Thursday May 10 2018, Daily News Digest

Quarterly Originations

News Comments Today’s main news: Quarz Capital Management outlines proposals to unlock >70% returns in LendingClub share price. Sharestates surpasses $1B in loan originations. Funding Circle hires first female NED. Today’s main analysis: Review of LendingClub’s Q1 2018 earnings results. Today’s thought-provoking articles: LendingTree’s monthly mortgage offer report for April 2018. Crowdfunding in the absence of liquidity constraints. Digitization […]

Quarterly Originations

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

News Summary

United States

Quarz Capital Management Outlines Proposals to Unlock Return of >70% in the LendingClub’s Share Price (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

Quarz Capital Management, Ltd. (QCM), an investment manager, today issued a letter urging LendingClub to take immediate and decisive steps to address the severe undervaluation of its share price and unlock a potential attractive total return of >70% for shareholders.

US ONLINE MARKETPLACE LENDING BEHEMOTH TRADING AT ‘STARTUP’ VALUATION
– POTENTIAL TOTAL RETURN IN EXCESS OF 70% OVER THE NEXT 3 YEARS –

LendingClub is the largest online lending marketplace platform in the US with an estimated ~50% market share1. The firm is projected to generate more than $700million of revenue on ~$11billion of loan originations in 2018E. LC’s substantial loan origination volume of more than $35billion since 2006 and its proprietary credit data increase the effectiveness of credit and risk models and enable the largest institutional investors to undertake the rigorous due diligence required to allocate capital on its platform.

Recommendation 1. Emphasize on cost control to increase profitability

Recommendation 2. Improve alignment of compensation system for top management

Recommendation 3. Increase shareholder return on sizeable cash holdings

LendingClub Q1 2018 Earnings Results Review (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

During the first quarter, LendingClub is typically affected by the seasonality of the lending business so it’s beneficial to look both at the last quarter as well as the prior year period. In the first quarter of 2018, LendingClub posted originations of $2.3 billion. This represents a 5% decrease from the previous quarter, but an increase of 18% from the prior year period.

Source: Lend Academy

Revenue came in at $151.7 million, down 3% from the previous quarter but up 22% from the prior year period. They incurred a GAAP net loss of $31.2 million which included legal expenses related to legacy issues of $17 million.

Source: Lend Academy

 

Here’s Why Lending Club Is Soaring Today (The Motley Fool) Rated: A

The company called for 20% growth in its 2018 outlook, so 22% revenue growth is even better than expected. And, the company’s full-year outlook calls for total revenue in the range of $680-$705 million. At the midpoint, this implies average revenue of more than $180 million per quarter for the rest of the year. Considering that the first quarter’s revenue was “just” $151.7 million, this represents some impressive growth ahead.

Q1 2018: LendingClub Platform Update (Lending Club) Rated: A

During the first quarter of 2018, we continued to observe that credit performance across the industry is returning to long-term averages and interest rates are rising across fixed income assets.1 On the platform, we continue to see both of these trends in action: investors show higher demand for higher quality assets and are looking for higher interest rates overall.

Sharestates Surpasses $ 1 Billion in Loan Originations; Celebrates With $ 100,000 Giveaway to Investors (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

Online real estate investment platform, Sharestates, today announced they have surpassed $1 Billion in loan volume – an incredible milestone that showcases their continued growth in the real estate investment space. To celebrate the achievement, Sharestates is giving away $100,000 to mark the occasion.

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

LendingTree 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.

See the full report here.

CRE Crowdfunding Firms Continue to Scale Up Platforms (National Real Estate Investor) Rated: A

Crowdfunding firms have put a lot of effort into educating accredited investors on real estate crowdfunding and real estate investing in general. Those efforts are starting to pay for firms such as CrowdStreet. The firm hit a major milestone in March with more than 99,000 registered investors on its platform. CrowdStreet also is generating a high volume of repeat investors that are using crowdfunding to create diversified real estate portfolios with different sponsors, property types, geographic markets and risk profiles, notes Tore Steen, CEO, CrowdStreet.

The average investor on CrowdStreet has five investments in their portfolio, and over 20 percent of investors on CrowdStreet have invested more than $1 million across 12 unique investments.

Some crowdfunding platforms, such as Fundrise, Realty Mogul and Rich Uncles, have introduced e-REITs as a way to reach non-accredited investors and expand their potential customer base. But for the most part, crowdfunding firms are firmly focused on raising capital from accredited investors.

Groundfloor is one of the few crowdfunding platforms that is providing direct investment opportunities to non-accredited investors.

Banks in constant game of catch-up in combating mobile fraud (American Banker) Rated: A

Even as banks and other financial firms have invested heavily in technology designed to protect customers’ data, fraudsters have become more and more aggressive in trying to steal consumers’ identities to open accounts, take out loans or intercept payments.

According to ThreatMetrix, a global cybersecurity network used by banks and e-commerce firms to help determine the authenticity of digital transactions, 210 million attempted attacks were made on its network during the first quarter of 2018, a 62% increase over the same period last year.

Cohn says starting ‘digitized’ bank one option for next job (American Banker) Rated: A

Gary Cohn, the former director of the White House Economic Council, said he’s still weighing options for his next role but one possibility is a digital bank.

“I do have an idea for a company,” Cohn, who was president of Goldman Sachs before joining the Trump administration, said Tuesday in an interview on CNBC. “It would be an interesting concept playing on the knowledge I know from the banking world, in running a regulated bank, but in a digitized world.”

Where big banks fear to tread (Financial Times) Rated: A

Bank accounts for small businesses is an area of fintech not yet solved; Azlo is looking to fill that void as they believe banks have built their small business offering for the traditional small business owner; the new age business owner doesn’t have years of tax returns to share, providing accounts for them is not a risk banks want to take; Azlo also plans to move into loans later as an alternative to overdraft fees; they believe a straightforward, transparent offering will allow them to serve the type of small business banks have overlooked for years.

How Northwestern Mutual is using LearnVest to build advisory services (Tearsheet) Rated: A

Northwestern Mutual is growing its advisory services, building on the technology and expertise of LearnVest, which is currently shutting down and preparing for a rebrand as a content site this year.

In a statement, Northwestern Mutual said it wants to serve customers wanting an “end-to-end experience” with a human adviser using LearnVest’s digital planning platform, alongside a new content site. The integration also allows the parent company to concentrate on full-scale financial planning — a message consistent with a recent job posting that noted the company is scaling its technology and personal finance approach to reach millions of people across both LearnVest and Northwestern Mutual brands.

Bitcoin Sees Wall Street Warm to Trading Virtual Currency (The New York Times) Rated: A

The parent company of the New York Stock Exchange has been working on an online trading platform that would allow large investors to buy and hold Bitcoin, according to emails and documents viewed by The New York Times and four people briefed on the effort who asked to remain anonymous because the plans were still confidential.

Rebundling the bank: an interview with Renaud Laplanche (AltFi News) Rated: A

It’s clear that Laplanche has designed Upgrade from the start with scale in mind. Little more than a year after launching its first product, the company has 250 staff across three centres, San Francisco, Phoenix, and Montreal, and its series A funding round was no minnow at $60m. Originations are running at $100m a month, having reached a level after a year that it took Lending Club more than six years to reach. Laplanche said in April he expects to originate $2bn of loans this year.

Laplanche is scathing about credit cards, labelling them “fundamentally bad products”. They are expensive – the average interest rate on the US’s $1.03 trillion of balances is 17 per cent, he says, which rises to perhaps 25 per cent once fees are accounted for – and borrowers can run up debts without having to pay down the principal every month as they would with a loan. Many don’t even realise they are taking out a loan, and card issuers never use the word.

California bank goes online competitors one better (Banking Exchange) Rated: A

First Foundation Bank, an 11-year old $4.5 billion-assets bank headquartered in Irvine, Calif., gets that message. Lorrie Asker, senior vice-president, commercial banking, says she’s heard from many clients that they handle their finances and their banking between 10 P.M. and 2 A.M. In the Age of Amazon, everyone, she says, craves immediate online availability of services, including banking.

Marketplace business lenders frequently point out that busy small business owners’ lives often don’t synch with “bankers hours.” Being able to apply for credit with online players like Kabbage or OnDeck any hour of the day is a much touted advantage. It plays to the credit hungry who find their credit by Googling for it.

10 tips to beef up your crowdfunding campaign (Born2Invest) Rated: A

Researchers from Georgia Tech checked out nine million phrases culled from 45,000 Kickstarter campaigns, and they discovered the most-used phrases from fully funded campaigns versus those that failed.

Some platforms to consider include:

IndiegogoA popular crowdfunding platform that is home to mostly technological innovations. Aside from this, the platform also offers initial coin offerings (ICO) of new cryptocurrencies.

SeedInvestThis crowdfunding platform has a selection process for startups it wants to help out. While the company only accepts one percent of startups that apply, it presents a selection of highly vetted businesses.

StraightUpMade for real estate crowdfunding, the company invests along with its clients. If a client finds a project interesting, StraightUp also supports it by participating in the crowdfunding.

LendUp Bolsters Leadership Team Across Finance, Engineering, Credit Card Product, InfoSec, And Legal, (PR Newswire) Rated: B

LendUp, a fast-growing fintech firm for the emerging middle class, today announced a number of executive hires, including a General Counsel and VP of Engineering, as well as new heads of Capital Markets, Credit Card Product, and Information Security. These appointments will help LendUp expand the scope of its affordable, consumer-friendly products, as it becomes a first-of-its-kind destination for responsible spenders, savers, and strivers.

Beyond Spare Change: Debt Payment Startup Qoins Wins Country’s Largest Fintech Prize (Hypepotamus) Rated: B

Qoins, an Atlanta-based startup that rounds up users’ spare change to help them pay off their debt, took home the largest equity-free cash prize for startups in the country as the winner of the Fintech Innovation Award Challenge at this week’s FinTech South conference. The audience was able to vote on which of four finalists would receive the $50,000 check during a live pitch event.

4 Tips for Finding the Best Online Mortgage Lenders (Nerd Wallet) Rated: B

Since not every lender offers a fully digital mortgage and your experience can differ from one lender to the next, it’s a good idea to find a company that offers an online experience that meets your expectations. These four tips will guide you to the right fit.

  1. Know who offers the loan you need with qualifications you can meet
  2. Evaluate the customer service
  3. Find out if an online application is right for your situation
  4. Test-drive online lender platforms by getting preapproved

Laurel Road Named Winner Of Best Consumer Lending Product Category In 2018 Fintech Breakthrough Awards (PR Newswire) Rated: B

Laurel Road, an online lender and FDIC-insured bank, today announced that its online student loan solution has been selected as winner of the “Best Consumer Lending Product” award by FinTech Breakthrough, an independent organization that recognizes the top companies, technologies and products in the global fintech market today.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle, the UK’s biggest peer-to-peer lender, will this week take another step towards a £2bn London flotation by naming its first female non-executive director.

Sky News understands that the company, which is targeting a listing soon after the summer, will announce that former O2 executive Cath Keers is joining its board.

Ms Keers, who is an experienced non-executive director in the retail, technology and logistics industries, will bolster Funding Circle’s public market credentials as well as improving the gender balance in its boardroom.

NatWest fintech investments bear fruit as SME loans platform goes live (Computer Weekly) Rated: A

NatWest has launched a fintech (financial technology) lending platform aimed at small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that cuts the time it takes to apply for a loan to 10 minutes. The project will help the bank fight off competition from peer-to-peer lenders.

The platform, known as Esme Loans, offers SMEs loans of up to £150,000 and makes it easier to apply for them by using the latest technology, including application programming interfaces (APIs).  The entire process is online and paperless, with customers able to apply in less than 10 minutes.

China

Six and the Citi unveil API partnerships in Hong Kong (Fintech Futures) Rated: AAA

Citi has made six API partnerships with corporations in Hong Kong as it looks to improve its digital banking services.

The six partnerships are:

  • HKTVmall integrated with Citi Pay with points API
  • EGL Tours integrated with Citi Pay with points API
  • AIA Hong Kong integrated with Citi Customers API
  • Octopus App integrated with Citi onboarding, cards and money movement APIs
  • Citi Visa Fetch App
  • Zurich Hong Kong integrated with Citi Customers API

China’s peer-to-peer lending hits the skids (Nikkei Asian Review) Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lending is slowing dramatically in China as a looming clampdown on the industry spurs platform providers to throw in the towel — sometimes after just a few months in business.

The balance of peer-to-peer loans, or financing between individuals, came to 1.29 trillion yuan ($202 billion) on April 30, up a mere 6% from the end of 2017. That increase represents a sharp slowdown from the 50% surge last year and the 100% jump in 2016, according to industry information provider WDZJ.com. Less than 200 billion yuan worth of contracts were signed for April, down around 20% year on year.

European Union

CROWDFUNDING IN THE ABSENCE OF LIQUIDITY CONSTRAINTS (All About Alpha) Rated: AAA

A forthcoming issue of the Journal of the European Economic Association will carry a study arguing that crowdfunding in the absence of liquidity constraints is a superior method of equity financing–superior to “traditional financing forms,” that is, unless those traditional financiers are fully competitive and perfectly informed.

By one estimate, global crowdfunding reached $195 billion in 2017. Of that, $13 billion was equity- or reward-based.

The 60 second interview: Lara Oyesanya (The Lawyer) Rated: A

Ahead of her session at the In-house Financial Services Conference, Lara talks to The Lawyer about the legal challenges of digital innovation and the way in which technology is transforming the in-house lawyer’s relationship with external counsel.

What legal challenges are brought forward by digitalisation?

Will AI function within current legal frameworks, do we actually know how it will function to properly assess legal risks, is monitoring required to ensure due legal process? There are then ongoing discussions around data, information and cyber security.Algorithms and Applied Programming Interfaces (APIs) are at the heart of digitalisation. With the continued development of artificial intelligence (i.e. algorithms with learning capabilities), there will be more legal challenges to address.

UniCredit Pushes on Cost, Asset Quality to Affirm Leadership (Bloomberg) Rated: A

UniCredit SpA Chief Executive Officer Jean Pierre Mustier is ramping up cost cuts and improving asset quality to keep his promise of building a leading pan-European bank.

A 5.2 percent decline in operating expense in the first quarter helped the bank increase net income to 1.11 billion euros ($1.3 billion) from 907 million euros a year earlier. That beat the 796 million-euro profit expected by the average of 8 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

UniCredit climbed as much as 2.6 percent in Milan trading and was up 2.4 percent at 17.96 euros as of 9:23 a.m. That boosts the bank’s gain this year to 15 percent.

Taaleri records a loss of about EUR 2.5 million from a German geothermal project (Globe Newswire) Rated: B

Taaleri Investments Ltd, part of the Taaleri Group, acquired the majority shareholding in Erdwärme Oberland GmbH (86.42% of shares and votes) from the Italian energy-company Enel on March 12, 2018.

Unfortunately, the tests on the first geothermic production site have proven that the project on the site in question is not commercially doable and, Taaleri Investments Ltd records hence a loss of approximately EUR 2.5 million, visible in Taaleri Groups half year results 2018.

International

Digitization of Money and Finance: Challenges and Opportunities (International Monetary Fund) Rated: AAA

The global economy is experiencing a non-stop digital revolution. Consider this one number: a recent study estimates that by 2025, what is called the “global data-sphere” will grow to 163 trillion gigabytes from 16.1 trillion gigabytes in 2016. That ten-fold increase will encompass data held everywhere from the cloud to our handheld devices.

It raises the prospect of expanding financial inclusion, especially in developing countries. The possibilities are exciting.

Companies working with artificial intelligence are exploring credit scoring based on payment data. Fintech startups in Latin America, Africa, and Asia are moving toward the use of peer-to-peer lending data, and information from mobile phone payments to build reliable credit databases.

Firmo protocol for financial derivatives on the blockchain (Next Big Future) Rated: A

The Firmo protocol executes financial contracts on blockchain technology. Contracts are written using the domain specific language; FirmoLang. FirmoLang provides a secure execution environment for financial contracts on decentralized asset-classes. Similar to software built for airplane coordination, FirmoLang is formally verified, yielding needed security benefits for smart contracts in finance. FirmoLang compiles directly to Ethereum Virtual Machine bytecode. The Firmo Protocol is designed to integrate with and support the advancing decentralized economy, including: Decentralized exchanges, p2p lending platforms, prediction market platforms and more.

Firmo is building the future of financial infrastructure. 1/7 of the world’s economy is derivatives, but these financial contracts are not securely available in the crypto economy yet.

Valorem : Blockchain, Loans, P2P Networks, Investing, Marketplace, Insurance and Charity. ICO is still live! (TechBullion) Rated: A

The Valorem foundation provides a decentralized platform enabled by smart contracts of the blockchain to allow users engage in cryptocurrency-based transactions and exchanges. The transactions between users are facilitated by an ERC20 standard token called VLR token.

Valorem Foundation’s VLR token is the utility token for this ever changing platform. Valorem Foundation is developing a unique platform with the following features: Microloans, Student Loans, Car Loans, P2P Networks, Business Investing, Crowdfunding, Buying/Selling of goods, Insurance and Charity.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

 

Wednesday January 17 2018, Daily News Digest

European alt SME lending

News Comments Today’s main news: Wells Fargo is closing branches left and right. Repeal  of payday lending rule under consideration. Moody’s assigns provisional ratings to SoFi Professional Loan Program 2018-A-LLC. RateSetter leads in personal loans. Curve launches. Victory Park Capital looks overseas. Today’s main analysis: How Lendix blazes a trail in SME lending. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Why regulation is crucial. Wells […]

European alt SME lending

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Asia

Africa

Canada

News Summary

United States

Wells Fargo is getting more aggressive with branch closures (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Wells Fargo is charging toward its goal to cut over 800 branches by the end of 2020, it said in a presentation of its fourth quarter earnings on Friday.

 

Wells, which has been struggling to cut costs while it continues getting hit with legal fees following its various scandals, expects to save $4 billion as a result of the plan.
Source: Tearsheet

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau considering repeal of payday lending rule (NBC News), Rated: AAA

The bureau, which came under control of the Trump administration late last year, said in a statement Tuesday that it plans to take a second look at the payday lending rules. While the bureau did not submit a proposal to repeal the rules outright, the statement opens the door for the bureau to start the process of revising or even repealing the regulations. The bureau also said it would grant waivers to companies as the first sets of regulations going into effect later this year.

Moody’s assigns provisional ratings to SoFi Professional Loan Program 2018-A LLC (Moody’s), Rated: AAA

Moody’s Investors Service has assigned provisional ratings of (P)Aaa (sf) to Class A-1 Notes, the Class A-2A Notes and the Class A-2B Notes to be issued by SoFi Professional Loan Program 2018-A LLC (SoFi 2018-A). The collateral underlying the transaction consists of SoFi’s private student loans, which are loans the government does not guarantee. Our cumulative net loss expectation for SoFi 2018-A’s loan pool is approximately 2.0%.

Issuer: SoFi Professional Loan Program 2018-A LLC

  • $55,000,000 Floating Rate Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Class A-1 Notes, Assigned (P)Aaa (sf)
  • $358,500,000 Fixed Rate Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Class A-2A Notes, Assigned (P)Aaa (sf)
  • $236,800,000 Fixed Rate Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Class A-2B Notes, Assigned (P)Aaa (sf)

Magilla Loans Platform Surpasses $ 4.5B Loan Origination Milestone (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Magilla Loans, a search engine for loans that connects borrowers to banks without requesting personal information, announced it has surpassed $4.5 billion in aggregated loans from top banks across the U.S. The Magilla platform provides business owners with access to multiple financing options, including access to business, home and real estate loans.

UpLift Closes Financings of $ 90M (FINSMES), Rated: A

UpLift, a Sunnyvale, CA-based travel financing company, closed financings of $90m.

The company received:
– a $75m credit facility in partnership with funds managed by affiliates of Fortress Investment Group, and
– a $15m equity round which includes participation from previous investors including PAR Capital with Draper Nexus, Highgate Ventures, and former Expedia CEO Erik Blachford.

NextCapital does $ 30-million VC round with a staggering objective that’s taking shape first with John Hancock (RIABiz), Rated: A

The shoot-the-moon robo strategy of NextCapital Advisers Inc. is looking up now that John Hancock Financial Services Inc. has come out of pilot and State Street Global Advisors became a partner in going after RIAs.

The Chicago-based digital advisor, founded in 2013, announced it more than doubled its backing with $30 million of venture round led this time led by Oak HC/FT of Greenwich, Conn. See: NextCapital raises $16 million as its founder goes where Financial Engines’ 401(k) robo strategy didn’t.

All told, the firm has raised $54 million: Six million dollars in August 2014, $18 million in 2015 and, just recently, this $30-million round.

Borrowers in the Lone Star State Can Now Get a Better Mortgage (Digital Journal), Rated: A

Better Mortgage, a digital mortgage company focused on improving access to home financing for a new generation of homeowners, is now available to Texas homebuyers. Better will now be able to serve more than half of Americans who are looking to own or currently own a home. In 2017, Better expanded its footprint in major real estate markets around the country, with Texas being the latest licensed states.

Texas is Better’s 14th market. In 2018, they expect to continue their expansion, focusing on geographies that help first-time homebuyers invest in their communities by putting down roots.

Gary Lieberman of Laurel Road (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • The history of Darien Rowayton Bank.
  • Why Gary decided to buy this small community bank in 2010.
  • How the bank has grown since Gary took it over.
  • How student loan refinancing first got on his radar decades ago.
  • When DRB originated their first student loan.
  • The advantages of being a bank and a fintech platform.
  • Some of the affiliate partnerships DRB has.
  • Other verticals where DRB has offerings today.
  • Why DRB rebranded to Laurel Road in 2017.
  • The scale they are at today with student loan refinancing.
  • Their approach to securitization.
  • How their loans have been performing to date.
  • The profile of their typical borrower.
  • How they market their offerings.
  • What the future holds for Laurel Road.

Refinancing Student Loans Gets Mixed Report (247WallSt), Rated: A

More than 45 million Americans have borrowed $1.45 trillion in student loans to help pay for their post-secondary educations. Repaying those loans can be tough, especially if the loan amount is high and pay for the first job after graduation is low.

Student loan marketplace and refinancing website LendEDU has just released its second annual report on the state of the student loan refinancing market. Here are several highlights from the report:

  • Average credit score of an approved refinance applicant is 764.
  • Just over 58% of 2017 applications are denied.
  • The average interest rate on a refinanced loan is 5.56%. The average rate rose 74 basis points year over year from 4.82% in 2016.
  • The average size of a refinance loan was $66,453. The 2017 average was more than 23% higher year over year.
  • Less than half of approved applicants actually end up refinancing their loans. In 2016, just over 33% of all applicants completed the loan process.

Reliamax’s Michael VanErdewyk: ‘We’re seeing a move towards more private student loans’ (Tearsheet), Rated: A

With all the excitement around online lending, there are still some spaces that have a long growth runway. One of the most persuasive growth opportunities is private student lending. Macroeconomic and policy changes are contributing to the growth thesis but so too are the number of local lending institutions that want to move into this asset class.

Rising costs of higher education
The cost of education continues to increase and the number of kids in school isn’t declining. So, it’s a big opportunity. Really, we have to talk about the cost of education. The cost of higher education in the U.S. today costs over $400 billion a year. About 25 percent of that is free money (grants and scholarships). Another 25 percent is federal student loans. The remainder — about $200 billion a year — is really family contributions.

The focus on private student loans
If you look at the total outstanding student debt, there’s about $1.4 trillion in federal student loans and $100 billion in private student loans, comprising only about 7 percent of total outstanding student debt.

CreditVest starts crowdfunding advisory firm (BizJournals.com), Rated: B

Jon Mauro founded Realty Mentors with Andrea Humphrey, who is president and owner of CreditVest, to focus on individual investors who want to participate in commercial real estate crowdfunding.

Zelle is now running TV ads (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Zelle is spending “tens of millions” of dollars on a television ad campaign featuring spoken word artist Daveed Diggs.

Early Warning, the bank-owned consortium behind the peer-to-peer payments platform, aired the first ad Saturday during the National Football League’s divisional round of playoff games and will continue to run them alongside unifying cultural events like the Grammy Awards, the NBA All-Star Game and the Super Bowl pre-game show. They’ll also run during popular shows on Bravo, Comedy Central, The Discovery Channel, ESPN and MTV.

Zelle is trying to build some brand recognition for itself among its target audience, mobile users, in an effort to compete with Venmo.

An investing platform founded by a 25-year-old went free — and now it’s facing a backlash from its rivals (Business Insider), Rated: A

M1, which was founded by CEO Brian Barnes when he was 25, originally charged users 25 to 40 basis points to use its platform, which allows users to buy fractional stocks and invest in pre-built portfolios. In December, it decided to go free, and make money strictly on the backend, by selling flow to trading firms and lending out non-invested funds sitting in users’ accounts to banks. The company also plans to offer margin trading to its users.

Since going free in December, M1 has seen daily inflows hit as high as $1 million, and a 10-fold increase in the number of new accounts each day.

Still,  M1’s robo rivals aren’t convinced the strategy will work for the small company.

Tipalti Launches Payables Automation Partner Program (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Tipalti, the leading global payables automation platform, today announced the launch of its Partner Program, which will offer accounting firms, financial institutions, system integrators, ERP resellers/VARs, consultants, and partners who work with the office of the CFO, the ability for their clients to leverage Tipalti’s software to eliminate the friction, risk, and time spent on manual accounts payable operations.

Key Features of Tipalti’s Partner Program:

  • Training and support for partners as they assist their clients
  • Option to pass exclusive savings on to their clients
  • Option to receive income stream through revenue-sharing
  • Low-impact engagement with minimal investment by partner

STOCKHOLDER INSPECTION RIGHTS SURVIVE CHALLENGE IN DELAWARE (AllAboutAlpha), Rated: A

On December 29, 2017, the last business day of the expiring year, the Delaware Chancery Court, in a memorandum of opinion by Vice Chancellor Slights, upheld stockholders’ statutory books-and-records inspection rights against a defendant corporation that sought to invoke and considerably to widen the scope of the Delaware Supreme Court’s Corwin decision of 2015.

The significance of this is that Delaware, some impressions to the contrary, is not a corporate-management-always-wins state. It was not so before the Corwin decision, nor did that decision make it so.  That ought to be good news for activist investors and their counsel. There may be alpha, or at least leverage toward alpha, lurking in the right to inspect books and records.

United Kingdom

RateSetter leading the way for personal loans (RateCity), Rated: AAA

Interest rates for personal loans listed on RateCity range from as low as 3.57 per cent to as high as 48.00 per cent.

The average personal loan interest rate was 11.89 per cent at the end of December, according to an analysis of the dozens of lenders listed on RateCity.

RateSetter, a peer-to-peer lender, has a one-year unsecured personal loan with an advertised rate of 3.57 per cent and a comparison rate of 3.92 per cent.

Curve, the fintech that connects all your cards to a single card and app, gets full consumer launch (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Curve, the London fintech startup that offers a platform that lets you consolidate all your bank cards into a single Curve card and app to make it easier to manage your spending, is finally launching to U.K. consumers. Up until now, the service remained in beta and was only officially available to business users.

In a call with Curve founder and CEO Shachar Bialick, he described the consumer launch as a major milestone for the company, noting that 50,000 people have signed up to its waitlist, in addition to the 100,000 or so users who joined Curve in its beta phase. It’s free to join, although a premium version of the Curve card is also available for £50 that offers additional perks.

How P2P could be a financial lifeline for UK landowners (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

A recent study of 172 farms by the Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme found that just 16% made a profit from their farming activities over the period assessed. The analysis found that instead many farms are now reliant on alternative income streams to turn a profit, such as tourism, renewable energy and selling their products directly to consumers.

But moving into alternative areas of business requires capital. And – with the average farm in the study making a loss of more than £20,000 from its farming activities – it may be capital that landowners require to invest in their business to prevent a loss.

Folk2Folk champions local lending because we believe in creating financially and socially sustainable communities by matching local businesses with local lenders.

Robo advice platform citing AI and machine learning raises £562k on Crowdcube (AltFi), Rated: A

Marketsflow, a new digital wealth management platform closed its fully funded investment round via equity crowdfunding.

Initially looking to raise £210k, the fundraise has seen more than £562k of commitments from nearly 800 investors giving Marketsflow a pre-money valuation of £2.4m.

What we learned about fintech from some of the biggest brains at Clifford Chance (Legal Cheek), Rated: A

What kind of financial technology has come across your desk at Clifford Chance, then? (Here comes the educational bit.) Chapman identified four technologies driving change:

Marketplace lending: crowdfunding or peer to peer lending, with the potential for “disintermediation” of the financial institution that used act as middleman for loans.
Big data and AI: you might just have seen it in the newspapers. But it’s closer than you think: if you’ve applied for a credit card, according to Chapman, chances are that a machine took part of the decision on whether or not to approve you.
Mobile payments: forget branches, even internet banking on a web browser is old hat. Some banks, indeed, exist only as apps (I instantly thought of my Revolut app, which started out offering as a slick currency exchange platform, but is now offering credit).
Blockchain and distributed ledger: different things, but often used in combination. These are “the pieces of technology that underpin the Bitcoin phenomenon”. It’s not just media hype, either: Clifford Chance is “seeing a lot of work in this space”.

5 Top Alternative Investments in the UK (What Investment), Rated: B

1. Crowdfunding

Rather than rely on venture capital trusts and angel investors, many new businesses are using crowdfunding to get off the ground. In fact, UK platforms such as CrowdCube and Angels Den have raised over £72 million from investors this year.

5. Peer-to-peer lending

Peer-to-peer lending allows you to loan money to people through online platforms, without a bank. These agreements are arranged through peer-to-peer lending platforms such as Zopa, Prosper and Lending Works. These peer-to-peer companies are typically FCA regulated and they organise credit and ID checks as well as set interest rates, collect payments and pay your returns.

After PSD2 and GDPR, what Wayfinding Signs will guide visitors through an Open Bank? (LinkedIn), Rated: A

When branch banking was the mainstream method of service distribution in financial services, both a bank’s customers and potential business partners could follow clear signs that directed them where to go and who to contact. The first sign that a bank sent its customers and potential business partners was the geographic location of a bank branch.

One in four very-low income households are struggling to pay bills or debt, with 10 per cent spending more than a quarter of their salary on credit card repayments, a report has found.

Data from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) showed one-sixth of the poorest households in Britain were in arrears on repayments and bills.

A further 10 per cent were spending at least a quarter of their monthly income on unsecured debts, such as credit cards and payday loans.

China

‘Freedom at a Price’: Why Regulation Is Crucial to Fintech’s Future (Wharton), Rated: AAA

In recent years, financial technology, or fintech, has dramatically expanded financial inclusion in China and elsewhere in Asia. Small and midsized businesses that have been underserved by banks now have access to capital, as fintech enterprises use the internet and mobile technology to reach those borrowers; leverage data analytics to build credible and innovative risk profiles to gauge creditworthiness, and are able to scale their reach exponentially with 24/7 customer windows and without the baggage of fixed-cost overheads that typically shackle traditional banks. Not surprisingly, the unmet needs of the underserved have provided huge market potential for fintechs.

Credit China FinTech, which is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange as Chong Sing Holdings FinTech Group Ltd., or CSF, provides third party payments, online investment, technology-enabled lending, and traditional loans and financing services. Today, it has more than 51 million users who generated transactions worth RMB 868 billion ($130 billion) in the first half of 2017.

At the same time, both have proved massively popular in China which accounts for roughly half of the world’s digital payments and three-quarters of global, online P2P lending volume, according to Pricewaterhouse Coopers.

For one, default rates are higher than anticipated on peer-to-peer lending platforms. Also, instead of being disrupted by the fintechs, traditional banks have entered the peer-to-peer lending space to become the dominant players, he added.

China regulator says fintech must serve real economy (Finextra), Rated: A

Jiang Yang, vice chairman of China’s Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) was speaking at the Asian Financial Forum to an audience of fintech entrepreneurs. The development of fintechs should benefit the real economy and not “a small group of people”, he said in comments reported by the Nikkei Financial Review.

European Union

Lendix Raises €200 Million Institutional Financing to Trailblaze European Alternative SME Finance (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The European Investment Bank Group (EIB), CNP Assurances, Eiffel IM, Groupama, Zencap AM, Matmut and Decaux Frères Investissements are among the first investors joining to finance Lendix’s latest investment vehicle to fund unsecured loans to SMEs in France, Spain and Italy. New institutional investors from banks and asset management firms in Spain and Italy are joining. As of now, €120 million of the planned €200 million are already committed and the first loans from this fund will start rolling out as soon as February.

Source: Crowdfund Insider

As of December 2017, Lendix originated a cumulated worth of €143 million of SME loans, a 90% increase from 2016.

Online Lender Robo.Cash Shares Insight into Investor Activity (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Peer to peer lender Robo.cash has shared a “financial portrait of a Robo.cash investor.”

According to their results, investors from a younger age group, 18-24 years old, usually deposit circa €200 at a time and rarely withdrew  any funds. The maximum funding size is characteristic of the older age groups: the average deposit of investors of 35-44 years old is equal to €879 and for those who are older than 45 years old is €838.

Millennials of 25-34 years of age invest about €679 on average making frequent deposits in comparison to the younger age group.

Approaching energy crowdfunding with eyes wide open (YourIS.com), Rated: A

youris.com met Sissy Windisch, from the German company Green Crowding, who published a guide for new small investors, to allow them to make the best decisions. The document was released under the EU project CrowdFundRES.

This is a different kind of crowdfunding, unlike what platforms such as Kickstarter do?
With Kickstarter you donate money, so a comic book for example can be published, or you just want an artist to keep on creating art. Instead, the type of crowdfunding we are interested in is debt-based, which means that you get your money back plus interest. If you finance a solar roof on a school for five years, you get 3% every year and at the end of five years you get your money back.

Could you tell us more about debt-based crowdfunding?
Debt-based funding is already one of the largest types of crowdfunding. I would say one of the biggest areas in terms of funding volume at the moment is real estate. I think for 2016 alone the funding was estimated at around 3.5 billion dollars.

Why can’t the traditional financial institutions, such as banks or investment firms, offer these services?
What we’ve often seen, particularly for renewables, is that banks and other traditional financial institutions often look for large projects to invest in. They prefer investing in one 50-million wind park than in 500 small photovoltaic installations.

Swaper Offers One-Click Portfolio Investing (Benzinga), Rated: B

What does your company do? What unique problem does it solve?

Swaper CEO Peteris Kisis: Swaper is a loan marketplace offering an easy investing in pre-funded consumer loans originated by its parent company Wandoo Finance Group in Poland, Georgia, Spain, Denmark and Russia. All investments offered on our marketplace start from 12 percent annual interest and are BuyBack guaranteed, meaning Swaper will compensate investors both for the invested principal and accrued interest in case the borrower is late with payments.

International

Top backer of US subprime lenders eyes overseas opportunities (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Victory Park Capital, a Chicago-based investment firm, has been a vital source of debt capital for a string of online lenders, including Avant, Elevate and LendUp, all of which focus on borrowers in the subprime segment. Total commitments and investments come to about $6.5bn from more than 90 deals, mostly in the US.

The firm, which was founded 10 years ago, is seeking to add to a portfolio including zip Money in Australia, Kreditech in Germany and Oakam in the UK.

(The Merkle), Rated: A

Vitalik Buterin, the creator of the Ethereum Network, recently proposed a new method for decentralized fundraising called the “DAICO”. Incorporating elements of Decentralized Autonomous Organizations, or DAOs, the new model is designed to minimize the complexity and risk associated with ICOs.

Buterin outlined the new model in a post on the Ethereum Research Forum entitled “Explanation of DAICOs”. In the exposition, the Russian-Canadian programmer outlines a new model that integrates characteristics of DAOs into ICOs to create a new model he refers to as the “DAICO”.

Source: The Merkle
Asia

New Crypto Exchange and 1000 Percent Revenue Growth Could Make KPAY The Crypto Stock To Own In 2018 (Baystreet), Rated: AAA

The little-known Indonesian digital payments company KinerjaPay (KPAY) reported another blowout quarter in December with sales that topped the previous 3 month period by a whopping 1,100%!

Revenue and User-Base Growing Parabolically? +1100% in Q3

KinerjaPay is a digital payments platform in Indonesia and South Asia, and the company ha been growing at an astronomical rate in the last year. In the third fiscal quarter of 2017 ended September 30, 2017, the company posted quarterly transactional revenue of $1.76 million, an 1,183% increase over $149K in the second quarter.

User growth is accelerating as the company brings on more partners for digital payments and bill pay capabilities in a region of the world where a fraction of people have a bank account or credit/debit card. The rate at which KinerjaPay is adding customers grew 58% in the 3rd quarter; the company reported 10,962 new users compared to 6,904 new users in the same quarter of last year, demonstrating just how fast they’re adding users for a small emerging company.

Asian stocks bounce back, with Hang Seng closing at a record (MarketWatch), Rated: A

Asian equity markets on Tuesday found their footing after some initial softness, leaving Hong Kong’s benchmark at a record closing high.

The Hang Seng rose 1.8% to 31,904.75, topping the previous high set on Oct. 30, 2007.

Japanese stocks rebounded from Monday’s selloff, with a weaker yen helping the country’s exporters. The dollar gained 0.2% to ¥110.7200, pushing the Nikkei to finish up 1% at a fresh 26-year high.

Africa

Fintech startups took nearly a third of all African venture funding in 2017 (Quartz), Rated: AAA

Almost a third of funding raised by African startups in 2017 was in the fintech sector as investors bet on consumers turning to more formal financial services in a region where just 17% of the population have banking accounts. Venture funding for African startups jumped by 51% to $195 million in 2017, according to a report from Disrupt Africa.

The success of mobile money technology like M-Pesa in Kenya and across East Africa has long shown the potential for other underserved markets. M-Pesa’s success is likely also behind for the increasing presence of mobile networks in the African financial sector and the convergence of the two sectors (pdf page 11).

Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya remained the countries with highest funding raised, consistent with their record from previous years.

Canada

Still a market for short-term loans (Edmonton Journal), Rated: A

Payday loan licences in Alberta have fallen by more than one-quarter, to 165 from 230, and industry officials predict even more payday loan stores will be shuttering their doors this year.

Before then, rules around payday loans in Alberta allowed for the second-highest interest rates in Canada, with lenders being allowed to charge up to $23 for every $100 borrowed, up to a maximum of $1,500. Now, the rate is $15 per $100 — touted to be the lowest in Canada — and borrowers are allowed to repay the the loans in instalments over two months. Lenders are also no longer allowed to penalize customers for paying back loans early and must restrict the number of times a lender can make preauthorized withdrawals.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday December 6 2017, Daily News Digest

purchase apr

News Comments Today’s main news: Kabbage lends $4B to over 130K small businesses. RateSetter loses 23M GBP in ad investment. RateSetter to launch IFISA in February. Klarna, WorldPay partner on invoice and credit-based payments in Europe. Two new crypto-asset backed fiat loan platforms. Toss to expand into southeast Asia. Today’s main analysis: LendingTree’s monthly mortgage offer report. Today’s thought-provoking articles: […]

purchase apr

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Asia

Mexico

News Summary

United States

Kabbage Delivers $ 4 Billion to More Than 130,000 Small Businesses (Kabbage Email), Rated: AAA

Kabbage, Inc., a global financial services, technology and data platform serving small businesses, has extended over $4 billion to more than 130,000 small businesses, serving the largest customer base than any online small business lender. These landmarks represent an approximate 30-percent increase in total funding and total customers served since the company’s last milestone announcement in April 2017. With over 1.5 million live data connections with its customers, Kabbage’s high growth is attributed to its fully-automated lending technology as it continues to be a trusted lending partner to tens of thousands of small businesses across all industries in all 50 U.S. states.

Robert Sharpe also joined the company as its chief operating officer. Sharpe has more than 20 years of executive leadership in North America, Europe and Asia. He has successfully held various C-level positions, including president, chief executive officer and chief operating officer with multiple global consumer goods companies, each serving tens of thousands of customers and generating billions of dollars in revenue. With an additional ten years of commercial banking and corporate finance experience, Sharpe will be responsible for Kabbage’s continued growth and operational oversight as the company expands internationally and scales its services to serve more and larger small businesses.

During 2017, Kabbage reached major milestones, including:

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

LendingTree 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: PRNewsfoto/LendingTree
  • November’s best offers for borrowers with the best profiles had an average APR of 3.75% for conforming 30-year fixed purchase loans, unchanged from October. Refinance loan offers were down 1 bps to 3.69%. Mortgage rates vary dependent upon parameters including credit score, loan-to-value, income and property type.
  • For the average borrower, purchase APRs for conforming 30-yr fixed loans offered on LendingTree’s platform were down 1 bps to 4.30%, the lowest since November 2016. In contrast, the loan note rate of 4.18% was unchanged from October when it reached the highest since July. We prefer to use the APR as lenders often make changes to other fees in response to changing interest rates.
  • Consumers with the highest credit scores (760+) saw offered APRs of 4.16% in November, vs 4.43% for consumers with scores of 680-719. The APR spread of 27 bps between these score ranges was 5 bps wider than in October and the widest since July 2016. The spread represents nearly $13,400 in additional costs for borrowers with lower credit scores over 30-years for the average purchase loan amount of $233,127. 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 down 2 bps to 4.24%. The credit score bracket spread widened to 19 from 16 bps, amounting to $9,500 in extra costs over the life of the loan for lower credit score borrowers given an average refinance loan of $235,973.
  • Average proposed purchase down payments have been rising for 8 months and reached $62,409.
Source: PRNewsfoto/LendingTree

Learning About Machine Learning (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

Certainly, the mountains of data are becoming larger by the day. Seven years ago, the total amount of information produced on a global scale passed one zettabyte. The scale shakes out thusly: If a single cup of coffee holds a gigabyte, then the Great Wall of China stores a zettabyte. In just three years, the tally will be 44 zettabytes, or 44 Great Walls of China, as estimated by global market intelligence firm IDC.

Along with the impressive growth in data created, stored and used on a global scale, so too is AI poised to grow in leaps and bounds. It will create nearly $37 billion in annual revenues for companies of all stripes, sizes and sectors, according to market intelligence firm Tractica.

Within that figure, machine learning is a sector that will see $15.3 billion in revenue in 2019, as noted by BCC Research and cited by business process outsourcing company TeleTech, with an average annual growth rate of 19.7 percent. The savings for U.S. companies could be as high as $60 billion in 2020, Forbes noted. In addition, AI is expected to add $8.3 trillion in economic activity for the U.S. by 2035, according to projections by business management consultancy Accenture.

Consider a financial institution processing credit card information. The transaction data is passed to the machine learning system as soon as it is entered at the terminal or point of sale, and the system then analyzes the transaction against the system on which it has been trained. The historical data offers a way to glean what “normal” behavior of a transaction looks like.

To combat a payments fraud adversary that is evermore fluid with bad actors’ tactics and operates in a card-not-present (CNP) world, the machine deployed by a financial institution must be able to “explain” what it is doing, Feedzai said. The “learning” should result in explaining the reasoning so the logic behind the decisions is transparent and meets compliance needs.

Banks Build Line of Defense for Doomsday Cyberattack (WSJ), Rated: AAA

U.S. banks have quietly launched a doomsday project they hope will prevent a run on the financial system should one of them suffer a debilitating cyberattack.

The effort, which went live earlier this year and is dubbed Sheltered Harbor, currently includes banks and credit unions that have roughly 400 million U.S. accounts.

While most people worry about their money being stolen in a hack, banks fear something more sinister: an attacker destroying, or even simply locking, data.

Such moves could cripple a bank, leaving it unable to operate for hours, days, or perhaps much longer.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

LendingClub Introduces New Certificate Investment Vehicle (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

On Friday of last week, LendingClub announced that it closed a new kind of transaction. It was a whole loan transaction structured as a tradable pass through security called a CLUB Certificate.

This was an initiative that was investor led. Basically, they had a potential investor who did not want to invest in whole loans. They are not for everyone, given they are an illiquid investment that has a duration of several years. What this investor wanted was a security that acted like a whole loan but one that had liquidity.

While LendingClub would not share details of this deal we did learn that these were both three and five year loans of one particular loan grade. They customized this deal to meet the investors exact requirements.

LendingClub claimed that this was a first of its kind deal in marketplace lending but in my research I discovered this piece on Asset-Backed Alert from April 2016 that talked about a similar structure that Prosper was working on last year.

How Technology is Streamlining the US Lending Sector (NewsGram), Rated: A

However, when the lending process is digitized the amount of paperwork is reduced dramatically. This is because account activity, credit history, income history as well as tax compliance can be fed into the system with the click of a button. This has made the collection and verification of information quite easy. Besides streamlining the application process, the amount of time it takes to get a loan has also reduced.

In addition, some lenders have developed some innovative mobile solutions that enable customers to submit an application from anywhere. The most outstanding feature about mobile loans is that there is a constant interaction between the lender and the borrowers. This goes a long way in improving service delivery.

Courtesy of technology advancements, now it’s possible to view the status of your loan application as well as your account status with a lender. This helps borrowers to stay updated during the entire online installment loans process. In addition, you can get instant communication about any requests that a lender may have that is critical to the borrowing process.

Time to address banks’ skepticism about data sharing (American Banker), Rated: A

When bankers complain about the security risks of sharing data with fintechs, they get an eye roll. Such complaints tend to be regarded as a cover for an ulterior motive: unwillingness to give customer details to competitors.

But when Chair Sheila Bair, a former chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., recently warned of the security risks of sharing customer data with third parties, it made some people stop and think.

Big banks hope early bet on Alexa will pay off (American Banker), Rated: A

After a number of months of testing and refining an alternative way to bank, Ally Bank launched Ally Skill. “It was ready for prime time,” said Diane Morais, president of consumer and commercial banking at Ally Bank. Since mid-November, a customer can ask Alexa — in their own words — what their balance is, what the price of something costs in hours worked, and notably, to move money.

Since Capital One announced its skill in March of 2016, U.S Bank, American Express and several credit unions announced Alexa skills in addition to Ally. Others have been testing Alexa, including bank innovator USAA. Even smaller banks are readying to launch skills. FIS, one of the biggest bank vendors that has been testing Alexa since 2016, said about a dozen of its thousands of bank customers are on track to roll out a bank skill for Alexa by Christmas. Most recently, Amazon announced Alexa for business, and Capital One is one of its launch partners.

Mortgage providers and wealth managers are also exploring ways to offer their services over such conversational devices.

A brand-new cybersecurity watchdog just shut down a $ 15 million cryptocurrency scam (Business Insider), Rated: A

US regulators appear to be paying more attention to the opaque world of initial coin offerings.

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced Monday it halted a fraudulent ICO “falsely promising” over 1,000% returns. The regulator said this was the first case filed by its brand-new cybersecurity unit, aptly named Cyber Unit.

Trump pick plans radical shake-up of consumer protection agency (Financial Times), Rated: A

US banks and other financial companies are preparing for a lightening of their compliance burden in areas from payday lending to mortgages as President Donald Trump tightens his grip on a powerful regulator set up to protect consumers.

“Virtually the entire range of regulations previously adopted by the CFPB could be subject to review,” says Quyen Truong, a former senior figure at the agency who is now a partner at law firm Stroock & Stroock & Lavan. “There’s no particular set of rules that would be considered sacrosanct.”

In an early sign of his intent, Mr Mulvaney instituted a 30-day freeze on new initiatives within hours of assuming office.

Reforms that Mr Cordray had yet to introduce that would extend the CFPB’s reach into new areas, including mooted restrictions on small business lending, are now unlikely to see the light of day.

Payday Lending And The New CFPB (PYMNTS), Rated: A

As we noted when we first covered the final draft of the payday lending rule, Congress retains the power to keep the rule from ever making it into the books, so to speak, through the power of the Congressional Review Act. The CRA not only would prevent the payday lending rule from going into effect, but it would also prevent any similar rule changes from being considered for the next five years.

After some dormancy on the issue, the House of Representatives passed a CRA resolution Friday that would effectively kill the payday lending rule in its cradle.

The move comes as a bi-partisan effort – somewhat surprising, given the general tenor of Congress at present, particularly when it comes to consumer protection issues – with three Republican and three Democrat co-sponsors.

Mulvaney has won the first round in court, as a U.S district judge rejected English’s request for a temporary restraining order to prevent Mulvaney from taking over. But English has said she intends to fight on and will seek a preliminary injunction against Mulvaney and the administration.

Congress has only 60 legislative days from the publication of the rule in the federal register to invoke the CRA, and the rule passed on Nov. 17.

Madden ruling was a step backward. Congress should fix it (American Banker), Rated: A

I have been, far more often than not, on the same side of policy issues as the leading consumer and civil rights groups. But I disagree here: Madden is not just legally wrong; it is also bad public policy, because it moves us further away from creating a more effective and inclusive financial system. Bipartisan, bicameral proposals have already been introduced in Congress to fix Madden. Congress should pass them.

U.S. News magazine cites LendingPoint in ‘Best Personal Loans’ list (LendingPoint), Rated: B

We’ve been named to the “The Best Personal Loans of 2017” list by the prestigious U.S. News and World Report.

U.S. News named LendingPoint best for “Fair to Good Credit With Merit-Based Qualifications.”

LendingTree Selects Gordian Knot Analytics Group’s Comprehensive Segmentation Subscription Service (Guru Focus), Rated: B

LendingTree (NASDAQ: TREE), the online loan marketplace, announced today that it has entered into a multi-year subscription for segmentation analysis and database scoring with Gordian Knot Analytics Group, utilizing their unique segmentation methodologies and proprietary machine learning toolset. Gordian Knot offers proprietary marketing analytics machine learning tools that help LendingTree more effectively target and engage with the right consumers to drive the business forward and maximize value for current and future customers.

FinTech Leader OppLoans Named 6th Best Place to Work Nationally (Daily Telescope), Rated: B

Socially responsible online lender OppLoans received top rankings in Glassdoor’s 2018 Best Places to Work award. The start-up was named the sixth-best place to work nationally for small- to medium-sized businesses.

The review-based rankings serve as a capstone to a stunning year of growth for OppLoans. Accolades include rising over 200 positions to reach number 219 on the Inc. 500 list, earning an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, being named the third-fastest growing technology company in Chicago by Built In Chicago and launching OppU, a free, standards-aligned online curriculum that teaches personal finance skills.

PeerStreet’s Brew Johnson Named 2017 HousingWire Vanguard Award Winner (BusinessWire), Rated: B

PeerStreet, a marketplace for investing in real estate backed loans, is honored to announce that its Co-Founder and CEO, Brew Johnson, has been named to HousingWire’s 2017 list of Vanguard Award winners. HousingWire’s 2017 Vanguard Award recognizes top leaders from all areas of the mortgage industry, including those in lending, real estate and investing.

Why Do I Have an Affirm Payment Due After I Returned a Phone? (Republic Wireless), Rated: B

If Affirm was used to finance a purchase from the Republic Online Store, all carted items, including shipping, must be financed through Affirm. Shipping charges are not refunded by Republic Wireless. This means that you will still be responsible to Affirm for any shipping costs you financed and interest that has accrued.

United Kingdom

Peer-to-peer lender Ratesetter loses £23m after ad investment flops (The Times), Rated: AAA

Ratesetter slumped to a £23 million loss for the year after a disastrous investment in an advertising business.

The loss was due in large part to a £14 million write-off on Adpod Limited, which the lender ended up owning after using its own capital to prevent a huge default on its peer-to-peer loan book from hitting investors.

The loss is sharply higher than the previous year’s figure of £5.3 million.

RateSetter to launch IFIsa in February (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending platform RateSetter expects to launch its Isa in February 2018.

Once the Isa launches, customers will have until 5th April 2018 to invest the 2016/17 Isa allowance of £20,000.

Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland to close branches (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Two of the UK’s largest banks, 

Source: Business Insider

Orca accepted into regulatory sandbox scheme (p2P Finance News), Rated: A

PEER-TO-PEER investment platform Orca is one of 18 firms that have been accepted into the third phase of the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) regulatory sandbox scheme.

The FCA received 61 submissions for the third phase of the scheme, of which 18 met the eligibility criteria and were accepted to move towards testing.

One of the successful applicants is Orca, which is developing an intelligent peer-to-peer investment platform which lets users diversify across multiple P2P platforms, lending sub-sectors and borrowers.

Personal Finance App Squirrel Now Processes £1 Million A Month (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Squirrel, a personal finance app designed to help users have more control over their money, announced this week that it now processes £1 million a month. The company reported that it processed its 10 million last week.

Squrriel is currently seeking £400,000 through its equity crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube. Funds from the initiative will be used to continue the expansion of Squirrels platform.

How an MBA entrepreneur made his multiple-account bank card add up (Financial Times), Rated: A

Israeli Shachar Bialick spent the first decade of his working life founding and backing start-ups before he dropped everything to move overseas and take an MBA.

He started Curve, a fintech company, to simplify personal finances with a single bank card for multiple accounts from different providers.

“We have too many cards, too many accounts, and too many products and services we use to manage our money,” he adds. “Curve is my biggest, most ambitious business so far. We are aiming to create an entirely new category in the banking system.”

Curve has raised $12m in venture capital funding and added corporate partnerships to extend the services it offers, such as an expense filing system provided by Xero, the online accountancy service.

Aire partners with retailer N Brown as more retailers become lenders for shopping middle class (Aire Email), Rated: A

Aire, which provides a more accurate way for lenders to understand and score new applicants, today announces a first-of-its-kind partnership with online retailer N Brown, as research data reveals the ‘new norm’ of UK shoppers choosing to spread the cost for their retail purchases over time.

The new agreement will see Aire provide its augmented credit assessment technology to support N Brown, which operates online stores such as JD Williams, in analysing the full picture of online customers and the true benefits and risks that come with them. Aire combines technologies of Artificial Intelligence with data science and deep knowledge of credit, which will enable N Brown to reach a wider group of customers without increasing its risk. After recent announcements about new partnerships in the p2p lending and car finance spaces, Aire’s expansion into the retail sector means that it is adding another new market to its portfolio in under six months.

Key insight:

–          New partnership between Aire and online retailer N Brown for customers who choose to open a new credit account

–          Aire adds retail finance to its growing portfolio

–          New research finds that UK adults pay off on average of £40 per month for retail purchases

–          9% of UK adults increased their monthly commitments in the last two years

Research shows in-store crowds are biggest stress factor for christmas shoppers (DIY Week), Rated: A

The new research by Swedish payments provider Klarna delves into the views of more than 2,000 consumers, and reveals that Brits today are so stressed out in the extended run up to Christmas that they’re overwhelmed when the day itself arrives.

In-store crowds were the number one stress for a quarter of respondents, whilst finding the perfect gift was the biggest source of stress for 20% of those surveyed.

These pressures could have a big impact on the bottom line of merchants if they’re not addressed; more than a third of consumers have previously walked out of a shop in frustration as a result. This is not just a bricks and mortar issue – 1 in 10 respondents have abandoned their online basket in frustration when the process is too complex, suggesting there’s still work to be done to smooth the purchase process online.

FinTech Marketplace Wealth Migrate Continues Expansion with New UK Office (GlobeNewswire), Rated: B

Wealth Migrate, (KPMG Global Fintech Top 50), a global online real estate marketplace, today announced the opening of a new office in the U.K. and the appointment of a new country CEO, as the firm continues to build on its global presence as part of a strategy to meet growing demand from investors.

To better serve its community of investors in this region, Wealth Migrate has opened a new office in London.

Adding to the news of this expansion, Wealth Migrate additionally announced the opening of their U.A.E. office and the appointment of a new U.S. based CEO this week.

To head up the new office, Wealth Migrate has appointed Ken Williams as its CEO of Wealth Migrate, U.K.

China

Runaway borrowers the new face of China’s personal credit boom (SCMP), Rated: AAA

China’s online lending boom has sent a steady stream of new clients to Guangzhou lawyer Luo Aiping in recent months: the parents and siblings of young men trapped or ruined by usurious debts.

Zeng Hong, from Hunan province, is a typical client. She went to Luo for help because she had been harassed by calls from debt collectors for months after her 27-year-old brother ran away, leaving behind a two-year-old son and more than 300,000 yuan (US$45,400) in debts.

Zeng wanted to help repay her younger brother’s loans, but 300,000 yuan is a big sum for a poor family and her husband strongly opposed her plan. She approached Luo to ask whether the debts and interest her brother had incurred were legal.

China Launches Massive Debt Crackdown (ValueWalk), Rated: AAA

You see, in an effort to fuel economic growth over the past few years, China has taken on a lot of debt. Since 2008, China’s debt as a percentage of economic output has increased from around 160 percent to around 280 percent at the end of 2016. (By comparison, the total debt in the U.S. as a percent of economic output is upwards of 300 percent.)

Source: ValueWalk

Why it matters: China is BIG and getting bigger

With a GDP of US$11.2 trillion, China is already the world’s second-largest economy (it will soon be the largest), and it has the second-largest stock market. The country will also soon have the world’s biggest middle class, totalling over 550 million people by 2022. To put this in perspective: That’s 1.7 times the entire population of the U.S.

Consumer loans (such as peer-to-peer (P2P) lending and payday loans) have grown rapidly recently. For example, consumer loans jumped 300 percent compared to last year.

SoftBank’s Son Eases Lufax Peer Pressure (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Lufax, the online wealth manager that’s among the world’s biggest startups, has hired five banks to work on a Hong Kong initial public offering of as much as $5 billion, according to IFR.

Lufax is the world’s 10th-largest unicorn, or startup worth at least $1 billion.

Source: Bloomberg

Lufax had a loan balance as of Sept. 28 of more than 158 billion yuan ($24 billion), more than three times the 43 billion yuan held by China’s second-biggest P2P lender, New York-listed Yirendai Ltd., according to wdzj.com, a Chinese website that tracks online financiers.

DAILY BRIEFING (TechNode), Rated: B

What happened: The Ping An-backed online wealth management firm Lufax has hired five banks to work on an up to $5 billion Hong Kong IPO.

Why it’s important: A major player in China’s P2P lending market, Lufax will join a number of fintech companies that go public in recent months. It was eyeing an IPO as early as last year but later delayed the process due to market challenges and regulatory uncertainties, the CEO told Bloomberg last year. —Rita Liao

China’s Lufax picks banks for up to $5 bln Hong Kong IPO – Reuters

CreditEase Received Top Rankings in Global FinTech Investment by CB Insights and FT Partners (PR Newswire), Rated: A

CreditEase, a world-class financial technology conglomerate based in Beijing, China, specializing in inclusive finance and wealth management, announced today that its venture fund, CreditEase FinTech Investment Fund (“CEFIF”) has recently been ranked No. 7 by CB Insights as “Top 10 Most Active VC Investors in Global FinTech Companies” and No. 1 by FT Partners as “Most Active FinTech Investors (Corporate VC)”.

Source: CB Insights FinTech Report_Q3 (PRNewsfoto/CreditEase)

How This Chinese Fintech Company Is Innovating by Leasing Cows (Fortune), Rated: A

Particularly, Ning Tang, CEO of fintech firm CreditEase, is lending consumers cows in a bid to reach those living in rural areas who might have limited access to credit and financing.

The rural population accounts for 48% of China’s total, with agriculture accounting for about 8.6% of the the nation’s Gross Domestic Production in 2015, according to the World Bank. Income in rural China has also been on the rise, with urban income narrowing to 2.7 times that of rural income from 3.3 times in 2009. And though migration toward the city has been on the rise and the nation’s dependence on farming and livestock is on the slide, rural populations and agriculture are still a significant part of the country’s economy.

IN CHINA, THE CHARACTERS FROM THE SHOW APPEAR IN THE COMMERCIALS, TOO (AdAge), Rated: A

iQiyi, which is backed by Chinese internet giant Baidu, adopted the tactic first and developed it into a commercial product when it broadcast the 1930s tomb-raiding adventure tale “The Mystic Nine” last year. The first batch of advertisers ranged from iQianjin, a peer-to-peer lending app, to PepsiCo, which showed characters chowing down on Lay’s and gulping Pepsi.

The other major services, Alibaba Group’s Youku Tudou and Tencent Holdings‘ video platform, have embraced the tactic too. At iQiyi, the cost for embedding one such commercial in an episode ranges from $150,000 to $530,000, depending on projected viewership, Yuan says.

European Union

Worldpay Partners with Klarna to Launch Invoice and Credit Based Payments in 6 Key European Markets (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Worldpay, a global leader in payments, has announced that it will partner with Klarna, a leader in invoice and credit based payments, to further enhance its product portfolio. From today, Worldpay customers trading in AustriaFinlandGermanythe NetherlandsNorwaySweden and the United Kingdom, and wishing to accept payments on invoice or instalments, will be able to use Klarna’s invoice and credit based payments from Worldpay. This will help eCommerce businesses to improve conversion rates by up to 20% and provide a fast and smooth checkout process.

These new payment options will allow consumers to decide when to pay for the items once they have received their goods. Instead of a request for credit or debit card details at the point of checkout, consumers are prompted for their email address and postcode, ensuring a quicker checkout process and leading to lower cart abandonment. The solution allows consumers to manage the terms of their payment, be it 14-day payment by invoice, by fixed or flexible instalments, spreading the cost over several months.

The move into credit and invoicing payments follows demand from customers wanting to expand the breadth of payment methods offered. Worldpay is one of the first payments companies to deploy this new payment integration, providing superior market coverage as well as faster time to market since there is no need for a new plug-in when  legacy technology is updated.

Fintech deposit marketplace hits 100,000 customers (AltFi), Rated: A

Savings specialist Raisin continues to gain momentum. The savings account marketplace now has itself 100,000 customers. The company is also integrated with more than 40 banks, from across 18 European countries, including a number of challenger banks and even an online lender (Younited Credit). SolarisBank is its newest partner.

ConsenSys Ventures has made its first four investments (TechCrunch), Rated: B

But the companies the fund is backing come from some relatively seasoned entrepreneurs. BlockFi, the firm’s lending for liquidity startup, was founded by Zac Prince — a serial startup founder whose previous idea was the lending platform for the underbanked, Cognical.

Up to 5% Cashback On Long-Term Investments Offered by Mintos (P2P-Banking), Rated: B

Lativan p2p lending marketplace Mintos just launched a cashback campaign running for the remainder of December. Investors investing in new loans with a term of at least 24 months on the primary market will receive a cashback of 2% to 5% depending on term length. The cashback will be credited within 6 days says Mintos.

Important: To be eligable an investor needs to enroll once for the campaign by clicking on the promotion banner inside the Mintos dashboard.

International

Salt and Coinloan Promise Crypto-Asset Backed Fiat Loans (Bitcoin.com), Rated: AAA

Typically, when we think of taking a loan, we think of going to a bank, filling out a ton of paperwork and then getting denied the loan unless a guarantor or cosigner signs as well. However, blockchain banking startups like Salt and Coinloan aim to change this by creating a peer to peer lending platform on the blockchain. These platforms allow users to leverage their bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as collateral for fiat loans.

Salt hails from the land of the free, a.k.a Denver, Colorado, USA.

On the other hand, Coinloan has Baltic roots and is headquartered in Estonia.

Salt will be starting straight out of Denver, Colorado and is set to launch their blockchain backed lending platform, BTC collateralized loans and loan fund by the end of 2017. In 2018, they will be launching ethereum collateralized loans in Q1, credit cards in Q2 and altcoin collateralized loans in Q3.

By contrast, Coinloan is still currently running their ICO. By 2018, they hope to obtain payment licences in Q2, develop mobile applications for IOS and android by Q3 and enter the Asian market in 2019.

Lendoit & RSK creates a decentralized BTC lending future together (Live Bitcoin News), Rated: A

In about 2 weeks, Lendoit will launch its official token Pre-sale, but it can’t wait to reveal the secret that will change the future of decentralized BTC lending, which the company has entered together with the largest and most promising blockchain-based project, The RSK Project.

Right from Argentina is Rootstock or popularly called RSK. This company is well-known for its open-source smart contract stage which has a 2-dimensional peg to Bitcoin. Amazingly, RSK uses merge-mining to reward bitcoin miners and give them the chance to be part of the smart contract ecosystem.

The Goal? To ensure that the highest level of functionality and value is added to the entire bitcoin ecosystem through the use of smart contracts, increased scalability, and near-instant payments.

Lendoit removes all intermediaries in the lending process, creates a trusted and secure platform for participants through the smart contract, and gives users a decentralized, anonymous platform where upscaling, lending, and borrowing are done hassle-free.

Source: Live Bitcoin News

PNC Live On New Real-Time Payments Network Using Finastra (Payment Week), Rated: A

PNC, a top-10 US bank by assets, is live on RTP, The Clearing House’s new US real-time payments system, using Finastra’s payment services hub, Fusion Payments.

“The ability to make an immediate payment at any time, on any day of the week, with a real-time confirmation of the payment significantly transforms the way businesses and consumers make payments in the United States. Emerging technologies such as RTP are creating opportunities for banks and clients to re-imagine our business models.”

Trulioo Recognized As a Global Leader in Digital Identity Verification (PRWeb), Rated: B

Trulioo, the global identity verification provider, is delighted to be recognized as the global identity verification leader in a recent comprehensive report published by Let’s Talk Payments (LTP).

India

Why America could miss out big time on India’s fintech revolution (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Morgan Stanley expects India’s digital payments penetration to increase from 5 percent today to 20 percent, and the e-commerce market to reach $200 billion, with 475 million e-commerce shoppers, adding up to a GDP upwards of $6 trillion — all by 2027.

India now has 800 million mobile phone users with 430 million having internet connectivity. According to Morgan Stanley, the number of internet users is expected to grow to 915 million by 2027.

Source: TechCrunch

In 2016, China’s digital payments were already 50 times America’s. Alibaba and Tencent understand ecosystems better than anyone else in the world, including American companies.

Asia

After success at home, Toss sets sights overseas (Korea JoongAng Daily), Rated: AAA

After emerging as one of the top fintech start-ups in Korea, Viva Republica, the company behind Korea’s top peer-to-peer transfer app Toss, is zeroing in on Southeast Asia as its next target market.

“While more than 70 percent of the population is using smartphones, their financial services are equivalent to that of Korea in the 1980’s. Our goal is to bring our story and product to Southeast Asian countries such as the Philippines and Vietnam and to improve the level of financial services in the market.”

As of November this year, the accumulated transactions through Toss reached 10 trillion won ($9.2 billion). In November alone, the platform handled more than one trillion won, a feat that comes just two and half a years since it launched in February 2015. The company said its annual sales will come to 20 billion won by the end of this year and reach the break-even point sometime next year.

M’sian regulators likely to enforce licensing for cryptocurrency exchanges (The Star), Rated: B

Malaysian regulators are looking to clamp down on initial coin offerings or ICOs by expanding the definition of “securities” in existing laws, according to industry sources.

The regulator is also likely to require some form of licensing for cryptocurrency exchanges to operate on Malaysian shores.

Mexico

Mexican Senate passes fintech law (Reuters), Rated: A

Mexico’s Senate on Tuesday approved a bill that would regulate its fast-growing financial technology sector, including crowdfunding and cryptocurrency firms, paving the way for a vote by the lower house.

The bill, which seeks to promote financial stability and defend against money laundering and financing of extremists, is expected to pass in a final lower house vote by Dec. 15, said three sources familiar with the measure.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor