm Silver Lake Partners, which led last year’s $500 million round. That round reportedly valued the privately held company at more than $4 billion.

Deciding how to grow. But while student loan refinancing proved to be an excellent way to find new customers during a period of low interest rates, that opportunity is now shrinking, as rising interest rates reduce the spread between what borrowers pay the federal government and what SoFi can offer.

Yes or no on a bank charter? 

Proving that he has the right background. Noto does not appear to have any experience in consumer financial services, which could be viewed as a weakness.

Roostify Announces Integration With LendingTree (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Roostify, a provider of automated mortgage transaction technology, today announced that it has integrated its online mortgage platform with LendingTree (NASDAQ: TREE), the online loan marketplace. The new integration makes it easier than ever for consumers to locate and apply with the right lender.

Lenders can utilize the new integration to create a seamless path for consumers to search, select, apply for, and close a loan online. Consumers selecting an offer on LendingTree from a lender using Roostify will be able to authenticate into the lender’s Roostify-powered online experience, with all information securely pre-populated. The consumer can move from shopping around to getting their loan in just a few clicks, streamlining the experience and improving lead quality for lenders.

The integration will enter general availability in Q1 2018 for all joint clients of Roostify and LendingTree.

2018’s Best Online Checking Accounts (WalletHub), Rated: AAA

More than 6 in 10 people don’t realize that online-only banks offer better rates and lower fees than their counterparts with branch access, according to WalletHub’s 2018 Banking Survey. But it’s true. What online-only accounts lack in terms of face-to-face interaction, they make up for with superior terms. For example, the average online checking account costs 47% less than its branch-based counterpart, according to WalletHub’s latest Banking Landscape Report. And the average online savings account pays 457% more interest than the branch alternative.

Best Online Checking Accounts – Editors’ Picks

Best For… Online Checking Account Best Feature
Overall Aspiration Summit Account APY up to 1.00%
Highest APY Consumers Credit Union Free Rewards Checking APY up to 4.59%
Debit-Card Rewards Bank5 Connect High-Interest Checking Account 1 point per $2 spent
No Monthly Fee BofI X Checking


Capital One 360 Checking Account

No ATM fees


No ATM fees

International Travel Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking No foreign fee
Money Management Tools PNC Bank Virtual Wallet Spending analysis

RealtyMogul Boosts REIT Cred with Hire of Industry Veteran Aaron Halfacre as President (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

RealtyMogul, a leading real estate crowdfunding platform offering Reg D (accredited) and Reg A+ (both accreds and non-accreds) investment opportunities in commercial and residential property, has hired a new President to help lead the firm. Aaron Halfacre, a 20 year real estate executive, has joined RealtyMogul bringing in institutional expertise including in the hot REIT sector.

Aaron Halfacre Becomes RealtyMogul’s First President (Bisnow), Rated: A

A former Campus Crest president and chief investment officer, Halfacre took a year and a half break after the publicly traded student housing REIT was acquired by Harrison Street Real Estate Capital in a $1.9B deal.

As president of RealtyMogul, Halfacre will be responsible for creating a strategy, growing assets and augmenting business growth. He will serve as a voting member of the firm’s investment committee, which has invested in more than $1.4B of real estate since 2013, the company reports.

Juvo Receives Investment from Samsung to Boost Smartphone Usage Among Underbanked (Finovate), Rated: A

Mobile identity company Juvo has received an investment from Samsung NEXT, an off-shoot of Samsung that launched in 2013 to create new software and foster a startup culture at Samsung. The amount of the investment was undisclosed and adds to the San Francisco-based company’s $54 million in equity funding.

The bigger story here is that the investment is a strategic one. Samsung will bring Juvo access to billions of underbanked prepaid users across the globe. This will help Juvo enable MNOs to increase smartphone adoption among prepaid mobile subscribers.

The challenger bank Chime says it has 750,000 millennial customers (American Banker), Rated: A

Chime, a mobile-only neobank for millennials, said Tuesday that it has opened 750,000 accounts to date and is signing up users at a brisk pace this month.

The growth is extraordinary. While there are many other mobile-only challenger banks in the U.S. — including Qapital, Digit and, more recently, Varo and Douugh — few have racked up large numbers yet. Chime touts a low-fee checking and savings account with a debit card and an app that provides automated savings and real-time notifications; there are no monthly or overdraft fees nor minimum-balance requirements. The Bancorp Bank holds the federally-insured accounts.

The reason why most people get rejected for a personal loan (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

LendEDU, a marketplace for loans and financial products, just released data showing that 76% of people who apply for a personal loan are declined. One of the main reasons for rejection? A low credit score. The average American has a credit score of 687. Meanwhile, the average FICO credit score of an approved applicant was 741.

Of those who do get approved, LendEDU predicts that just 35% went on to accept the personal loan.

Currently, 16 million consumers have an unsecured personal loan. According to a TransUnion, personal lending balances grew a steady 10.8% in the second quarter of 2017, totaling $108 billion.

Back in 2010, fintech only made up 3% of personal loan lenders. In 2015, Transunion says that number jumped to 30%.

Why fintech is still a way off disrupting lending (Financial News), Rated: A

But of the many things that banks do, lending to small and medium sized companies (‘SME’ lending) is one of the more complex areas to emulate. It is also politically charged. As such, there is some evidence that the disruption attempted in the area of lending is itself being disrupted by the practicalities of a complex area of finance.

Citi’s mobile app is lagging behind its peers (Tearsheet), Rated: A

The fourth-largest bank by assets grew its total active mobile users 21 percent year over year to nine million, the bank reported last week in its fourth-quarter earnings.

By contrast, Chase reported 30.1 million users, Bank of America 24.2 million and Wells Fargo 21.2 million.

Citi’s growth rate for 2017 was stronger though, at 21 percent year over year, than its peers’. Chase reported 13 percent growth, Bank of America 12 percent and Wells Fargo 8 percent.

Mulvaney outlines new CFPB governing philosophy (The National Law Review), Rated: A

In a memorandum to CFPB staff and a Wall Street Journal article, Mr. Mulvaney described his governing philosophy for the CFPB’s exercise of its authority.

  • While observing that there will be times when “dramatic action” is needed to protect consumers and that, at such times, he expected the CFPB “to be vigorous in [its] enforcement of the law,” Mr. Mulvaney stated that “bringing the full weight of the federal government down on the necks of the people we serve should be something that we do only reluctantly, and only when all other attempts at resolution have failed.”
  • In using its enforcement authority, the CFPB will focus on “quantifiable and unavoidable harm to the consumer” and when such harm does not exist, the CFPB “won’t go looking for excuses to bring lawsuits.”  In addition, there will be “more formal rule making and less regulation by enforcement”  because “the people we regulate should have the right to know what the rules are before being charged with breaking them.”
  • CFPB priorities should be guided by data such as 2016 complaint data which showed that “almost a third of the complaints” received by the CFPB related to debt collection and “[o]nly 0.9% related to prepaid cards and 2% to payday lending.”
  • In light of the Dodd-Frank Act requirement for the CFPB to “consider the potential costs and benefits to consumers and covered persons,” CFPB decisions should be driven by quantitative analysis.  Although qualitative analysis can play a role, it should not be to the exclusion of measurable “costs and benefits.”

Read the memo for yourself here.

What you thought you knew about millennials is wrong (American Banker), Rated: A

Sixty-three percent say they are saving money. This is very close to the rate of Gen Xers (64%) and baby boomers (75%).

Fifty-four percent of millennials say they are on a budget, the same level as Gen X and only slightly below the rate of boomers (57%).

They are diligent about savings and budgeting: 67% of millennials who have a savings goal stick to it. And 73% of millennials on a budget adhere to it regularly.

And 59% say they feel financially secure, compared with 54% of Gen Xers and 63% of baby boomers.

Making it in GR: Lessons in crowdfunding (Rapid Growth), Rated: A

Last month’s “Making it in Grand Rapids” article focused on the ever-expanding alternative financing options for entrepreneurs, such as: impact investment funds, peer-to-peer lending solutions and crowdfunding platforms. Grand Rapids entrepreneur Don Rhoads is Owner/Inventor of At Last Industries (At Last), which created the BedBud Alarm. He is also Head of Development at Cut Through Creative. Rhoads shares his progression from having an idea through the development and launch of his Kickstarter campaign—and the insights he learned along the way.

RG: A recent Small Business Credit Survey reported that “70 percent of startup applicants are in need of funding to support [their growth]” and that “52 percent of startups [have] applied for financing.” Did you pursue any avenues before deciding on crowdfunding?

DR: Yes. I actually applied for and presented at a 5×5 Night. Unfortunately, I didn’t win that one, but as much as I was disheartened, I was still [determined to] fulfill the product. Also, through traditional bank loans, I applied through my current bank. It was a little bit difficult. In a startup, it is difficult to put a value on a business. [Banks] want capital behind it because most startups fail anyway, so they want some substance behind you so they can get their money back. I was told I would need to be a little bit further down the line to get additional funding.

Technology and the Future of Financial Advice (Janus Henderson), Rated: A

Technology arrives in waves and is embraced over an adoption curve. These waves are growing stronger – in large part because technology is becoming ever more powerful. Over time, we have seen these waves play out in financial planning, too.

It is worth looking at two of the challenges faced by the industry now. The first is demographics. Clients have grown older and wealthier, but they are not being replaced within the market for traditional advice services. This is creating an advice gap for firms who need to replenish their client bases.

The second big issue is that consumer engagement is challenging. Long-term thinking hurts. As Daniel Kahneman articulated in Thinking, Fast and Slow, human beings do not easily think about the future in an analytical way and there remains room for improvement in financial literacy among the public. Add to that the low levels of customer trust for the industry and many consumers are not switched on to the benefits of financial advice.

Source: National Financial Literacy Test Results.
United Kingdom

P2P platform Zopa re-opens to new customers (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Zopa, the UK’s first peer-to-peer lender, has reopened its platform to new customers after having to close to new money last year amid high demand for its new Innovative finance Isa (Ifisa) product and a long-running imbalance between lenders and borrowers.

Fintechs impatient as British banks seek extra time to open up (NASDAQ), Rated: A

Financial technology firms were supposed to start breaking into mainstream banking this month when new rules forced Britain’s nine big banks to loosen their grip on the industry.

But many fintech companies are still waiting with frustration on the sidelines after the banks delayed making the changes.

Financial technology firms were supposed to start breaking into mainstream banking this month when new rules forced Britain’s nine big banks to loosen their grip on the industry.

But six of the nine banks have asked Britain’s regulator for an extension to the January 13 deadline for putting in place the ‘open banking’ regulation, which overlaps with a new European Union directive known as PSD2.

UK fintech takes the lead in the Forbes 30 under 30 (AltFi), Rated: A

The gender balance has been particularly notable in the finance sector this year, as Forbes named Starling Bank’s Chief Platform Officer, Megan Caywood, and Lendable co-founder Victoria van Lennep alongside her business partner Martin Kissinger, as ones to watch.

In the technology category, Monzo co-founder Jonas Huckestein and the co-founders of digital receipts startup Flux all found themselves highlighted by Forbes.

China

China’s Banking Regulator Pushes Blockchain Adoption for Credit Market (CoinDesk), Rated: AAA

Blockchain technology should be adopted as part of a plan to boost development of China’s secondary loan market, according to a paper by the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC).

Published on Jan. 19, the paper, drafted by a special committee, covers a variety of topics around developing and regulating financial technologies. In a section on the future development of China’s credit market, it suggests the country should double down its adoption of blockchain technology.

Download and read the report yourself here (in Chinese).

Ant Financial and the Greening of Fintech (The Diplomat), Rated: A

Ant Financial, an affiliate of Alibaba, is one clear example of a company using fintech to encourage a greener world.

Ant Forest is the world’s first largescale, bottom-up pilot in greening citizens’ consumption behavior through the use digital technology and social media. It is an app that Ant users can voluntarily engage with to reduce their carbon footprint and encourage their social networks to do the same. Users that perform carbon-reducing activities, such as paying bills online or walking to work, relative to a predetermined benchmark, are rewarded “green energy” points. As users accumulate enough points virtually, a real tree is planted. To date, Ant Forest has planted saxauls, willows, and Scots pine trees in Inner Mongolia and Gansu.

Ponzi scheme sparks protests (The Standard), Rated: B

Chinese authorities are struggling to quell protests after the collapse of an investment scheme that took about 30 billion yuan (HK$36.7 billion) from millions of depositors.

Hundreds of people marched on Monday in Nanjing, where Qianbao started in 2012, shouting for officials to act. But a video shows police grabbing investors as others yelled about being beaten up.

European Union

Ten User’s Pain Points Digital Banking and FinTech Should Care Of (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Studies have shown that users tend to quickly switch products and services. This also concerns banks as the competition and the number of Open Banking services increase due to the implementation of the European Directive PSD2.

1. Onboarding

Onboarding becomes particularly important in digital era. It can be a productive introduction to a new service or a challenging obstacle that deters customers. The banks of the future should provide a full digital onboarding.

2. Authentication

Log in difficulties or problems shouldn’t create obstacles for the customer. After all, no one would go to a restaurant with a locked door.

5. Transactions

Users should be able to fully control their banking. It is crucial for them to find a certain transaction and download a payment slip. View transaction history is among the TOP 3 customer scenarios. This function should be simple and understandable. Users want to filter their transactions to find specific items, view detailed information, report a violation, check payment status, export and save them, etc.

6. Payments

We are pleased to see that bank payment interfaces are becoming simpler each year. Digital technologies allow us to move complex banking procedures to the background. Challenger Banks ar a good example here.

The purpose of payment limits is to ensure the user’s security. The user should have online access to a flexible configuration of any financial transaction.

8. Notifications

There shouldn’t be too many notifications, only relevant ones.

Conclusion

Being in the users’ shoes and finding pain points in products and services will be a crucial competitive advantage. Companies recognising this issue will take a leading position in the future financial market.

International

ETHLend hits £1m crypto-P2P loans milestone (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

CRYPTO-BACKED peer-to-peer lending platform ETHLend has funded $2m (£1.4m) of loans in just over a month since launching.

The platform, which lets investors back business and personal loans worldwide n the Ethereum (ETH) digital currency, only went live in December but says it has already facilitated 438 loans.

Its biggest loan so far was for 83ETH, equivalent to £58,681.

Blockchain Startups Absorbed 5X More Capital Via ICOs Than Equity Financings In 2017 (CB Insights), Rated: AAA

In Q1’17, 19 ICOs closed for about $21M. Three quarters later, in Q4’17, over 500 ICOs closed for almost $3B. According to CB Insights, 2017 saw over 5x more capital deployed in ICOs than in equity financings to blockchain startups. Q4’17 alone saw that number jump to 7x.

In total, ICOs raised over $5B across nearly 800 deals in 2017. To put those numbers into context, equity investors deployed $1B in 215 deals to the sector.

GDS Link Acquires Fraudscreen, the UK’s Leading Provider of Analytics to Predict Payment Intent (GDS Link Email), Rated: A

GDS Link, a global provider of risk management solutions and consulting for multiple verticals within the financial services industry including marketplace lending, retail finance, alternative financial services, credit card, auto, and business lending and leasing, today announced that it has finalized the acquisition of 

Finastra sees accelerating FusionFabric.cloud adoption (Finastra Email), Rated: A

At its regional flagship thought leadership event, Finastra Universe Paris,Finastra today welcomed new companies to the FusionFabric.cloud open architecture. Among the early adopter Fintechs, consultants, banks and academics using the platform to develop and deploy innovative apps are Efficiency MC, Conpend and BankBI. In addition, Thomson Reuters joins Finastra’s innovation ecosystem as a data provider.

Thomson Reuters is currently embedding its instrument reference data into FusionFabric.cloud.

Paris-based system integrator, Efficiency MC, is using the platform to develop an interest rate derivatives pricing model app.

European Fintech, Conpend, is using FusionFabric.cloud to develop apps for corporate banking.

Cloud focused Fintech, BankBI, has a Performance Management and Analytics application for FusionFabric.cloud to complement the Finastra retail banking solutions, including C-suite dashboards.

Australia

The everyday Aussie is increasingly choosing a peer to peer personal loan – here’s why (mozo), Rated: AAA

ASIC’s second marketplace lending survey revealed that $300 million worth of personal and business loans were written by peer to peer lenders during the last financial year – almost double the amount commissioned during the 2015/2016 financial year.

The snowballing popularity of these types of loans is measured by the fact that, as of June 2017, the industry had 7,768 investors and a further 18,746 borrowers – numbers that had doubled over the preceding 12 months and are only set to grow in the new year.
Comparatively, at the lowest peer to peer rate in the Mozo database of 6.99% (on offer from Harmoney), the average Aussie borrower would pay just $5,634 in interest on the same loan – saving more than $4,000 in the process.

Stuart Stoyan is FinTech Australia’s new chair (Business Insider), Rated: B

Stuart Stoyan, the founder and CEO of Melbourne-based fintech MoneyPlace, which in 2015 became Australia’s second fully licensed marketplace lending platform, has become FinTech Australia’s new chair.

India

RBI Directions On Peer To Peer Lending Platforms: Frequenly Asked Questions (Mondaq), Rated: AAA

2.2  Electronic platforms connecting banks and NBFCs to borrowers

The RBI has clarified that electronic platforms that assist only banks, non-banking financial  companies (“NBFCs”) and other regulated All India Financial Institutions (“AIFls”) to identify  borrowers will not be considered peer to peer lending platforms  (“P2P Lending  Platforms”).   However, in cases where,  apart from banks, NBFCs and AIFls, or other retail lenders use the  electronic platform for lending, the platform will have to register separately as a non-banking  financial platform –  peer to peer lending platform (an “NBFC-P2P”).

2.3  Leverage ratio and investible funds for an NBFC-P2P

The RBI has clarified that for an NBFC-P2P, customers’ funds lent or borrowed by using the platform  is not reckoned as an outside liability of the NBFC-P2P, for the purpose of determining the  leverage ratio of the NBFC-P2P.

(a)  Do the P2P Lending Platforms have to fulfil the 50-50 test issued by the RBI to fall  within the purview of the P2P Directions?

The RBI, with its clarification that an existing NBFC cannot operate as an NBFC-P2P, has clarified  that the 50-50 test set out by the RBI to qualify as a non-banking financial company is not  applicable to an NBFC-P2P.

VC Firm 3one4 Capital Announces Second Fund With An Initial Corpus Of $ 39 Mn (Inc42), Rated: A

With closed commitments for $39 Mn, the 3one4 Capital team will look to enhance its deep involvement model across its investment domains. The fund will invest early stage startups with ticket sizes of $250K to $2 Mn.

Asia

Tryb Group raises $ 30M to develop fintech platforms for Southeast Asia (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Tryb Group, a Singapore-based organization focused on fintech services in Southeast Asia, has landed a $30 million investmentfrom Makara Capital.

For a Western comparison, Tryb aspires to be like LendingClub with a focus on digitizing the predominantly analog systems of financial services and banking in Southeast Asia, a region of over 600 million consumers.

“There’s strong demand to start buying ASEAN credit, with Japanese, Chinese, American and other investors looking to buy up $50-100 million worth. But they don’t know where to start since it’s all on paper,” he said.

Currently, the Tryb business doesn’t make direct revenue. It holds stakes in a number of businesses — including MC Payment which is in the process of going public in Singapore — but Gnirck said it has two acquisitions that he expects to finalize in the coming months.

Genie ICO Adds Cryptocurrency Heavyweight David Drake and Other Experts to Its Advisory Board (CoinTelegraph), Rated: B

Joining the Crowd Genie advisory board is David Drake, Founder and Chairman of LDJ Capital, who is also a global pioneer in the cryptocurrency industry and has written for more than 100 publications on innovative investing. Also joining the board is serial entrepreneur Petter Sehlin, who is a Founding Partner of global angel fund True Global Ventures and founder of the Polarchain blockchain. The founders of one of the world’s most comprehensive online cryptocurrency databases and information resources, AllCoinWiki, Anders Larsson and Joakim Holmer have also joined the board.

MENA

Egypt’s fintech startups are growing in number, value, and specialization (wamda), Rated: AAA

Financial inclusion is critical in reducing poverty and achieving shared economic growth, as mentioned The Global Findex Database 2014: Measuring Financial Inclusion around the World’: When people can participate in the financial system, they are better able to start and expand businesses, invest in their children’s education, and absorb financial shocks.

According to figures shared with Wamda by the World Bank Global Findex database, only 14 percent of adults in Egypt have an account as of 2014, and eight percent use an account to make digital financial payments. The Findex said that about 86 percent of adults in the country do not have an account and are therefore considered unbanked.

The model of Fawry, has demonstrated the validity of such business models, and has driven several concepts to launch.” Fawry, which was launched in 2008, provides payment solutions through ATM machines, mobile wallets, and retail points.

Egypt-based fintech startup Moneyfellows raised $600,000 from a group of investors led by Dubai Angel Investors and 500 Startups. This web and mobile-based platform founded in December 2014, allows users to create, manage, and track money circles (group money lending) online with members of their social networks. The startup makes money by charging users a small fee when they withdraw their payout from their money circle. So far, the startup has around 2,600 paying users and about 240 active circles.

Vapulus, which launched in December 2017, partners so far with 400 retail and F&B merchants in the country, and aims to reach 16,000 within one year of operation. The startup is a mobile app and mobile POS service for both individuals and sellers.

Canada

Borrowell launches free Equifax credit report monitoring, a Canadian first (GlobeNewswire), Rated: AAA

Borrowell today announced that it is providing Canadians with free access to their Equifax credit reports. For the first time, Canadians will be able to monitor important information in their Equifax credit report on a monthly basis, including credit utilization, inquiries and credit account history, for free online.

To date, Borrowell has provided credit information to nearly half a million Canadians.

Canada Venture Capital 2017 (CB Insights), Rated: A

Annual funding to Canada hits high in 2017

  • Total annual funding reached $2.7B, distributed across 333 deals in full-year 2017.
  • Total funding increased 7%, while deal activity decreased by 12%.
Source: CB Insights
South America

NYSE’s Biggest IPO Since Snap Is $ 2.3 Billion for Brazil Fintech (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

PagSeguro Digital LTD, a payments company owned by Brazilian media group Universo Online SA, raised about $2.27 billion in an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange, according to Bloomberg data.

The company, which has a similar model to Jack Dorsey’s Square, sold shares at $21.50 each, above the top of the price range of $17.50 to $20.50 in the offering prospectus, with demand higher than underwriters expected. The equity offering is the largest on the New York Stock Exchange since Snap Inc in March 2017. Investors warmed to the stock, which rose as much as 36 percent to $29.25 in early trading.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday December 27 2017, Daily News Digest

blockchain artificial intelligence

News Comments Today’s main news: Impact investment performance. The UK home lending market had a watershed year. Opus, Statista predict digital payments to rise in 2018. Crowd Genie opens up blockchain-based lending to Singapore. Fast Invest offers crypto-enabled loan investments across Europe. Today’s main analysis: Where financial institutions will spend money on fintech in 2018. Today’s thought-provoking articles: The […]

blockchain artificial intelligence

News Comments

United States

  • Where money will be spent on fintech in 2018. AT: “American Banker predicts where banks and other financial institutions will put their investments in 2018. A good read with some solid predictive analysis, and good reporting. Top of the list: Blockchain & AI. Big surprise: Bank will get more aggressive with student lending and mortgages.”
  • Performance of impact investing. AT: “Regardless of what you call it, impact investing allows investors to grow portfolios while performing a social good, but how do these investments do over time? Not bad.”
  • The future of financing. AT: “Hint: It’s all about digital currency, or is it?”
  • Why people make bad financial decisions.

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Asia

United States

Where fintech dollars will go in 2018 (American Banker), Rated: AAA

A study released in December found that 82% of U.S. commercial banks plan to increase fintech investment over the next three years; 86% of bank senior managers surveyed said they intend to boost fintech funding imminently. The research was commissioned by the global fintech provider Fraedom.

Here are the fintech markets likely to get some love in the coming year:

Blockchain

Up till now, many blockchain pilots have been about gaining back-office efficiencies, such as in clearing securities, Canaday noted. She said she expects the use of blockchain to shift to ways to make money.

Artificial intelligence

“There was a study done about last quarter’s conference calls where the count of the number of times companies said ‘artificial intelligence’ in their calls was 800, up 25% quarter over quarter,” Steinberg said. “When you’re competing with 800 companies, it’s probably a difficult experience.”

B-to-B payments

While many fintechs focus on serving consumers, “toward the end of this year we started to see more of a shift in investment toward the B-to-B side,” said Grewal. “There’s big money being thrown into the B-to-B space. We’re seeing a lot of new company formation around the B-to-B payment space in a way we haven’t seen before. That’s one trend we’ll see a lot more of next year.”

Banks could “unlock” $11 billion in new revenue streams from small and midsize businesses by 2020, according to an Accenture report.

Consumer apps

Better experiences from fintech apps like Digit and Acorns are turning financial services firms into “ingredients” rather than “destinations,” according to Schwark Satyavolu, general partner at Trinity Ventures.

Grewal also sees a lot of interest in the cross-border commerce space — consumers from China wanting to make purchases in the U.S. and the U.K. and vice versa.

Banktech

Now that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been defanged, so to speak, banks can get back into student lending and mortgages without fear of reprisal, he said.

THE PERFORMANCE OF IMPACT INVESTMENTS (All About Alpha), Rated: AAA

The Global Impact Investing Network has offered its own take on a much discussed question: do “impact investing” and its variants under various names – sustainable investing, socially conscious investing, ESG investing, etc. – work? And, if so, how well? It looks at this question in a very granular way, focusing especially on II through private equity and private debt. Given this focus it engages in a meta-study, or literature review.

The GIIN begins with the observation that private equity is the most commonly employed vehicle for impact investing. It is used by more than 75% of the impact investors.

How did they do? That 2015 study made the following points:

  • Since inception the 71 funds have generated aggregate net returns of 5.8% on average, with 4.6% showing up as the median.
  • The fund level internal rate of return can vary a good deal. The top 5% of funds get 22.1% or higher and the bottom 5% lose 15.4% or more.
  • That range itself is “similar to what is seen in conventional investing and illustrates that fund manager selection is key to strong performance.”

The Future of Financing (Avertising Specialty Institute), Rated: A

According to government statistics, 28.8 million small businesses currently operate in the U.S., employing 57 million people. A study by U.S. Bank notes the major reason these businesses fail is due to cash flow problems. Eighty-two percent of those businesses, in fact, are tanking because of lack of cash.

“You have this compression happening across every stage along the way,” Graham says. “For example, 24-hour turn with orders, better systems allowing a distributor to invoice faster, and easier ways to accept payment up front. It’s enabling everything to move faster. The need for financing is not as great as it used to be as a result of the options available now to be able to turn everything faster.”

There’s also big growth in the online lending space, Graham says, allowing for a lot of flexibility and options to get bank-like financing for business needs. But she thinks the next huge financing shift will surround something completely different.

“I think a lot of the real changes are going to happen around digital currency,” she says.

Lending Requirements

“Document requirements won’t change,” Seagraves says. “To get a loan today, you need to have some vehicle to communicate your plan, and that vehicle should include a set of business projections, like an Excel spreadsheet that talks about your financial requirements for the short term and how long it’ll take to become cash flow-positive. Then the lender is going to want to know your financial position as an individual and if any of your assets can be leveraged to secure a loan. These are all very traditional requirements, and I don’t see them changing any time soon.”

Why do people make bad money decisions (IOL.co.za), Rated: B

Eight out of ten American adults feel anxious about the state of affairs of their personal finance.

In addition to this, neural activity associated with “stressful information processing” was 20% higher among people who made their own money decisions compared to someone who received financial advice.

United Kingdom

Watershed year for equity release in the UK home lending market (Propertywire), Rated: AAA

The membership of the Equity Release Council in the UK has increased annually by 23%, rising to 219 from 178 at the same time last year, boosted by new entrants to the market, the latest official figures show.

Lending in the third quarter of 2017 surpassed £800 million for the first time in any single quarter, with the sector also on course to reach a record-breaking £3 billion in lending for the first time in a single year.

China

THE EASIEST WAY TO LOSE YOUR LIFE SAVINGS IN CHINA (SCMP), Rated: AAA

By any measure, 62-year-old Shan Juzhen was an easy mark. After the shortest of conversations with other investors, Shan put more than US$15,000 – or nearly a year of her pension – into a lending club she had never heard of.

She felt it unnecessary to check the qualifications of the lending club, which serves as an alternative for borrowers who cannot get a loan from a big bank. She also did not ask questions about how her money would be lent. The only thing Shan wanted to know was would the platform give her a high return on her investment.

A report published in December by Chaoyang Court in Beijing found that the number of Chinese senior citizens involved with lending-related disputes surged to more than 4,400 in 2016, a nearly sevenfold increase from a year earlier. And among all lending-related disputes the court handled last year, about 45 per cent involved elderly Chinese.

P2P online lending has now reached US$908 billion in transactions, according to Internet Loan House, a website that tracks the industry.

European Union

Joint Discussion Paper on automation in financial advice (EIPOA), Rated: AAA

Given this assessment, the ESAs are of the view that, even though automation in financial advice is not presently observed equally across all financial sectors and/or EU Member States, the phenomenon has the potential to continue to grow. The ESAs will assess the feedback to this Discussion Paper in order to better understand the phenomenon and to decide which, if any,
regulatory and/or supervisory action is required.

In considering the topic of automation in financial advice, the ESAs have observed the following across the banking, securities and insurance and pensions sectors :

  • In the banking sector:

i. Automation specifically in relation to financial advice does not seem to be very widespread. However, human contact is supported more and more by the use of various automated tools. These include comparison websites that can compare products offered by various financial institutions, and websites providing information on specific products and helping consumers to select between products by using simulators and calculators.

ii. New business models that are based in providing advice through automated advisory tools have nonetheless emerged (e.g. automated tools where the consumer fills in all relevant information and receives an advice on which mortgage to get as a result).

  • In the securities sector:

i. Automation in relation to financial advice is a more mature phenomenon, although the provision of advice that is completely automated appears to feature only in a few EU Member States. In this business model, automated tools are used as a type of financial adviser, often referred to as a ‘robo-adviser’: the automated tool asks prospective investors for information about their specific circumstances and, based on the answers provided, an algorithm is used to recommend transactions in financial instruments that match the customer’s profile.

ii. Different automated tools may be used to support different parts of the advice process, for example the collection of information, risk profiling, portfolio analysis, and order processing or trading.

iii. Some advice services are entirely automated, whereas other services foresee human interaction between the consumer and the advice provider at some stage.

iv. In a greater number of European jurisdictions, other automated tools exist that offer various online functionality to consumers. Such offerings include (but are not limited to): the possibility to open and manage online trading accounts that allow the consumer to trade financial instruments on an execution-only basis; automated portfolio management services; and automated tools that compare the prices of transacting in different financial instruments.

Read the full report here.

Fast Invest – Crypto-enabled Loan Investments Across Europe (ChipIn), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms have disrupted American financing. That is old news. What is more interesting is the impact of such platforms in Europe where big banks have long dominated the entire loan-initiation process as well as the investment chain.

European P2P initiatives grew 92% in 2015 to 5.4 billion euros. P2P consumer lending is, so far, the biggest and fastest growing market segment, although far from the only one.

Brexit will mean that British banks will lose what is called “passport rights” that enable them to have access to European markets. And P2P lenders are already jumping into the void this is creating, as well as allowing new kinds of services and income investment opportunities.

Introducing Fast Invest

Fast Invest’s mission is to create a cross-European platform where investors can earn returns for investing in loans. At present, the platform offers an 8-15% return based on past performance for short-term investments of as low as 1 euro, US dollar, pound or Polish zloty after ten months.

Today, before the crowdfunding, the company has 8,500 plus daily customers across Europe, 21 certified lenders, 36 client origin countries and over 50 employees on staff.

Investors will be able to choose between investing in cryptocurrency or a crypto-proved loan investment. This will significantly increase yield over regular bank returns which are about 1.25% API at present. These investments include traditional and alternative investments including issued loans, real estate, private equity and other structured finance products.

Investors can invest as little as 1 euro and get that back within one day with the Fast Invest buyback guarantee.

FIT tokens allow investors to participate in a growing P2P market opportunities across Europe and the US.

Cork investors most likely in Ireland to back local firms (Independent.ie), Rated: B

Cork-based loan investors are the most likely to back local firms, according to data from peer-to-peer lending platform Linked Finance.

The numbers are based on business loans made over the Linked Finance platform, which matches investors to their choice of borrowers using the so called peer-to-peer lending model that cuts out banks.

Analysis of the investors using the platform found that just over one in three (34pc) of lenders have incomes in excess of €100,000, 39pc own their homes outright and 40pc are homeowners with a mortgage.

International

Fintech Outlook 2018: Digital Payments to Rise (Investing News), Rated: AAA

2017 was a significant year of growth for digital payments, according to an Opus Consulting report, together with the emergence of alternative payments. Peer-to-peer, wallets and mobile payments reached “high adoption levels” in the mainstream, reaching $3.6 trillion in terms of transactions during 2016-2017. According to the report, that amounted to a 20 percent year-on-year growth–a number that will only continue increasing from here.

In terms of global mobile payment revenue, the report states the number is estimated to reach $930 billion in 2018, representing a 19 percent growth from 2017 with China leading the way in the mobile payments market. Global payments revenue as a whole is poised to reach $2.3 trillion, with 43 percent of that representing banking revenues.

Similarly, data from Statista indicates that transaction values are expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 41.9 percent over the next five years to 1.32 trillion, while the number of users in the mobile point of service payments will reach 977 million by 2022.

Fintech outlook 2018: Companies to watch

Glance Technologies, whose flagship product is its mobile app, Glance Pay, decided in 2017 that it would create its own cryptocurrency built on the ethereum platform to use smart contracts to provide rewards, which Green says will be purchases in conjunction with its mobile payment app.

Biometrics as the Catalyst: FinTech Pulls Away From Banks (Let’s Talk Payments), Rated: A

The development of biometrics on mobile devices is set to have an outsized impact on mobile wallets and international money transfer. Advances such as fingerprint login, retinal scan, and facial recognition offer a rare opportunity for remittance companies to both combat fraud and improve the user experience.

Mobile wallet transactions alone are expected to reach nearly $1.4 trillionin 2017, growing 32% compared to 2016, and the number of mobile phone users will top 5 billion.

Biometrics improves the user experience by reducing form fields, eliminating the need to upload a picture of a physical ID, and fully automating the know-your-customer (KYC)/anti-fraud process. Moreover, for the first time, digitally funded transfers will offer better KYC and fraud checks than banks or brick-and-mortar competitors.

With hacked or compromised credentials, attackers can wreak havoc by posing as legitimate users and moving or stealing unauthorized funds. Not only is there a risk of theft, but fraudsters also exploit peer-to-peer (P2P) money transfer services for money laundering and terrorism financing. Considering the fact that P2P payments are expected to be used by nearly129 million adults in the US by 2021, the threat isn’t going away anytime soon.

The number of people living outside of the country in which they were born has surpassed 244 million, representing a 41% increase between 2000 and 2015. Many of these people come from places where the identity infrastructure is weak and disconnected from developed systems in the US and Europe.

About 93% of consumers would rather use biometrics than passwords.

India

The McKinsey Paper on India (All About Alpha), Rated: AAA

Earlier this year, McKinsey & Co. published a paper on impact investing in India. The data base for that study consisted of 48 PE and VC transactions, of which 31 targeted the “financial inclusion” sector: that is, enterprises designed to bring banking and bank-like services to the unbanked.

In this case they varied from a loss of 46% to a gain of 153% with a median gross IRR of 10% and a weighted average of 11%.

 

2017: The year of the customer (livemint), Rated: AAA

Investments in the fintech space in India also witnessed frenzied activity this year, with total value of investments jumping by 388% from $383 million in 2016 to $1,868 million in the first three quarters of 2017, according to industry database CB Insights.

With over 1 billion mobile phones, 325 million broadband connections and 306 million new bank accounts, India became a case study in digital financial inclusion, driven by the Jan Dhan Yojana, Aadhaar and mobile (JAM), as reported by the communications ministry.

More than 225 alternative lending companies were founded in India in 2017 and the segment was the second most funded in India’s fintech space, as per data from an industry database Tracxn.

According to the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), eKYC verifications have jumped almost 77% to 84 million in FY18 over FY17, speeding up the on-boarding process and reducing costs significantly.

In 2017, almost 46 strategic partnerships and deals took place between lenders, payments companies and fintech innovators. Some of these were the tie-ups between Paytm and ICICI Bank for short-term interest-free credit lines; Amazon India and Bank of Baroda for unsecured micro loans; Mobikwik and Bajaj FinServ for offering all features and benefits of Bajaj Finserv EMI cards over a digital payments wallet; Fisdom and Lakshmi Vilas Bank for a robo-advisory platform; and between Senseforth and HDFC Bank for chatbots.

Reviewing the 2017 fintech ecosystem and what its startups are looking forward to in 2018 (Plunge Daily), Rated: A

RBI’s recognition of P2P lendingstartups as a new category of non-banking financial companies (NBFCs), was celebrated all-round by the sector.

One of the most celebrated advantages of the fintech boom is that of ‘financial inclusion’ and the potential to service the underserved. However, the sector is hoping that the guidelines placed will initiate control and check on the unorganised side of money lending and the digital push will bring about competitive rates and transparency.

Another announcement the RBI made in October was the introduction of guidelines for digital wallet companies. There were mandates on higher capital requirements for license holders of prepaid payment instruments or digital wallets, KYC or know-your-customer norms and the initiation of interoperability of various digital wallets.

Rohit Lohia, CO-Founder and COO of Cointribe believes 2018 will see scaling up of players in the lending space especially in small business lending.

Experts’ views on what changed in the banking and fintech sector in 2017 (livemint), Rated: A

Upasana Taku, co-founder, MobiKwik

The government’s decision to bear the merchant discount rate (MDR) on digital payments of up to Rs2,000 will bring greater level of acceptability for digital payment systems. Digital payments will become a way of life both for consumers and merchants and bring a cultural shift in digital payments.

Renu Satti, MD and CEO, Paytm Payments Bank

India is currently at the center of the banking world, and is set to emerge as a benchmark in digital and financial inclusion.

Living the sharing economy in the cryptocurrency way (YourStory), Rated: A

The global economic meltdown of 2008 was the catalyst to get people to shift gears, and supplement their income by sharing assets that they owned. Added to this, the increasing internet penetration and the evolving economic system helped companies such as Airbnb and Uber popularise the concept of shared economy, and successfully pave the path for other industries.

However, while these platforms helped millions of people find alternative sources of income, they suffered elementary setbacks. To begin with, the companies have significant amount of transactional overhead, be it monetary or operational. Second, international boundaries restrict cross-border economic sharing. Thus, the peer-to-peer markets are unable to foster collaborative ownership which is crucial to enable true sharing of resources.

Blockchain — the key to global sharing

The peer-to-peer network in the sharing economy, allows individuals to organise themselves without the involvement of any third party. As the intermediaries are based on the algorithms, the technology builds trust, making it a versatile technology that can be match specific user requirements.

According to a PwC report, the peer-to-peer-lending global market is pegged to touch $335 billion by 2025. As the sharing economy continues to grow, the idea of private ownership is being replaced by the revival of collaborative and shared consumption and adoption of blockchain can guarantee safe and secure transactions.

Asia

Exclusive Interview with Crowd Genie CEO Akshay Mehra (ChipIn), Rated: AAA

Crowd Genie is a peer-to-peer lending platform based in Singapore. It connects small to medium businesses seeking loans with capital via a blockchain-based cryptocurrency system.

Lenders can expect to make at least 14% return with all funds held in escrow. This peer to peer lending activities will be tokenized using smart contracts to enable lending without borders more efficient, cheaper and safer. Ultimately, the team has a vision to build an Asset Trading Exchange on Blockchain that will democratize trading and allow investment in infrastructure, stocks, cryptocurrency, and bonds across Asia, which would be prohibitively expensive, and potentially unfeasible due to issues of transparency and trust without Blockchain.

Hi, Akshay. Thanks for joining us today. Can you tell us more about yourself and Crowd Genie?

Crowdfunding is popular in the West, but the idea is relatively new in Singapore and other Asia countries. Observing how lenders getting low returns from the banks because of the overhead costs and how established SMEs unable to receive full funding desired and become under-banked, I would like to match this two parties together to solve the problem and that’s what Crowd Genie has been doing.

Why did you decide to use blockchain in building Crowd Genie?

Although our existing P2P digital loan business is incredibly innovative in the Singapore financial sector, it would have been impossible to scale to enable lending without borders and offer Asia-wide asset trading before blockchain technology was introduced.

To build and scale an asset exchange with pre-blockchain technologies would be prohibitively expensive, and potentially unfeasible due to issues of transparency and trust.

In the whitepaper, you talk about creating “Asian Passport” rights or identities. Tell us how you came up with the idea and how you think you will implement this regionally. Is this based on the idea of European passport banking rights?

To build an end-to-end Asset Exchange, a Digital Passport is essential for us to identify who are the lenders and borrowers, are they associated with negative news, illegal activities or politically exposed. We will continue with our existing due diligence process where we ask for proof of identity and bank statement and check it against a world-wide recognized database. Thereafter we set up a digital passport and store in on blockchain.

Please explain the notion of “fractionalized assets,” and how it is redefining how P2P lending is occurring.

P2P lending is an illiquid investment. Imagine that you have invested in a 12 months tenure loan, but would like to get some money back before it matures, say 2 months later. You can do so by selling it on Crowd Genie Asset Exchange by indicating the fraction of your assets that you would like to sell.

 

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday December 22 2017, Daily News Digest

LendingClub charge offs

News Comments Today’s main news: DV01 finishes year with $7.9B in consumer unsecured bonds. PayPal invests in Raisin. Affirm CEO affirms its product is a personal loan. LexinFintech share price surges. The state of P2P lending in New Zealand. InvestUp considers cryptocurrency investing. Today’s main analysis: Why bitcoin is a threat to LendingClub. Today’s thought-provoking articles: High-tech lenders go after […]

LendingClub charge offs

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Cayman

News Summary

United States

High-tech lenders target the decades-old store credit card (Reuters), Rated: AAA

The once-hot online lending industry has been battered by scandal and losses since last year, but one of the oldest forms of lending – store credit – is increasingly attracting tech companies aiming to supplant a retailer’s credit card.

One such lender, San Francisco startup Affirm, is attracting investment and large customers by using a new approach to underwriting that allows it to approve more borrowers than traditional store credit cards.

Max Levchin, Affirm’s founder who also co-founded one of the earliest digital payments companies, PayPal, boasts that Affirm approves 126 percent more borrowers than Synchrony Financial, the largest issuer of private-label credit cards.

Startup Affirm CEO Clarifies that Product Is a Personal Loan – Not a Credit Card (LendEDU), Rated: AAA

Consumers looking for a personal loan option have another one to consider in Affirm, which is a startup from PayPal co-founder Max Levchin. With Affirm, consumers can access a loan, a form of credit, to buy items at a store, which was originally interpreted to be similar to how a credit card works.

But Levchin has pointed out there are important differences between an Affirm loan and credit cards.

Who Uses Affirm?

Generation X and Millennials are the customers who most frequently use Affirm. Younger consumers have seen how carrying high credit card balances affected their older relatives, and they are less likely to want to have much credit card debt.

The annual percentage rate can be steep, going from as low as 10 percent to as high as 30 percent. But, unlike credit cards, the interest isn’t compounded.

Why Bitcoin Frenzy Is Terrible News For LendingClub (SeekingAlpha), Rated: AAA

LendingClub (LC) has had plenty of troubles over the years. Back in 2015, you could throw a dart at a list of financial stocks and hit a double if you held it through today. LC stock, by contrast, has destroyed shareholder value since its IPO. Even the recent Trump financials rally did next to nothing for LC stock, and now shares are back to near new all-time lows after a downbeat earnings report:

Source: SeekingAlpha

In a booming economy, the G-rated loans did so badly that they jacked up interest rates almost 3% on consumers while also reducing expected returns by more than 3%. This suggests that the G-rated loans were fully 6% short of expectations. This speaks to massive problems with the company’s underwriting, and leaves you to wonder just how badly internet-originated subprime loans will fare when a recession hits and the unemployment rate goes up again.

Source: SeekingAlpha

Bitcoin Losses Ahead?

If you are someone with a low income and a challenging financial position, you have an almost no-lose proposition (if ethics don’t get in the way). You borrow money on a credit card or from LendingClub, “invest” it in Bitcoin or Ethereum, and then hope it keeps going to the moon. If it does, you make many multiples of your interest expense, and have hit the lottery.

Now if the trade goes bad, and Bitcoin plummets, what is your debtor going to do? Since there is little consequence to defaulting on unsecured debt (and LendingClub has a reputation for being a lax debt collector), you simply stop paying on the note. The borrower has a win/win situation – essentially the lender is financing purchase of lottery tickets. I don’t know about you, but I’d need a much higher interest rate than even the 15 or 20% you might get off a low-end LendingClub note to justify that risk.

Source: SeekingAlpha

DV01 to Finish 2017 With $ 7.9 Billion in Consumer Unsecured Bonds (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

dv01, the data management, reporting, and analytics platform that offers institutional investors transparency and insight into lending markets, announced on Thursday it is set to close 2017 with $7.9 billion of consumer unsecured bonds. This news comes just a few months after the company launched its Cashflows for Securitizations feature.

The company revealed that it has launched a redesigned Securitizations homepage to celebrate the $7.9 billion of consumer unsecured bonds.

SoFi Vs. Earnest Student Loan Product Comparison (StudentLoans.net), Rated: AAA

SoFi offers their clients an option. You can choose variable refinancing rates which currently range 2.75 to 6.84 percent if you enroll in the company’s autopay option. Fixed rates range from 3.25 to 7.24 percent.

Earnest offers their clients both variable and fixed rate options. For the variable option, the rates currently start at 2.57 percent APR while fixed rates start at 3.35 percent APR with their autopay options.

Both SoFi and Earnest do not have a maximum within their loan amounts, but the amount a client owes will affect the interest rates that are offered.

Repayment Options

SoFi offers a number of repayment options for their refinancing product. This includes flexible rates, terms, and an ability to set automatic payments that drop your rate by 0.25 percent. Repayment terms range from 5 to 20 years.

Earnest refinance loans offers the flexibility in the way of terms that range from 5 to 20 years. With their loans, you will be able to increase payments, pay lump sums, provide bi-weekly payments, skip a payment to pay later, and offers an interest break for those who set up automated payments.

American Financial Exchange (AFX) Announces Two-Year Anniversary Highlights (PR Newswire), Rated: A

American Financial Exchange (AFX), an electronic interbank lending market focused on U.S. small and mid-sized banks, announced today the second anniversary of its electronic trading platform. AFX facilitates the determination of Ameribor®, a transaction-based interest rate benchmark for small- to mid-sized banks via its electronic trading platform.

Since opening, more than $100 billion cumulative has been successful transacted. Recently, daily volumes have averaged approximately $350 million with several days of volume highs over $500 million principal traded.

Is Peer to Peer Lending the Best Option for Small Company Financing? (Newswire), Rated: A

If your small company needs a borrowing arrangement but does not have a credit rating that benefits instant endorsement from the banking institutions, you need to sign up for an alternative solution of capital such as peer to peer lending.

Rather than signing up to a recognized traditional bank for a financial loan, you create a proposal to be lent from people who, (if they are interested in your offer), sign up for the loan request in amounts as low as $25.

Unsecured business loans and where to get the best ones if you have bad credit (Las Vegas Informer), Rated: A

Kabbage

Kabbage offers loans that go between $2000 and $150,000, and the APR goes between 24% and 99%. They ask for no minimum credit score but you need to have been in business for at least one year in order to qualify, and have annual revenue of over $50,000.

Fundbox

With Funbox you’re looking at a loan amount of $1000 that can go all the way up to $100,000. The APR goes between 15% and 59%, and they also cater to the needs of people with bad personal credit.

OnDeck

With OnDeck you’re looking at loans that go up to $100,000 and an APR that can go from 14% to 40%. Unlike the other two, here you need good personal credit and also you need to be good at managing your cash flow. You will need a personal credit score of at least 600, not to mention an annual revenue of at least $100,000.

LendingClub

At LendingClub you can get a loan of up to $100,000, from a minimum of $5,000, with an APR that goes between 9.8% and 35.7%.

New Real Estate Investing Resource Platform is Changing the Landscape (Benzinga), Rated: A

Think Realty is a membership-based resource platform developed exclusively for real estate investors. Since launching in 2016, investors across the nation and around the globe have signed up at ThinkRealty.com to become Think Realty Members, with an 81 percent increase in membership in the past six months.

Think Realty’s reach continues to expand with its national talk radio show, Think Realty Radio, which will begin airing January 1, 2018 on Wall Street Radio. Think Realty is presenting four national conferences for investors in 2018, beginning with the Think Realty Conference & Expo in Dallas, Texas, February 24 and 25. The other locations are Baltimore, Maryland, April 14 and 15; Irvine, California, July 14 and 15; and Atlanta, Georgia, September 22 and 23.

The 10 biggest real estate tech deals of 2017 (The Real Deal), Rated: A

WeWork is now worth $20 billion. Compass is valued at $2.2 billion following a December funding round. Have you heard of Placester? Well, investors think it’s worth $202 million. The Jared Kushner-backed real estate crowdfunding startup Cadre now has a $800 million price tag.

  • 1) WeWork, $4.4 billion fundraising round
  • 2 & 3) Compass, $100M and $450M fundraising rounds
  • 4) Cadre, $65 million fundraising round
  • 5) Placester, $50 million fundraising round
  • 6) Common, $40 million fundraising round
  • 7) HomeLight, $40 million fundraising round
  • 8) Roofstock, $35 million fundraising round
  • 9) Knock, $32.5 million fundraising round
  • 10) Opcity, $28.77 million fundraising round

Congress: Hands off new rule protecting families from payday lenders (Herald Sun), Rated: A

Ignoring the voices of families and communities who have worked for many years for relief from the harms of predatory payday lending, a handful of members of Congress have introduced legislation that would nullify the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s national rule to rein in payday-lending abuses. Their legislation uses Congressional Review Act authority to repeal the rule and prevent the Consumer Bureau from issuing a similar rule in the future, giving predatory payday and car title lenders a free pass.

Why Amazon won’t buy a bank in 2018 (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Forget the speculation about Amazon buying a bank next year. But don’t count it out from adding banking to its near endless line of offerings.

For Amazon, providing financial services is just a means to an end: making more money by selling more things. Other retailers are still its main competition — not banks.

Why banks want to collaborate now on open banking standards (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Every U.S. banker is watching their European counterparts react to the looming Payment Services Directive, or PSD2, which will come into effect in 2018. When that happens, banks will lose their monopoly on customer data as merchants and retailers like Amazon will be allowed to retrieve customer account data from the banks (with customers’ permission).

Now, U.S. banks want to get ahead of their own regulators when it comes to creating data exchange standards. It can take 18 to 36 months to get a framework in place, Courbe said, but banks know they need to start exchanging data with other companies today.

LendingTree Adopts the RevJet Marketing Creative Platform (Sys-Con Media), Rated: A

RevJet, the first smart marketing creative platform, today announced that LendingTree has adopted RevJet’s system for producing, approving, personalizing, serving and automatically optimizing all formats of digital ad creative. Using RevJet to take a methodical approach to experimentation, LendingTree is able to deliver a higher volume of leads to their business partners while optimizing for revenue.

 

United Kingdom

December’s Lending Impact and Borrower Stories (Funding Circle), Rated: AAA

Whatever the season, small businesses work harder on any given day than Mr Claus on Christmas Eve. To celebrate their hard work and determination, we’ve created our very own Christmas Carol, looking at the past, present and future of small businesses. We begin with the small business past, looking at the history of small businesses, and how they adapted during the industrial revolution. Next up, dive into the small business present and learn about the impact they have on today’s world and the trends that have helped them along the way. Finally, discover what the landscape might look like for businesses in years to come in our small business future.

In our latest case study video, meet David, founder of The Creative Whisky Company.

Peer to Peer Robo-Lending Platform InvestUp Sizes Up Cryptocurrency Investing (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

FCA authorised crowdfunding aggregation platform InvestUp may be going crypto. The UK based Fintech has so far focused on the peer to peer lending space but management is currently looking at adding algorithm driven cryptocurrency investing.

InvestUp shares that 2017 has been another good year for P2P lending having delivered, on average, 10.74% to investors.

Protecting the future of peer-to-peer lending (Gov.uk), Rated: A

Today the peer-to-peer lending industry was given a boost of confidence as the government began legislating to clarify that no business borrowing through a peer-to-peer platform needs to be regulated as a ‘deposit taker’ (often referred to as a ‘banking licence’) unless that is their core business. The legislation will ensure that the industry can continue to thrive and innovate while still benefiting from the UK’s high quality regulatory standards.

The Committee on Exiting Europe Publishes Sector Reports Including Document on Fintech (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The Exiting the European Union Committee, appointed by the House of Commons to examine the process of the Department for Exiting the European Union , released a grouping of documents from the Department today. As one may expect, the slew of reports addressed certain aspects regarding ramifications of the UK’s departure from Europe.

The Fintech Sector Report highlights the current regulatory regime in the EU and how cross border transactions take place between continental Europe and the UK. The document describes Fintech as covering four different categories:

  • Investment, advice (including Robo-Advisors) and  neo or challenger banks
  • Regtech for compaliance
  • Payments including digital currencies such as Bitcoin
  • Alternative finance including crowdfunding and peer to peer lending

Read the full UK Fintech Report here.

Bank of England approves Tandem’s Harrods Bank takeover (AltFi), Rated: A

Tandem can now end the year on a high note after the Bank of England today gave regulatory approval for the challenger’s purchase of Harrods Bank.

The deal will now give Tandem access to a full banking license and the 10,000 customers attached to Harrods Bank, as well as the bank’s mortgage and savings books. According to Tandem, the purchase will also come with a “significant capital injection”.

UBS and EPAM Win Best Use of IT Private Banking/Wealth Management for SmartWealth App at Banking Technology Awards (NASDAQ), Rated: B

EPAM Systems (NYSE:EPAM), a global provider of digital platform engineering and software development services, and UBS AG, the world’s largest wealth manager, have been awarded for Best Use of IT Private Banking/Wealth Management at the Banking Technology Awards held on December 13, 2017 in London.

China

Chinese online lender LexinFintech surges in U.S. market debut (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Chinese online lender LexinFintech Holdings Ltd’s (LX.O) shares surged in their U.S. market debut on Thursday, brushing aside worries related to Beijing’s recent crackdown on the booming micro-credit industry.

LexinFintech’s shares touched a session high of $14.88, a 53 percent jump from its IPO price that valued the Shenzhen-based company at $4.51 billion.

China online lending IPO meets tepid demand as fintech zeal wanes (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

LexinFintech, the latest Chinese online consumer lender to complete a US initial public offering, has met with muted investor demand amid concerns over Beijing’s regulatory clampdown on dubious lending practices.

Lexin scaled back its planned $500m IPO on Nasdaq to $109m, and final pricing was at the bottom end of the price range initially marketed to investors.

Qudian, which is backed by Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial, raised $900m on the New York Stock Exchange in October — the largest US IPO by a Chinese fintech group. After hitting that high point investor interest quickly slid: last month PPDAI raised $221m in a deal that priced below the initial price range.

Since their IPOs, both Qudian and PPDAI have faced allegations of issuing misleading financial disclosures. Qudian closed at 48 per cent below its IPO price on Thursday, while PPDAI was down 44 per cent.

Source: Financial Times

Is Qudian A Bargain Or A Falling Knife? (SeekingAlpha), Rated: A

QD’s stock price has taken a nosedive, plummeting from its $24 IPO price to $12.9 as of 12/19/2017. Given QD’s strong earnings and fast growth rates in the past, the current price may appear to be a great bargain. Is that true?

QD’s strong past operating performance is mainly driven by its online cash-loan business, which brings in 83.3% of its total revenue.

The regulations can be distilled into three key rules: (1) cap the interest rates at 36% (2) limit the leverage of cash-loan companies at 3 or lower, and (3) forbid commercial banks, insurance companies, P2P, etc from investing in cash loans. These rules will put QD’s extraordinary profits to an end, as discussed below.

  • Rule #1: The interest rate caps may turn QD’s strong profits into negative. While QD may have already compiled to the 36% interest cap by the time of its IPO, QD’s revenue will still take a nearly 1/3 cut, holding all else equal.
  • Rule #2: The leverage limit will bring QD’s entire cash-loan business to a halt. According to QD’s 3Q report (Qudian Inc. Reports Third Quarter 2017 Unaudited Financial Results), as of 09/30/2017, its capital structure consists of Liability: 11.18 billion; Mezzanine equity/convertible preferred shares: 5.94 billion;Total Shareholders’ deficit: 1.78 billion. However, the national regulation limits the maximum leverage at 3, or even at 1 according to some regional regulations (21jingji news). It is clear that with 1.78 billion shareholders’ deficit, QD has to raise literally billions of additional funds to satisfy this rule, which is “mission impossible” given the third rule as discussed below.
  • Rule #3: restricting the financing sources will shut the door for QD to raise additional capital.
QD PPDF
Market Cap 4,243 2,175
Total Transactions 3,938 3,231
Revenue 223 192
Net Income 100 83

Brett Diment: 2018 Will be China Fintech’s Breakout Year (FiNews), Rated: A

Fintech will increasingly be associated with Beijing, Shenzhen and Hangzhou in 2018 instead of Silicon Valley, Aberdeen Standard’s Brett Diment details in a contribution for finews.asia.

The Chinese online-payment industry already accounts for around half of global transactions. Alipay, operated by Alibaba’s financial arm, is the market leader.

But Tencent’s Tenpay has been catching up fast. Tenpay’s stroke of genius was to allow its users to send electronic hongbao – the red envelopes of money traditionally given as a Chinese New Year gift. Some 16 million online hongbao were sent in 2014 – rising to a billion in 2015. This helped Tenpay’s share of the online-payment market to reach around 40 percent in just three years.

The University of Hong Kong Online Fintech Course Now Open for Registration (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

The Fintech MOOC is a six-week online course on innovations in finance and is designed to provide a foundational understanding of the global changes impacting all financial services.

European Union

Mayo businesses raise almost €800,000 through Linked Finance (The Connaught Telegraph), Rated: A

LINKED Finance, Ireland’s leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending company, has raised almost €800,000 for Mayo-based businesses.

Eighteen Mayo businesses, including Doherty for Men, Main Street, Castlebar, and Electric Escapes, based in Westport, have raised funds through Linked Finance’s online lending platform (www.linkedfinance.com) to facilitate business growth.

Electric Escapes has raised €50,000 over two separate funding rounds, facilitated through the platform.

PayPal backs fintech deposit marketplace Raisin (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Raisin has secured an undisclosed sum of investment from digital payments platform PayPal. The money will be used to accelerate the growth of Raisin across its core European geographies.

International

Blockchain is “no longer in proof of concept” phase (Global Trade Review), Rated: AAA

Sin has just helped launch the world’s first cross-border bancassurance distributed ledger technology (DLT) platform, working with China Life Insurance and Guangfa Bank in Macau.

In another sign that the technology may be fit for commercial purpose, SME lending platform ModulTrade has settled its first blockchain-based export transaction out of China.

This transaction was small –  just over US$1,000 – but again shows that the technology is beginning to be used outside of the laboratory.

The company teamed up with Rabobank to complete an inventory financing transaction on the blockchain that resulted in a real-time payment for farmers.

All payments were made in real time, using a Rabobank-backed digital dollar, pegged to the Aussie dollar. The digital dollar was issued and cleared by a central issuing and settlement institution.

BENCHMARKING DISTRIBUTED LEDGER TECHNOLOGY (All About Alpha), Rated: A

Two scholars affiliated with the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, in Great Britain, have prepared a fascinating overview of the present state of blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT).

  • The protocol layer of this ecosystem is only slowly maturing, and the limit of this maturation is one of the key challenges for the broader adoption of DLT;
  • Most users experiment with only small-scale, isolated layers, with live applications allowed only as “permissioned” layers;
  • There is an increasing focus on creating common standards of enterprise DLT frameworks that will allow for interoperability, but this effort to overcome fragmentation is itself fragmented into “a variety of consortia”;
  • Ethereum in particular has been tested at 57% of central banks, either via the public network or a permissioned version.

Nearly half of the surveyed DLT start-ups are in North America (47%). The second largest group by continent is that which hails from Europe (28%), then 19% (Asia Pacific).

But employment isn’t precisely aligned with the number of enterprises on each continent. A full 61% of employees working in this field are in North America, and only 13% are in Europe.

RCN ANNOUNCES DECENTRALAND PARTNERSHIP (Bitcoinist), Rated: A

Earlier this week, RCNannounced their new partnership with Decentraland, the blockchain-based virtual reality platform where users can acquire virtual land to create and monetize their content.

Under the new partnership, RCN will be able to integrate its credit protocol with the Decentraland platform. This will enable users who own plots of land, content, or businesses created in the 3D world to issue and receive loans.

The Top FinTech Trends of 2017 … were they? (The Finanser), Rated: B

Rise of InsurTech

True. I’ve seen a lot of InsurTech movement this year with a number of standout start-ups like BackmeupBrollyBuzzmoveCuvvaInmybagLuther and Neos.

Rise of RegTech

Yep, I’ve heard more about RegTech this year than ever before, although that’s unsurprising when most banks have at least two staff checking the work of each employee (Citibank has 40,000 compliance people!). Consultancy picks out 100 of the most innovative firms in this space.

Platforms, APIs and Open Banking are the key

I feel like I’ve been talking platforms all year and, with PSD2 and Open Banking coming into play in January 2018, it is certainly true that platforms, APIs and Open Banking have definitely been the theme of 2017.

China and emerging markets focus

Ah yes, I definitely think this year has been a big year for financial inclusion and discussions of Ant Financial and Tencent.

Australia/New Zealand

Banking without the banks: the state of peer-to-peer lending three years on (The Spinoff), Rated: AAA

In 2014, New Zealand was one of the first countries to legalise peer-to-peer lending.

For the latter, Snowball Effect and PledgeMe led the way with the FMA awarding its first equity crowdfunding licences to the two firms. For the former, the first licence for P2P lending was granted to Auckland-based platform Harmoney, which was founded by Neil Roberts that very same year.

To date, there are eight licensed P2P lending services currently operating in New Zealand with more than 20,000 investors currently registered with P2P lending intermediaries. When it comes to borrowers, there are more than 200,000 individuals currently registered with P2P services.

Source: The Spinoff

Since launching in September 2014, it’s lent more than $655 million via 37,000+ loans and paid more than $87 million interest in total. In the most recent financial year, Harmoney saw over more than 830,000 investments made in loans by almost 5,400 unique investors.

Source: The Spinoff
India

Want Good Financial Advice? Ask a Digital Lending Platform (BW Disrupt), Rated: A

The need for credit can come for a variety of reasons, and can be catered to by a vast plethora of different loan products.

Clearly, if you had to get good financial advice, AI-leveraging algorithms are a better bet than humans. So why not use the same technology to help individuals and SMEs find the right credit options for their needs?

Asia

NewsBTC Interviews the Crowd-genie Team (NewsBTC), Rated: A

NewsBTC: Why is licensing so important? How difficult is it to get in Singapore? 

Crowd-genie: Being registered and licensed are two different stories. As peer to peer lending platform involves enormous monetary transactions, a securities license is crucial for regulated lending activities.

NewsBTC: Can you please explanation of how reputations coin work?

Crowd-genie: For each repayment, from the borrower to lenders, we will incentivise on-time payment by adding CGCOIN “Credits” to the borrowers’ wallets. This will be a spendable asset that will be tracked separately in the Digital Passport. The more CGCOIN Credits earned, the higher their reputation, and that in turn, will increase their chances of getting higher investments from more lenders and/or a lower interest rate.

 

Source: NewsBTC
Cayman Islands

Robot to speak at Cayman Alternative Investment Summit (Cayman Compass), Rated: B

Sophia, the world’s first robot to be granted citizenship of a country, will be one of the speakers at the Cayman Alternative Investment Summit on Feb. 8 to 9, 2018, organizers announced Thursday.

At the Cayman Alternative Investment Summit, Sophia will be interviewed on stage by a representative from event sponsor KPMG.

Organizers say the robot’s appearance complements the theme of the investment conference, “Wired: the rise of alternative investments in a digital age,” which targets opportunities at the intersection of alternative investing and technology.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday December 15 2017, Daily News Digest

mortgage tech

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

mortgage tech

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Source: CB Insights

Driver 1: New lenders increase the competition

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

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

Driver 2: Incumbents are looking to improve their technology

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

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

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

Source: CB Insights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

United Kingdom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: DailyMail

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

China

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

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

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

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

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

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

European Union

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Regtech will prevent the next financial crisis.’

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

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

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

International

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

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

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

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

What was your thought process behind it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Australia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the full report here.

India

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

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

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

Asia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday November 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

Wednesday July 19 2017, Daily News Digest

UK financial services

News Comments Today’s main news: Goldman’s traders have worst first half of Blankfein’s reign. RateSetter hit hard by struggling loans. RateSetter offers investors free sell out option. LandlordInvest hits 1M GBP lending milestone. Revolut offers free personal accounts for Europeans. Today’s main analysis: Goldman has worst first half in Blankfein era. Today’s thought-provoking articles: 35 institutional investors raise stakes in Yirendai. A […]

UK financial services

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Africa

News Summary

United States

Goldman’s Traders Turn In Worst First Half of Blankfein’s Reign (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. traders turned in their worst first-half performance since Lloyd Blankfein rose from that business to become chief executive officer in 2006.

Investment-banking revenue fell 3 percent to $1.73 billion from a year earlier, better than the $1.59 billion prediction. Investment management as well as the Investing and Lending business also surpassed expectations.

35 INSTITUTIONAL INVESTORS ARE RAISING STAKES IN YIRENDAI LTD. (YRD) (Post Analyst), Rated: AAA

(NYSE:YRD) enjoyed a 74.75% run-up in share price since hitting record low of $18.3. The stock managed 3.53% rise and now stands at $31.98 as of July 17, 2017.

Institutional investors currently hold around $143 million or 7.7% in YRD stock.

Yirendai Ltd. 13F Filings

At the end of Mar reporting period, 35 institutional holders increased their position in Yirendai Ltd. (NYSE:YRD) by some 1,343,454 shares, 22 decreased positions by 2,144,331 and 5 held positions by 1,150,551. That puts total institutional holdings at 4,638,336 shares, according to SEC filings. The stock grabbed 21 new institutional investments totaling 973,854 shares while 12 institutional investors sold out their entire positions totaling 1,445,115 shares.

For Millennials, It’s Hip To Have A Traditional Bank (PYMNTS), Rated: A

In a survey held from the end of June into early July and conducted by SurveyMonkey, the web-based survey firm queried more than 1,000 adults above the age of 18, 290 of which were defined as 18- to 34-year-olds: millennials.

Among the findings in the How We Will Pay study: 83 percent of respondents wanted to be able to use an ever-burgeoning roster of new devices to conduct commerce. But, interestingly, when it came to actually transacting, 77 percent of those surveyed said trust remained a key factor when deciding who they want enabling those transactions.

People tend to trust the banks, financial institutions and bank card networks where payments relationships are already in place and already are known to consumers, according to the data.

Most Americans, at 63 percent, have used peer-to-peer payments, said SurveyMonkey. PayPal claimed the lion’s share there at about 80 percent across all demographics. Venmo remains a distant second, at 11 percent, with even greater adoption among millennials at 30 percent. Peer use also mattered to those surveyed, as 28 percent of millennials used the platform because their friends and family members did.

Eighty percent of surveyed millennials wanted the option to visit a brick-and-mortar bank branch based near their towns. In fact, the banks without a tangible footprint in a millennial-centric town lose out, as members of that demographic claimed they would be less likely to open an account with a bank were it not to have a physical branch nearby, said SurveyMonkey.

A new fintech startup wants to democratize trust funds (Business Insider), Rated: A

Now, app-only fintech Tomorrow, which launched services across the US this week, wants to help this group access inheritance products: In the US, 74% of millennials don’t have a will, and 50% of millennial households would struggle to pay their bills without their primary wage earner, according to studies Tomorrow cites. The company’s raised $2.6 million in Seed funding from backers including Plug and Play, Allianz Life, and Curious Capital. It’s now available for iPhone, and will release an Android version later.

Tomorrow aims to show that 

Urban FT Acquires iParse To Bridge The Mobile Banking Gap (PYMNTS), Rated: A

When it comes to mobile banking, there’s often a massive gap between the consumer’s experience with a big bank and with a smaller regional operator or credit union. The big banks have embraced mobile as a critical part of their overall delivery experience — with custom mobile banking apps, proprietary mobile wallets, biometric-authentication, cardless ATMs and more.

But when it comes to the smaller players serving more local populations, the well of mobile innovation can run dry rather quickly and for many reasons.

“A staggering statistic I came across recently really gave me pause. A full 42 percent of credit unions still don’t have mobile banking apps — and it’s not because they don’t want them or don’t think they need them,” Steggall remarked, “but because they don’t have the ability or the resources to do the technical integrations, and they can’t justify the cost.”

While Urban FT’s new products with iParse are for smaller FIs, Steggall told Webster the company also sees a profitable future working with existing payments processors in the market today. Steggall said the iParse solution will help those players — including larger processors already offering their own mobile banking services — better serve their smaller bank and credit union partners.

4 Tips for Developing a Product Around an Unknown Concept (Entrepreneur.com), Rated: A

Being an innovator always comes with the huge challenge of educating potential investors, developers and end users on the significance of a totally new product or service. When bitcoin hit the market, its leaders struggled to answer the same question: “Why is this necessary?”

When you’re building something new, your mistakes form the blueprints future entrepreneurs will study. If you’re a trailblazer in a novel space, here are four ways to forge ahead.

1. Don’t sell — educate.

YieldStreet, an online alternative investments platform, created YieldStreet University, which combines video content, infographics and other visuals to help simplify complex concepts about alternative investing for its customers.

2. Slow your roll.

Faster isn’t always better. When you’re dealing with an unknown concept, speed kills the sales process. If your service or product is new to the market, resist the temptation to immediately convert cold traffic. First, take time to make sure your clients or customers understand what they’re working with and how to utilize your product or service to its fullest potential.

3. Be open about swings and misses.

Honesty builds trust. One study from Label Insight showed 73 percent of participants were willing pay more for more transparent brands.

4. Focus on your mission, not personas.

Don’t concern yourself with selling to anyone in Box X or Box Y. If you do, you’ll end up tailoring your product to suit demographics instead of your vision. Identify your mission and purpose, and sell that.

Recent IPO Movers of the Week (July 10-14, 2017) (Money Morning), Rated: B

China Rapid Finance Ltd. (NYSE: XRF) soared 20.6% for the week. The online consumer-lending marketplace announced on Monday that it had reached the 20 million-loan milestone on its platform.

United Kingdom

Peer-to-peer lender Ratesetter hit by £80m of struggling loans (The Guardian), Rated: AAA

The peer-to-peer lender Ratesetter has been hit by £80m of struggling loans in the first major setback for the nascent online lending sector.

The company said it would use its own funds to prevent losses being taken by its 50,000 users, who are mostly small investors using the website in order to lend their savings to other individuals and benefit from higher interest rates than are available at high street banks.

The company admitted that it had made £36m of loans to a company called Vehicle Trading Group Limited (VTG), a motor finance holding company that then fell into administration because it had taken on too much debt.

It also loaned a further £12m to an advertising company called Adpod, which during 2015 became 50% owned by VTG. The website admits that the loans, of which £8.5m are still outstanding, should not have cleared its own credit policy.

RateSetter gives investors option to sell out free due to wholesale “interventions” (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER is giving all its lenders an option to sell out of their investment free of charges, as part of its wind-down of exposure to its wholesale lending portfolio.

The peer-to-peer platform wrote to investors on Tuesday to outline “interventions” it has made on three former wholesale lending partners.

LandlordInvest reaches £1m lending milestone (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

BUY-TO-LET peer-to-peer platform LandlordInvest has passed the £1m lending milestone.

The property lender, which launched in December 2016, has amassed 700 investors and completed six loans over the past seven months.

A vision for a transformed, world-leading industry (The City UK), Rated: AAA

TheCityUK and PwC’s Strategy& have developed a vision for the future of the industry, drawing on extensive engagement with leaders across the industry and a rigorous fact-based assessment. By 2025:

1) The industry will have transformed itself to be highly digitised, innovative and customer-centric. It will be a leader in cyber security, using data in a secure and sophisticated way. This will be alongside new technologies, to drive forward significant improvements in the way services are delivered. Firms will be consistently and relentlessly doing what is right for their customers.

2) London will still be one of the most important and attractive international centres for financial services and global business, retaining the full ecosystem of financial and related professional services. It will continue to play an important domestic role and be a leading FinTech centre that keeps the UK at the forefront of financial innovation.

3) Regional and national financial centres will have become more important within the UK industry. There must be a strong supply of local talent with the relevant skills, competitive costs and high productivity. Banking, insurance and asset management centres outside of London will continue to develop, hosting more headquarters of major companies. While other regional and national hubs will focus on enhancing specialist roles which serve both UK and global markets.

Access the full report here.

The peer-to-peer lending model involves a fair bit of intervention in the market (FT Alphaville), Rated: A

While Funding Circle (and Zopa, for the most part) allow the losses from loans to fall onto lenders, Ratesetter has built a loss reserve to protect investors from bad debts. This “Provision Fund” is funded by taking a fee when a loan is extended and, in times of stress, can be topped up by diverting interest payments and capital away from investors. This means lenders on Ratesetter need to pay attention to the risk in the overall loan book, rather than any individual borrower.

At the moment, the Provision Fund has a 119 per cent coverage ratio, so there is enough money in the fund — if you include expected future fees — to cover losses 1.19 times higher than currently expected. Ratesetter’s target ratio is 125 per cent to 150 per cent.

The important thing here is that the Provision Fund currently has £12.9m in cash and £8.9m of expected future income, versus £18.2m of expected losses. If Ratesetter had let £12m of bad debts suddenly wash into the fund, it would have resulted in a big knock to its coverage ratio. We don’t know what that would do to investor confidence, but it’s fair to say it wouldn’t have helped.

OFF3R Report Says Equity Crowdfunding Defies Brexit Uncertainty in First 6 Months (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

OFF3R is out with a report today on the status of equity crowdfunding in the UK. According to their numbers, the UK investment crowdfunding sector is booming. In fact the OFF3R Index states that UK crowdfunding platforms raised a record £130 million during the first half of 2017.

Additionally, the report states that March of 2017 was a record breaking month as well. Over £40 million was raised with several large crowdfunding rounds on the big three platforms; CrowdcubeSeedrs and SyndicateRoom.

Retail Banking IT – giving customers what they want (IT ProPortal), Rated: A

Peru Consulting asked 1000 consumers and 100 Senior IT Leaders in the banking sector.  The results, published in our report – Retail Banking IT: Turn to Face the Change – offer a startling insight into the scale and speed of change and the challenges faced by traditional banking’s IT leaders.

For example, when asked about the specifics of banking transactions using mobile phones, nearly two thirds (63%) of consumers in the 18-44 age group stated this was important to them, while only 14% of the 55-64 age group felt the same.

More generally, the next 12 months holds little comfort for the retail banks when it comes to customer loyalty, with 38% of 18-24 year olds and 41% of 25-34 year olds set to change the bank that provides their main account.

We asked the Senior IT Leaders why they though their customers would be likely to switch banks. Strangely, while 64% recognised that challenger banks are taking their market share, less than 5% recognised that customers might be tempted by new technology such as mobile apps. Given the strength of the GAFA companies and fintechs, this is a dangerous blind spot for the traditional banks.

Guru Appointed to Head Up Comparison Site (Fintech Finance), Rated: B

CONSUMER credit comparison site MoneyGuru.com has appointed an experienced channel director to lead its rapid expansion after a successful launch period.

The site has signalled its intention to disrupt the big four in the comparison market by appointing expert Deborah Vickers who has helped some of the biggest names in the market with optimisation and product development.

Deborah, 35, from Northwich brings 13 years of experience in technology and IT to the role, many of these within the financial services sector. She started her career at industry leader MoneySupermarket.com as a service desk manager before working her way up to IT delivery manager during her eight year tenure.

China

China Is Leapfrogging U.S. In Payments Technology, Ex-Ambassador Max Baucus Says (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Former U.S. Ambassador to China Max Baucus on Saturday lauded China’s can-do spirit and cited the country’s rush to online payments as an area where the country was overtaking the United States.

Baucus was speaking at an annual LendIt fintech conference held in Shanghai that attracted more than 2,000 participants.

“Apple Pay is trying to be an accepted mode of payment in the United States but it is catching up very slowly,” he said. “It’s disadvantaged, I think, compared with China and other Asian countries’ emerging payment systems. Why? Because established legacy institutions such as banks and credit card companies, while still useful, will soon be overtaken by the new innovative technology being developed here and in other Asian countries.”

China’s Internet Sector Grows Up (Institutional Investor), Rated: A

Leading investors who specialize in financial technologies and are taking stakes in new technology startups in the country say China is no longer an innovation laggard and in fact is taking a commanding lead in specific areas.

Take online payments. Two Chinese Internet giants, Alibaba Group Holding and Tencent Holdings, already hold strong leads over their U.S. counterparts in this area. Alipay, for instance, is Alibaba’s online escrow payment system that now counts more than 630 million users globally, of which 450 million are in China. Tencent’s messaging app, WeChat, boasts 900 million users, and its WeChat Pay service has about 600 million active users. Both Alipay and WeChat Pay allow their users to make transactions all over the world using their mobile phones, notes Jones, adding that at present not a single U.S. rival can offer a similar global product.

Lufax international platform starts up in Singapore (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

On 17th July, Ping An Insurance announced the affiliate Lufax started a international business platform, Lu International Financial Asset Exchange in Singapore. Lu International was known to have got the capital market service licence(CMS) approved by MAS. It is also the first Chinese fintech company  to have a CMS in Singapore, and will start for operation in the third quarter of 2017.

Lu International was registered in Singapore in January 2017, after licensed it will provide a series of wealth management services including securities trading, asset management and custody for investors with overseas bank accounts or assets.

Lu International aim to provide pure online banking services for the Asian middle class, and the investment amount will be among $10 thousand to $1 million,according to Gregory D Gibb, the CEO of LufaxHoldingLtd. The initial product line of Lu International is relatively simple, mainly including monetary fund, fixed income products, bond fund, REITs fund and ETF.

European Union

Revolut Introduces Free Personal Euro Accounts Following $ 66 Million Raise (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Just days after announcing it secured $66 million through its Series B funding round, digital challenger bank Revolutintroduced free personal euro accounts. The company revealed this new feature enables all its customers, across 42 European countries, to open a free Euro account straight from their smartphone in as little as 60 seconds.

Getting Paid to Run Up Debt (Handelsblatt.com), Rated: AAA

It used to be clear: borrowing cost money. But now Smava, a Berlin-based fintech, has broken new ground by offering loans at a negative rate of interest. In other words, paying consumers to borrow. “Anyone borrowing €1,000 ($1150) will only pay back €994,” says Smava boss Alexander Artopé. That translates to a cool -0.4 percent.

Unsurprisingly, there’s a catch: The largest amount a Smava consumer can borrow at these enviable terms is €1,000, and each person is restricted to a single loan.

Citi to set up a ‘major new trading operation’ in German city after Brexit (Business Insider), Rated: A

American banking giant Citi is set to become the latest major financial firm to choose Frankfurt for its post-Brexit EU hub, reports late on Monday suggested.

Financial centres across the EU — including Frankfurt, Paris, Dublin, and Luxembourg — are battling to attract financial services work moving out of London as a result of Brexit as a result of expected legal changes that will make operating in the EU out of London tricky.

Frankfurt is emerging as a popular destination for many international firms choosing a post-Brexit base. Three Japanese lenders, Daiwa, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, and Nomura, have all confirmed in recent weeks that they will set up new post-Brexit bases in Frankfurt.

Cyprus fintech startup Capital.com raises $ 25 million (Tech.eu), Rated: A

Cyprian fintech startup Capital.com has raised $25 million from Larnabel Enterprises and VP Capital and launched its mobile trading app.

The Capital.com app allows investors to trade financial products and receive updates from its patent-pending Smart Feed with news, analysis, and research based on user behaviour. The app, the company claims, uses AI to detect common trading biases and patterns.

International

What The SoftBank Vision Fund Means For Tech Investing (CB Insights), Rated: AAA

The SoftBank Vision Fund, first announced in October 2016, has now closed at least $93B of a target $100B to invest in global technology companies – making it the largest tech investment fund in history.

$100B is an unprecedented sum for a single fund, totaling almost exactly the same amount that all VC-backed companies received in 2016 ($100.8B across 8,372 deals globally, per CB Insights data). Yet the fund’s massive size is raising concerns among some investors, who fear that an influx of high-dollar rounds could overinflate the market and prolong exits while crowding out competing investors.

With both Saudi Arabia and the UAE — which have contributed a combined $60M of sovereign capital to the fund — counting on the Vision Fund’s investments to diversify their national economies, the stakes are high. Other high-profile investors are also placing bets with the Vision Fund: The Vision Fund has closed contributions of $1B or less from Apple, Qualcomm, Sharp, Foxconn, and Larry Ellison’s family office. (SoftBank’s own $25B rounds out the $93B secured so far.)

Australia/New Zealand

Cyber-attacks significant threat but RBNZ says no need for prescriptive requirements (NBR), Rated: AAA

Cyber-attack poses a significant threat to the global financial system but the Reserve Bank has decided not to introduce more prescriptive requirements at this stage due to the swiftly changing nature of both the threats and the technology, said Reserve Bank head of prudential supervision Toby Fiennes.

Fiennes said the central bank did not believe prescriptive regulations would appreciably improve the outcome, when the technology and threat landscape are both changing so rapidly.

VicSuper has launched a digital advice suite called Beeline to strengthen member engagement.

The digital advice service would act as an online coach to provide members with access to financial advice 24 hours a day, seven days a week, free of cost to members, with the fund saying it would provide super advice at scale.

Areas of financial advice would include additional contributions and investment asset allocation in their superannuation. The service would also provide general advice to members on retirement adequacy and budgeting goals.

Surging investor confidence in clean energy drives record $ 2 billion investment from CEFC (Mozo), Rated: B

The CEFC assisted in a number of clean energy projects in 2016-17 including the establishment of a green loan marketplacewith peer-to-peer lender RateSetter, 500 new energy efficient homes for low income families in New South Wales and ten large-scale solar projects in regional Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

India

RentoMojo raises $ 10 mn from Bain Capital Ventures, Renaud Laplanche (The Hindu Business Line), Rated: AAA

RentoMojo, a consumer product leasing start-up, has raised $10 million (over Rs. 64 crore) from Bain Capital Ventures and Renaud Laplanche.

The series B funding also saw participation from existing investors, Accel Partners and IDG Ventures, Rentomojo said in a statement today.

The funds raised will be used to further strengthen the product, finish building a stellar leadership team, and expand into new categories and geographies, it added.

Asia

Indonesia: P2P app Julo raises seed funding from Skystar Capital, others (Deal Street Asia), Rated: AAA

Indonesian peer-to-peer (P2P) lending startup Julo has raised an undisclosed amount of investment in a seed round led by Skystar Capital, along with East Ventures, Convergence Ventures, according to an announcement. A few notable angel investors also participated in the round.

Julo is focussed on financial inclusion in Indonesia by helping over 100 million people obtain loans for their various personal use.

Loan applicants can carry out the process from their phones through Julo’s app, where they submit pictures of personal documents and then receive their loan within 24 hours upon successful verification.

How Singapore-based P2P lending platform Crowd Genie aims to help underbanked SMEs grow (e27), Rated: A

One of the recipients of the CMS is Singapore-based P2P lending platform Crowd Genie. Like many of its ilk, Crowd Genie was founded by entrepreneurs who saw that certain traditional financial services were rigid and could not serve certain profiles of clients.

Ideally, the profile of borrowers would be SMEs turning over about S$1 million (US$731,000) to S$5 million (US$3.66 million) in revenue yearly, and would have had a bank loan and a corporate bank account; they would also have to be in operation for about two to four years, and need a short-term funding gap that the banks are not able to extend.

In place of just traditional financial metrics, Mehra and his co-director Bikash Saha, who has experience in a credit rating agency and retail banking, leverage a hybrid of machine-based learning algorithms combined with hands-on groundwork to assess the credit risk profile of potential borrowers.

Part of the reason Crowd Genie is still heavily reliant on human input is that its machine-learning algorithm is currently a work-in-progress. Accurate data analytics can only be achieved once there are enough actionable data points.

Mehra says the next review of the algorithm will take place at the end of the year, when Crowd Genie has accumulated about 300 – 400 cases.

Currently, institutional investors are qualified to be lenders on Crowd Genie; retail investors are barred.

Africa

Will robots narrow the financial advice gap? (Biz Community), Rated: A

Interestingly, however, a study by international investment house, Legg Mason, personal interaction is still important for these younger investors – 53% of participants in this group indicated that technology can never truly replace personal customer service. This was particularly relevant when it came to retirement and tax planning, but was of less importance when it came to tracking the stock market.

Furthermore, humans can remove irrelevant data from their memory, which allows for increased learning. Robots, however, store all data, which begs the question around the long-term competency of robo-advice.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday April 14 2017, Daily News Digest

millennial asset allocation

News Comments Today’s main news: Marathon Partner calls for change at OnDeck. LC releases mobile app. Ranger slumps after the collapse of Argon Credit. College Ave secures $30M in a fourth equity round. Droom launches first used auto MPL in India. First Circle secures funding to expand into SE Asia. Today’s main analysis: High-Net-Worth Millennials want advice from humans. Ranking the […]

millennial asset allocation

News Comments

United States

  • Marathon Partners calls for change at OnDeck. GP:”There is an entire industry, especially in New York, of funds who buy a minor number of shares in public companies and then mount a public campaign to impose their views to the companies. Examples are Karl Icahn, Bill Ackman, Dan Loeb and Herbalife.  Their objective is a quick appreciation of the share value and not the long-term success of the company. They typically encourage the company to sell assets to quickly raise cash for the share prices to increase quickly. They then sell their shares at a large profit, having double or tripled their investment in months to a year. And over time, the company is left on its own, now without the assets, it sold. All companies have issues and I am sure plenty of people disagree with the choices made at OnDeck. But from there to saying that OnDeck is in big trouble I think the leap is too large. Many companies have the exact same board structure as OnDeck, common CEO and Chairman and more. I see this campaign as a pressure campaign, unfortunately, picked up by WSJ,  who probably saw some pieces of truth and some sensationalism in it but is likely exaggerated. The real issue at OnDeck: they need cash, and soon. Let’s see how they solve that issues while keeping control. Being a public company opens the doors to this kind of attacks. “AT: “More and more, it’s looking like OnDeck may be headed for a sale. It could at least see a changeover in leadership. That new leadership will be expected to turn the company around, and if they can’t, we could see a buyer emerge in the near- to mid-term future.”
  • Activist steps up pressure on OnDeck. GP:” See comment above.” AT: “One influential person is all it takes to impact a change.”
  • LendingClub releases mobile app for investors. GP:”As many of our readers we are surprised they didn’t have a mobile app yet. There is a difference between a mobile responsive website and a native app. When will people be able to apply for a loan using just the app? While the core of Lending Club’s applicants are baby boomers and Gen X, I still think that mobile apps open the door to new features like taking pictures of your IDs and documents in real time, using the mobile phone’s info for underwriting and applying even faster.” AT: “I wonder why they hadn’t already.”
  • SoFi intros new two-step verification process. GP:” A small important step, focused on security. We discussed recently the importance of security, especially of borrower’s data.”
  • HNW Millennials are hungry for advice from humans. AT: “This is interesting since we’ve been hearing a lot about how millennials prefer robo, or at least want a mix of human-robo advice. High-net-worth individuals are different, though, and I think that’s across generations. Significant is the fact that many HNW millennials are in charge of their families’ fortunes, or at least a part of it. I would imagine they would not want to be responsible for losing what their fathers and grandfathers built, therefore, it makes sense they’d want advice from a human mentor in some respects.”
  • Ranking all 50 states by average credit score of citizens. AT: “The interesting thing about this to me is there seems to be a cultural attitude at play here. The top states and bottom states in the ranking are clumped together in regions, which says to me that attitudes toward credit, and behavior driven by those attitudes, are at work within the cultures. Of course, you also can’t deny economic indicators such as unemployment, which tends to be higher in certain areas, probably due to certain industries losing out to automation and other paradigm-shifting forces.”
  • College Ave secures $30M in a fourth equity round. GP:” Student Lending continues to attract nice investments. Congratulations !”
  • CrediFi launches CredifX MPL for commercial real estate lending. AT: “We’re beginning to see the growing RECF market branch out into specialization. It’s an exciting time to be a marketplace lender in the real estate sector.”
  • Startup helps Chinese investors put money into U.S. funds.
  • Could fintech enable a resurgence in predatory lending. AT: “Yes, but this is a scare tactic aimed at borrowers. This thinking takes away from personal responsibility. It’s important for lenders to take note of this attitude and develop responsible-but-profitable lending practices. Anything else could land lenders in the same hot water as those caught up in the S&L crisis and mortgage default crises.”

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Australia

China

India

Asia

Africa

News Summary

United States

Marathon Partners Calls for Change at OnDeck (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

Marathon Partners Equity Management, LLC, together with its affiliates (“Marathon Partners”), announced today that it has released a letter that was sent to the board of directors of OnDeck Capital, Inc. (“OnDeck” or the “Company”) last month expressing concerns about the direction of the Company and making recommendations on steps to improve shareholder value.  Marathon Partners also announced today its intention to vote against the three incumbent directors up for election at OnDeck’s upcoming Annual Meeting scheduled to be held on May 10, 2017.

In its letter to the Board, Marathon Partners recommended two courses of action for OnDeck:

  • Fully rationalize the Company’s cost structure in order to rapidly achieve GAAP profitability and reduce the pressure on the organization to grow its loan portfolio
  • Seek the sale of the Company to a stable partner where OnDeck can thrive without the risks of destabilizing confidence in the business from shareholders and the capital markets.

In addition to the concerns expressed in the letter, Marathon Partners is also disappointed with OnDeck’s corporate governance and executive compensation practices, as exemplified by ISS’s Governance QuickScore of ’10’ – indicating the highest level of concern – at the 2016 Annual Meeting.  OnDeck’s current practices, including plurality voting for director elections, a classified board structure, no special meeting rights for shareholders, and combined CEO and Chairman roles, among others, serve to disenfranchise their shareholders’ rights. Marathon Partners also has concerns around the metrics believed to denote success for the Company, such as adjusted EBITDA that ignores stock-based compensation and is blind to increased balance sheet risk.

Given Marathon Partners’ lack of confidence in the Board’s ability to represent the shareholders’ best interests, it plans on voting against the entire class of directors up for election at the 2017 Annual Meeting.

Activist Steps Up Pressure on On Deck Capital (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Marathon Partners Equity Management LLC, which owned 1.75% of On Deck’s shares as of the end of 2016 according to FactSet data, also publicly released the text of a letter it sent to the company’s board and lead independent director in March urging them to slash expenses and explore a possible sale of the business.

The three directors up for re-election are Noah Breslow, who also serves as On Deck’s chief executive; Jane Thompson, a former financial-services executive at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. WMT -0.39% ; and Ron Verni, a former CEO of Sage Software Inc.

On Deck’s shares, which fell 3.3% Thursday afternoon, are down more than 35% over the past 12 months following the reporting of wider losses and cooler investor demand for its loans.

The LendingClub Investor Mobile App Has Arrived (LendingClub), Rated: AAA

Today, with more than $24 billion invested through the platform, LendingClub is thrilled to introduce its new iOS mobile application – LendingClub Invest.

Investors said that some of the most important functionality they use on a regular basis is checking their account summaries and investing in Notes. Armed with this insight, the team crafted a visually-attractive user interface that consolidates the investor’s total account value, available cash, returns and holdings on the first page.

SoFi Introduces New Two-Step Verification Feature to Offer Users Next Level of Account Protection (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Online lender SoFi recently announced the launch of its new two-step verification feature that will offer users the next level of account protection. The company revealed that two-factor authentication (or 2FA) would provide an additional layer of security to help protect accounts from unauthorized access.

HNW Millennials Are Hungry For Advice… From Humans (Wealth Management), Rated: AAA

High-net-worth millennials enjoy growing influence in the management of their families’ portfolios, but few are fully satisfied with their investment objectives. They have strong opinions, but are hungry for advice and don’t seem particularly excited about getting it from a computer.

Only 32 percent of millennials rate their values-based investment knowledge highly, with roughly a quarter deeming their knowledge either poor or very poor. That being said, there is a continuing hunger for investment knowledge, with 42 percent claiming they would like to learn more about the area.

The other potential reason for this discontent is that millenials simply have differing philosophies on investment than previous generations.

Ranking All 50 States by Average Credit Score of its Citizens (Statistical Future), Rated: AAA

Scores range from 300 to 850, the data comes from Experian. The national average ends up being 673, this is kind of shocking to me since my banker seemed to stress the necessity of a 720 credit score to get a loan with the best rate. Obviously, not everyone owns their home, but even in the state with the highest average – Minnesota – the average is only 706.5. Even then, the state ranks a full 7 points ahead of the runner up – Wisconsin.

Someone has to bring up the rear and for this metric, that someone is the state of Georgia, with an average credit score of 642.

At first glance, the aspect that pops out the most is that the top four states are all bundled in the upper Midwest while 5 of the 6 lowest are basically neighbors in the south.

High unemployment + low wages = lower than average credit scores.

College Ave Student Loans Secures $ 30 Million During Fourth Equity Round (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Student loan marketplace, College Ave Student Loans, announced on Thursday it secured $30 million during its fourth equity round. Investors of the funding round included new and existing participants, which included Comcast Ventures and Leading Edge Ventures.

First data-driven marketplace for commercial real estate loans speeds process to finance commercial properties (PR Newswire), Rated: A

CrediFi Corp., the leading source of data and analytics for commercial real estate (CRE) finance, has announced the launch of CredifX, its online marketplace for financing commercial properties.

CrediFi has already made the commercial real estate market more transparent, by providing data about more than two million properties and thirteen trillion dollars in loans across the U.S. Now CredifX is taking that transparency revolution one step further. In addition to accessing information about commercial real estate finance through the CrediFi platform, CRE borrowers, brokers and lenders will now have unprecedented access to financing opportunities allowing them to close real estate deals through CredifX, CrediFi’s latest fintech solution.

The launch of CredifX follows just weeks after CrediFi secured $13 million for its Series B funding, helping drive the launch of CredifX.

Chinese Fintech Startup Helps Mainlanders Invest Money in US Funds (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The last method mentioned above, utilizing the $50,000 limit on transfers, is being utilized by Chinese fintech startup, Niu Jiao Suo, to help Chinese investors to move their money overseas. Niu Jiao Suo operates by connecting Chinese investors with foreign mutual funds. Its mobile app allows users to invest in foreign mutual funds like Blackrock, Vanguard, JP Morgan, and Goldman Sachs with a minimum investment amount of $400. Users are limited to $50,000 in total investments per year in accordance with China’s annual threshold. A $400 investment may not sound attractive to funds by itself, but Niu Jiao Suo is able to attract such prestigious funds by bundling their users’ smaller investments together into a larger investment package.

Could Fintech Enable a Resurgence in Predatory Lending? (Tech.co), Rated: B

The average household carries $134,643 in combined debt which includes mortgage, credit cards, auto loans, and student loans. A good chunk of household income go into servicing these loans as illustrated in how Americans spend their paychecks. The biggest chunks of people’s monthly spending correspond to housing, transportation, and education. For other expenses, Americans continue to rely on plastic. While not necessarily a bad thing, many fail to pay charges in full and carry a balance on their cards, further exposing them to compounded interest and other fees.

Credit card debt is at its highest since 2008. Americans added $60.4 billion to the outstanding credit card debt as 2016. Worse is that, 69 percent of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings. 34 percent of respondents revealed that they don’t have any savings at all. When emergency strikes, many are left with little choice but to get more loans. However, with bad credit scores, borrowers are resort to getting them from predatory lenders.

For cash-strapped consumers, the promise of fast and easy money is always enticing. The payday loan industry alone is a $38.5 billion industry.

Late last year, the Office of the Comptroller for Currency started to accept applications from fintech companies that would subject them to federal banking rules. Chartered companies will face controls to prevent money laundering and have to abide by consumer protection rules. However, some argue that a federal charter would also enable fintech companies to bypass state-specific provisions such as interest rate caps. Such flexibility may be abused by enterprising lenders.

You should always go with numbers. Know how much the loan will totally cost you. Calculate the annual percentage rate (APR). Many predatory loans would have APRs of three digits meaning you could pay triple, quadruple, or even more of the loan amount in a year’s time if you fail to pay. While many of these loans are designed to be short term, it’s really dependent on your capacity to pay.

United Kingdom

Ranger slumps as collapsed lender forces write-down (Citywire), Rated: AAA

Shares in Ranger Direct Lending (RDL) have slumped after the investment trust was forced to write down 4% of its portfolio following the collapse of US peer-to-peer lending platform Argon Credit.

Shares in the trust are trading at 996p, down 6.9% since the write-down was announced yesterday, languishing at a 17.3% discount to net asset value.

The £172 million trust holds a position in Princeton Alternative Income, which gives the trust indirect exposure to $28.3 million of a $37.5 million credit facility Princeton has supplied to Argon, which went bust in December.

Numis analyst Charles Cade said the entire position in Princeton represented 12.1% of net assets in December and as Ranger could not determine the exact impact ‘we would not be surprised to see further writedowns’.

RateSetter channels £120k to Essex foster care SMEs (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

A £120,000 loan arranged by RateSetter boosted child care placements in an Essex-based foster care company by almost a quarter.

The peer-to-peer lending platform helped Brighter Futures Foster Care increase the number of new foster households from 67 to 83, making its foray into a sector where it found “finance is desperately needed”.

The borrower works with local authorities in the South East to find foster families for young people amidst a national shortage of 10,000 foster places, and is looking to raise further finance to bring the number of placements to 110-120.

P2P lending platform Assetz Capital to raise interest rates for limited time (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Assetz Capital, one of the UK’s largest and fastest growing peer-to-peer finance platforms, today announced it was raising the interest rate on its popular 30 Day Access Account (30DAA) by 0.5% to 4.75% for a limited time.

Investors will have until midday on 11 May to take advantage of the new rate and will benefit from a capped return of 4.75% for up to 90 days after an investment is made. After this, the account will return to its original rate of 4.25%.

Investors can automatically invest any amount from £1 in a diverse portfolio of secured business loans that have passed Assetz Capital’s strict credit checks.

A quiet crash in bank lending? March industry news (Funding Circle), Rated: A

Bank of England statistics reveal that since the EU referendum, net lending (that’s total lending minus repayments) to British small businesses by 22 of the largest banks dropped from £1 billion in the second quarter of 2016, down to just £220 million in the last three months of the year. Meanwhile, Funding Circle investors lent £167 million on a net basis in Q4 alone!

It was also great to see Samir Desai, Funding Circle CEO, featured in the The Sunday Times Maserati 100 list, which recognises influential entrepreneurs who are disrupting the business world.

And finally, our US business announced that Community Investment Management, an impact investment firm focused on direct lending, is now lending an additional $100 million to American small businesses.

FCA accused of hampering P2P market (FT Adviser), Rated: A

The Financial Conduct Authority’s decision to define peer-to-peer lending too narrowly has hampered the market, it has been claimed.

According to one compliance expert, the FCA’s decision has meant only 40 per cent of the P2P loans which HM Treasury had intended to be covered by the legislation were actually captured by the regulator’s definition.

Chinese firm Hywin Financial buys UK wealth manager (Fund Strategy), Rated: A

Hywin Financial Holding Group has acquired UK wealth manager Azure Wealth, which will now be known as Hywin Wealth.

Shangjia Monica Lin has been appointed chair of the board following the acquisition.

Banks favour lending to the owner-occupier market (Bridging and Commercial), Rated: A

Lendy believes that regulations such as Basel III have incentivised banks to take risks in the owner-occupier market and cut exposure to property developers.

This comes after the peer-to-peer secured lending platform found that the number of new residential mortgages worth over £1m increased by 24% in the 12 months to 30th September 2016.

Lendy discovered that the number of new £1m plus mortgages written by banks in 2015/16 increased to 4,844, up from 3,896 in 2014/15, while the total value of these mortgages grew by 18% from £7.59bn to £8.95bn in the same period.

When blockchain meets online lending: The business using one to improve the other (City A.M.), Rated: A

Sydney-based platform Othera goes a step further: the blockchain lending platform allows lenders and investors to access digital loans. It then chops up those loans – which are backed by businesses’ cashflows – in a process called tokenisation. These tokens can then be sold on an exchange, turning a traditionally fairly illiquid asset into a highly liquid digital asset.

Why did you launch Othera?

The overarching reason for launching Othera and building a blockchain lending platform is to unlock the alternative investment asset class and help it become mainstream.

You use blockchain to provide ongoing credit analysis of borrowing firms. How does that work and why is that so useful?

The blockchain provides what I call “total asset provenance” which means that every single interaction between the borrower and the lender is logged on it.

How does tokenisation work?

When we talk about tokenisation in the context of our platform, I am talking about the process of linking the rights to loan repayment cashflows (the principal and interest of the loan) to a digital cryptographic token similar to a bitcoin. So if you hold (own) the token, you will receive the pro rata portion of the loan repayment that your token represents. Tokens represent a digital form of fixed-income alternative investment. Tokens can be bought and sold just like an equity or bond or cryptocurrency.

Tell us about the importance of the secondary market.

Creating a vibrant secondary market for alternative investment assets is key to the growth of an industry or product sector for several reasons:

  • First, at a basic level, investors will only ever commit a relatively small portion of their investable funds into an asset class or a market with no liquidity.
  • Second, secondary markets are also a very good barometer of the performance of an asset class or specific investment, as the market quickly builds the strength or weakness of an investment into the current market price of that asset.
  • And third: liquidity.

Carney Says Crisis Lessons Are Why BOE Keeps Up With Fintech (Bloomberg), Rated: B

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said the crisis shows why regulators and the banking industry must stay on top of the rapid developments in financial technology so that the system is solid enough to withstand shocks.

European Union

Online Lender 4finance Prices $ 325 Million Over-Subscribed Bond Issue (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Riga-based 4finance Holding S.A., a large online and mobile consumer lending group, has placed and priced $325 million of senior unsecured 5 year fixed rate notes. These notes mature in 2022 and were issued with a 10.75% yield, at par.

The new 5 year issue was described as representing a liquid benchmark offering, with the scale to attract over 50 investors and secures 4finance’s long term funding.

These senior notes have a 5 year maturity with a 2 year non-call period and were offered on a Rule 144A / Reg S basis with ISINs XS1597295838 / XS1597294781 respectively. The bond was priced on April 12th, closing is expected on 28 April 2017.

International

FMS.next Alternative Finance platform enhanced with more FinTech functionality (Bob’s Guide), Rated: B

Profile Software, an international financial solutions provider, today announced the latest upgrade in the FMS.next Alternative Finance platform, to offer enhanced capabilities for “Auto-investing” that further boost the marketplace lending processes.

Australia

LendEx, Australia’s leading peer-to-peer marketplace lending platform for direct commercial property lending, appoints new board members (LendIt Blog), Rated: B

LendEx, Australia’s leading marketplace lender, today announced the appointment of Mr Brian Benger and Ms Kim Jenkins to its board as non-executive directors.

Mr Benger is on a number of the Australian subsidiary boards of Mercer Australia.

Ms Kim Jenkins is CEO of the Australian Retail Credit Association (ARCA), the peak body for organisations involved in the disclosure, exchange and application of credit reporting data in Australia.

China

CHINA: THE WORLD’S NEW FINTECH LEADER (International Banker), Rated: AAA

In November 2016, a report jointly produced by professional-services firm Ernst & Young (EY) and leading Singaporean bank DBS stated in no uncertain terms that China has now leapfrogged ahead of global technology hubs such as Silicon Valley and London to become “the undoubted centre of global fintech innovation and adoption”. Multiple fintech hubs have now emerged in China alone, most prominently in Shanghai, Hangzhou, Beijing and Shenzhen, which has led to EY and DBS concluding that the country now clearly leads the way in fintech and is “revolutionising many aspects of financial services”.

China also dominates the fintech “unicorn” space—those startups valued in excess of $1 billion. The country is home to eight of the world’s 27 unicorns.

Firstly, the sector has been well supported by the country’s regulatory framework.

Secondly, China’s population appears to be increasingly open to using online finance, with evidence mounting that they are eager to incorporate the support provided by various fintech services into many different aspects of their lives, including online banking, payments, transfers, crowdfunding, investing and shopping. Indeed, e-commerce in China is estimated to be a RMB 16 trillion market, and is now transforming the consumption habits of a rapidly growing number of Chinese people.

A significant chunk of China’s fintech success in recent years can be credited to Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent. Collectively referred to as BAT, the three tech giants control an intimidating share of China’s e-commerce landscape, as well as online messaging and Internet search platforms. They also control approximately half of the Chinese third-party payments market; whereas their US equivalents—Alphabet, Apple, Facebook and Amazon—control a mere 2 percent, as per recent analysis by Citigroup.

Payments/e-wallets is the dominant sector at present, with China having 380 million people shopping online via their phones, as well as nearly 200 million people using their phones as a wallet for in-store payments.

The popularity of online banking is also exploding, with both China’s tech companies and its existing banks making a foray into this world, often in joint initiatives.

P2P (peer-to-peer) lending also deserves a mention, with China almost exclusively leading Asia’s growth in platforms designed to deliver credit to individuals and SMEs.

China P2P lender Dianrong sees market shakeout driving its growth (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Chinese online lender Dianrong.com expects to grow rapidly in the next few years, benefiting from tightening regulation driving a shake-out in the nation’s $100 billion-plus peer-to-peer (P2P) industry and pent-up demand for credit and investment.

Loan originations at the P2P lender, which is backed by investors including U.S. investment firm Tiger Global and Standard Chartered’s private equity unit, more than doubled to 16.2 billion yuan ($2.3 billion) in 2016 from the previous year.

Dianrong.com matches investors with individuals and small and medium-sized businesses in real-time, with loan sizes ranging from 500 yuan to 200,000 yuan for individuals and a maximum of one million yuan for small and medium enterprises.

Nearly half of the 4,000-odd online lending platforms in China were “problematic”, China’s banking regulator said in August when it unveiled the rules.

The P2P lender, founded in 2012 by Guo, a former lawyer, and Soul Htite, a co-founder of LendingClub Corp, is looking to grow loan origination by 50 percent annually over the next three to five years. It expects to broker about 30 billion yuan in loans this year.

India

Droom launches loan marketplace for used automobiles (VC Circle), Rated: AAA

Droom, an online platform for buying and selling used vehicles, has launched Droom Credit, a loan marketplace for pre-owned automobiles it claims is the country’s first.

For the initial rollout, it is going live with a dozen lenders, including HDFC Bank, Kotak Prime, Tata Capital, Faircent, i2i Lending and Capital First, a company statement said.

The platform, which guarantees loan approval within 30 seconds, uses the government-backed Aadhaar stack, apart from PAN verification, credit score validation and several other variables for credit evaluation.

There are three ways we are going to earn money, he said.

“First, the take rate, which will depend on who the lender is (different take rates and commission structures for different lenders). It will also depend on the category and profile of the borrower, and on the fulfilment and disbursal of the loan.”

Second, Droom will charge Rs 999 from borrowers.

Third, it will also charge the lender Rs 999 upon successful loan disbursal.

Droom Credit will initially restrict lending to borrowers purchasing vehicles from Droom. Going forward, however, it plans to open it to other platforms too.

Asia

Crowd Genie Receives Regulatory Approval from MAS (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Crowd Genie, a small business lending platform, has received regulatory approval from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). Crowd Genie was granted a Capital Markets Services (CMS) license from MAS, an important development for the peer to peer lending platform. Crowd Genie has been in operation since mid-2016.

First Circle Secures Funding from Global Investors to Expand Access to Credit in Southeast Asia (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

First Circle today confirmed investments from Accion Venture Lab, the seed-stage investment initiative of financial inclusion leader Accion, and Deep Blue VC. First Circle has now reported equity funding of $2.5m USD – from Accion Venture Lab, Deep Blue VC, 500 Startups, IMJ, and Key Capital – along with an undisclosed sum of debt funding.

The investment funds will be used to further develop First Circle’s technology and data analytics platform.

Africa

South Africa’s FSB to rule on crowdfunding by June 30 (Ventureburn), Rated: AAA

South Africa’s Financial Services Board (FSB) has set a date of 30 June by which it plans to rule on whether to craft specific rules or not for equity crowdfunding, an FSB spokesman said this week.

The African Crowdfunding Association has been calling for the FSB to craft a specific regulatory framework on crowdfunding.

“It’s not that it (equity crowdfunding) is illegal – it’s just that there’s no clarity,” he said.

Thundafund chief executive Patrick Schofield said he was not waiting for any regulatory certainty from the FSB and was going ahead with setting up a platform to facilitate equity crowdfunding in South Africa.

His idea is to use venture capital funds to vet deals and provide a certain percentage of the total equity injection, before placing these on the platform to attract investors.

Meanwhile a new lending threshold which came into effect in November under the National Credit Regulations is also likely to limit the ability of peer-to-peer lending platforms to fund startups.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor