Monday July 24 2017, Daily News Digest

Amazon Square PayPal

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi loses another senior executive. Prosper performance update for June 2017. Lending-Times listed as #3 P2P lending website. Zopa’s lent 2.46B GBP since March 2005. Zopa sees 35% rise in home improvement loan originations. Revolut partners with robo-advisor. Today’s main analysis: A closer look at Amazon’s lending business. Today’s thought-provoking articles: 5 ICO platforms in China. A […]

Amazon Square PayPal

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Canada

News Summary

United States

SoFi loses another senior executive, as chief revenue officer Michael Tannenbaum departs (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Online finance startup SoFi has lost yet another senior executive, the company has confirmed. Chief revenue officer Michael Tannenbaum is the latest exec to leave, following a string of departures in the company’s senior ranks.

Tannenbaum joined SoFi as VP of finance in 2014, but quickly moved up the ranks over the last few years. After the company moved beyond its student loan refinancing business to also include mortgages, he took over that business.

Most recently, Tannenbaum served as CRO, where he was responsible for driving the company’s growth strategy across all of SoFi’s core lending products, including student loan refinancing, mortgages and personal loans.

Tannenbaum is reportedly looking to work on his own startup in the finance space, according to a person familiar with the matter.

A Close Look at Amazon’s Lending Business (Market Realist), Rated: AAA

Amazon (AMZN) has disbursed more than $1.0 billion in small business loans in the past 12 months, implying that the company has supplied about $2.5 billion in loans to sellers on its marketplace since it launched its credit business in 2011. These loans, in the range of $1,000 to $750,000, have gone to more than 20,000 sellers in the United States (SPY), the United Kingdom (EWU), and Japan (EWJ).

The consumer interest in low-cost or free shipping, as highlighted by the survey, could embolden Amazon to add even more perks to Prime to make it more attractive. Prime is vital to Amazon as it fends off competition from the likes of eBay (EBAY), Wal-Mart (WMT), and Target (TGT). According to research company Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, there are more than 80 million Prime subscribers in the United States (SPY).

Prosper Performance Update: June 2017 (Prosper), Rated: AAA

Today we are sharing performance data from the Prosper portfolio for June 2017.

  • The weighted average borrower rate for Prosper’s June 2017 vintage is similar to May 2017, a continuation of a platform rate which is the highest since 2013.
  • Delinquencies for 2017 originations are tracking near 2016 H1 and are in line with expectations based on a materially riskier ratings distribution.
  • Prepayments continue to edge up for 2016 H2 and 2017 vintages.
  • When viewing the U.S. consumer through a macro lens and looking more granularly at Prosper’s loan performance, our risk team expects to continue tightening credit over the remainder of the year.

Top 100 Peer to Peer Lending Blogs and Websites for P2P Borrowers and Lenders (Feedspot), Rated: AAA

#1 Lend Academy

About Blog – Lend Academy is the leading resource for people interested in peer to peer lending. Lend Academy has been bringing you all the news and information about peer to peer lending since 2010. Founded by Peter Renton, Lend Academy not only has the most active news site, but also the largest online forum and the first and most popular podcast in the industry.
Frequency – about 5 posts per week

#2 P2P-Banking

About Blog – P2P Lending Marketplace News and Reviews
Frequency – about 2 posts per week

#3 Lending Times 

About Blog – Daily News, Analysis and Data for the Alternative,Peer-to-peer (p2p) and Marketplace lending space. Lending Times provides daily News, Analisys and News Digest for the Peer to Peer and Alternative Lending industry. We also provide data for the industry.
Frequency – about 9 posts per week

Robo-advice pioneers target ethical investors (AltFi), Rated: A

U.S.-based platforms Wealthfront and Betterment are joining the green investing trend, giving users the option to invest in socially responsible companies.

The rivals are approaching the green investment options differently. Betterment is investing in ETFs that track socially responsible indexes. Wealthfront will allow users to invest directly in stocks and screen out four areas that might not match their socially conscious criteria, including fossil fuels, deforestation, tobacco and weapons.

The Amazon Model: Can New-Age Technology and Local Touch Co-Exist in Lending? (Forbes), Rated: A

Online lending has doubled in size every year since 2010, and the global marketplace lending space is expected to reach $290 billion by 2020, a 50 percent growth year-over-year, according to a Morgan Stanley report.

SurveyMonkey study released this month found that millennials (defined as 18- to 34-year-olds) tend to adhere to traditional methods of banking. In fact, 80 percent of millennials surveyed say they want to be able to visit a brick-and-mortar bank branch, and more than half reported visiting a branch at least once in the last month. Even the most digitally connected generation in history values personal touch when it comes to financial transactions.

Fed panel puts faster payments on three-year track (American Banker), Rated: A

A panel convened by the Federal Reserve has established an ambitious new goal: By 2020, anyone with a bank account in the United States should be able to receive payments that are highly secure and delivered in something close to real time.

The three-year target is disclosed in the final report of a task force organized by the Fed two years ago.

Ben Miller of Fundrise (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Non-accredited investors have always had fewer investment options than accredited investors. That is starting to improve as some companies take advantage of a law called Regulation A+, created as part of the JOBS Act, to do offerings to the general public.

In this podcast you will learn:

  • The story behind the founding of Fundrise.
  • How the financial crisis shaped the way Ben thought about raising capital.
  • How Fundrise put together their investor deal before the JOBS Act.
  • Why the non-accredited investor is core to Fundrise’s mission.
  • How Fundrise has evolved since doing those early deals.
  • How their eREITs work.
  • The differences between a publicly traded REIT and a Fundrise eREIT.
  • How Fundrise sources their deals.
  • Details of their successful Reg A+ equity fundraise early in 2017.
  • Why Ben thinks Fundrise can be the Blackstone of the internet age.
  • And more

Robo-advisors: The future of investing or the latest financial craze? (Tennessean), Rated: A

Technology has undoubtedly created, destroyed and changed countless industries in the last 20 years.

The financial services has not been immune to this disruption. In 1980, there were approximately 5,500 people working on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Today, that number has dwindled to around 700.

In the United States, there are currently over 200 robo-advisors and more are launching every single day. In general, the fees associated with this new way of investment advice range from free to about 0.75 percent. There is normally not a minimum that is needed to start investing, unlike many financial advisors.

Crowd Invest Summit (CIS) has announced that Indiegogo and their equity crowdfunding vertical has joined it’s roster for CIS West 2017.

Applied Data Finance, iHeartMedia, announce marketing agreement (Bankless Times), Rated: B

Fintech lender and asset manager Applied Data Finance (ADF) has signed a marketing agreement with iHeartMedia which will see ADF promote its online lender Personify Financialacross the iHeartMedia series of networks.

‘Fedcoin’ Strikes Again: Fintech Companies Propose Use of Crypto to US Fed (Coin Telegraph), Rated: B

In a report by the Faster Payment Task Force, fintech companies have outlined how Blockchain technology can be used to make payments faster for the US Federal Reserve.

The companies that submitted their proposals include Ripple, Eccho, Xalgorithm, Hub Culture, Kalypton Group, Nanopay Corporation and Thought Matrix Consulting.

United Kingdom

Zopa Has Lent £2.46 Billion Since March 2005 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

While revealing a “refresher” of its lending policies, UK-based peer-to-peer lender, Zopa, announced that as of July 20th it has lent £2.46 billion and is lending around £80m per month.

Zopa also noted that it believes diversification is a key tool for the individual investor risk mitigation. The lending platform notably spreads investments across multiple loans, starting in £10 chunks, so that no one borrower has more than 1% of the overall investment.

Zopa sees 35pc rise in home improvement loan originations (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ZOPA said it has seen a 35 per cent year-on-year increase in home improvement loan originations in the first half of 2017, equating to over £92m in funding.

The world’s oldest peer-to-peer lender said on Wednesday that it has now helped over 70,000 people to renovate their home and increase the value of their property.

P2P lender joins bank lobby group (AltFi), Rated: A

ArchOver is now a member of UK Finance, a recently created trade body for the banking and financial sector.

Other P2P lenders, including Landbay, are already part of UK Finance.

HLnot selling new Lendinvest Retail Bond at launch (Money Forums), Rated: A

Lendinvest have issued a 5.25 percent ORB Retail Bond.

Hargreaves Landsdown have decided not to participate in the IPO so unless investors who use that platform set up an account elsewhere, e.g. Interactive Investor, it isn’t possible to buy at launch as the bond has to be in a nominee account.

A New Era in Fintech Payment Innovations? (Law.ox.ac.uk), Rated: A

forthcoming paper in Law, Innovation and Technology laces payment innovations within a payment system. The payment system comprises the initiation of payments, transfer, as well as clearing and settlement. We argue that existing payment systems are defined by certain institutional tenets that serve commercial objectives, but, more importantly, deliver public goods and public interest objectives for users and policy-makers.

Three types of payment innovations have been hailed to have disruptive potential in recent developments. First, innovations in retail payment interfaces or options at point of sale, such as mobile or app payments, may displace the use of cash and cards. Second, virtual currencies, such as Bitcoin, may come to be accepted as legitimate forms of payment by merchants and businesses. Third, new ledger technologies, such as the distributed ledger or autonomous organisation technologies, may replace existing infrastructure in payment clearing and settlement systems.

Flender puts its faith in the crowd (The Business Post), Rated: A

If you are a start-up, or an SME, you know that money does not come easy. In the early days, you might need to tap up your savings, your family or even friends to get started. Even more established companies can fall between the cracks when it comes to bank loans or government funding. For all of these reasons, peer-to-peer lending was created.

Credit scoring startup Aire raises $ 5m; wins Zopa deal (Finextra), Rated: A

AI-based credit scoring startup Aire has raised $5 million in a Series A funding round and won deals to work with P2P lending pioneer Zopa and the UK arm of Toyota Financial Services.

Young people face barriers in farming as report shows 13% of farmers are under 45 (Farming UK), Rated: B

A report has been released showing the barriers young entrants into farming face in today’s often uncertain times.

The report said that only 13% of farmers were under the age of 45 in 2015, but while fewer young people are entering the sector, their ideas are still needed to harness the technologies that can make farming an up-to-date industry.

Finance is seen as the biggest obstacle to growth; 28% are trying peer-to-peer lending and one fifth have tried crowd-funding to help with projects.

China

Information about Five ICO Platforms in China (Xing Ping She), Rated: AAA

Recently there comes a wave of ICO (Initial Coin Offering) around the world. Many people are enthusiastic about the investment on ICO. So, here is the information of five well-known ICO platforms founded in China, which was collected by Nan Gongyuan, a famous Internet finance columnist as well as special commentator on Xing Ping She.

1. Bizhongchou
Founded time:In 2015
website:Bizhongchou.com
background:Affiliate ICO website of block chain media Babbitt
Registered Capital:$ 1,481,613 USD
Legal person:Zhi-Peng Liu(the well-known science fiction writer, Changjia, a consecutive Galaxy Award winner from 2006 to 2008.)
Location:Zhejiang, Hangzhou Province

2. Bitouzi
Founded time:In 2017
website: /> background: Affiliate ICO website of Blockchain asset trading platform BTC9.COM
Registered Capital:$740,795 USD
Legal person:Liu Jingchao
Location:Nanchang, Jianfgxi Province

3. Icoage.com
Founded time:In 2017
website:Icoage.com
background:Affiliate ICO website of Shanghai Qukuai Information Technology co. LTD
Registered Capital:$ 17,996 USD
Legal person: Fu Xiaoqi
Location:Shanghai

4. Ico365.com
Founded time:In 2017
website:Icoage.com
background:Affiliate ICO website of Shenzhen Kedian Technology co. LTD
Registered Capital:$148,161 USD
Legal person:Ye Peifeng
Location:Shenzhen

5. Ico.info
Founded time:In 2017
website:Ico.info
background: Affiliate ICO website of Beijing Yunbi Technology co. LTD
Registered Capital:$ 1,481,613 USD
Legal person:Qiu Liang
Location:Beijing

The World is Paying Attention (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In China there are more than a billion consumers that are generally underserved across a broad spectrum of financial services, making for a diverse and exciting array of opportunities to address. Yet China is dominated by giants – institutions like Bank of China and technology firms like Alibaba –companies that have tens of thousands of employees and hundreds of millions of customers. The scale of the opportunity is enormous, and so is the size of the companies trying to address it.

When 90% of the world’s data were created in the last two years, it is obvious that our ability to create data has far outstripped our ability to measure and analyze it.  This is why companies like ZhongAn (online insurance), Phoenix Finance (wealth management), Lexin (green finance), Wedai (car finance), Credit Karma (financial education), Upgrade (consumer lending in the US), and Lufax (consumer lending & wealth management in Asia) all tout AI/ML as a cornerstone of their strategies.

In the end, fintech is leading us to a more inclusive financial system, which is to say that financial services will be more accessible, more comprehensive, more affordable, and more sustainable.

Dianrong and marketplace lending in China (Enterprise Innovation), Rated: B

At the FINTalks forum, held on July 17, 2017 at KPMG in Hong Kong, Renaud Laplache, co-founder and CEO of Upgrade, described online lending as a massive improvement over lending as offered by banks and traditional lenders. “Online lending generally helped lower costs by about 400-500 basis points – massive cost reductions coming from the ability to use technology to automate tasks that were manual at many banks and also to do away with the branch network – a very costly infrastructure,” he explained in simplified terms.

European Union

Fintech startup Klarna taps Permira for around $ 250M at $ 2.5B valuation (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Klarna, the Swedish startup that works with e-commerce businesses and retailers to provide financing and other payment services, today announced that it has picked up yet another large investment, its third inside of two months. Permira, the private equity firm and prolific late-stage tech investor, has taken a minimum 10 percent stake in the fintech business. Klarna and Permira are not confirming the exact amount getting invested, or the valuation. But TechCrunch understands that it is more than $225 million, and the FT is reporting a value of $250 million.

Klarna the startup was last valued at $2.25 billion in 2015 and a source confirmed to us that this valuation has gone up as the business has grown. If a $250 million investment works out to 10 percent of its valuation, that would mean Klarna’s overall value has ticked up to $2.5 billion.

Added up, this means that Klarna has raised somewhere in the region of $500 million in the last 7 weeks.

July 21, 2017 – Funding Round Private Equity (Crunchbase), Rated: A

  • Funding Type: Private Equity
  • Money Raised: $225M
  • Valuation: $2.28B Pre-Money
  • Announced On: July 21, 2017
  • Investors: 

Revolut’s robo-advice dance partner revealed (AltFi), Rated: AAA

App-based banking disruptor Revolut intends to partner with its first robo-advisor. A report in this morning’s Citywire suggests that Revolut has already partnered with ETFmatic to roll out its wealth offering. Revolut has confirmed that this is its intention.

Revolut, however, is yet to formally announce the ETFmatic partnership, and it is possible that the proposition that ultimately emerges will look somewhat different.

Bank of Finland: Household debt accumulation poses mounting risk (YLE), Rated: A

Bank of Finland reports that household debt grew five percent in May on the previous year, with so-called unsecured consumer credit, via international online credit providers and peer-to-peer lending services, up by 13 percent in the same period.

As the selection of loan alternatives grows, increasing numbers of Finnish consumers are now moving beyond traditional new home and housing cooperative loans to secure expensive consumer credit from sources that Finland’s central bank says are difficult to monitor.

Figures show that every fourth Finnish resident now holds some kind of consumer debt. Cars, trips abroad, boats and appliances are the most common purchases behind the loans.

The good news in this scenario is that regulators and credit ratings agencies agree that Finnish banks are very stable.

Kickstart Accelerator’s 10 Most Promising Fintech Startups (Forbes), Rated: A

AAAccell (Switzerland)

Converts and develops top research achievements into trusted solutions and tools for the financial services industry.

Fjuul Vision Oy (Finland)

Offers a Software as a Service (Saas) platform for insurers to grow their business at lower risk.

PriceHubble (Switzerland)

Enables smarter real estate decisions by bringing the latest in machine learning, big data analytics and data visualization to market participants along the entire real estate value chain.

International

Fintech’s Wealthy Elder Statesmen (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Shares of U.K. company Paysafe Group Plc — whose businesses include payments processing, digital wallets and money transfers — are trading at an all-time high after an approach from private-equity bidders Blackstone and CVC.

In December, Paysafe’s shares suffered a nasty blow because of fears about its exposure to China’s crackdown on gambling, although they recovered. This is not your run-of-the-mill Worldpay-style payments giant, even if that may be the goal of its prospective private equity buyers.

5 Facts About the State of FinTech — and Why They Really Matter (Mimeo), Rated: A

The rapid innovation in the financial technology, or FinTech vertical, shows no signs of slowing down. In the past year, global investments in FinTech increased 11 percent to a staggering 17.4 billion USD.

1. The Majority of Executives Are Worried

A recent report from Pricewaterhouse Cooper (PwC) revealed that a staggering 80 percent of executives globally feel their business is at risk due to the rate of innovation in the FinTech sphere.

2. Governments Are Getting Behind FinTech

Per KPMG’s recent report on the pulse of FinTech, governments worldwide are beginning to show visible support for innovation in financial technology. The UK, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand have all debuted sandbox programs for regulatory innovation.

3. Blockchain Is Predicted to Take Over in 2017

4. 30 Percent of Consumers Love FinTech

PwC reports that 30 percent of today’s customers plan to increase their use of nontraditional ways of payments, fund transfers, finance, loans, and saving.

5. Robot Bank Tellers May Not Be a Far-off Fantasy

Australia/New Zealand

Non-bank lenders support fast-forwarding Robo-Advice access (Scoop), Rated: AAA

Robo-Advice, Digital-Advice, Automated-Advice. Whatever you choose to call it, the appetite to access financial advice online is growing, and New Zealand’s legislation is yet to catch up.

The law is currently hindering the development of personalised robo-advice models in New Zealand, as it states financial advice must be given by a natural person.

The Financial Services Federation (FSF) has submitted in support of the Consultation Paper: proposed exemption to facilitate personalised robo-advice, which could accelerate the provision of personalised robo-advice services ahead of law reforms which aren’t likely to take effect until 2019.

Fintech the future (SMH), Rated: A

​According to Kate Carnell, there have been less than 10 complaints about fintech operators in Australia since March 2016.

There are an estimated 600 fintech operators in Australia. The industry is burgeoning and continues to attract new players, so receiving less than double-digit complaints in 16 months isn’t a bad track record.

“So the growth rate is quite phenomenal and there’s more to come. We know of at least another 20 to 30 that are yet to launch.”

Small business lender expands BDM team (Australian Broker), Rated: B

Small business loan specialist OnDeck Australia has announced two new appointments to foster growth in its broker channel.

The firm has hired two new business development managers (BDMs), Adrian Dodson in Melbourne, Victoria and Tim Kwast on the Gold Coast, Queensland.

India

P2P players plan to widen lender base (Telangana Today), Rated: AAA

With the Reserve Bank of India guidelines on peer-to-peer lending firms likely to be released in a few weeks, city-based companies are getting ready to increase their registered lenders. They are optimistic that demand for loans will rise significantly as the haze surrounding the lending platforms will be cleared.

For instance, city-based i-lend says there is loan demand of about Rs 500 crore in one year while another firm Oxyloans says there could be a demand for Rs 600 crore in the same time.

Another player, Oxyloans, has 1,300 users including 264 lenders and 1,000 plus borrowers. “We see a loan demand of Rs 600 crore and are hoping to achieve Rs 200 crore in six months or so,” said Radhakrishna Thatavarti, founder and chief executive officer of SRS Fintech Labs, which operates Oxyloans.

Axis Bank to deploy tech solutions of three startups from Thought Factory accelerator (VC Circle), Rated: A

Private sector lender Axis Bank has selected three fintech startups from the first batch of its accelerator programme ‘Thought Factory’ whose solutions it will commercially deploy at its business units, it announced at an event in Bangalore on Friday.

Six startups, namely S2Pay, Pally, Perpule, FintechLabs, Paymatrix and Gieom graduated from the first batch. Axis Bank will collaborate with Pally, FintechLabs and Gieom for their tech solutions.

Using AI, Pally enables businesses in the financial domain to deliver better customer experiences. It has created a chatbot that creates an investment portfolio for tax savings when it is fed an image of a salary slip.

S2Pay’s solution forms a layer over any payments app and users can make secure payments from their mobile app, even when they are offline.

A Kalaari Capital-funded startup, Perpule allows users to scan products from their mobile app and pay from within the app once the list is complete.

Sunil Kalra, Rajan Anandan back fintech startup Monsoon CreditTech (VC Circle), Rated: A

Monsoon CreditTech Technologies Pvt Ltd, a fintech startup that has been in stealth mode till recently, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from marquee investors, the startup said in its statement.

The investors include independent angel investors Sunil Kalra and Aditya Singh, former senior Microsoft executive Rishi Srivastava, and Google India’s Rajan Anandan, the statement added.

Asia

Ron Suber Says P2P Lending is Daylight Banking (Not Shadow Finance) (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Ron Suber, perhaps the most prominent global Fintech Ambassador and President Emeritus of Prosper Marketplace, is on an extended swing across Asia visiting various platforms and presenting at events. Visiting with CNBC Asia this week, Suber explained how important transparency is for online lending and how both sides win: investor and borrower.

Startup Modalku Launches Mobile App for Individual Lenders (Jakarta Globe), Rated: A

Mitrausaha Indonesia Group, a homegrown marketplace that provides peer-to-peer lending, introduced a new mobile application that will allow individual lenders to offer loans to small businesses using a crowdfunding scheme.

Mitrausaha, which flies the Modalku flagship, offers small and medium enterprises (SMEs) access to non-collateral loans with interest rates ranging from 12 percent to 26 percent.

Modalku had launched a mobile app in January called “Modalku Dana Usaha,” customized for prospective debtors looking to replenish their working capital. The app is available on Android and iOS.

Lenders can start investing with Rp 1 million ($75).

New individual lenders need to deposit Rp 10 million into their account before giving out loans.

Early days for alternative funding (The Star), Rated: A

Two years ago, the Securities Commission gave out licences to operate equity crowdfunding platforms and last November, it gave out the licences for peer-to-peer lending.

pitchIN, one of the six operators of the equity crowdfunding platforms, has raised the most among the operators since end-2015, raising more than a third of the RM16mil raised by issuers up until this June.

Funding for early stage start-ups has become much harder due to grants becoming bleaker and investors looking for quality deals.

Awareness remains an issue, with entrepreneurs who want to raise funds through either ECF or P2P lamenting the lack of awareness or understanding.

Collapse of branch banking in 1 century (Korea Times), Rated: A

Throughout paradigm shifts, banks’ operations have changed dramatically. Many global lenders are now setting up branchless and digital operations as the way to go ― a move that is in stark contrast to the strategy they took over the past century.

According to a 1932 Federal Reserve report, the Bank of Italy had 25 offices by the end of 1919 and it rapidly increased to 292, 10 years later. Except for 40 branches in San Francisco, home to its headquarters, 252 were out-of-town branches, scattered literally all over California.

JPMorgan Chase is scaling down its branch networks, Citigroup is accelerating its move to transform into a digital bank globally and Wells Fargo is downsizing its branches so it can hire fewer employees and sit in a smaller space.

A CNN Money report said the number of the bank’s branches in the U.S. dropped by 10 percent to 4,789 as of the end of the second quarter of 2015.

Korea’s homegrown banks are also joining global giants’ moves.

According to six banks ― KB Kookmin, Shinhan, Woori, KEB Hana, NH NongHyup and Industrial Bank of Korea (IBK) ― the total number of their branches across the country declined to 5,493 at the end of May this year, down 442 from 5,953 at the end of the first quarter of 2013.

Liftoff enters Japan with former Criteo exec as country manager (e27), Rated: B

California-based mobile app marketing and retargetting platform Liftoff announced its official launch to the Japanese market today with the appointment of Country Manager Kota Amano, former Senior Director of Partner Development, APAC at Criteo.

In a press statement, Liftoff said that it has opened a data centre in Tokyo and is hiring a team of Sales and Customer Success Managers.

Canada

HOW TO NAVIGATE CANADA’S TANGLED REGULATIONS AND BUILD YOUR FINTECH STARTUP (Betakit), Rated: AAA

Our team at Ferst Digital is building a mobile-first banking platform that helps startups and small businesses. Our platform will let them bank, manage their finances, and integrate all of their financial productsand services in a simple and intuitive way.

To empower ourselves, we decided to own our regulatory know-how.

We decided to categorize our regulators around three common forms of purpose: protection, behaviour, and permission.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday May 4 2017, Daily News Digest

auto loan originations

News Comments Today’s main news: Banks pull back on car loans as used-auto prices plummet. Trump’s expected OCC pick, a banker, signals paradigm shift. Elevate Credit rated a buy. RateSetter rejigs relationships with former wholesale lending partners. China Rapid Ffinance raises $60M in IPO. Today’s main analysis: Goldman Sachs embraces banking’s bland side. Global money transfer. Today’s thought-provoking articles: German […]

auto loan originations

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Australia

China

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

Banks Pull Back on Car Loans as Used-Auto Prices Plummet (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Wells Fargo & Co., one of the largest U.S. auto lenders, last month reported a 29% fall in its auto loan originations for the first quarter from a year earlier. The decline, the biggest for the San Francisco-based bank in at least five years, was part of a common refrain in quarterly announcements from lenders including J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. , Ally Financial Inc. and Santander Consumer USA Holdings Inc.

Bankers’ caution is increasingly showing up in car sales, which Tuesday came in worse than expected for April. The declines are mostly occurring in lending to riskier borrowers, in particular those with low credit scores, where lending had ramped up for years.

Some banks, including regionals Fifth Third Bancorp and  Citizens Financial Group Inc.,  are beginning to retreat from higher-quality “prime” auto loans as new risks emerge.

Some anticipated the market would cool off after record new car sales in 2015 and 2016. But banks are also posting higher losses on defaulted auto loans, hit by a mix of more borrowers falling behind on payments and the declining value of used cars.

When lenders repossess cars, they resell the vehicles and use the proceeds from the sale to recover as much of the unpaid balance as possible. Declining values mean that lenders are recouping a smaller share of those balances. Lenders who are repossessing cars tied to prime auto loans that were securitized in 2015 are recovering about 51% of the unpaid loan balances on average, down from 56% for 2014 loans and 65% for 2011 loans, according to S&P Global Ratings.

Car loans have been among the fastest-growing consumer lending categories since the last recession.

 

Mimecast Limited versus Yirendai Ltd. Head to Head Compare (CMLVIZ), Rated: AAA

We will compare the two companies on revenue growth, earnings, revenue per employee, operating margins, free cash flow and valuation.

  • Yirendai Ltd. has larger revenue in the last year than Mimecast Limited.
  • YRD is showing a profit while MIME has negative earnings over the last year.
  • YRD generates substantially larger revenue per employee ($344,000) than MIME ($202,000).

  • Both companies are growing revenue. Yirendai Ltd. is growing revenue massively faster than Mimecast Limited.
  • For every $1 in revenue, the stock market prices in $6.42 in market cap for MIME and $3.66 in market cap for YRD.

Goldman Sachs Embraces Banking’s Bland Side: Lending Money (WSJ), Rated: AAA

The firm has been opening its checkbook for the past several years to finance corporate takeovers, lend against mansions and art, and make personal loans for things such as kitchen remodels and fixing broken windshields.

It is exploring new credit businesses such as trade finance, equipment leasing and extending credit that consumers use for online purchases, according to people familiar with the discussions.

Loans outstanding across Goldman have doubled to $95 billion since 2011, filings show. Real-estate loans are up 10-fold. Business lending has tripled, while loans in its private-wealth division, secured by everything from stock portfolios to rare artwork, have quadrupled. Goldman doesn’t report revenues tied to lending, which remains a small part of its overall business.

 

Elevate Credit Inc (ELVT) Now Covered by William Blair (The Cerbat Gem), Rated: AAA

They set a “buy” rating and a $12.00 price objective for the company. Compass Point reissued a “neutral” rating and set a $9.00 price objective on shares of Elevate Credit in a report on Tuesday, April 18th. One analyst has rated the stock with a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $11.00.

Shares of Elevate Credit (NASDAQ:ELVT) opened at 7.64 on Monday. Elevate Credit has a one year low of $7.00 and a one year high of $8.86. The firm’s 50 day moving average is $8.05 and its 200-day moving average is $8.05. The firm’s market capitalization is $99.33 million.

State Regulators Mount Counter-Offensive Seeking to Stop OCC’s Fintech Charter (Lexology), Rated: A

Clearly, CSBS is mounting a legal counter-offensive to the OCC’s attempt to license entities historically regulated by the states. While state and federal regulators currently are arguing as to who should control the regulatory sandbox, the true focus of regulatory concern should be on the development of innovative financial services, consistent with safe and sound operations, with viable and effective consumer protections. While, historically, payments companies and lenders have been regulated by the states, the OCC’s SPNB Charter has sparked a dialogue as to whether the current regulatory system for fintech operations is viable. Innovation of financial services may also require innovation of financial services regulation. Rather than trying to pigeon-hole financial services into traditional regulatory models, perhaps it is time for regulators, at both the federal and state level, to act in concert to develop a system of licensing, regulation, and enforcement for financial products and services that is efficient, not redundant, and minimizes the regulatory burden on financial institutions while it provides for the continued protection of consumers. Setting aside the merits of the pending suit, the right policy prescription will likely involve the federal and state governments working together to minimize the regulatory burden while appropriately protecting the safety and soundness of FinTechs and provide necessary consumer protection.

Trump’s Expected OCC Pick Signals Shift at Regulator That Could Ripple Through Financial Markets (WSJ), Rated: A

President Donald Trump’s expected move to replace the Comptroller of the Currency signals a change in direction at the bank regulator that could ripple through the financial markets, from private-equity buyouts to financial technology—and even municipal securities.

Comptroller Thomas Curry, whom people familiar with the matter say could be replaced as soon as this week, is a career regulator appointed by President Barack Obama. Mr. Curry used his office to tamp down on what he viewed as overly risky lending practices in the banking industry.

His expected replacement—Joseph Otting, a former chief executive of OneWest Bank—would be the first former banker to hold the comptroller’s job since the 1990s.

Wall Street Pushes Back on Mnuchin’s Idea of Ultralong Debt (WSJ), Rated: A

A committee of Wall Street advisers is pouring cold water on a proposal by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to issue superlong 50-year and 100-year U.S. government bonds, arguing that the big pension funds and insurers expected to buy the securities won’t have much interest.

The committee meets quarterly, in advance of a regular release by the Treasury on its plans for financing the U.S. debt. Currently, the U.S. Treasury issues no debt longer than 30 years. Mr. Mnuchin has argued that ultralong bonds could be a useful tool for locking in today’s low borrowing costs for a very long time. Last month, the Treasury requested the advisory committee analyze the viability of bonds longer than 30 years.

The 30-year bond strengthened Wednesday, after the advisory committee cast doubt on the idea 50- and 100-year bonds. The yield on the 30-year Treasury dropped to 2.963% from 2.982% on Tuesday, according to Tradeweb. Yields fall as bond prices rise.

A key question for the Treasury is what types of investors would buy ultralong bonds, especially if the members of its advisory committee aren’t interested. Relatively few individual investors have 100-year or even 50-year investing horizons.

Real Estate Crowdfunding to Take Center Stage at Crowd Invest Summit (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Crowd Invest Summit, the country’s largest crowdfunding investment conference, taking place on September 6 th and 7th at the Los Angeles Convention Center, has today announced that it will be expanding its focus on Real Estate crowdfunding.

Since the signing of the JOBS Act in 2012, Real Estate Investing has been the fastest growing segment of the new Crowdfunding Industry. According to Fundingtree.com, over $3 Billion Dollars has been raised so far.

Crowd Invest Summit is the largest investment focused crowdfunding event in the country. It was founded by pioneers in the equity crowdfunding sector Josef Holm and Alon Goren. The conference was developed with the vision that every American – whether accredited or not – can now become equity investors.

Nav raises $ 13 million to help small businesses with credit scores (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Goldman Sachs is leading a $13 million investment in Nav, a startup that helps small businesses with financial advice and credit scores. Billionaire Steven Cohen’s Point72 Ventures is also investing, along with Clocktower Ventures and the CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund.

This follows $25 million that was invested in the company last year, and is considered part of the same Series B round, bringing the total to $38 million.

Characterizing Nav as a Credit Karma for small businesses, King believes his startup will “materially decrease the death rate of small businesses in the U.S.” They currently have over 200,000 customers, most of whom don’t pay anything for their credit score, but can opt to pay about $20 per month for added financial advice.

Data Suggests That Venmo Is Winning Mobile Payments (Seeking Alpha), Rated: A

  • 68% of mobile payments users are using Venmo most often.
  • Venmo processed $6.8B in mobile payments in Q1.
  • Rapid smartphone adoption, alongside a large unbanked population, makes the theme of mobile payments an attractive investment.

In the days leading up to the quarter, a new survey of 2,170 Millennials found that Venmo is leading the category. The researchers asked the following question: “Which of the following mobile payment apps do you use most often?”

Researchers found that 44% of respondents answered “Venmo”, 1% of respondents answered “Square Cash”, 14% of respondents answered “My bank’s mobile payment app”,and 4% of respondents answered “Other”. However surprisingly, 35% of respondents answered “I don’t use a mobile payment app”.

Colorado versus Fintech (OLPI), Rated: A

On February 15, 2017,  the Administrator of the Uniform Consumer Credit Code for the State of Colorado (“Colorado”) sued Avant and Best Egg (in separate actions), claiming in both actions that they violated Colorado’s usury rate and entered into loan agreements containing a governing law provision other than Colorado.

Shortly after, WebBank and Cross River separately sued Colorado seeking Declaratory Judgement and Injunctive Relief.

On April 25, 2017, Colorado filed a Motion to Dismiss both Complaints for Declaratory Judgment and Injunctive Relief.

Colorado initially argues that WebBank’s action for declaratory judgement should be dismissed based on the well-pleaded complaint rule. There seems to be two issues with this position: (1) WebBank was purposely left out of Colorado’s initial complaint (although this theory might apply if Avant brought the federal action for declaratory judgment), and (2) diversity jurisdiction does apply as to Avant and WebBank vis-a-vis Colorado.

Second, Colorado argues that WebBank’s action should be dismissed because WebBank’s injury is too attenuated. Colorado does not directly address WebBank’s contention that the suit challenges WebBank’s overall business model.

Finally, Colorado argues that “interest exportation does not preempt the application of state usury laws to non-banks as a matter of law.”   Colorado seems to acknowledge WebBank’s right to preempt Colorado’s usury rate based on DIDA (the Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act of 1980 – extending the National Bank Act’s preemption to FDIC-insured state banks).  Colorado argues that WebBank is trying to assign its preemption to Avant – that Avant is the lender.

Colorado also argues that the valid when made doctrine is not applicable because “there is no ‘subsequent usurious transaction’ between WebBank and Avant that is alleged to invalidate a consumer’s loan obligation.  Instead, Avant merely purchased the subject consumer loans from WebBank.”  This is a difficult argument to follow.  Colorado sued Avant claiming that Avant loans are usurious and Avant, and not WebBank, is the true lender.  Colorado points out that Avant buys the loans from WeBank within two business days of the loans being made.  Relying on Midland in the Avant action, Colorado states that Avant cannot “enforce a bank’s federal interest rate exportation rights when they purchase loans from banks (or purchase loan receivables) because banks cannot validly assign such rights to non-banks.”   It seems to imply that Colorado is not saying the loans are invalid (due to Avant having a Supervised Lender’s License), but rather the loans just need to be limited to the Colorado usury rate –yet, as noted, the argument is difficult to follow.

What fintech is going to do to banking (Financial Times), Rated: A

  • Fintech is ultimately about taking away frictions.
  • I guessed that there was a 25 or 30 per cent chance that 10 years from now, there was about a 25 per cent chance that there would be a fintech company with the kind of $250bn market cap that some big American banks have. I do not expect that in the foreseeable future fintech will have the kind of existential impact on banks that Netflix has had on Blockbuster. But I do think in some areas fintech companies are likely to have the kind of effect Skype has had on the big telephone companies — forcing drastic reductions in pricing and profit margins on some key products.
  • I was quite serene about the impact of fintech on financial stability.
  • By providing for faster settlements, more transparency, and diversification, fintech is likely to have as many stabilising as destabilising effects.
  • If the large banks of today are not as large five or 10 years from now, I think it is more likely to be because of bad lending, heavy regulation or market pressures to break up because the whole is valued less than the sum of the parts than because of disruption from fintech. I say this because much of what fintech does depends on the banking system and because I doubt that over this horizon banks can be completely disrupted.

FinTech Funding in New York Declines (Cryptocoins News), Rated: A

In the report from data provider CB Insights, The Global FinTech Report: Q1 ’17, it found that during the first three months of the year, fintech funding to venture capital-backed New York companies dropped by 35 percent on a quarterly basis. However, while financial technology deals in the state rose by 26 percent from Q4 ’16, it registered a 33 percent drop below the same quarter last year.

During the first three months there were three New York City companies – Namely, Trumid, and Payfone – who were among the top ten U.S. financial technology backed deals.

Namely raised $50 million in Series D funding from Altimeter Capital, Scale Venture Partners, Sequoia Capital, Four Rivers Group, Matrix Partners, and Greenspring Associates.

Trumid raised $27.6 million in Series D funding from Thiel Capital, and Payfone raised $23.5 million in Series E funding from BlueCross Blue Shield and Andrew Prozes.

First Associates Implements AI to Enhance Customer Satisfaction and Boost Portfolio Performance (PRWeb), Rated: A

First Associates has announced today that it has implemented A.I. enabled speech analytics as part of its third-party loan and lease servicing. The speech analytics platform facilitates higher quality customer interactions while ensuring compliance with financial industry regulations.

Using speech analytics, First Associates monitors, scores and provides agent feedback on 100% of voice interactions with consumers using data-driven benchmarking. Traditional loan servicing management techniques call for a 1% sample size of voice interactions using human quality assurance agents to assess quality and effectiveness. The company has already seen significant improvements across quality and performance metrics from the implementation.

Adams Business Credit Rebrands as Context Business Lending (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Adams Business Credit, a national asset-based lender, will rebrand as Context Business Lending, bringing the firm in unison with the family of businesses and affiliates under Context Capital Partners, an alternative investment firm. The newly named Context Business Lending will continue to focus on providing flexible working capital solutions for businesses that do not qualify for traditional bank financing.

Context Business Lending typically provides loans of up to $15 million for lower middle-market businesses that may be experiencing some type of challenge, which may include: rapid growth; seasonal fluctuations; supply chain and vendor pressure; operating losses/negative net worth; turnaround and restructuring; merger or acquisition and debtor-in-possession financing. The firm is sector agnostic and works with businesses in the manufacturing, distribution, wholesaling and service sectors.

‘Hybrid’ Approach To Robo Investing Models a Winner (Insurance News Net), Rated: A

Investors who rely on “robo-only” investment models are making a big mistake, financial advisor tells InsuranceNews.Net.

McElwee provides three specific reasons why that’s the case:

  • Robo advice assumes that the past is destined to repeat itself.
  • People make bad financial decisions when they are under financial stress.
  • Questions, questions, questions. Robo advisors build financial profiles of clients based on a set of questions designed to reveal how a client thinks about risk, return, and financial planning.

MoneyLion Shortlisted for Top Industry Award (MoneyLion Email), Rated: B

 May 11th.

Usage of MoneyLion’s app nearly quadrupled in the second half of 2016, allowing them to track $12bn in transactions from more than one million users. To date, users have saved over $5 million in rate reductions through MoneyLion.

De Rito Partners Chooses RealtyShares for Acquisition of Shops at Fry’s Marketplace Shopping Center (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

RealtyShares, a leading online marketplace for real estate investing, has just announced an $800,000 commercial equity investment in Mesa, Arizona, funded through the company’s network of accredited investors. The deal is sponsored by De Rito Partners, one of Arizona’s largest retail investment and brokerage firms.

De Rito Partners acquired the property in 2016, and is seeking to capitalize on a temporary tenant turnover in a formerly fully-leased retail property. The firm intends to use the funds raised through RealtyShares to invest in tenant improvements and implement a leasing strategy to achieve market-level rents.

The property is shadow-anchored by a Fry’s Marketplace, one of the largest grocers by sales in the Phoenix metropolitan area according to Chain Stores Guide. The shopping center is comprised of more than 20,000 square feet of rentable retail space, and is currently leased to tenants including Starbucks, H&R Block and Subway. It is located at the intersection of two major thoroughfares, four miles from downtown Mesa.

De Rito Partners owns 20 properties, manages approximately 1.9 million square feet of retail space, represents 180 shopping centers in a leasing agency capacity, and is currently developing a Fry’s Marketplace-anchored shopping center and a strip center located in Chandler, AZ.

Download a complimentary copy – ALTERNATIVE CREDIT GUIDEBOOK (NN Investment Partners), Rated: B

United Kingdom

RateSetter rejigs relationships with former wholesale lending partners (AltFi), Rated: AAA

The acquired motor finance companies are Vehicle Stocking Limited and Vehicle Credit Limited. Both firms were acquired out of their parent company’s administration, and both have previously received wholesale funding from RateSetter. RateSetter will now lend directly to these companies’ customers.

The size of these two motor finance firms’ combined loanbooks is roughly £30m. These portfolios are said to be “performing well”, and we’re told they would have continued to be serviced had RateSetter not stepped in.

Another of RateSetter’s former wholesale lending partners is George Banco, a guarantor lender with a representative APR of 49.7 per cent. RateSetter has now taken an equity stake in the company, and will lend directly to its 10,000 customers.

Lendy: 2017 is the Year that P2P Lending Finally Matures (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Lendy, a UK based peer to peer lending platform in the secured property sector, believes 2017 is the year for P2P lending to finally mature. Management says that P2P will shift from alternative finance to “main challenger to the traditional banks.”  But to accomplish this goal, P2P lending platforms must build upon best practices and operate more like mainstream lenders while providing rigorous due diligence and superlative service.

Lendy advocates on four key steps in providing a better service than traditional financial firms:

  • Initial due diligence – carry out an extensive ‘know your customer’ (“KYC”) process when they first source a loan.
  • Legal panel – after the loan has passed the first stage it is then reviewed by a legal panel. Solicitors ensure that a legal charge is properly made against each security property, and that each of the security properties has good title.
  • Valuation – use a highly rated independent firm to value security properties.
  • Credit checks – put each lending proposition under extensive scrutiny to determine its viability.

Robots and responsibility (FT Adviser), Rated: A

Robo-advice has become a widely-known concept in the financial advice community over the past 12 months, as more and more firms launch their own proposition.

In addition, it is important to have someone understanding the algorithm from the client experience, and for advisers to grasp the inputs into the algorithms.

One of the areas that needs to be tackled, according to Mr Strachan, is the grey area between fully automated guidance and full-on advice.

The report, The Next Frontier: The Future of Automated Financial Advice, outlines the amount people will be prepared to pay for the use of a robo-adviser. By the far the largest cohort said they would be prepared to pay £125, with popularity rapidly declining the more the price goes up.

Automated advice on investing £11,000 charged at £225 only received support from 16 per cent of people, while a £360 fee saw support from 6 per cent.

Fintech startup Curve names Callum McCaig as its first PR hire (Gorkana), Rated: A

London fintech startup Curve has made its first PR and comms hire with the appointment of Burson-Marsteller’s Callum McCaig, as the business prepares to scale out of ‘beta’ and launch its digital banking platform to the mass market. 

Curve has raised £3m in seed funding from investors, including Seedcamp and the founders of Transferwise, Betfair, Azimo and Google Wallet, and plans to announce a Series A funding round later this year.

MarketInvoice joins UK FinTech Financial Crime Exchange (Finextra), Rated: B

MarketInvoice, the world’s largest peer-to-peer online invoice finance marketplace, has joined the UK FinTech Financial Crime Exchange (FFE), a joint initiative by think tank RUSI and risk consultancy FINTRAIL, launched today.

The FFE brings together FinTech firms who have agreed to collaborate, by sharing best practice and pooling information on financial crime typologies to protect their customers and strengthen their sector’s ability to detect and counter the global threat of financial crime, including money laundering, terrorist financing, bribery and corruption, tax evasion and market manipulation.

The UK FinTech sector is at the forefront of the global FinTech revolution, contributing £7b to the UK economy.

European Union

German Crowdfunding Association Urges Regulator Not to Exclude Real Estate from Crowdfunding Regulation (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Invited to defend their views vis-à-vis the financial commission of the parliament, representatives of the German Crowdfunding Association have challenged the government’s position and presented substantial counterarguments.

As a reminder: crowdfunding regulation at European Union (EU) level was so far deemed “premature” by EU authorities and is therefore not included in the Capital Markets Union, the EU’s effort to harmonize capital market regulations at EU level. Hence, each EU country currently issues its own regulation which creates a legal patchwork and hinders cross border deals.

The German government’s report firstly notes that German real estate projects represent 10% of the successful projects and 33% of the capital raised through crowdinvesting, that is €36 million. Projects are typically residential property development, mostly construction, the reminder being renovations. German real estate crowdinvesting nearly doubled in size last year while the growth of startup crowdfunding slumped.

The government finds this trend negative. It justifies its proposal to exclude real estate from the scope of the crowdfunding exemptions as follows:

  • The large share of real estate in crowdinvesting represents a deviation from the intention of the legislator which was to foster the funding of high-growth startups.
  • There is no lack of funding for real estate projects. Social real estate, for example, can be funded through schemes that are specific to social housing. 
  • Real estate crowdinvesting could be considered as a form of deregulation of real estate finance which could, bearing in mind the role played by real estate in the 2008 financial crisis, create a price bubble, and ultimately pose a threat to financial stability.

The Crowdfunding Association and crowdinvesting platform leaders found many of the government’s arguments “incomprehensible” and offered point-by-point rebuttals:

  • Crowdfunding counters price bubbles and real estate overheating. The current real estate market boom is in no way due to crowdfunding, which is much too small to influence market prices, but rather to macroeconomic factors such as the currently low interest rates.
  • Crowdfunding helps finance real estate SMEs and innovative entrepreneurs. There is no sensible criterion for distinguishing real estate financing from other types of business financing.
  • The risk of subordinated debt instruments is not specific to real estate. It would therefore be more appropriate to open crowdinvesting to all securities, including profit sharing securities, rather than to exclude real estate from crowdinvesting.

Currently, the German crowdfunding market is disproportionately small. It is surpassed on the Continent by the French market (28% smaller GDP) and dwarfed by the UK market (15% smaller GDP).

This guy is quickly but quietly building Sweden’s next fintech giant – already operating in 65 markets (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Johan Tjärnberg is quietly building a fintech business that may prove as successful as Klarna. During 2016, his payments company, Bambora, grew 20% to revenues of SEK 2 billion.

Bambora is a platform that aggregates hundreds of payments services, and it’s currently available in 65 markets. Bambora’s clients can even choose to use Klarna as their payment service.

During 2017 the business will expand to North America, where the number of merchants using the service will increase by 10,000 over the year. That will boost the sales of the group by 30% to EUR 260 million, Johan Tjärnberg said to Bloomberg News.

Currently, the company has about 100,000 clients, of which 30,000 are located in the US and Canada.

Can a Public-sector Organization Become a Fintech Disruptor? (ValueWalk), Rated: A

In 2010, Klaus Regling, the head of the euro-area rescue fund for the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), asked me to join the board. I agreed, and said that I wanted to build the Google of the public sector. He looked at me and asked: “Why Google? We can be better than that.” And of course, he was right.

The ESM provides financial assistance to Eurozone countries that have lost market access. It was set up at the height of the euro crisis. Without the ESM, countries such as Greece would have defaulted, and the euro would have broken up. The ESM is the institution that kept the euro together during the crisis. Our total lending capacity is $742 billion. We have provided assistance to five countries: Greece, Ireland, Spain, Portugal and Cyprus. In all, we have provided $281 billion in loans, which is three times as much as the IMF over the same period of time.

Here is how we are planning to move forward to build a modern public institution.

Digital at Heart

First of all, we wanted a lean model, and so we kept only the strategic functions in-house, like funding, economics and investments. We outsourced support functions and non-strategic functions as much as we could. We were the first financial institution worldwide to use a fully cloud-based trading system.

Secondly, we wanted to leverage new technology where possible.

Finally, our workforce of tomorrow, made up of millennials, is the first in our field to consist almost entirely of technology natives.

A Public Sector-driven Fintech solution

Europe has launched the capital markets union, an ambitious effort to harmonize corporate, tax, and bankruptcy laws across the countries of Europe. The differences between these laws are vast because of centuries of history in the 28 members of the European Union. Now we hope to make the laws more similar, because it would create a truly pan-European financial market. For example, the union would break down borders for private equity investment and venture capital, and open up an alternative channel of funding for small- and mid-sized enterprises. Thus, it would reduce Europe’s heavy reliance on bank lending.

The ECB idea is about the centralization of settlement and payment processes for securities. This is a very important initiative, and one that could be complemented by a similar initiative for the primary issuance of securities. It is worth considering a European public sector issuance platform to help distribute debt more efficiently: a fintech solution, driven by the public sector.

One could even think of using new technologies, such as blockchain, to set up the new issuance platform.

International

P2P MONEY TRANSFERS TO DRIVE DIGITAL PAYMENT GROWTH AS MARKET APPROACHES $ 3.9 TRILLION IN 2017 (Juniper Research), Rated: AAA

A new study by Juniper Research has found the value of digital payments will approach $3.9 trillion this year, representing an increase of more than 14% on last year’s total. While the bulk of transaction value (55%) will be accounted for by online retail purchases for physical goods, P2P (Person to Person) money transfers will see the largest year-on-year net increase in value ($200 million).

The new research – Digital Payment Strategies: Online, Mobile & Contactless 2017-2021 – argued that the US would see particularly strong growth, with the bank-backed Zelle Network expected to build on its successful debut in 2016 as additional banks come on board.

The research also emphasised that the demonetisation policies employed by India’s government had encouraged a surge in mobile wallet adoption and, with it, sharp increases in both P2P and mobile retail transactions.

Global Money Transfer (FT Partners), Rated: AAA

Download this must-read report here.

Australia

CFA considers AI, robo-advice in exams (Financial Standard), Rated: AAA

The CFA Institute believes artificial intelligence, fintech and robo-advice will have the greatest impact on the financial services industry – to the extent it is considering including such topics in its examinations.

An overwhelming majority (70%) of CFA members globally who took part in a study said affluent investors will be positively affected by automated financial advice tools in the form of reduced costs, improved access to advice product choices.

Respondents (46%) however, were concerned about automated financial advice algorithms being the biggest risk emanating from robo-advice, followed by mis-selling (30%) and data protection concerns (12%).

China

VC-backed China Rapid Finance raises $ 60m in US IPO (AVCJ), Rated: AAA

China Rapid Finance (CRF), a VC-backed peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform, is trading up 32% on its IPO price following an offering on the New York Stock Exchange that raised $60 million.

The stock closed on May 2 at $7.90, giving the entire company a market capitalization of around $448 million.

India

P2P funding platforms or traditional banking systems (India Info Online), Rated: AAA

India’s P2P Lending sector is poised to grow at a rapid pace thanks to favourable demographics, rising computer literacy, internet connectivity and the ongoing wave of digitalisation among others. With the higher economic growth, the credit-backed consumption growth may jump too.These could be the possible triggers for the growth of P2P Lending Industry.

There is no official assessment suggesting the size of the market in India. But it is estimated to be around Rs 200 Cr. The P2P lending industry may grow 25 to 30 times over next 5-6 years. Talking about the interest rate, the yield on 10-Year Sovereign benchmark bond hovers in the range of 6.45% to 6.95%.

However, it is also important to note that the P2P Lending sector is unregulated.

On the other hand, in P2P lending projects, investors can earn in the range of 14% p.a. to 30% p.a. on a reducing balance method. In P2P Lending, interest rates are decided depending upon the creditworthiness of borrowers.

Asia

5 Korean Fintech Startups to Watch in 2017 (Seoul Space), Rated: AAA

Blocko is a blockchain technology startup that developed the platform called CoinStack v3.0 and was able to raise $1.3 million in their series A funding led by Samsung Venture Investment Corporation.

Korean fintech startup company Honest Fund is a P2P crowdfunding company that raised over $6 million in funding led by KB Investments, Shinhan Capital, Hanwha Investment, and others.  It is a peer to peer personal loan lending service that connects borrowers and lenders directly without the need of banks.  These funds will not impact the borrower’s credit rating and will charge between 5% to 15%with the average being 9%.  They offer a different personal credit review model compared to the banks that only look at a person’s credit rating.

PeopleFund is the first Peer-to-Peer lending platform through a Bank in Korea focused on unsecured personal loans.  In 2015 alone PeopleFund has processed over $13 million in loans.

8 percent is a P2P lending company that raised over $13 million.  Their APR is set at 8 percent which is why the company is called 8 percent.  Established in late 2014 this P2P lending company has become the pioneer in this industry.  8 percent reviews an application and based on credit score and other measures.  It is cheaper for clients to use 8 percent than a bank and therefore 8 percent has been able to grow every month.  Loans for startup employees and a bridge for big companies have been their new model in 2016.  They made news in 2016 for getting funding of $10 million from KG Inicis, one of the leading payment gateway companies in Korea.  Bringing together investors and creditworthy borrowers are what 8 percent brings to the table.

Viva Republica runs a money transferring service called TOSS which raised over $48 million in funding from Altos Ventures, Goodwater Capital, Paypal, and KTB Network. They are known for Toss, which is a financial services platform that makes payment system easier by only asking users for 1 password to go along with three easy steps.  The max they can transfer per transaction is $430 which makes everyday payments easy.  Now they have over 6 million registered users in Korea and Toss has already processed over $3 billion in transactions. Toss now does credit scoring as well as micro-loans and is looking into cross-border money transfers and loan brokerages.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday December 9 2016, Daily News Digest

Friday December 9 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: LendingHome exceeds $1B in mortgage originations. FCA plans tougher rules for P2P lenders. Today’s main analysis: China outpaces US, UK to become FinTech hub. Today’s thought-provoking articles: ABS, partnerships to lift MPL. eMoneyUnion responds to FCA report. Mambu expands into Singapore. United States LendingHome exceeds $1 billion in mortgage loan orginations. GP:” $1bil in […]

Friday December 9 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

  • FCA plans tougher rules on P2P lending. AT: “The FCA has released its initial review findings. The interesting thing here is not so much that the FCA plans to regulate P2P lending. We’ve seen that coming for a while. The really interesting thing is what they have to say about Ratesetter. This makes me wonder what will become of Ratesetter and its provision fund. Does the FCA’s prognosis mean tougher regulations of these instruments or a denial of authorization for Ratesetter? I think it’s a clear indication that provision funds are seen as a different category than P2P lending or marketplace loans.”
  • eMoneyUnion responds to FCA report. AT: “Founder Lee Birkett adresses provision funds as well as client money and wind-down arrangements.”
  • CapitalStackers receives FCA authorization. AT: “As we thought, the wave of authorizations continues, but the Big 3 are still waiting.”
  • Ratesetter loses chief risk officer to HSBC. AT: “I can’t help but wonder if this might have anything to do with the FCA.”
  • Interview with LendInvest CIO.

China

India

Asia

United States

LendingHome Exceeds $ 1B in Mortgage Loan Originations (VentureBeat), Rated: AAA

LendingHome, the largest and fastest-growing mortgage marketplace lender, has now funded over $1 billion in mortgage loans in the two and a half years since the company launched.

This year has marked a substantial period of growth for LendingHome. The company completed three securitizations, launched an investor platform for individuals, transitioned to servicing its mortgage loans in-house, expanded programs to include jumbo loans, and grew revenue over 2.5x in the process. Additionally, LendingHome hired two new executives to augment its risk and operational leadership, bringing deep experience in underwriting, risk modeling, credit analytics, mortgage operations, and technology from top financial institutions.

ABS, bank partnerships to lift marketplace lending (Structured Credit Investor), Rated: AAA

Marketplace lending and fintech will play an increasing role in the future of the securities market, according to US SEC chair Mary Jo White. Speaking at a recent SEC fintech seminar, White praised the benefits of innovative financial technologies, but outlined the need for relevant regulatory guidelines to protect investors and wider participants.

White stated that “fintech innovations have the potential to transform key parts of the securities industry” and added that marketplace lenders are providing individuals and SMEs with new paths to access capital. However, while such developments have brought many benefits, the SEC has a responsibility to “evaluate how our existing rules address both the challenges and opportunities presented by these new technologies”.

Specifically on the area of marketplace lending, White stated that the SEC is unique to other regulators as it focuses exclusively on investor protection.

Ram Ahluwalia, ceo and co-founder of PeerIQ, highlighted that securitisation is “the primary financial innovation that has enabled consumers and businesses to access capital markets” and that “it transforms illiquid credit of any kind into marketable securities, which can then be sold into a broader base of institutional investors”.

Conor French, general counsel at Funding Circle, added that marketplace lending has the ability to strengthen the financial system because of its potential to “provide better access to safe and affordable credit to consumers”.

However, he added that the ability of the sector to do this is perhaps limited by a relative amount of uncertainty regarding future regulation. French nevertheless said that he is “excited” to see the SEC refocusing on marketplace lending and that it is important for the sector that it establishes clear “customer guardrails”.

She added, however, that while banks have “low cost deposits and customers”, they don’t have the customer-facing technology that SMEs want today. Mills added that should online lenders wish to partner with banks, they will have to be prepared for “regulatory oversight” that banks have to comply with, which will then apply to marketplace lenders in a bank partnership.

Student Loan Marketplace Credible Partners with New Hampshire Higher Education Loan Corporation (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Student loan marketplace Credible.comannounced that the New Hampshire Higher Education Loan Corporation (NHHELCO) will offer student loan refinancing through the site, expanding the range of options available to borrowers.

Available in all 50 states, NHHELCO’s EDvestinU Consolidation Loan lets borrowers combine multiple student loans, federal and private, into a new loan with a potentially lower interest rate and monthly payment. Borrowers refinancing with EDvestinU can choose a fixed- or variable-rate loan with a repayment term of 5, 10, 15 or 20 years. Variable-rate loans currently range from 2.47% to 6.07% APR, with fixed-rate loans available from 3.94% to 7.54% APR.

Day One of Crowd Invest Summit Strives to Broaden Crowdfunding’s Appeal (Equities.com), Rated: A

The Crowd Invest Summit West, held at the Los Angeles Convention center on Wednesday and Thursday, was geared towards helping equity crowdfunding break into the mainstream.

The day’s first speaker was legendary author and investor James Altucher, who delved into his personal history, and what he learned from a roller coaster of success and failure that led him to make millions selling two companies early in his life, only to blow through all that cash twice in a row. One valuable takeaway was to make a point of really engaging with his creative mind.

Following Altucher was a fireside chat between Darren Marble and Ron Suber, President of Prosper Marketplace, a P2P loan platform. Suber delved into the success that Prosper has found, including a hair-raising tale of a long Labor Day weekend when they were perilously close to seeing their success come crashing to a halt. He also emphasized that the key to success for an industry relying on the crowd required balance between users and companies. If any piece of the equation seriously outweighs the others, it disrupts the industry. During his concluding remarks, Suber emphasized that building a strong community was an essential part of finding long-term success for the industry.

Moderator Devin D. Thorpe, author and contributor for Forbes, and panelist Rodney Sampson, veteran author and tech entrepreneur, reminded the audience that the vast majority of venture capital goes to white men living in three states. While crowdfunding offers an opportunity to potentially break the stranglehold that New York, California, and Massachusetts has on startup capital, the industry will still need to address the fundamental issue that there remains a huge disparity in wealth in this country between white families and African-American and Latino families.

Bricksave Launch New Website and First New York Property (Benzinga), Rated: A

Real estate crowdfunding platform Bricksave have launched their brand new website, as well as their first property in the city of New York. The new site includes enhanced security features, a more intuitive investment dashboard and an increased focus on catering to different investor types.

As the platform closes in on successfully funding over $2 million worth of properties, Bricksave are accompanying their new site with the launch of a new investment opportunity in New York, located in the prestigious neighbourhood of Hell’s Kitchen.

Lendit USA 2017 – New York City (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

 The World’s Biggest Show in Lending and Fintech LendIt returns to the financial capital of the world for its largest conference and expo ever. Join established and emerging fintech innovators and investors for two-action packed days of networking, learning and dealmaking at the iconic New York Javits Center.

March 6, 2017 – March 7, 2017

Kabbage’s Nationwide “Elevator Pitch” Contest Names Supafly Skate ,000 Grand Prize Winner (SAT PR News), Rated: B

Kabbage(R), the leading financial services data and technology platform, today announced the small business pitch contest finalists and grand prize winner. Kabbage is excited to reveal that Junior Lubin, owner of Supafly Skate Company, Inc., is the $10,000 grand prize winner and recipient of a private, one-hour business consultation with entrepreneur and investor, Lori Greiner.

The following “Elevator Pitch” finalists received a $1,000 consolation prize to help grow their business:

United Kingdom

Finance watchdog plans tougher rules for UK peer-to-peer lenders to ‘strengthen investor protection’ (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on Friday released the initial findings of its review into crowdfunding — a term it uses to cover both crowdfunded equity schemes like Crowdcube and peer-to-peer loan providers such as Funding Circle.

The inquiry, launched in July, found that:

  • It’s difficult to compare platforms to each other;
  • Risks are hard to assess;
  • Financial promotions do not always meet requirements to be “clear, fair and not misleading;”
  • Increasingly complex structures are introducing new risks and conflicts of interest;
  • Provision funds, which platforms like RateSetter offer to cover a certain amount of investor losses, “introduce risks to investors that are not adequately disclosed and may not be sufficiently understood by investors;”
  • Wind-down plans, put in place to take care of loans in case firms go bust, are not adequate;
  • Some platforms client money handling standards are not up to scratch.

eMoneyUnion responds to FCA report (eMoneyUnion Email), Rated: AAA

A number of concerns have been raised by the FCA following our feedback and their own research, such as unnamed platforms provision fund promotion, client-money account management and wind-down arrangements.

A review of our own policies and procedures has taken place throughout the year in consultation with the FCA. This has led to a number of minor amendments to our T&C’s and some day to day client-money management tweaks. These are covered in more detail below.

  • Provision Funds: The use of a provision fund is NOT to be deemed a guarantee or insurance policy, and as you are all aware, when the funds in the rainy day pot are gone; they’re gone. The Provision figure we promote is a financial buffer to smooth out late payments by unsecured borrowers and is displayed to approved lenders only and not on the public website. Property loans are not covered by the provision fund, as the properties themselves carry equity as the financial cushion to any potential losses.
  • Client Money: As reported earlier in the year, we are pleased to confirm that our client account policies and procedures meet the required regulatory standards. When the FCA client money team visited our offices, it was confirmed to them that that provision fund is a discretionary tool of the platform. And is not deemed “client money” it’s actually discretionary “platform money” and will not co-mingle with “client money”
  • Wind-down arrangements: As reported in September, our related party business Moneybrain Ltd, which is our contracted wind-down provider, received full FCA Authorisation.

I was very pleased to see from the FCA report, proposals for new rules to be considered in Q1 2017, in particular “extending mortgage-lending standards to loan-based platforms.”

As property lending (mortgages) is very much part of our JustUs.co plans for 2017, when coupled with our team’s mortgage experience over the last 25 years; the future is looking very positive indeed!

Lee Birkett, eMoneyUnion founder

P2P Lending Platform CapitalStackers Receives Full FCA Authorization (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

UK peer-to-peer lending platform CapitalStackers announced it received full authorization from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) following a detail assessment. 

Its key mission is to plug the funding gap between typical bank debt and developer’s equity. CapitalStackers noted that investors typically receive double digital returns up to 20%.

Ratesetter loses recently-hired chief risk officer to HSBC (Financial Times), Rated: A

The chief risk officer of Ratesetter, one of the UK’s top three “peer-to-peer” lenders, has left the company just six months after joining.

Sallé de Chou said in a text he had moved to HSBC to be chief risk officer of their European retail business. “[It is] a great opportunity I could not refuse. Not a sign of concerns re RateSetter. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at RateSetter,” he said.

One to One: Ian Thomas, Co-founder and CIO, LendInvest (Mortgage Strategy), Rated: A

We were always confident that Scotland was a good destination for our first ‘office’ out of London. The market is undersupplied for short-term mortgages and small-scale development finance. The housing situation is no less desperate than in England and Wales. There are too few houses in Scotland, so supporting SME developers to get more houses built is a good thing.

We’ve also just launched in northern England and have appointed Damien Druce to lead our efforts there.

I want 2017 to be the year when we really accelerate our lending throughout the country.

I also want our Property Development Academy to launch outside London, helping aspiring developers to gain skills anywhere in the UK.

China

China outpaces US, UK to become undisputed global fintech hub (The Asset), Rated: AAA

China has leapfrogged the US and UK as the undisputed global fintech hub, according to a collaborative report produced by DBS and EY entitled “The Rise of FinTech in China.”

Currently, 40% of Chinese consumers use new payment methods compared with 4% in Singapore, while, 35% use fintech to access insurance products compared with 1%–2% in many Southeast Asian markets. There are also significantly higher rates of fintech participation in wealth management and lending.

As of the end of 2015, mobile online payment users reached 358 million, 64.5% up year-on-year. At that point, China’s utilisation ratio of mobile online payments stood at 57.7%, with more than 1-in-2 persons using their smartphone to conduct financial transactions primarily through Alibaba’s Alipay or WeChat’s payment service.

Ant Financial, Alibaba Group’s financial affiliate which operates Alipay, have expanded into investment products, lending, credit scoring, insurance and so on.

India

Mywish Marketplaces Announces Appointment of New Members to the Board (TechStory), Rated: A

Mywish Marketplaces (MMPL), the company that owns Deal4loans.com, today announced strategic additions to their Board of Directors. Financial industry veterans Alok Sethi, Chairman, Franklin Templeton Services, and Vivek Kudva, Managing Director, EMEA & India, Franklin Templeton Investments have joined the company’s Board of Directors effective July 2016.

MMPL pioneered the neutral loan marketplace in India and has successfully established trust with over 7 million customers, leveraging technology to enhance customer acquisition for participating banks’ loan products, and smarter matching of customers with products.

Asia

Mambu expands to Singapore (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Mambu, the SaaS banking platform provider, today announced the company has opened its first office in the APAC region.

Mambu’s APAC clients are spread across China and South East Asia as well as Australia and New Zealand, accounting for nearly a third of the company’s total business to date.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor