Tuesday January 9 2018, Daily News Digest

LendingTree purchase APR

News Comments Today’s main news: IEG Holdings wants to turn Lending Club into a balance sheet lender. Groundfloor launches nationwide. Crowd2Fund launches 30M GBP fundraise. China may get a second consumer credit bureau. Klarna expands e-commerce footprint. Today’s main analysis: LendingTree releases mortgage offer report for December. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Are corporations posting fake comments on government regulatory websites? History […]

LendingTree purchase APR

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News Summary

United States

IEG HOLDINGS (IEGH) LAUNCHES TENDER OFFER FOR UP TO 4.99% OF LENDINGCLUB (LC) (Zacks.com), Rated: AAA

On January 5, 2017, IEG Holdings (OTC:IEGH) launched a tender offer for up to 4.99% of LendingClub (NYSE:LC).
– Management believes it can convert LendingClub from a broker of loans into a balance sheet lender

Groundfloor Expands Historic Qualification Under Regulation A To Launch Nationwide (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Non-accredited and accredited investors in all 50 states can now participate in real estate crowdfunding investment opportunities with Groundfloor. Groundfloor, the first issuer qualified by the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission to offer real estate debt investments via Regulation A that are available to non-accredited investors, today announced that it has received qualification as an issuer under Tier 2 of Regulation A. The qualification allows over 150 million additional investors to access real estate investment opportunities that have been previously unavailable to them, tripling Groundfloor’s addressable market.

In 2017, Groundfloor saw tremendous growth of over 380% in origination volume and 786% in revenue, prior to announcing a partnership with its first institutional investor, Direct Access Capital (DAC).2 Groundfloor lends in 27 states, and has self-originated over $50 million in loans for 398 real estate projects earning individual investor portfolios average annualized returns of 11.74 percent to date. Groundfloor has also raised $9.1M in venture capital from leading fintech VCs and angel investors.

LendingTree Releases Monthly Mortgage Offer Report for December (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

LendingTree®, the online loan marketplace, today released its monthly Mortgage Offers Report which analyzes data from actual loan terms offered to borrowers on LendingTree.com by lenders on LendingTree’s network. The purpose of the report is to empower consumers by providing additional information on how their credit profile affects their loan prospects.

Source: Purchase APR by Credit Score Range (PRNewsfoto/LendingTree)
  • December’s best offers for borrowers with the best profiles had an average APR of 3.80% for conforming 30-year fixed purchase loans, up from 3.75% in November. Refinance loan offers were up 1 bps to 3.70%.
  • For the average borrower, purchase APRs for conforming 30-yr fixed loans offered on LendingTree’s platform were up 12 bps to 4.42%, the highest since July 2016. The loan note rate hit the highest since March 2016 at 4.32% and was up 14 bps from November.
  • Consumers with the highest credit scores (760+) saw offered APRs of 4.26% in December, vs 4.56% for consumers with scores of 680-719. The APR spread of 30 bps between these score ranges was 3 bps wider than in November and the widest since this data series began in April 2016. The spread represents nearly $15,000 in additional costs for borrowers with lower credit scores over 30-years for the average purchase loan amount of $233,586. The additional costs are due to higher interest rates, larger fees or a combination of the two.
  • Refinance APRs for conforming 30-yr fixed loans were up 7 bps to 4.31%. The credit score bracket spread widened to 24 from 20 bps, amounting to $12,000 in extra costs over the life of the loan for lower credit score borrowers given an average refinance loan of $241,973.
  • Average proposed purchase down payments have been rising for 8 months and reached $63,740.
Source: Purchase Mortgage Offers by Credit Score (PRNewsfoto/LendingTree)

Many Comments Critical of ‘Fiduciary’ Rule Are Fake (WSJ), Rated: AAA

A significant number of fake comments appear among thousands criticizing a proposed federal rule meant to prevent conflicts of interest in retirement advice, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis.

Consider the experience of Robert Schubert, a Devon, Pa., salesperson. A comment posted in his name on the Labor Department website opposed the rule, saying: “I do not need, do not want and object to any federal interference in my retirement planning.”

In an interview, Mr. Schubert said the comment was a fraud. He didn’t post it and doesn’t agree with it. “I am disgusted that people can post comments using my name,” Mr. Schubert said.

Mr. Schubert is among 50 people who responded to a survey last week conducted by research firm Mercury Analytics for The Journal—40%, or 20 of whom said they didn’t post the comment listed under their name, address, phone number and email.

The Journal previously found fraudulent postings under names and email addresses at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Communications Commission. The Journal’s findings were cited by calls from Congress to delay the repeal of the FCC’s net-neutrality rule.

Corporate Powers Are Stealing Online Identities, Posting Fake Comments to Push for Consumer Law Repeals (Alternet), Rated: A

A pattern of cyber deception is appearing across the federal government in the nooks and crannies of the process where White House directives or Congress’ laws are turned into the rules Americans must abide by—or in the Trump era, are repealed.

Hundreds of thousands of comments, purportedly made by Americans, have come in over the electronic transom to at least five different federal agencies calling for an end to Obama-era consumer protections and other regulations that impede profits, a series of investigative reports by the Wall Street Journal found. Except, the people who supposedly sent these comments never did.

Wrapping up 2017 (PeerIQ), Rated: A

The US economy added 148k jobs in December and the unemployment rate held steady at 4.1%. The jobs number was below economists’ estimates of 190k, but average hourly earnings rose 2.5%, a strong increase, and a metric that market participants are watching as a precursor to higher inflation.

In regulatory news, Indiana is planning legislation that would cap the interest rate on personal loans at 36%, down from the current cap of 391% on payday loans. If passed, this legislation would affect the payday lending industry and some experts have expressed concerns that this may crimp credit availability to the neediest individuals. The US government is also considering updating the credit scoring methodology used in evaluating mortgage applications, to use competitors to FICO score like VantageScore, with the hope that the new scores would expand mortgage credit access to borrowers.

Apollo Global Management and Värde Partners have agreed to acquire a 40.5% stake in OneMain Financial, the non-prime lender spun off by Citigroup after the financial crisis, from Fortress Investment Group.

 

 

Edison Partners makes $ 15M investment in fintech (ROI-NJ), Rated: A

Growth equity investment firm Edison Partners has invested $15 million into MoneyLion, a digital personal finance platform based in New York City.

Student Loan Startup Frank Secures $ 10 Million During Series A Funding Round (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Frank, a New York-based student loan startup, announced this week that it has secured $10 million through its Series A  Funding Round, which was led by Apollo Global Management, with participation from Reach Capital, and Aleph. This funding round brought its total funding amount to $15.5 million.

Digital financial advice startup SuperEd raises $ 5 million from key investors and staff (Smart Company), Rated: A

Digital superannuation advice startup SuperEd has completed a $5 million capital raise from both external investors and staff members to ramp up its expansion, with the 2012-founded company betting on digital advice being a big deal for fund managers going forward.

Credit Karma Teams with American Express to Offer Advance Tax Refund (Finovate), Rated: A

Earlybird Advance is a no-fee, no-interest loan from MetaBank that allows users who file through Credit Karma to claim from $500 to $1,000 of their tax refund as soon as 24 hours after the IRS accepts their tax return. This is a step up from the three-to-four week time period it generally takes for taxpayers to receive their funds.

Testimonial Tree Partners With J4 Mortgage Solutions to Offer Online Review Software to Mortgage Lenders and Title Companies (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Testimonial Tree announces its new alliance with J4 Mortgage Solutions, LLC, a mortgage technology consulting firm, to add online reviews and automated feedback to its suite of tech services.

The Future Of Financial Advice Requires AI With A Human Touch (FA-Magazine), Rated: A

“Digital leaders report an 8.6 percent increase in revenue, an 11.3 percent rise in productivity, and a 6.3 percent improvement in market share. Advanced firms now generate 32 percent of their revenue through digital channels, and expect that amount to rise to 48 percent by 2022,” the study pointed out.

Digital leaders acknowledge what will be the growing importance of AI in the digital transformation of industry from the front office to the back office over the next five years. According to the study, while more than half of the digital leaders are already using AI to increase productivity, some 40 percent are extending AI applications to investment management as well.

Community Reinvestment Fund, USA and U.S. Bank Partner to Expand Access to Credit for Small Businesses (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF) – a mission-driven non-profit lender dedicated to improving communities and transforming lives – announced today that it has partnered with U.S. Bank to deliver a new solution for connecting small business borrowers with responsible lending options from community-based lenders across the country.

There are approximately 28.8 million small businesses in the U.S., accounting for more than 63 percent of the net new jobs created between 1993 and 2013. However, the Federal Reserve Bank’s 2016 Small Business Credit Surveyfound the most common challenge facing small businesses was “credit availability or securing funds for expansion.”

Predicting Comptroller Otting’s Impact on Fintech (Lend360), Rated: A

Second, Comptroller Otting may be helpful to Fintech companies in addressing important issues such as the Second Circuit’s decision in Madden v. Midland Funding and the so-called “true lender” issue.  For example, the OCC could adopt a rule or issue interpretative guidance: (1) providing that loans funded by a bank in its own name as creditor are fully subject to Section 85 and other provisions of the National Bank Act for their entire term; and (2) emphasizing that banks that make loans are expected to manage and supervise the lending process in accordance with OCC guidance and will be subject to regulatory consequences if and to the extent that loan programs are unsafe or unsound or fail to comply with applicable law.  (The rule should apply in the same way to federal savings banks and their governing statute, the Home Owners’ Loan Act.)  In other words, it is the origination of the loan by a supervised bank (and the attendant legal consequences if the loans are improperly originated), and not whether the bank retains the predominant economic interest in the loan, that should govern the regulatory treatment of the loan under federal law.

 

Consider Alternative Funds to Hedge Against a Market Downturn (NASDAQ), Rated: A

To ease your anxiety, you might consider adding a small dose of alternative investments–things that zig when the stock market zags–to your portfolio, even if it means giving up some potential returns.

Wells Fargo Investment Institute, the research and strategy arm of the giant bank, recommends a 23% allotment to various alternative investments for moderate-risk investors, for example, up from 16% two years ago. At Altfest Personal Wealth Management, in New York, 15% of client assets are invested in alternatives, up from 10% last year.

Market-neutral funds. If your goal is to invest in an asset that doesn’t move in sync with the S&P 500, consider a market-neutral fund, such as a merger-arbitrage fund.

Options-based funds allow you to maintain your stock exposure–or even put new money in the market–with some degree of safety.

Long-short stock funds. These funds bet on some stocks and against others with the goal of delivering respectable returns with low volatility. The funds have been 15% to 25% less volatile than an S&P 500-stock index fund over the past decade.

CLSA Top Three Books For 2018 (ValueWalk), Rated: A

What do an undocumented immigrant in the South Bronx, a high-net-worth entrepreneur, and a twenty-something graduate student have in common? All three are victims of our dysfunctional mainstream bank and credit system. Today nearly half of all Americans live from paycheck to paycheck, and income volatility has doubled over the past thirty years. Banks, with their high monthly fees and overdraft charges, are gouging their low- and middle-income customers, while serving only the wealthiest Americans.

“The Unbanking of America”

Why I Joined MetaProp As An EIR (LinkedIn), Rated: A

I recently left RealtyShares, the online marketplace for real estate investing, as CEO after founding the company in my living room back in 2013.

When Zach realized I was leaving the CEO role at RealtyShares, he reached out and asked if I wanted to get involved with MetaProp, the first real estate technology incubator based out of NYC.

This opportunity would give me a chance to pursue my passion in real estate technology through a different lens while mentoring startup founders and CEOs and helping them as they embark on the same journey I embarked on four years ago.

AlphaFlow Appoints Chris Woida As Co-Chief Investment Officer (AlphaFlow), Rated: A

AlphaFlow, the first automated alternative investment platform for real estate, announced today that Chris Woida has joined the company as co-Chief Investment Officer. Woida will serve as co-CIO alongside the firm’s CEO Ray Sturm, who will act as both CEO and co-CIO.

Woida brings over 10 years of experience in the financial services industry, previously helping build BlackRock’s smart beta and factor-based platforms and serving as the lead investment strategist for its flagship style-factor hedge fund during his seven years with the company. Most recently, he served as Managing Director, Head of Index Solutions at Axioma, a provider of enterprise market risk and portfolio analytics solutions. In this role, Woida helped the index business expand into derivatives, fixed income and alternative data sources, including AI and ESG.

MPOWER Financing Hires Lutz Braum, Fintech and Higher Ed Marketing Veteran (Cleveland19), Rated: B

MPOWER Financing, a public benefit corporation focused on removing financial barriers to higher education in the U.S., has appointed Lutz Braum as its vice president of marketing and business development.

Finova Financial’s New Fundraising Process Leverages Cryptocurrency to Serve Non-Accredited Investors (Finovate), Rated: B

Alternative lender Finova Financial introduced a new product this week that will offer non-accredited investors access to regulated public securities offerings.

The new offering is called the JOBS Crypto Offering (JCO) and will allow investors to use cryptocurrency to invest in equity ownership of previously privately-held companies.

Read more about Finova’s JCO offering here.

Is it possible to land a car loan with no down payment? (Bankrate), Rated: B

Buying a car is a significant investment, with the average new car costing $34,968 in 2017.

The average down payment for a used car is generally 10 percent of the purchase price; if you’re buying a new car, you can expect to pay slightly more, probably between 12 and 20 percent.

LENDINGTREE, LEADSCON ANNOUNCE $ 25,000 INNOVATION CHALLENGE IN LAS VEGAS (Business Insider), Rated: B

LendingTree®, the online loan marketplace, and Access Intelligence, a business information and marketing company, today announced a new initiative to showcase the top innovations in financial technology (fintech) lead generation at LeadsCon Las Vegas this March.

Startups and established businesses from around the world can apply today for a chance to receive exposure, bragging rights and $25,000 in cash.

United Kingdom

IFISA first-mover Crowd2Fund kicks off £30m fundraise, eyes £1bn valuation by 2022 (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Crowd2Fund has embarked on an ambitious series of fundraises that it hopes will see £30m raised within the next 24 months.

The peer-to-peer lender, one of the first to launch an Innovative Finance ISA, has already raised £1.5m from 113 of its own investors (all of whom are either sophisticated or high net worth individuals). More shares were made available after demand exceeded the initial target of £1m. These investors have bought shares in the company at a valuation of £33m. The capital is being raised through Crowd2Fund’s platform.

UK consumer lending not driven by subprime borrowers, regulators say (Daily Mail), Rated: A

Rapid growth in Britain’s consumer credit has been driven by borrowing by people with good credit scores, not subprime lending, according to research from regulators on Monday.

Unsecured consumer lending grew at near double-digit rates in 2016 and 2017, and concern that lenders had overestimated their borrowers’ creditworthiness led the Bank of England to tell them in September to hold 10 billion pounds ($13.54 billion) of extra capital.

However, research jointly published by Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority and a BoE blog showed that two-thirds of outstanding lending as of November 2016 was held by borrowers with credit scores in the top 30 percent.

Here’s everything you need to know about business finance (UKTech.news), Rated: A

Wherever you are on your life cycle, knowing the financing options available to you is a crucial part of growing and running your business.

Equity Funding

Equity finance can be used at various stages of your business life cycle and giving up equity can be a big decision.

Private equity

Private equity focuses on more medium to long term investment and will usually involve the development of the product and a new management structure to improve the performance of the business.

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding aims to connect businesses with a large number of potential investors via a shared online platform.

Debt Funding

Debt finance is usually used as a means of long term investment or funding working capital.

Peer to Peer (P2P) lending

P2P lending brings individual borrowers and lenders together via an online platform by by-passing traditional banks with the aim of achieving better rates for all.

Asset finance

Assets can be purchased via leasing or hire purchase agreements which can assist the cash flow of the business. The asset is not fully paid for upfront but over a fixed period of time and the lease or hire purchase agreement is secured on the asset being financed.

Debt factoring

A debt factor will take on the sales ledger of the business and chase money owed by your customers. The factor will advance most of the value of the outstanding sales invoices to the business with the balance being paid once the customers have fully repaid their debt.

China

China Fintech: 2nd consumer credit bureau in sight now (EJ Insight), Rated: AAA

Last week, on January 4, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) accepted a license application for consumer credit bureau led by the National Internet Finance Association of China. As of now, the Credit Reference Center of the central bank is the only consumer credit bureau in China.

Consumer loan securitization boom put on hold as China clamps down on leverage (Reuters), Rated: A

A boom in asset-backed securities issued by micro-lenders aiming to expand in China’s fast-growing online credit market looks set to slow this year amid growing regulatory scrutiny.

Rules announced on Dec. 1 limited the amount of lending backed by the products the companies can make. They were also required to consolidate them on their balance sheets.

Ant Financial is the largest issuer of consumer loan securities, accounting for 60 percent of all issues in 2017, according to Reuters calculations based on data from China Securitisation Analytics.

Its two Chongqing-based micro-loan companies had total net capital of 10.6 billion yuan, but issued 265.1 billion yuan in loans by the end of June, according to CIB Research, a unit of Industrial Bank Co (601166.SS). Outstanding loan securities issued by the two units have exceeded 250 billion yuan, it said.

Growth in China’s financial technology has only just begun, CEO says (CNBC), Rated: A

China’s burgeoning financial technology industry went through plenty of ups and downs last year, but growing pains experienced in the sector aren’t fazing one local player.

But increased competition in the space doesn’t suggest the sector is overcrowded, according to David Ye, the co-founder and CEO of Jianpu Technology.

“In China, we have close to 9,000 microfinance companies, we have close to 2,000 peer-to-peer companies. Only four of them got listed … It’s just a tiny drop of water in the big blue ocean,” he said.

This firm’s fintech play is connecting financial services in China from CNBC.

European Union

Klarna Payments Expands eCommerce Footprint with ACI Worldwide (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

ACI Worldwide (NASDAQ: ACIW), a global provider of real-time electronic payment and banking solutions, today announced an extended partnership with Klarna, leveraging ACI’s UP eCommerce Payments solution. This will enable online businesses in 10 major markets, including the U.S. and U.K., to easily integrate Klarna’s payment products, and offer shoppers a fast and frictionless checkout process that can improve conversion rates immediately.

International

History of Ripple (BuyRipple.com), Rated: AAA

Source: BuyRipple.com

Cryptocurrency markets: Top 10 coins with greatest 24-hour change 8 Jan 2018 (finder), Rated: A

3. ETHLend (LEND) +32%

The peer to peer lending platform has seen a decent spike after it featured heavily across exchange Coinspot’s Facebook page as they look too soon be listed on the exchange. That exposure has also highlighted the achievements the Estonian company has made recently, including launching its fiat based loans at the end of 2017.

Crypto cards just suffered a major setback (Financial Times), Rated: A

Strict terms and conditions usually govern the circumstances in which prepay cards can be issued by unlicensed (non-bank) institutions due to their popularity with the unbanked or low-credit community as well as their propensity to be taken advantage of for money laundering reasons. These T&Cs tend to be jurisdiction dependent, and can in some cases restrict the types of funds that can be loaded onto cards by source (for example the source of funds might be restricted to welfare payments and/or employer compensation for services rendered).

Take as an example the following condition attached to a card brought to market by an outfit called TenX:

LOADING FUNDS TO YOUR ACCOUNT

Five.1 Your Card is a payout card tied to an account directly or indirectly established by an employer or other such corporate payor (each, a “Payor”) on behalf of a consumer to which electronic funds transfers of the consumer’s wages or other compensation are made on a recurring basis, whether the account is operated or managed by the employer, a third party payout processor, or a depository institution. Only funds from a Payor may be loaded to your Account In case of errors or questions about the funds loaded to your Account, contact your payout provider.

How will lenders meet identity verification challenges in 2018? (Bankless Times), Rated: A

Online lenders will start to move away from the social security number (SSN) as a personal identifier.

Big data and machine learning will take centre stage in the drive for better identity verification.

Larger online lenders will bring more of their fraud-fighting efforts in-house.

Online financial institutions will begin to adopt blockchain.

Cybersecurity startups raked in $ 7.6 billion in VC money in 2017 — twice as much as the year before (Business Insider), Rated: B

Globally, venture investors put $7.6 billion in cybersecurity companies last year, which was up from $3.8 billion in 2016, according to the research firm. The number of cybersecurity-related investments jumped to 548 in 2017 from 467 deals the year before.

Global spending on cybersecurity was estimated to reach $83.5 billion in 2017, and that number could hit $119.9 billion in 2021, according to an IDC report from October.

India

FinTech Trends That Will Shape The Industry In 2018 (BW Disrupt), Rated: A

Banks will increasingly start looking at startups in the FinTech, RegTech and InsurTech space as their extended innovation arms with a view to collaborate with them.

The BharatQR code, a unique interoperable payment acceptance solution developed by the NPCI (National Payments Corporation of India), Mastercard and Visa will enable point of sale (POS) transactions to be made more seamlessly. Along with banks, payment wallets like Paytm and MobiKwik will continue to make huge investments to leverage this new standard.

Startups in this space are likely to well as adoption by banks and other financial institutions rises in AI, ML, NLP (Natural Language Processing) and NLG (Natural Language Generation).

Asia

How one woman beat the odds to start-up success (Myanmar Times), Rated: AAA

In credit-scarce Myanmar, obstacles abound for budding entrepreneurs with bright ideas, big potential and dry pockets. With banks reluctant to lend to individuals without appropriate collateral and proven track records, many small businesses ultimately fail.

Ma Khin Yadana is among those with a success story behind her garment business, which she started from scratch around five years ago.

To get back on her feet, Ma Khin Yadana sought help from a small business group on Facebook, where she met with other garment shop owners across Myanmar who were willing to invest in start-up businesses like hers by extending credit via a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending system. In return, the funds would be paid back with interest within 15 days.

However, the constant pressure of having to repay loans has begun to take a toll on the young entrepreneur. “Most of the loans from investors are on six-month terms. So far, I have 70 investors to whom I must repay K100 million in total.

When the loans are due, I have to repay in full plus interest. The main problem is the 15pc interest rate, which is too high,” she said.

In mid-2017, with higher levels of debt coming due, Ma Khin Yadana negotiated with investors for lower interest rates of 10pc.

Canada

CIBC Innovation Banking unit launched to help grow startups (Finextra), Rated: A

Today, CIBC (TSX: CM) (NYSE: CM) introduced CIBC Innovation Banking, a full-service business that delivers strategic advice and funding to North American technology and innovation clients at each stage of their business cycle, from start up to IPO and beyond.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor