What Happened at the Money 20/20 2018 Conference in Las Vegas?

Money 20/20

Its a good thing that everything that happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas, which is where the Seventh Annual Money20/20 Conference took place on October 19-21, 2018. With the goal to “fearlessly take on the mission of creating a simpler, fairer, faster and more inclusive financial system for individuals, businesses, and society as a whole,” the three-and-a-half […]

Money 20/20

Its a good thing that everything that happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas, which is where the Seventh Annual Money20/20 Conference took place on October 19-21, 2018. With the goal to “fearlessly take on the mission of creating a simpler, fairer, faster and more inclusive financial system for individuals, businesses, and society as a whole,” the three-and-a-half day event included more than 500 speakers and 15 agenda themes.

Themes included :

  • Payments and Platforms
  • Banking and Personal Finance
  • AI and Deep Learning
  • Cybersecurity and Fraud
  • Alt Lending and Credit
  • Blockchain and Crypto
  • Digital Identity and Biometrics
  • And much more

While this is going to serve as a brief overview of the Conference, some of the notables who spoke, and bigger announcements, there will be special interest on Alternative lending and credit. We’ll also look at the all-important payments race.

A lot of the coverage is available on YouTube where Money20/20 has its own channel, so, if you missed the conference, you still have free access to some of the information.

Day One

Apple Co-founder Steve Wozniak is always a good bet to help you get a financial conference rolling. The business legend’s assurances that the claims that artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, along with other forms of technology, are going to cut into human productivity are unwarranted helped to establish an ongoing theme that tech is necessary for the broader inclusiveness of our collective financial future.

Jennifer Bailey, VP Internet Services for Apple Pay, detailed some of the expansions of the new iPhone X, which include face ID security.

Other notable speakers from the first day of the conference included John Collison of Stripe, Michael Mebach, CPO of Mastercard (who spoke on how to build a seven-trillion-dollar middle class), Anand Sanwal of CB Insights, and Bill Ready of PayPal.

Day Two

Day Two’s lineup of speakers was headed by none other than Virgin’s own Richard Branson, who told a remarkable story about how he created Virgin by renting a plane and selling seats to the other passengers scheduled to be on the American Airlines flight that was delayed. Sallie Krawcheck, Ellevest’s CEO and co-founder, had some valuable remarks on diversity, and Vanessa Colella, head of Citi Ventures and CIO of CitiGroup, shared some keen insights on partnerships.

Possibly the speaker from the conferences second day who made the biggest impression was Nikolay Storonsky, CEO of Revolut. The way money is moved is changing rapidly, but if Storonsky is correct in his predictions, it may change even faster. He predicts that in 10 years, two or three large fintech players will take 95 percent of banks’ business marking an industry overhaul akin to how Amazon bypassed the retail industry and Uber took on taxis.

Day Three

Patrick Gauthier, VP of Amazon Pay, spoke to Tracey Davies’s central theme when he talked about the use of technology to make things simpler and more natural between the merchant and the consumer. Harley Finkelstein, CEO of Shopify, pointed out that middlemen will not be totally going away in the financial realm of the future, but they will have to “provide a disproportionate amount of value for their profit margin in the future.”

Other notable speakers included Asiff Hijri, president and COO of Coinbase, who framed the crypto world well when he spoke of the two base use cases of the space, the store of value of bitcoin and the ability to build apps on top of Ethereum, while noting that we’re still looking for that breakthrough app. His quote “Fintech before crypto, and the promise of a stablecoin…is like mobile before the iPhone came along” might be one of those “remember when” moments.

NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal also spoke on the third day of the conference. Now an advisor and advocate of Steady, the platform which helps Americans find work, says his partnership with these efforts is driven by recollections of a past where the only investments that paid off were those he embarked on in order to help others.

Day Four

Much of what happened on Day Four is listed below, including the Uber/Barclays and the Grab/Mastercard partnerships, but the day also had some other mentionable happenings.

Marisol Menendez, head of open innovation for BBVA, introduced the overall winner of the 10th annual BBVA Open Talent competition, the reward going to Sedicii; founder Rob Leslie accepted the award. Sedicii provides a service that identifies data between two organizations without exposing the underlying data.

Also, adding some hope for the financial sector in general, Ripple’s Co-Founder and Executive Chairman Chris Larson stated that he thinks digital assets can help guard against another financial crisis by solving some of the key problems of global liquidity. He also predicts that a fluid digital asset (he thinks it will be XRP, of course) will make more fluid the trillions of dollars that are tied up due to the “clunkiness” of current systems.

Focus on Alternative Lending and Credit Cards

As instant payments and expanded remittance options gain more prominence in the world of payments and commerce, an app designed to speed up the remittance process, designed via Visa APIs, took top honors at the conference.

American Express and Amazon announced a partnership, which will produce a no-annual-fee business card. Cardholders (Amazon Prime members) will get to choose if they want to receive five percent rewards on any Amazon purchase (Whole Foods included) or 90-day payment terms, a reward that might benefit small businesses with cash flow issues.

Goldman Sachs’s Marcus Platform announced a new wealth management offering designed to make the financial market more inclusive for average Americans. The offering will focus on online savings accounts and personal lending, the end game being to educate customers on some of the ins and outs of the financial sector.

Grab Financial and M and A Mastercard announced a partnership that will make prepaid cards available to underbanked and underserved customers in Southeast Asia in order to bring them into the financial realm and allow them to conduct business globally.

Gregory Wright, CPO and SVP of Experian, touched on a common theme from the conference, that of businesses going forward by putting consumers first. He reinforced the platform’s focus on putting the consumer at the center of the lending decision by giving the consumer more control over his or her data to allow them to make a more informed lending decision. The goal is for lenders to make better decisions at lower risk while giving more consumers access to credit.

David Richter, global head of business and corporate development for Uber, joined with Curt Hess, CEO of BarclayCard US, to announce the unveiling of the Uber Visa card. A native app specifically designed for the Uber platform, the app will make it more engaging and enjoyable for Uber riders and Uber eaters to experience the platform. The card will also offer real-time notifications of rewards and balances, rather than customers having to wait a month for a statement as credit cards traditionally do.

Other Noteworthy Announcements

  • ViSync took the grand prize in the conference’s hackathon challenge. According to a Visa spokesperson, their entry, an app designed to help send remittance payments overseas, should make it easier for migrant workers to send money back to their home countries.
  • FICO announced an “Ultra” FICO rating. The new device will consider how people manage their checking accounts and will incorporate things like overdraft history to determine credit scores. The goal is to help younger people and others with little or no credit and people who are rebuilding their credit after a couple of setbacks.
  • Tracey Davies, president of Money20/20, also announced the Rise Up! program, the pilot of which took place at this event. Rise Up! seeks to increase inclusion into the financial sector on all levels. This pilot program, which will expand to other demographics in the future, focused on gender (women make up 50 percent of the population, but only 20 percent of leadership roles in the financial sector.). Of the 300 women who applied to the program, only 35 were selected. Those who were selected were privy to special seminars and one-on-one access to various leaders from the financial space.

The Payments Race

Knowing how we build points of sale, I wonder if the organizers of the original event knew just how apropos the payments race would be to the overall message of the Money20/20 events. Whether they did or not, the event serves to draw a good picture of how we use and interact with different forms of currency in our daily lives.

Closely resembling the scavenger hunt of the television series The Amazing Race, five participants were given six days to make it to Las Vegas for the opening day of the convention. They drew to see which host city will host most of their scavenging, and then they all have to make it to their city and then to Vegas. Along the way, they got points for things like the number of states they visited and the different modes of transportation they use.

The catch is this: Each participant was only allowed to use one form of payment; the options were

  • Team Checks
  • Team Cash
  • Team Credit Cards
  • Team Devices (Apple Pay and such)
  • Team Crypto

The episodes—all of which can be seen on YouTube—show the obstacles in trying to perform these tasks with only the given form of payment.

As you can imagine, Team Checks had a hard time of it, and they had to rely on the goodness of many others to navigate their journey. Team Cash didn’t face as many obstacles, but travel required some finagling as they got deeper into the trip. Team Crypto had some transportation issues early on, but also relied on the kindness of others to make the necessary accommodations.

Team Credit seemed to have the most ease traveling—they just rented an RV and drove—and the representative from Team Devices said after it was all over that using only devices proved to be easier than she thought it was going to be; she did have to go to some pretty significant lengths to rent a car.

In all, the little series of videos showed the importance of various forms of payment and that we still haven’t gotten to the point where we can survive conveniently on one single form of payment; still, everything from the conference seems to speak to the reality that we’ll get there.

And how did the race turn out? Well, I haven’t seen an actual crowning, but Team Crypto was the first to get to the Las Vegas sign, which was basically the finish line—I haven’t seen anything that mentioned how each fared at the number of states visited or modes of transportation used. If Team Crypto did prove the winner, it was their second straight title.

The event will return to Vegas next year, the dates being October 27-30, 2019.

Author:

Written by Paul Keenan.

Securing Digital Payments on a Mobile Phone

MagicCube

Digital payments have crossed the Rubicon and are now not only an acceptable form of payment but soon expected to become the dominant form. But the problem is small businesses are still hampered in leveraging digital payments for the convenience of their customer base. The below graph indicates the share of small business owners in […]

MagicCube

Digital payments have crossed the Rubicon and are now not only an acceptable form of payment but soon expected to become the dominant form. But the problem is small businesses are still hampered in leveraging digital payments for the convenience of their customer base. The below graph indicates the share of small business owners in the United States who accept digital and mobile payment methods as of October 2017.

Source: Statista

Similarly, IoT is no longer the future. Autonomous cars and voice-controlled assistants like Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home are already in our lives. All of these technology developments represent a new challenge in how to manage and secure our digital payment and IoT devices and infrastructure.

The MagicCube Business Model

The MagicCube solution helps in securing digital transactions on different devices, with the same level of security as device hardware solutions without the complexity and cost associated with hardware deployments.

While working with VISA, founder and Chief Executive Officer Sam Shawki witnessed that companies had to use Apple Pay to access chips while securing credit cards. This required an extensive hardware set up. This led him to embark on a project to create virtual chips.

MagicCube’s patented technology provides an embedded software solution in the existing hardware set up. Now, Visa users will not have to go to Apple to get tokenized cards. Rather, they can use the hardware of MagicCube on their regular devices via cloud by just entering a pin. Now the phone can be used to access payments and there is no need for a separate external device. A lot of companies used to give these devices to merchants for free to capture payments and lending business. But now, with MagicCube, the onboarding process does not require expensive hardware. This allows for faster and cheaper penetration of the market, and merchants don’t have to interact with bulky hardware for managing transactions. Now, consumers will not require credit cards to make payments and merchants will not need any hardware device for accepting payments.

The company charges a setup fee depending on the geography, specific requirements, and volume of the client. There is a fee for active merchants on a monthly basis and a software license fee for every user.

MagicCube Products

    • Mobile Payments: According to research reports, digital payments will overtake cash transactions by 2023. All stakeholders in the payments ecosystem need to conform to the latest technologies as well as ensure that these payments are as secure as those executed through chip-based credit cards. The company’s MC Token Shield will offer a device-independent, hardware-grade security for mobile payments without the complications of hardware. It will also render the excessive middlemen fees associated with current digital payments redundant. The company has achieved PC-DSS Level 1 SP Certification and needs just a single API for integration with any App.
    • Connected Cars: Device security in connected cars is extremely important. According to research, by 2020, one in five vehicles on the road will have some form of wireless network connection. The company’s MC Vehicle Shield offers hardware-grade security to autonomous vehicles for their most critical parts. It will not only reduce the hardware bill for the car manufacturers, but any updates in security standards can be handled like a normal software update instead of having to recall the vehicles.
    • Pin on Glass: Only 45% of US Small Businesses accept credit cards. The point-of-sale hardware costs and the complexity attached with operating them has made it too expensive for millions of small merchants. Pin on Glass technology allows for a regular smartphone to safely accept payment card PINs, thus transforming the humble phone into a POS terminal. The tech has the power to change the entire payments paradigm. MagicCube’s MC Screen Shield works on delivering hardware-grade security and cloud monitoring services for such “PIN on Glass” payments.

Who Are MagicCube?

Founded in 2014, the Silicon Valley- and Brisbane, Australia-based MagicCube is the creator of the world’s only Software Trusted Execution Environment (sTEE) platform, a technology that enables large-scale deployment and management of IoT and mobile-secure solutions for consumers. The company has raised over $10.5 million in funding from Bold Capital, Epic Ventures, Silicon Valley Bank, and others. The company’s seed round saw participation by payments giant Visa.

Before launching the startup, Shawki was the head of Visa’s Global Remote Payments business unit. He was the driving force behind the company’s global push in mobile and remote payments. He also served as the chief innovation officer of VimpelCom, the sixth largest telecom player in the world with over 214 million customers in 18 countries.

Nancy Zayed is the cofounder and chief technical officer. She was head of engineering and operations at InnoPath, a founding member of OMA (Open Mobile Alliance), head of platform development at Cisco Systems, and also spent 10 years at Apple in various leadership roles.

Partnerships and Competitors

The company has entered into a partnership with Visa-funded Yellowpepper to secure token-based payments and is launching the solution in the Latin American market. The company has also partnered with ID Tech, a POS solutions provider for launching a product that will securely allow any mobile device to be converted into a POS terminal.

The young startup is competing with heavyweights like Qualcomm and Infineon, who provide security chips powering and securing payments today. But the CEO is confident that their software will soon make any hardware solutions obsolete. The company is also looking to partner with other players for launching new products and is in the process of attaining critical industrial certifications which will make the sales process much easier. The company seems to be in the pole position to change how digital payments and IoT devices will be secured in the future.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Wednesday August 22 2018, Daily News Digest

Elevate Credit

News Comments Today’s main news: Elevate Credit expected to announce $203.49M in sales. Ant Financial delays IPO again. SocietyOne getting close to $500M in total lending, six years in. ClearScore to offer credit scores in India. Capital Float buys Sequoia and Walnut. Today’s main analysis: 10 years after financial crisis, credit market on upward curve. Today’s thought-provoking articles: New […]

Elevate Credit

News Comments

United States

China

International

India

Other

News Summary

United States

Brokerages Anticipate Elevate Credit Inc (ELVT) Will Announce Quarterly Sales of $ 203.49 Million (Baseball Daily Digest) Rated: AAA

Equities research analysts forecast that Elevate Credit Inc (NYSE:ELVT) will post $203.49 million in sales for the current fiscal quarter, Zacks reports. Two analysts have issued estimates for Elevate Credit’s earnings, with estimates ranging from $201.00 million to $205.97 million. Elevate Credit reported sales of $172.85 million during the same quarter last year, which indicates a positive year-over-year growth rate of 17.7%. The firm is expected to report its next quarterly earnings report on Monday, October 29th.

According to Zacks, analysts expect that Elevate Credit will report full-year sales of $803.23 million for the current financial year, with estimates ranging from $801.00 million to $805.45 million. For the next financial year, analysts expect that the company will report sales of $927.09 million per share, with estimates ranging from $926.97 million to $927.20 million. Zacks’ sales calculations are a mean average based on a survey of research firms that follow Elevate Credit.

Financial Crisis – 10 Years Later: Consumer Credit Market on an Upward Curve (Nasdaq) Rated: AAA

Ten years after the biggest financial crisis to hit the United States since the Great Depression, much has changed in the consumer credit marketplace. Serious delinquency rates have recovered since that period, and the credit quality of consumers has broadly improved. Yet the crisis has had a profound effect on consumer access to credit and the relationship they have with it.

TransUnion’s (NYSE:TRU) just-released Q2 2018 Industry Insights Report allows for comparisons between Americans’ credit preferences today versus 2008, specifically in the auto finance, credit card, mortgage and unsecured personal loan markets.

Source: TransUnion

Lawmaker Questions FinTech Industry Over Lending Practices (Govtech) Rated:A

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) released a report Friday detailing the lending practices of some prominent fintech companies, finding that some companies could be discriminating against minorities and calling for more transparency from the fintech sector.

Fintech companies are somewhat controversial because many engage in traditional banking practices, and some consumers and regulators are calling for them to be regulated like traditional banks.

Small banks need big data to maintain customer service edge (American Banker) Rated: A

Big data isn’t just for big banks.

The modern banking customer wants advanced online and mobile banking options, and delivering such services requires even the smallest community bank to get a handle on customer data, said Corey LeBlanc, chief technology officer and vice president at Origin Bank.

Blockchain Meets REIT – A New Era in Real Estate Investing (Market Insider) Rated: A

Building Block, Inc. announced today it is the first North American REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) to embrace the emerging efficiencies of blockchain technology and provide a new way to invest in one of the world’s most well-known and trusted assets, real estate.   Blockchain technology will enable Building Block REIT to virtually eliminate friction in REIT shareholder communication by allowing direct dividend disbursement, secure user voting, and smart contract functions that execute automatically when pre-set parameters are met.

Building Block REIT plans to raise funds in the form of a digital initial public offering (Digital IPO) accepting payments via U.S. Dollars or fractional Ethereum cryptocurrency.  Investors worldwide will be able to purchase shares in Building Block REIT on SEC compliant alternative trading systems (ATS) or peer-to-peer exchanges with whitelisted parties to invest in US commercial office, multi-family and mixed-use real estate.

JPMorgan launching Roar platform for crowdsourced data (Business Insider) Rated: A

JPMorgan’s corporate and investment bank is best known for advising businesses on billion-dollar acquisitions, helping private unicorns tap into the public markets, and managing the cash of Fortune 500 companies.

But now it is quietly working on a new platform that would go far beyond anything the firm has previously done, using crowdsourcing to accumulate massive amounts of data intended to one day help its clients make complex decisions about how to run their businesses, according to people familiar with the project.

The platform, called Roar by JPMorgan, would store sensitive private data, such as hospital records or satellite imagery, that’s not in the public domain. Typically, this type of information is exchanged between firms on a bilateral arrangement so it is not improperly used. But Roar would allow clients to tap into this data, which they could then use in a secure fashion to make forecasts and gain business insights.

New Report Shows Identity Verification a Priority for eCommerce and Online Lending Businesses (Global News) Rated: A

A new report from Whitepages Pro shows that an overwhelming majority of North American companies in ecommerce and financial services surveyed consider identity verification to be a top business priority but many still don’t believe they do it well or have all the data and tools they need to be successful. For the report, “The State of Identity Verification Maturity in North America,” businesses were asked, among other things, to rank themselves on a 4-stage scale of identity verification maturity for how they use identity data to combat fraud and improve the customer experience.

Among the report’s key findings:

  • Driven by the belief that fraud attempts are increasing in frequency and sophistication, identity verification is a priority for most organizations (93 percent). While they vary in the degree to which they use advanced techniques, most organizations want to improve their identity verification methods and outcomes. Just 2 percent believe they are completely successful at identity verification.
  • Organizations want access to more data points (just 13 percent say they have all the data they need) and see data linkages (the relationships between data elements) as a way to improve their identity verification processes. While access to traditional data (like a street address) is common, many still don’t have or use digital data (like an IP address). Most of the survey respondents believe linking data reduces fraud with 77 percent believing it increases confidence in a customer’s identity.
  • Organizations want more and improved identity verification automation. However they often rely on in-house (such as historical data and white/black lists) that make it difficult to expand the use of automation, resulting in an over reliance on costly and time consuming manual reviews. A large majority (71 percent) believe machine learning can play a role in reducing manual reviews and making identity verification more effective.

Bank of the West exec bolts for startup, sees chance ‘to redefine retail banking’ (American Banker) Rated: A

Thibault Fulconis, who until recently was chief operating officer of Bank of the West, has joined the fintech digital banking startup Varo Money as its chief financial officer.

Varo Money is a mobile-first challenger bank that aims to help Americans achieve financial health. It is in the same league as Chime, Digit, Moven, MoneyLion, Qapital and N26.

White Oak Healthcare Finance Closes $ 40 Million Financing for LifeCare Holdings, Inc. (Business Wire) Rated: A

White Oak Healthcare Finance, LLC (“White Oak”), today announced it acted as lead lender and administrative agent on the funding of a $40 million asset based senior credit facility for LifeCare Holdings, Inc. (“LifeCare”). The funds were primarily used to refinance existing indebtedness. White Oak previously announced the financing of LifeCare Home Health LLC, the home health entity owned by LifeCare.

TradeStation Launches New Fully Paid Lending Program (GlobeNewswire), Rated: A

TradeStation, a Monex Group company and award-winning online broker-dealer and futures commission merchant, today announced the launch of its Fully Paid Lending Program. This program allows qualified equities account holders the opportunity to earn interest income on lendable securities in their accounts.

Under the Fully Paid Lending Program, TradeStation identifies stocks in qualified accounts that are eligible for lending. Based on market demand, some or all of a qualified client’s fully paid positions or excess-margin securities may be lent out to other financial institutions to satisfy their customers’ position requirements. While their stocks are on loan, clients automatically receive 50% of the net proceeds earned by TradeStation for lending out the shares, which is accrued daily and automatically posted monthly to their accounts. Daily income ceases to accrue when the client sells a lendable stock or the stock is no longer on loan.

US wakes up to SME cybersecurity needs (Fintech Futures) Rated: B

US President Donald Trump has signed the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Small Business Cybersecurity Act, a bill which will provide a set of resources for small businesses to best protect their digital assets from cybersecurity threats.

United Kingdom

Private credit offers an escape from miserly bond yields (Citywire) Rated: AAA

For reasons that are quite clear if you follow my writings on a regular basis, equities and bonds will most likely deliver disappointing returns for many years to come.

My central forecast is an annual average inflation-adjusted return of 0-2% on a global portfolio consisting of 40% bonds and 60% equities between now and 2050.

The good news next.  Fortunately, there are many things you can do to improve on those lacklustre numbers. Those returns are for the lazy investor; someone who invests passively.

China

Ant Financial IPO plans pushed back again (Financial Times) Rated: AAA

A blockbuster listing of Ant Financial, the fast-growing electronic payment affiliate of China’s leading tech group Alibaba, has again been delayed as it continues to burn through cash and come under pressure from Beijing’s crackdown on non-traditional financial institutions.

Ant was valued at $150bn in its last private fundraising in June, a round that bankers said paved the way for an initial public offering as early as this year.

Moody’s: China’s new measures on P2P lending are credit positive (ECNS) Rated: AAA

The global credit rating agency Moody’s called China’s newly-issued regulations on peer-to-peer lending platforms are “credit positive”, because they will strengthen protections to individual lenders and prevent risk spilling over to the broader financial system.

Moody’s commentary came after Chinese regulators announced 10 measures to address risks related to P2P lending platforms on August 12. The P2P platforms enable individuals to lend directly to borrowers through the Internet.

The new regulations clarified responsibilities of P2P platforms and their shareholders, stipulated conditions for orderly liquidation of failed platforms, outlined penalties for borrowers that escape their debt obligations and prohibited registration of new platforms.

Next Step to Regulating P2P Lending Platforms — Figuring Out Who Owns Them (Caixin Global) Rated: A

Months into the crisis in China’s online lending industry, regulators want to know who actually owns the country’s peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms.

The National Internet Finance Association of China (NIFA) issued a notice on Monday designed to help it keep tabs on key stakeholders in China’s online P2P lending platforms as financial and legal difficulties continue to engulf the business.

The effort to bring greater clarity to the workings of P2P platforms comes after hundreds of online platforms have encountered financial and legal troubles in the last few months. In July, at least 165 P2P platforms had difficulties meeting cash-withdrawal demands, saw their owners abscond with investor funds, or were investigated by police, according to a report by internet lending research firm Wangdaizhijia. The number was nearly triple that in June, Wangdaizhijia said.

In-Depth: Police Launch Global Hunt for ‘Solar King’ Caught Up in P2P Bust (Caixin Global) Rated: AAA

Peng Xiaofeng was once China’s youngest billionaire and a rising star in the solar industry. But the founder of now-bankrupt LDK Solar has been put on China’s most-wanted list, hunted by law enforcement agencies for illegal fund-raising by his peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform Solarbao.com.

Police in the city of Suzhou, where Solarbao.com is registered, want Interpol to issue a Red Notice against 43-year-old Peng, who is accused of swindling more than 5,000 investors and leaving a trail of debt amounting to 220 million yuan ($32.1 million). They have also branded the platform, a subsidiary of Nasdaq-listed SPI Energy Co. Ltd., a fraud.

HuaAn Finds Itself Target of Investor Ire After P2P Company Accused of Fraud (Caixin Global) Rated: A

The Shanghai office of fund manager HuaAn Future Asset Management Co. Ltd.was surrounded on Monday by throngs of angry investors who blame the company for what they perceive to be its role in an online-lending fraud. HuaAn denies any involvement.

Monday’s protest centered on P2P site PPMiao.com, which was accused of illegal fundraising by police in the eastern city of Hangzhou, where PPMiao.com operator Guangxi PPMiao Internet Technology Co. Ltd. is registered. HuaAn held a 37.5% stake on behalf of an asset management plan in PPMiao.com’s former operator, Hangzhou Fuqian Network Technology Co. Ltd., as of June 30, making HuaAn the target of investor ire when PPMiao.com’s financial problems surfaced.

International

Many countries don’t use credit scores like the US — here’s how they determine your worth (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

In the US, a good credit score can feel like a key determinant of success. It defines how good an interest rate you can get on a car loan or mortgage, the quality of credit card you can get approved for, or if you’ll get approved for any credit at all.

The better your score, the better the perks. A bad score can become a black mark that leads to missing out on the home you want (credit checks are a common aspect of apartment applications), higher car insurance rates, or even difficulty getting a cell phone, according to Nerdwallet.

But as monolithic as the credit score seems, many countries in the world handle credit very differently — with many having no credit score system at all.

Blockchain Can Help Peer-To-Peer Car Lending Schemes Gain Traction (Market News) Rated: A

Blockchain technology can help car-sharing companies to track a person using the car any time. According to industry analysts, the car sharing economy is expected to hit $335 billion by the year 2025.

The car sharing idea has been gaining a lot of interest among car drivers over the recent years. According to estimates by Global Market Insight, the peer-to-peer car sharing sector will amount to $11 billion. The growth has largely been attributed to raising cost of owning a car.

The biggest challenge with the Peer-to-peer lending system is trust. The car owner has to have total trust in the person hiring the car. Additionally, the car owner has to be sure that the hirer has enough money to cover the period the car is hired. The owner of the vehicle would also like to track where the car is as well as the condition in which it is being driven. On the side of the hirer, they would love to know if they are hiring the car from the original owner and that the data exchanged between the two parties is secure.

Australia

SocietyOne Celebrates Sixth Anniversary; Total Lending Now Approaching $ 500 Million (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

Australia-based marketplace lender SocietyOne announced celebrated its sixth anniversary of operations as total lending since inception approaches $500 million.

SocietyOne also reported it has more than 20,000 customers and since the beginning of 2016, total lending has grown nearly 6 times and the lender’s loan book now totals over $220 million, up from $41 million at the start of 2016.

India

UK’s fintech startup ClearScore set to offer credit scores in India (Economic Times) Rated: AAA

UK-headquartered fintech startup ClearScore is all set to start its business in India offering credit scores to Indian consumers in partnership with Experian, free of cost, to improve the awareness levels of the consumers regarding credit. India is their second international market after the company started operations in South Africa last year.

ClearScore will be available on Google Play Store and will provide details of the credit score, giving alerts about changes in the score and provide details about how consumers can improve the score.

Capital Float buys Sequoia & SAIF-backed Walnut for $ 30 mn (VC Circle) Rated: AAA

Bengaluru-based digital lending platform Capital Float has acquired personal finance management app-maker Walnut for $30 million (Rs 209 crore) in a cash and stock deal, a company statement said. Both the companies count Sequoia Capital and SAIF Partners as common venture capital investors.

Walnut allows users to track spends, check on credit and bank balance, bill payments and split expenses within a group. In July 2017, it launched a small ticket credit line for its users called Walnut Prime based on user data and consumer behaviour. The platform has so far disbursed Rs 100 crore in consumer loans.

OfBusiness Raises INR 200 Crore in Series C Financing (FinSMEs) Rated: A

OfBusiness, a Gurgaon, India – based technology enabled SME financing platform, raised INR 200 crore (approx $29m) in Series C financing.

The round was led by Creation Investments and Falcon Edge with participation from existing investors Matrix Partners India and Zodius Capital. With this new round of funding, the company has raised a total of INR 500 crore of equity and debt funding to date. It has also raised debt lines from Kotak, Tata Capital, RBL Bank and Northern Arc amongst other lending partners.

The capital will be used for continued rapid growth and model scaling.

Five Star Business Finance Raises USD$ 100M in Funding (FinSMEs) Rated: A

Five Star Business Finance Limited, a Chennai, India–based fully-secured small business financing company focused on South India, raises USD$100M in funding.

The round was led by alternative asset firm TPG, with participation from existing investors Norwest Venture Partners, an investment fund managed by Morgan Stanley, and Sequoia Capital. The company’s first investor, Matrix Partners India, continues to stay invested in the company.

Led by D. Lakshmipathy, Chairman and Managing Director, Five Star is a non-bank finance company providing loans to nearly 40,000 customers.

P2P Online Lending Startup Finzy Completes $ 2.3 Mn Pre-Series A Fund Raise (Indian Web) Rated: A

Bangalore-based peer to peer (P2P) lending platform Finzy on Monday announced raising funds worth USD 2.3 million in Pre-Series A round, including USD 1.3 million raised in the first tranche in March 2018.

This funding round has been funded by senior professionals from BFSI industry and successful entrepreneurs. The startup plans to use the freshly raised capital for geographical expansion, technology investment and stronger distribution networks.

Founded in 2016, by Abhinandan Sangam, Amit More and Vishwas Dixit, Finzy is a premier P2P lending solution in India that connect borrowers with investors and make the entire process simple and easy so that one can get a loan in as little as 48 hours.

Five things you should know before lending on P2P platform (Economic Times) Rated: A

Don’t let greed cloud your judgment. If you are in a tearing hurry to pocket double-digit returns, you are likely to overlook many warnings signs. That is why it is always better to start with a small amount, learn the ropes, before going for the kill.

Different platforms have different ticket size for lending. With companies like Faircent offering as low as Rs 750 per loan. The ROI would vary as per the borrower profile and loan tenure. The total amount invested by a lender across all P2P-NBFCs is capped at Rs 10 lakh, as per the existing RBI norms.

The RBI came out with regulations for P2P companies in October. There are around 30 online P2P companies in India, of which only eight have received a certificate of registration (CoR) from the RBI to carry out P2P lending activities.

Asia

Singapore police recover S$ 27 million linked to China Ponzi scheme (Channel News Asia) Rated: AAA

Singapore police said on Tuesday (Aug 21) they have recovered more than S$27 million linked to one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in China, which saw 1.15 million investors cheated out of 38 billion yuan (S$7 billion).

Ezubao, once China’s biggest peer-to-peer lending platform, folded in 2016 after it turned out to be an online scam that concocted fake projects to attract investment and pocketed funds instead of passing them to borrowers to generate returns.

Latin American

Mexico’s new government wants fintech, banks to help financial inclusion (Channel News Asia) Rated: AAA

Mexico’s next government will look to fintech companies and large corporate banks to increase financial inclusion in the country, where only one-third of adults have a bank account, senior officials said on Tuesday.

Arturo Herrera, one of two future deputy finance ministers, said in an interview that the lack of financial inclusion was one of the biggest obstacles in the new government’s fight against poverty, inequality and slow economic growth.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Lenders Bet On Artificial Intelligence for Credit Scoring

Lenders Bet On Artificial Intelligence for Credit Scoring

Banks have to struggle with a lot of challenges – from issuing credit to operational risks, and technological troubles to good old fashion fraud. In addition to the risks of yesteryear, modern banks face falling long-term rates, growing fintech competition, and low profitability. In this challenging environment, savvy modern banks focus more of their attention […]

Lenders Bet On Artificial Intelligence for Credit Scoring

Banks have to struggle with a lot of challenges – from issuing credit to operational risks, and technological troubles to good old fashion fraud. In addition to the risks of yesteryear, modern banks face falling long-term rates, growing fintech competition, and low profitability. In this challenging environment, savvy modern banks focus more of their attention to mitigating risks.

Chief among these challenges are low-performing loan portfolios, which are a constant thorn in the side of lenders. For example, European non-performing loans stand above €1 trillion with more than one third of banks having NPL ratios above 10% (ECB, 2017).

This minefield of factors has driven lenders to seek out new ways to increase profits and cut funding costs in order to stay competitive.

Artificial Intelligence in Fintech: Will it take over?

AI is a powerful tool for banks, thanks to its ability to harness vast quantities of data to learn more about customer patterns and behaviors”, says Steve Ellis, head of the innovation group at Wells Fargo.

As powerful as artificial intelligence (AI) is, traditional banking is still heavily reliant on statistical methods that were developed over half a century ago. Lenders determine creditworthiness based on 20+ data points, which leave otherwise worthy customers behind.

Modern machine learning (ML) makes it possible to go much deeper when analyzing data, and allows lenders to extract valuable insights from available data patterns.

According to a McKinsey report, a number of European banks have already replaced the antiquated statistical-modeling approach with machine-learning techniques. The results speak for themselves: a 10% increase in the sale of new products, 20% savings in capital expenditures, and a 20% decline in churn.

Source: thefinancialbrand.com

The data doesn’t lie: Lenders are betting on AI. Evidence of this modern trend can be seen in numerous ‘banks and fintech collaborations’ and AI-based software releases:

  • JPMorgan Chase pioneered a Contract Intelligence platform designed to “analyze legal documents and extract important data points.”
  • American MobileBank deploys AI software to lend to thin-file millennials.
  • Canadian TD Bank uses Layer 6’s AI engine for scoring and cybersecurity.
  • Deutsche Bank came out with new AI-based equities to predict their pricing and volume more accurately.
  • Wells Fargo employs its own AI team to provide more personalized services and strengthen digital offerings.
  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch implements HighRadius’ AI solution to speed up receivables reconciliation for their large business clients.

Logistic regression is no longer the de facto standard

Nine times out of 10, logistic regression is used to build scoring models and solve classification issues. Before it can take over and provide predictive results, there’s an important step of preliminary analysis and data quality control that must be taken. If the dataset contains:

  • imperfect and missing values, outliers and unstructured data;
  • numerical and categorical values (age, income vs marital status, education);
  • raw data that doesn’t fit strict parameters(data with fractions or decimals, etc.)

data analysts will spend days (if not weeks) just to preprocess the data before it can be assessed. Cutting corners and ignoring such data may lead to the loss of valuable insight and incorrect predictions.

How modern AI/ML methods build better risk models

Today, lenders have the ability to collect more data than ever about their clients. In addition to traditional socio-demographic data, this may include transactional data, records from credit bureaus, social media, Google Analytics, as well as other non-traditional sources.

Processing and interpreting this data so that it can be used to issue loans to worthy credit seekers is where modern ML/AI methods give banks the edge they need.

Machine learning techniques like gradient boosting, random forest, or neural networks can better find hidden dependencies in a dataset, which helps to gain more accurate predictions. This assists banks in determining how collected parameters in a dataset should be weighed to predict whether borrowers will consistently repay their loans on time.

This is made possible by data signals, which define significant parameters that affect the power of a scoring model. Depending on the type of business, geography, target audience, and data authenticity, significant parameters may differ. Modern ML can determine which data points contain the desired signal.

Traditional data sources like credit bureaus still remain an important part of the process and provide the data that contain the above-mentioned signal. Unfortunately, they do not cover noteworthy market segments such as millennials, self-employed entrepreneurs, small business owners, immigrants, or the unbanked.

The team at GiniMachine carried out pilot projects to build accurate scoring models with minimal data points and without access to an applicant’s credit history. Some of the most promising and predictive parameters included the applicant’s industry and occupation, the size of their company, the total years they’d been in business, the size of their family, and data from social networks like their overall activity, as well as the quantity and quality of their connections.

The team at GiniMachine has proven that it is possible to capitalize on information about borrowers that is collected from alternative sources to accurately and efficiently assess borrower’s credibility and make effective lending decisions.

Modern ML methods can build more accurate risk models because of their capacity to:

  1. use built-in ‘raw’ data pre-processing tools
  2. find hidden dependencies of arbitrary complexity
  3. harness unstructured, big data, and data from alternative sources

The financial world, and lending businesses in particular, have seen major changes throughout the last few years. Using ML and AI in concert with traditional practices is the way forward for banks that want to remain competitive in the modern world. It’s clear that making good loans to the people of the future requires a futuristic helping hand.

Author:

Dmitry Dolgorukov is a CEO and co-founder of GiniMachine & HES, a technology entrepreneur, and an investor with over 15 years of executive experience in software development and fintech. In 2018, Dmitry was ranked as one of the top 200 Fintech leaders in Europe that contribute to the industry as influencers through action.

 

Thursday April 19 2018, Daily News Digest

Personal Loan providers

News Comments Today’s main news: Tala raises $65M for international expansion. The House Crowd hits 1M GBP in one day. Silicon Valley investment into UK hits $1B. 100Credit gets $159M from state-owned fund in China. Mintos adds ID Finance loans issued in Kazakhstan. Today’s main analysis: The 5 best personal loans for good credit. Today’s thought-provoking articles: LendIt Fintech […]

Personal Loan providers

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

Other

News Summary

United States

Fintech lender raises $ 65M to expand in developing nations (American Banker) Rated: AAA

A U.S.-based lender that targets borrowers in developing nations where credit scores are often hard to come by has raised $50 million in new equity funding.

Tala, based in Santa Monica, Calif., plans to use the latest round of funding to develop new products for its customers in Kenya, Tanzania, the Philippines, India and Mexico.

It also raised $15 million in debt capital that it will use to fund loans.

Wrap-Up of LendIt Fintech USA 2018 (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

Last week the sixth annual LendIt USA conference took place in San Francisco. Officially known as LendIt Fintech USA 2018 this event was, in my opinion, the best we have ever produced.

The opening keynote, for the second year in a row, was delivered by Scott Sanborn, the CEO of LendingClub. He gave a different kind of presentation this year. He didn’t talk much about LendingClub at all, instead choosing to focus his keynote on financial health and the looming crisis that maybe coming. He gave us all something to consider beyond just disruption, he said we should think about three key areas: financial inclusion, regulatory innovation and customer alignment. He ended with a call to action for the industry. He wanted everyone to focus on what problem you are solving and what you can do to help restore financial health to all Americans.

The 5 Best Personal Loans for Good Credit (Student Loan Hero) Rated: AAA

The average credit score of Americans is 700, based on April 2017 data from Fair Isaac Corp., an analytics company that issues the FICO credit score.

If your score meets or beats that average, it’s enough to put you in the good credit score range, which goes from 670 to 739. As a result, you should have a good chance of getting approved for some of the best personal loans for good credit.

Source: Student Loan Hero

Your Best Options If You Need a Personal Loan With a Cosigner (Student Loan Hero) Rated: A

As you compare, you’ll find LendingClubCitizens Bank, and FreedomPlus— all online lenders that accept cosigners. They all accept FICO scores under 700, with LendingClub accepting FICO scores as low as 600.

Here’s a list of some online lenders that accept cosigners for personal loans:

  • LendingClub
  • Citizens Bank
  • FreedomPlus
  • Backed
  • OneMain Financial
  • LightStream

Avant vs. LendUp: Which Is Right for You? (Student Loan Hero) Rated: A

Not only will Avant consider your application even if you have a low credit score, but working with this lender has other benefits.

  • You can get your money after one business day.
  • There are no prepayment fees.
  • Although the average customer has a credit score between 600 and 700, those with poor credit are also considered.
  • The company has a 95% customer satisfaction rate.
  • The lender offers self-service tools and live support seven days a week.

The biggest benefit of LendUp is the ability to get money fast. In certain states, you could even have your funds in 15 minutes. But there are some other positives as well.

  • There are multiple options if you’re having trouble paying back the loan.
  • Repeat customers can borrow more and at lower rates.
  • There’s an education platform with free videos and articles breaking down complex financial matters. It also teaches you how to make better money decisions.

Wunder Capital Raises $ 112 Million in Financing To Fuel Commercial Solar Growth in the U.S. (Crowdfunder Insider) Rated: A

Wunder Capital, a firm that develops and manages solar investment funds through partnerships, test processes, underwriting framework and its investment portal, announced on Wednesday it secured $112 million in equity and debt financing to accelerate the growth of the company.

9 Ways To Invest In Real Estate Without Buying Property (Forbes) Rated: A

Goldman Sachs Has Big Plans for Marcus and the Future of Retail Banking (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

Blankfein commented on the other obvious strategic advantage. Their cost of capital is super low.  Unlike many of the early entrants into the online lending sector, Marcus has access to deposits via their acquisition of GE Capital Bank several years back – something no other US based online lender can claim. Even with their industry leading interest rate for current accounts (now 1.6% when most banks pay a fraction of that), Marcus can crush the competition in loan originations.

Goldman Sachs’ hot new business is lending to subprime consumers, and Wall Street’s starting to ask questions (Business Insider) Rated: B

Marcus has originated more than $3bn of loans since inception, recently it has become know that more than 10 percent of the loans were sub prime; they have said this is a natural evolution of the loan business and they are being very selective in approving of applications.

GreenSky Personal Loans Review: Low-Interest Loans for Home Improvement (Student Loan Hero) Rated: A

As an online loan servicer, GreenSky works with borrowers and merchants to provide low-cost personal loans for home improvement, specialty retail, and healthcare expenses. It’s funded more than $10 billion in loans to over 1.3 million customers, according to the lender.

Individual borrowers can apply for home improvement loans, which can be used for flooring, windows, landscaping, or other projects. Home improvement loans come with fixed APRs between 3.99% and 23.99%, as of April 18, 2018. You can choose terms of 42, 66, or 90 months. For the most up-to-date rates, check GreenSky’s website.

Real estate crowdfunding: What you need to know (Bankless Times) Rated: A

Right now, real estate crowdfunding companies are becoming very popular because they allow you to pool your resources in order to buy property or to finance real estate companies who are looking to build properties.

48 Million Detailed Psychometric Records on Individuals Leaked (InfoSecurity Magazine) Rated: B

About 48 million records of detailed personal information on tens of millions of individuals have been leaked, containing Cambridge Analytica–style information gathered and scraped from multiple sources.

The culprit, as is the case all too often, is a misconfigured cloud storage repository, in this case belonging to a company called LocalBlox. LocalBlox bills itself as a personal and business data search service, but it’s bread and butter is data-harvesting and the creation of psychometric profiles of individuals.

Point Initiates Forward Flow Purchase Program with Atalaya: Unlocking Home Equity Wealth (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: B

Point, a fintech platform that allows homeowners to unlock home equity wealth without taking on new debt, has agreed to a forward flow purchase program with investment firm Atalaya Capital Management to purchase up to $150 million of Point’s structured home equity investment instruments.

StreetShares Appoints Mohan A. Rao New Chief Product & Technology Officer (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: B

Financing military veteran-owned small businesses lender StreetShares announced on Wednesday it has appointed Mohan A. Rao as Chief Product and Technology Officer. According to the online lender,  Rao is the former Chief Technology Officer of Hobsons, Inc., and brings more than 25 years of experience with building software products, R&D, and management consulting to the StreetShares team.

Millennium Trust Recognized as “Professional Services Company of the Year” at LendIt Fintech USA 2018 (PR Newswire) Rated: B

Millennium Trust Company, LLC, was honored at LendIt Fintech USA 2018 as the “Professional Services Company of the Year,” which is awarded to the service provider that has demonstrated deep expertise, unique value, strong ROI, commitment to clients, and the fostering of a deeper understanding of fintech. Organizations such as Cloud Lending Solutions, Deloitte, First Associates, Manatt and Salesforce also received nominations for the award.

Capsilon Expands Digital Mortgage Platform, Automating up to 80% of Manual Data Auditing & Processing Across Back Office (Capsilon) Rated: B

Capsilon, an enterprise SaaS digital mortgage solution partner to the mortgage industry, today announced the expansion of its digital mortgage platform through the addition of big data capabilities and a new set of smart tools designed to radically improve back office workflows and accelerate loan production. With this new data audit functionality, Capsilon can reduce manual data entry and speed up data auditing across the loan process, enabling companies to automate up to 80% of manual processing functions.

 

United Kingdom

Crowdfunding platform hits £1 million in a day (Growth Business) Rated: AAA

Property crowdfunding platform The House Crowd have raised just over £1.3 million over a 24-hour period to support housing developments in Greater Manchester. This is the first time the business has broken the £1 million mark in a day.

Most of the money – £1.2 million – was for its Egyptian Mill Development of 42 house and 15 apartments in Lees, just outside of Manchester. Attracted by a typical return of 10 per cent each year over a 15 month investment term, investors have clambered to raise funds and support new build houses and flats as the UK housing crisis continues.

Silicon Valley investment into the UK breaks $ 1BN for the first time (Information Age) Rated: AAA

UK law firm Pennington Manches has today revealed that British companies are enjoying an unprecedented period of investment from West Coast-based US firms, with 74 deals contributing to a total value of £1.08 billion in 2017 – the first time Silicon Valley investment into the UK has broken the billion-dollar mark.

​The new report found that software companies take the lion’s share of this investment, benefiting from £2.2 billion in funds since 2011. The number of deals from Silicon Valley into UK firms has increased by 252% over that period.

P2P lending set to pass £9bn milestone (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

LENDING at the UK’s largest peer-to-peer finance platforms is fast approaching £9bn.

Data from the industry’s trade body the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA), released on Thursday, showed its eight members – Crowdstacker, Folk2Folk, Funding Circle, Landbay, LendingWorks, MarketInvoice, ThinCats and Zopa – reached cumulative lending of £8.96bn at the end of the first quarter of 2017.

The figure is up 11.5 per cent on the fourth quarter and 57 per cent higher year on year.

Transferwise becomes first non-bank to join BoE payments system (AltFi News) Rated: A

TransferWise has become the first non-bank payment services provider to hold a settlement account in the Bank of England’s Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) system.

The new access should lower costs for Transferwise, one of the UK’s largest fintech start-ups, as TransferWise joins the Faster Payments Scheme (FPS also).

 

Alternative funding for SMEs demystified (Business Matters) Rated: A

However, as Business Matters reported back in December, over 40 per cent of companies say they would have to put their expansion plans on hold if they could not attain funding.

Research shows that most SMEs turn to traditional sources of funding – such as overdrafts, credit cards and bank loans – when they need a cash injection. What’s more, many are unaware of – or are unclear about – the recent expansion in alternative forms of business financing such as crowdfunding or P2P lending. That’s a shame, because many of these new funding options are very well suited to the needs of SMEs and start-ups.

Crowd2Fund prepares to cross fintech bridge to Australia (Finextra) Rated: B

Leading P2P lending platform Crowd2Fund are launching an Australian office by becoming one the first UK-based companies to utilise the new ‘FinTech Bridge’ between the UK and Australia.

Mechanics Cooperative Bank chooses Finastra for core banking system (Real Wire) Rated: B

Mechanics Cooperative Bank has selected the Fusion Phoenix core banking system from Finastra, as well as a full suite of ancillary offerings, to provide its new technology foundation. The solution will bring together a wide-range of proven, specialized software into a single environment that is more easily managed in the back-office, providing greater workflow and interface efficiencies for the bank’s staff, and ultimately customers.

China

CreditEase Wins Major Awards at LendIt Fintech USA 2018 (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

As the exclusive “Global Leader” partner of LendIt Fintech USA 2018, Yirendai was awarded “Top Consumer Lending Platform” and was the only Chinese enterprise to receive a LendIt Fintech industry award, which demonstrates high recognition of its outstanding contributions to the innovation of the financial services industry. In addition, Ms. Yihan Fang, CEO of Yirendai was nominated for “Executive of the Year” and CEFIF was nominated for “Top Fintech Equity Investor”. Both nominations are strong recognition of the great achievements CreditEase has made in both wealth management and Fintech investment fields.

Fintech Start-up 100Credit Gets $ 159M From State-owned China Reform Fund (China Money Network) Rated: AAA

China Reform Fund Management Co.,Ltd, a private equity firm backed by China Reform Holdings Corporation Ltd and other central state-owned enterprises, has led a RMB1 billion (US$159 million) series C round in 100Credit, a fintech start-up that uses big data to provide credit services.

Existing investor Sequoia Capital China also participated in the round, according to 100Credit’s announcement on its official WeChat account.

Softbank leads $ 25m Modalku round, while 500 Startups backs HelloGold (TechinAsia) Rated: B

Alipay pilots digitized national ID cards (China). The digital payments app run by Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial is testing out integration of the Chinese government’s pilot digital ID card scheme, which could one day replace physical ID cards.

European Union

Orange’s entry into digital banking forces old guard to react (Financial Times) Rated: AAA

Orange Bank has already onboarded more than 100,000 customers since launch, only Revolut and Boursorama, Société Générale’s digital banking arm have made more progress in the same timeframe; this continues the wider trend across Europe as digital banking becomes a bigger part of the financial services ecosystem.

Swedish startup Tink just smashed open the floodgates to 300 banks’ data – and it’s a game-changer for Nordic fintech (Business Insider Nordic) Rated: A

Last year, after raising €14 million in funding from a consortium of traditional and online banks, Tink pivoted to licensing its technology to banks so they can build their own apps and fintech services.

The startup is now doubling down on its B2B business by launching a third-party developer platform. This means that the same technology that Tink has provided to banks like Nordea and SEB, will now be open to any company that wants to gain access to a given consumer’s account data (with the consumer’s permission).

The Crowdfunding Trend – Threat or Opportunity? (Eureka) Rated: A

There are some concerns that the rise of crowdfunding will cause major disruption across industries. According to the world bank, 2016 saw more money raised from crowdfunding than from venture capital.

In Finland, for example, there is no requirement for crowdfunders to have an MiFID licence, which means that companies who have obtained a licence are more strictly regulated than their unlicensed competitors. Other nations have been quicker to adapt – in France and the UK existing legislation has been brought smoothly up to date to be compatible with crowdfunding.

GDPR and financial advice: Special categories of personal data (Professional Adviser) Rated: A

The difference between ‘data’ and ‘sensitive data’ – that is, between Article 6, which we considered in more detail here, and Article 9 – is that the individual must give explicit consent to the processing of each type of special category of data.

If, for example, a firm will be asking someone whether they are a smoker and will also be recording they are a member of a specific trade union, then the firm would to need capture explicit consent from the individual that they are happy for the firm to collect and process this data about their health and their trade union membership.

For financial advisers, this consent will need to be gathered early in the customer engagement process, with it being made clear the data will be processed and what it will be processed for.

International

Mintos Marketplace Adds ID Finance Loans Issued in Kazakhstan (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

Mintos, an online marketplace that provides individuals with a simplified way to invest in loans originated by a variety of alternative lending companies, announced on Wednesday that fintech firm ID Finance has further diversified investment opportunities on the Mintos marketplace by launching personal loans listed in Euro (EUR) and Kazakhstani tenge (KZT) under its Solva brand in Kazakhstan.

According to the companies, Solva uses a scoring system built around machine learning, advanced risk assessment techniques, multiple search technologies, big data and text mining. The system also evaluates the device on which the loan application is being filled out and the user’s behaviour when filling out the application.

Mo money, mo cash (Financial Times) Rated: AAA

But according to a new report published by G4S, the massive 117-year-old global security firm, we’re actually still moving in the other direction — at least in most countries.

Poor old cheques. And cryptocurrencies don’t fare too well either.

India

US-based fintech firm announces its expansion in India’s lending space (Medianama) Rated: AAA

California-based fintech company Tala said that it is bringing its lending app to India. This expansion was announced along with a new $50 million Series C funding led by Revolution Growth its operations in the country which is already in progress. In addition to Revolution Growth, Tala’s Series C round includes existing investors IVP, Data Collective, Lowercase Capital, Ribbit Capital, and Female Founders Fund. Steve Murray, managing partner at Revolution Growth, will join Tala’s board of directors.

Asia

 

Singapore Fintech Association established Marketplace Lending Committee (Finextra) Rated: AAA

The Singapore Fintech Association (SFA) today announces the launch of the Marketplace Lending committee and website, in response to the rapid growth in the sector.

In 2016, Southeast Asia’s alternative finance market reached a record US$215.94 million, a growth of 362% compared with 2015. Data for 2016 showed that Singapore’s alternative finance market size was valued at US$163.75 million, more than double the entire value from 2013-2015. This upward trend is reflected internationally. The global lending market valued at US$3.5 billion in 2013, expecting to reach US$1 trillion by 2050, according to Statista, a market research company.

Revolut empire-builder seeking to tame “the Asian dragon” (AltFi News) Rated: A

Rishi Stocker, head of partnerships at Revolut, is currently focused on coordinating the banking challenger’s entry into Japan. Speaking to AltFi, Stocker said that the Japanese market, unlike others in Asia, is a tough nut to crack.

He said that regulators are “very keen on local presence and very concerned about international companies entering and then suddenly changing their strategy and leaving”.

To allow Revolut to set up shop in Japan, regulators have insisted that the fintech firm appoint an experienced local Japanese expert as a director of the entity. “That’s quite an interesting nuance of Japan whereas a lot of other markets are a lot more open – so long as there’s a strong compliance team based in our head office in London,” explained Stocker.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Digital Identity Verification for Alternative Lenders

Digital Identity Verification for Alternative Lenders

Trust is the root of all business transactions. For any financial institution to lend money or offer a banking service, being able to identify the counterparty is a must. And though anonymity is a blessing in a lot of situations, business cannot be conducted under the cloak of secrecy. Financial services are a particular focus […]

Digital Identity Verification for Alternative Lenders

Trust is the root of all business transactions. For any financial institution to lend money or offer a banking service, being able to identify the counterparty is a must. And though anonymity is a blessing in a lot of situations, business cannot be conducted under the cloak of secrecy.

Financial services are a particular focus area for the highest standards in identification, especially due to the strong regulatory push on money laundering, terrorism financing, and KYC (Know Your Customer). Also, according to the World Bank, around 1.1 billion people worldwide cannot prove their identity. They form a major chunk of the 2.5 billion people who don’t have access to financial services. This highlights that identity is a fundamental part of financial inclusion.

Mitek Systems, a global leader in mobile capture and identity verification software solutions, is in the forefront of this growing niche industry. We had an exclusive chat with the company CTO, Stephen Ritter. He gave his views on the opportunity and developments in the ID verification space and how it will be an underlying pillar for the growth of fintech lending and blockchain-led services.

Mitek’s Business Model and Technology

Mitek started as a software company and has evolved to become the leader in mobile banking and mobile deposit solutions. It enables bank customers to take picture of checks for depositing, rendering the physical deposit process redundant. It has entered the digital ID verification market and has developed artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning-powered proprietary algorithms. It will verify the ID by having the user take a picture of  a government-issued ID and compare it with a selfie. This allows the software to cross verify the selfie face with the picture on the government-issued ID.

Mitek’s solutions specializes in accurately identifying the personal document, and can even recognize and evaluate IDs of multiple countries. It can also extract relevant information from the document. Its advanced forensic algorithms can detect signs of forgery or fake documents. Further, it can distinguish good and bad documents and provide a risk score to determine if the document can be trusted. Its algorithms can also determine if the human face is real or a spoof.

The company’s core competency is computer vision, a specific niche within machine learning. The company has been developing software in the field for the last 15 years and considers itself among the pioneers in the space. With the intense speed of development in the field, the company is actively working with partners for integrating third-party sophisticated technology into their own solutions.

The main solutions provided by Mitek include:

  • Mobile Fill – A solution which allows personal information to be pre-filled in the forms of the applicants, taking help of the Mobile ID capture solution provided by Mitek.
  • Mobile Verify – A combination of Mitek’s computer vision technology and auto capture experience, Mobile Verify validates the authenticity of identity documents thereby simplifying the KYC compliance processes.
  • Mobile Deposit – Mobile deposit is a solution that helps in saving time by allowing the person to deposit checks to the participating banks by uploading the image using the device’s camera.

Mitek’s Competition, and Its Impact on Lending

Mitek has an operating history of over two decades. With more than 6,100 banks and financial institutions as customers, the company has a wide moat compared to startups entering the field. Its direct competitors are few and usually early-stage companies. The more traditional players in the space would be the ones that follow the data bureau approach and are beginning to integrate mobile verify solutions for verification of IDs into their platforms.

Lending will receive a boost across the board as lenders, both traditional and alternative, will be able to onboard customers faster and more securely. Alternative lenders, in particular, should see higher approval rates for prospective borrowers with increased confidence they are not being defrauded. Mitek is currently processing over several million ID documents a month. Both MoneyGram and Kabbage use Mitek’s MobileVerify technology. The company is seeing major traction in the fintech lending industry as players are nimble and the first target for most fraudsters.

Financial Inclusion, Privacy, and Real Life Applications

Ritter believes governments need to step up their efforts in ensuring everyone has access to an identity proof. Financial inclusion is positioned prominently in the United Nation’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals agenda, and the need for a digital identity goes far beyond the ability to participate in the formal economy. Its impact is multifold and helps to increase overall trade and access to healthcare and government services. Mitek is also focused on data privacy laws, with GDPR the hot topic in Europe. It has taken GDPR as its baseline for information security and is operating with GDPR recommended data security not only in Europe but across the globe.

Kabbage Case Study
Kabbage facilitates easy funding options to small and medium enterprises through its automated technology-backed data platform. With Mitek’s digital identity verification solutions integrated into the Kabbage platform, users are able to automatically populate the loan application form with pre-filled data in less than a second allowing customers to access funding quickly. Mitek’s solution applies advanced algorithms that automatically assess the authenticity of the driver’s license, providing assurance about the identity of the ID’s holder and reducing the likelihood of fraud during the loan application process.

Anonymous Payments Processor Case Study
Customers were facing a lengthy identity verification process, which forced them to leave the platform before completing the transaction. Driven by the need to comply with Anti Money Laundering (AML) and KYC regulations, a leading global payment processor selected Mitek’s Mobile Verify to provide the customers with more efficient ways to reduce the verification process from days to just minutes. Mitek was able to eliminate 92% of the temporary restrictions that the company previously had to place on customer accounts whenever they would reach a certain dollar threshold. By eliminating these temporary restrictions, the company has improved customer experience as well as increased profitability.

Mitek’s Collaboration with Nocks
Mitek’s digital verification identity has enabled blockchain payments platform Nocks to improve their customers’ onboarding by 98%. A cryptocurrency payments platform, Nocks also has to execute AML and KYC compliances. Nocks has now been able to verify the identity of applicants in real-time, dramatically improving new customer conversion rates due Mitek’s Mobile Verify interface.

MoneyGram Case Study
MoneyGram, the money transfer giant, is also using Mobile Verify to validate its customers’ ID. To complete the identity verification step in the money transfer process, MoneyGram customers simply take a picture of their passport or other identity document using their mobile device camera. Mobile Verify then uses advanced machine learning technology to instantly validate the authenticity of the ID.

Mitek is Experimenting With the Blockchain

Mitek is also developing technology to leverage blockchain infrastructure. The public ledger approach in general is interesting as it could allow for generating self-sovereign IDs which are owned and managed by the users themselves. When businesses need their information, people can control their data and allow only limited or conditional access. Moreover, even banking customers are exploring blockchain-based solutions, and Mitek is experimenting to integrate its ID verification systems on a distributed ledger.

Mitek’s Technology Leadership

Mitek was founded in 1985 and is listed on NASDAQ with a market cap of an estimated $250 million. Mitek’s innovative solutions are embedded into the apps of more than 6,100 organizations and used by more than 80 million consumers.

Stephen Ritter is the Chief Technology officer (CTO) of San Diego-based Mitek Systems. He helps in the technological development of the key processes of the company, along with overseeing Mitek Labs. He has more than 22 years of experience bringing new commercial software solutions to market. Ritter worked as tech lead with Emotient (acquired by Apple) before he joined Mitek.

With the increase in regulatory complexities and fraudulent practices, it is critical for businesses to make sure that they are on the right side of the law and yet are simultaneously making their customers’ life easier. Mitek helps them balance this fine line with its suite of sophisticated identification technologies.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

General Data Protection Regulation – The Challenge and Opportunity

GDPR

In the last 25 years, technology in general, and the internet in particular, has unimaginably altered our way of living. After four long years of controversy, and push and pull, on April 14, 2016, the EU parliament finally approved the landmark General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). GDPR was introduced to replace the Data Protection Directive […]

GDPR

In the last 25 years, technology in general, and the internet in particular, has unimaginably altered our way of living. After four long years of controversy, and push and pull, on April 14, 2016, the EU parliament finally approved the landmark General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). GDPR was introduced to replace the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC and integrate data protection laws throughout Europe, allowing non-European organizations to adhere to these laws. GDPR will be effective from May 2018.

The Principles of GDPR

The concept of GDPR has been initiated because the internet has fundamentally redone how businesses interact with personal information. Data is the new oil, and internet companies were harvesting user data to make billions in profits. European Union legislators felt like they had to do something to protect consumer information.

Source:

Individuals’ Rights  

Some basic rights are provided to individuals under GDPR while strengthening existing ones under the current Data Protection Act.

The right to be informed
The right to be informed defines the information provided for the processing of personal data must be precise, transparent, and easily accessible while written in easy-to-understand language.

The right to access
With right to access, the person gets the right to request access to his own personal data to check how i is being used by the processing units.

The right to rectification
In case the user’s personal data is incomplete or inaccurate, he has the right to get the misinformation rectified.

The right to erasure
The right to erasure or ‘right to be forgotten’ gives a person right to have procedures in place to delete any personal data that is unnecessary or no longer useful.

The right to restrict processing
The individual gets the right to block or stop processing of personal data in situations where case data provided is inaccurate, or when the individual feels that processing is unlawful.

The right to data portability
The right to portability allows individuals to receive and reuse personal data in other services for their own purposes. Individuals can even copy, move, and forward data from one processing organization to another directly.

The right to object
Under the right to object, the individual can object to the processing of his personal data whenever he wants. Once this objection is received, the processing organization must stop processing data immediately.

Rights related to automated decision making and profiling
Individuals also have the right not to be subject to decisions built on automated processing (includes online credit applications, e-evaluation of performance without human intervention, and more).

The Impact of GDPR on Fintech Lenders

The EU estimates that additional simplicity and clarity of GDPR will save businesses 2.3 billion euros per year. On the other hand, the regulation provides for hefty fines of up to 20 million euros (about $22 million) or 4% of global annual revenues for non-compliance, depending on the nature of the transgression. By May 2018, GDPR will adversely affect businesses, including the likes of Google and Facebook, and it impacts fintech companies, too.

One of the key challenges for the alternative lending industry is to ensure that organizational data gathering and processing methods are accommodating the GDPR’s set of rules. Most fintech companies working in the wide economic space of EU find GDPR a challenge. The major reasons behind this could be that players were gathering the personal data of users and using it for purposes not defined under the terms of agreement. The law means alternative lenders and other fintechs will need to make some changes in how they collect, organize, and process personal data.

GDPR will impact the movement of data between the EU and the UK, and between EU and third-world countries. It will also affect the fintech companies in the following areas:

Client Consent
As per GDPR, personal data is the information which can identify an individual. This includes his name, email address, social media accounts, etc. GDPR makes it compulsory for firms to gain consent from individuals about the gathered personal data. Users get to know about the data firms hold on them.

Also, firms need to define their purpose clearly for which the data is gathered and pursue further consent if the firm wishes to share the data with third-parties.

Outcomes of a breach
Earlier, in case of a breach, firms had their own protocols to work with. But with the introduction of GDPR, it commands to report directly to the supervisory authority of personal data within 72 hours.

Vendor management
IT systems are the backbone of the financial sector, and user’s data regularly flows through various IT applications. As GDPR corresponds with user personal data, companies must understand data flows across their systems. Outsourcing development means that the data can be accessed by external vendors, thus increasing the data’s net exposure. So, vendors will not be able to disassociate themselves from the obligations of concern to data access.

Pseudonymisation
In GDPR, data is pseudonymised into artificial identifiers in order to secure the personal nature of that data. It ensures that data access remains within the ‘need-to-know’ obligations. Due to this add-on, alternative lenders have to create new systems in their operating ideologies with the concept of “Privacy by Design’.

Conclusion

GDPR is a challenge but can become a moat for alternative lenders who are able to integrate GDPR-compliant data collection systems. Being on the right side of law but still ensuring they are able to leverage data will be a very thin plank to walk, but alternative lenders who execute this balancing act will be able to create a competitive advantage.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Thursday March 8 2018, Daily News Digest

Purchase APR

News Comments Today’s main news: CommonBond receives AAA securitization rating. Ranger Direct returns suffer. Victory Park Capital posts record returns from balance sheet investments. Today’s main analysis: LendingTree mortgage offers report for February 2018. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Can big tech stop the compensation bubble? What’s driving venture capitalist’s attention to B2B fintech? The evolution of modern fintech. United States […]

Purchase APR

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

News Summary

United States

Online Lender CommonBond Receives First AAA Rated Securitization (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

CommonBond, an online lending platform servicing the student loan market, has received its first triple A rating for securitization. Moody’s has assigned provisional ratings of (P)Aaa (sf) to Class A-1 and A-2 notes to be issued by CommonBond Student Loan Trust 2018-A-GS (CBSLT 2018-A-GS). DBRS rated the loans AAA as well. The transaction was CommonBond’s sixth securitization at $233.75 million bringing the total to $1.22 billion.

LendingTree Mortgage Offers Report – February 2018 (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

  • February’s best offers for borrowers with the best profiles had an average APR of 4.22% for conforming 30-year fixed purchase loans, up from 3.93% in December. Refinance loan offers were up 38 bps to 4.13%.
  • For the average borrower, purchase APRs for conforming 30-yr fixed loans offered on LendingTree’s platform were up 25 bps to 4.80%. The loan note rate hit the highest since March 2016 at 4.70% and was also up 25 bps from January. We prefer to emphasize 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 4.68% in February, vs 4.95% for consumers with scores of 680-719.
Source: LendingTree

The $ 5.7 trillion question: Can big tech stop the comp bubble? (INTL FCStone), Rated: AAA

INTL FCStone Global Macro Strategist Vincent Deluard:  “The $5.7 trillion question: Can big tech stop the comp bubble, resist higher yields, and deliver the growth?”  

  • Compensation, especially stock-based comp, is exploding at large tech companies
  • The tech rally rests on a foundation of low interest rates, rising stock prices, and quick revenue growth
  • Many big tech companies are becoming too big to grow
  • Rising interest rates and, God forbids, lower stock valuations could cause the entire edifice to crumble
Source: INTL FCStone

Millennials are seeking non-traditional banking (Digital Journal), Rated: A

A wake-up message for banks: if you want to remain competitive you need to embrace digital multi-channels and appeal to tech-savvy millennials.

A generational change is happening, and businesses have to accept that ‘millennials’ are expecting most products and services to be offered digitally. Financial products, including banking, are not immune from this trend. Two separate reports highlight this tendency.

review by Intelligent Finance has found that the biggest factor that attracts millennials to select one bank over another is an easy-to-use smartphone app, with most wishing to use online banking via a smartphone. In contrast, Baby Boomers stated that face-to-face customer service was the key determinant (with rude service being highlighted as the main reason why this generation might take their money to another bank). In contrast, millennials are most likely to exit from a bank if they did not like the smartphone app or if the bank suffered from a cyber breach.

19 of the top ex-bankers in fintech (efinancialcareers), Rated: A

It’s becoming more common for bankers to quit the traditional financial services in favor of financial technology, either co-founding a startup or landing at an established fintech firm. Some crash and burn and come crawling back to banking with their tail between their legs, but many have found great success in the fintech space.

The following are 19 of the top former bankers working in fintech today (in no particular order).

John Mack, a member of Lending Club’s board of directors

Mack stepped down as chairman/CEO of Morgan Stanley in 2011. Since then, he has invested in various fintech companies, including Lending Club (on whose board he sits), Orchard and Dataminr, which sends social media-based alerts to traders. He also participated in a $10m initial funding round for New England Funding Technologies (NEFT), which created the mPowerCredit credit-rating platform.

Dominic Gamble, founder of Findawealthmanager.com

After starting out as a sales-trader at Credit Agricole, Gamble worked at Credit Suisse for seven years before he moved to Deutsche Bank in 2010. However, a year later Gamble left to set up his website, Findawealthmanager.com, which helps high-net-worth investors to research and evaluate financial advisers.

Points awarded for new ISOs and more; Prizes include a Nintendo Switch (6th Avenue Capital), Rated: A

6th Avenue Capital, LLC (“6th Avenue Capital”), a leading provider of small business financing solutions, announced today the launch of its first “Merchant Madness” promotion. Throughout the month, and coinciding with the annual NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, 6th Avenue Capital will award points for all new ISOs, Merchant Cash Advance (MCA) submissions, approvals and funded deals.

  • The breakdown of points* awarded per category is as follows:
  • New ISOs/ISOs submitting first MCA application – 1 point
  • New MCA submissions – 1 point
  • Approved submissions – 2 points
  • Funded deals – 3 points
  • *California submissions excluded.

Points will be awarded from March 1, 2018 to March 30, 2018 and tallied at the end of the month. Prizes will be awarded to the top nine finishers as follows:

  • 5th through 8th place – Amazon Echo Dots (4)
  • 1st through 4th place – Parrot Mambo Drones (4)
  • 1st place – Nintendo Switc and Parrot Mambo Drone

Kabbage CEO Rob Frohwein On Their #FinTechForChange Call Against Assault-Style Rifles (Hypepotamus), Rated: A

How did you decide as a company to take a public stand on this issue?

As a technology leader and financial services company, we believe we have a unique responsibility and opportunity to help prevent future tragedies from occurring. Doing nothing is still a choice. We choose to do something to drive positive change and be an example to others.

How data analytics drives better real estate investing (Housing Wire) Rated: A

For Auction.com, the largest real estate marketplace, innovative technology enables us to provide a superior level of functionality and data analytics on a host of different types of real estate in the 3,000+ counties we serve — helping build stronger relationships with our buyers and sellers, and making us a trusted partner throughout the auction process.

Buyers and sellers demand greater data capabilities

In a world increasingly driven by big data, the real estate professionals who effectively utilize robust data analytics to make more informed decisions typically realize greater levels of success. Just as stock market investors conduct due diligence and use varied data sources prior to purchasing a company’s stock, real estate investors should do the same when buying property. Likewise, sellers come to the marketplace with one goal in mind – selling a property at market-price in the least amount of time. Data analytics serves as a catalyst to ensure that both of these needs are met.

World Economic Forum leads creation of fintech cyber security consortium (The Star), Rated: A

The World Economic Forum has led the creation of an industry consortium focused on improving the cybersecurity of financial technology companies, as collaboration between fintechs and financial institutions grows.

The consortium’s founding members include Citigroup Inc, online lender Kabbage, the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation, Zurich Insurance Group and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, the companies said on Tuesday.

The mortgage market risk no one’s talking about (BROOKINGS), Rated: A

After the crisis, Congress and financial regulators increased regulation of the credit risk associated with mortgage lending, including the enforcement of stronger underwriting standards. But according to new research published in the Spring 2018 edition of the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, a boom in nonbank mortgage lending means the mortgage market is still exposed to liquidity risk that very few people are talking about.

What is Blockchain Technology? A Beginner’s Guide (Invest in Blockchain)

The very primitive form of the blockchain was the hash tree, also known as a Merkle tree. This data structure was patented by Ralph Merkle in 1979, and functioned by verifying and handling data between computer systems. In a peer-to-peer network of computers, validating data was important to make sure nothing was altered or changed during transfer. It also helped to ensure that false data was not sent. In essence, it is used to maintain and prove the integrity of data being shared.

Source: Invest in Blockchain

Women in NYC Tech: Angela Galardi Ceresnie of Climb Credit (Alley Watch), Rated: A

Today we speak with Angela Galardi Ceresnie, COO of Climb Credit, the smart student-lending platform. After undergrad and roles at Citi and American Express, Angela took her financial acumen to the startup world in 2013 to cofound Orchard Platform, an investment platform for the peer-to-peer and online direct lender, with Matt Burton, Jonathan Kelfer and David Snitkof. During Angela’s time at Orchard, the company had raised over $40M in funding, backed by some notable investors including John Mack, Thrive Capital, and Spark Capital. In 2016, Angela transitioned to Climb Credit to work alongside the founding team to help it scale. Angela is an active member of the NYC tech ecosystem and continues to give back to the community through her involvement.

 

What are the advantages of being a woman in tech?

We have a unique perspective that we can bring to the table, what has historically been, a primarily male-dominated field, and that allows us to make useful observations and a significant impact as long as we stand behind our ideas. There is also no shortage of support from other women in the industry.

iintoo Returns Net 15.95 Percent on Exited Deals (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Real estate investment management company iintoo investments Ltd. (“iintoo”) announced a 15.95 percent average annual return on investment, net fees, and $3 million in regular distributions to investors since its founding in 2015. The returns are based on iintoo’s six exited investments to date, with a total asset value of $50 million, all of which exited ahead of schedule. With assets totaling $560 million and a global community of 32,000 members, New York-based iintoo opens up access to real estate investments that were once exclusive to professional funders and high net worth individuals.

Unlike a crowdfunding platform, iintoo works directly with project developers to vet and create business plans to maximize the chances for success.

RealtyShares Survey Shows Many Americans Believe Commercial Real Estate is Critical to Improving Local Communities (Business Wire), Rated: A

RealtyShares, a leading online marketplace for real estate investing, today announced the results from its Commercial Real Estate Investing Survey.

The survey found that a quarter of U.S. adults (25%) felt commercial real estate investment has the biggest impact on enhancing the reputation of a community. Roughly 1 in 5 of those who have or are currently investing in commercial real estate have done so for reasons that may support their community, like helping a friend or family member with capital for a commercial real estate investment (20%) or needing a facility for their own business (17%).

While some are already involved, the survey revealed fifty-three percent of Americans would invest in commercial real estate within their communities if given a chance. For those who have never invested in commercial real estate, affordability and access were the major roadblocks. Sixty-one percent believe they lack the necessary funds, while 19 percent don’t know how to invest. This may be creating an investing gap, as nearly 9 out of 10 Americans (89%) have never invested in commercial real estate, according to the report.

A Guide to Commercial Real Estate Crowdfunding (Commercial Property Executive), Rated A

Charles Clinton, co-founder & CEO of investing platform EQUITYMULTIPLE, delves into the mechanism behind commercial real estate crowdfunding and underlines the most important factors an investor must consider for long-term success.

What opportunities does real estate crowdfunding offer investors?

Clinton: By moving real estate syndication online, real estate crowdfunding has begun to change that old paradigm. Individual investors can now invest in private market real estate transactions at low minimums (our investment minimum at is typically $10,000 per offering) and start allocating a portion of their portfolio into real estate without taking on the burdens of direct ownership.

Investors have full transparency into what properties they’re investing in and the low minimums help facilitate diversification. The best platforms also pre-screen the real estate companies and investments that they present, easing the selection burden on investors.

What are the benefits of crowdfunding investment compared to traditional instruments?

Clinton: Strong yield—after years of near-zero interest rates, investors have been forced to look for yield in new places. Less volatility—these investments are illiquid and non-traded, as opposed to public stocks, traded REITs or cryptocurrencies (a topic on everyone’s mind). While illiquidity has its drawback, it also reduces market correlation, making direct real estate investing less subject to market swings and, in aggregate, exhibit less volatility.

Potential for outsized returns—because private real estate markets are inefficient, there is potential for market-beating returns by investing in markets and submarkets that are underserved by traditional sources of capital, and in properties with untapped potential. Downside protection is also an advantage. Real estate—as an irreplaceable resource with tangible value—is also less vulnerable to recessions. The economy will expand and contract cyclically, but a growing number of humans will always need places to live and work.

Then we have tax advantages. Real estate investing platforms allow individual investors to share in the same unique tax advantages as institutional real estate investors—namely write-offs for depreciation, and a new 20 percent deduction for investments made through an LLC, courtesy of the recently-signed tax bill.

QuantumReverse Expands Its Team (PR Newswire), Rated: B

QuantumReverse, the technology company that is building an advanced reverse mortgage LOS, announced the addition of four industry veterans to its team. QuantumReverse’s team now boasts over 50 years of combined experiences in the reverse mortgage technology space.

Triad ranks among the best places for new small businesses (Tiad Business Journal), Rated: B

The Triad area ranks among the 50 best places for new small businesses, according to a new study by online loan marketplace LendingTree.

Interview with Yann Murciano, CEO of Blend Network (P2P-Banking), Rated: A

Blend Network has already lend £1.5 million GBP to 6 project across Northern Ireland, Scotland and Norfolk with an average fixed return of 12.2% p.a.

What are the three main advantages for investors?

  1. Access to niche markets
  2. High returns
  3. Strong due diligence and credit risk assessment

What are the three main advantages for borrowers?

  1. Access to finance
  2. We bring knowledge and understanding of developers’ true requirements
  3. No exit fee for early repayments
United Kingdom

Ranger Direct’s returns still suffering from Princeton proceedings (Peer2Peer Finance News), Rated: AAA

RANGER Direct Lending’s (RDL) ongoing legal dispute with its Princeton holding pushed its net asset value (NAV) return down to 0.43 per cent in January, the investment trust has revealed.

RDL has been locked in arbitration proceedings with Princeton since last year over its exposure to bankrupt lender Argon Credit, and without these costs it said its returns would have been 0.68 per cent.

The update shows its NAV is down from 0.48 per cent in December.

VPC posts record returns from balance sheet investments (Peer2Peer Finance News), Rated: AAA

VICTORY Park Capital (VPC) Specialty Lending Investments has reported that gross revenue return from its balance sheet investments hit an all-time high in January.

Its balance sheet loans produced returns of 1.08 per cent in January, compared to its marketplace loans which produced 0.04 per cent.

80 per cent of its portfolio was in balance sheet loans as of 31 January, the company said.

Fintech lender iwoca pledges £100m for Northern SMEs by 2020 (AltFi), Rated: A

European small business lender iwoca has announced today its intention to pledge £100m in lending to micro and small businesses in the UK’s Northern regions by 2020, as it fights to counteract the withdrawal of credit by UK banks.

The UK neobank market has reached a critical juncture (Business Insider), Rated: A

Starling Bank and Monzo became the top two banks in terms of customer satisfaction, according to consumer finance site Smart Money People, knocking incumbent first direct out of the number one spot for the first time. Additionally, the percentage of UK consumers willing to use a digital-only startup bank fell during 2017, from 78% in the first half of the year to 54% by the end of the year, according to a survey by RFi Group.

Do SMEs favour equity and alternative finance over debt? (Specialist Banking), Rated: A

At the beginning of 2017, SMEs in the UK accounted for 99.3% of all private sector businesses and 60% of all private sector employment in the UK.

Last year saw a substantial increase in the value and number of SME equity deals (up 79% and 12% respectively) in the UK, as well as continued growth in the value of SME asset finance deals (up 12%) and P2P lending (up 51%).

This was at the same time that traditional bank net lending declined to £700m – down from £3bn the year before.

Forget the Lifetime ISA, we need an ‘Everything ISA’ (City Wire),  Rated: A

A report by the Association of Taxation Technicians (AAT) has criticised the number of ISAs available that brings ‘unnecessary complexity, bureaucracy, and confusion’, said chief executive Mark Farrer.

‘Some ISAs have age limits, some do not, some have a maximum savings limit of £20,000 per annum, one has a £4,128 limit, another £4,000, and the Help to Buy ISA offers a £50 bonus for every £200 saved, up to a maximum of £3,000,’ he said.

Farrar also pointed out the ‘mind-boggling interaction’ between different types of ISAs that means the total saved into a Lifetime ISA (Lisa) – a maximum of £4,000 a year – has to be deducted from the total (currently £20,000) that can be saved into a cash or stocks and shares ISA.

Checkout.com Secures a Place on Tech City’s Future Fifty, (PRNEWSWIRE), Rated: B

Checkout.com, a leading international online payment solutions provider, has been included in Tech City’s renowned Future Fifty programme for 2018.

China

Property Tax In China By 2019? (supchina), Rated: A

Meanwhile, there is no tax on real estate. If you buy an apartment — even if it sits empty — it does not cost anything. Although there has been talk of a property tax for many years, there has been little action aside from a few experiments in local markets. That might be about to change, judging by this Sohu report (in Chinese):

  • At this morning’s press conference at the annual political gathering known as the Two Sessions, Vice Finance Minister Shi Yaobin 史耀斌 told reporters that his ministry and other government departments were “drafting and improving the real estate tax law,” while former Finance Minister Lou Jiwei 楼继伟 said that a draft bill may be reviewed by the legislature this year.
  • One important detail that has not yet been worked out: How will the value of property be assessed — based on appraisal, market value, or some other indicator?
  • Local governments will collect and have the benefit of property taxes.
  • The Party’s biggest worry is, I believe, that a property tax will be an excessive new burden on ordinary households whose only major investments are in real estate.
  • A possible solution mentioned in the Sohu article is leaving the first 160 square meters of a person’s property tax-free, but placing a levy on floor space in excess of that and on additional real estate owned by the same person.
  • “A property tax is a potential game-changer for a real estate industry sometimes called too big to fail for the Chinese and world economies,” says Bloomberg.
European Union

EU proposes crowdfunding ‘passports’ in boost for fintech (Reuters), Rated: AAA

The European Commission has proposed crowdfunding “passports” for the European Union in a draft law that forms part of efforts to boost growth in the financial technology sector.

“An EU crowdfunding license would help crowdfunding platforms scale up in Europe,” the EU’s financial services commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis said in a statement.

International

What’s Driving VCs’ Attention To B2B FinTech (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

According to the analysis, which was released last week, an 18 percent increase in FinTech funding in 2017 led the industry to see $27.4 billion worth of investments. FinTech funding spiked 31 percent to $11.3 billion in the U.S. alone, and the U.K. market’s funding deals nearly quadrupled in value to $3.4 billion.

The volume of deals increased, too, with nearly 2,700 investment rounds closing last year.

B2B FinTechs are playing an especially prominent role in this trend, analysts noted. Anecdotally, these firms have been talking for years about the industry’s potential to make significant disruptions in areas like corporate finance, small and medium-sized business (SMB) lending and more.

The alternative finance market saw a sudden boom, and a similarly sudden period of volatility as big industry names like Lending ClubOnDeck and Kabbage struggled to continue growth momentum. Kabbage was hit with a lawsuit last year initiated by an SMB borrower, and Lending Club’s CEO resigned in 2016 following an investigation into improper loan sale practices.

Fintech – The Evolution Of Modern Financial Technology In The 21st Century (Valuewalk), Rated: AAA

Financial procedures have evolved 

India

Nirav Modi fallout: As banks tighten purse strings, fintech can fill the void (India Times) Rated: AAA

As banks scramble to tighten their credit disbursal process, the ones most affected would surely be the small businesses. The now oft quoted figure from the Economic Survey this year has revealed that the amount of credit or loans disbursed by banks amounted to Rs 26,041 billion as on November 2017, but 82.6% of this was cornered by large enterprises. There is, however, now a robust alternate source of finance for small businesses to tap into.

“Non-Bank Finance Companies (NBFCs) stepped up financing of MSMEs after demonetization. NBFCs can be a very powerful vehicle for delivering loans under MUDRA. Refinancing policy and eligibility criteria set by MUDRA will be reviewed for better refinancing of NBFCs,” said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley while presenting the Union Budget for 2018-19.

Digital lenders call for easing of regulations (The Times of India), Rated: A

The Digital Lenders’ Association of India (DLAI) has presented a set of policy recommendations to the finance ministry, including easing of funding sources for digital lenders, expanding access to the micro and small enterprises (MSMEs), easing paperless transactions, and opening up lending data.

DLAI, formed in late 2016, comprises of 42 alternative lending startups including CapitalFloat, Lendingkart, Indifi, and KredX. It was formed to develop and promote the needs of these players.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

How to Avoid the Downstream Effects of Data Breaches

How to Avoid the Downstream Effects of Data Breaches

It seems like there’s a news story almost daily about data breaches involving retailers, credit bureaus, or government entities. While many of the stories focus on the immediate consequences for consumers, the downstream effects of these data breaches can wreak havoc on online lenders and their customers. The trouble for lenders often starts when fraud […]

How to Avoid the Downstream Effects of Data Breaches

It seems like there’s a news story almost daily about data breaches involving retailers, credit bureaus, or government entities. While many of the stories focus on the immediate consequences for consumers, the downstream effects of these data breaches can wreak havoc on online lenders and their customers.

The trouble for lenders often starts when fraud teams respond too aggressively to a major data breach. By setting overly conservative identity verification screening rules, for example, lenders can end up rejecting good customers, resulting not just in the loss of immediate business but also the potential for long-term customer revenue. Once they are denied a loan that they probably should have been approved for, customers are unlikely to return and certainly won’t be likely to recommend the lender to others.

While it’s a difficult balance to strike, there are proven methods for lenders to confidently verify a customer’s identity in the era of constant data breaches. Here are three rules of thumb:

#1. Assume every identity has been compromised

In the first half of 2017, the number of data breaches climbed 29 percent. From the Republican National Committee contractor whose breach exposed voting data on nearly 200 million Americans to Verizon’s breach that affected more than 14 million customers, data hacks are increasing in frequency and severity across all industries.

The recent breach of credit reporting giant Equifax is another example. Reported by the Wall Street Journal as the largest social security data breach in history, approximately 143 million U.S. consumers’ confidential data, including social security numbers, names, birth dates, and addresses were compromised. What’s more, the breach exposed the credit card numbers of 200,000 consumers as well as “dispute documents” with personal information of another 180,000.

Because personal data of every kind is readily available to fraudsters, online lenders face significant identity verification challenges. They need smarter systems to allow borrowers to use their own (likely compromised) data while being able to recognize when criminals are using the same data illegally.

#2. Go beyond Social Security Numbers

For many online lenders, the social security number has long been regarded as a key indicator of identity. But if it wasn’t made abundantly clear by the Equifax data breach, social security numbers (SSNs) can no longer be a trusted piece of identity data. In fact, SSNs were never meant to serve this purpose in the first place. They were created solely as a way to keep track of an individual’s earnings for social security and benefits purposes.

So, what do you do if SSNs are a key customer identifier for your business? Start incorporating modern identifiers into your verification process. Those include home address, email, phone, and IP address. Better yet, verify all of these elements and link them back to the customer.

#3. Confirm Whole Identities by Linking Identity Data Attributes Together

While it’s easy to use and piece together stolen identity data, it is impossible to fabricate the linkages that effectively mimic a real person. Legitimate borrowers can be confirmed by verifying many identity data elements and ensuring they all connect to the individual behind the transaction, clearly distinguishing them from bad actors whose data elements won’t correlate properly.

Linkage analysis can include connecting name, address, phone, IP, and other non-personally identifiable information (non-PII) data.

Some positive signals include things like:

  • an email address age of more than 720 days
  • an IP address within 10 miles of the physical address
  • a match between phone and address
  • a match between email and name
  • a match between phone and name
  • a match between address and name

And common risk signals include:

  • a mismatch between linked email, phone, or address details
  • an email address less than 90 days old
  • a non-fixed VoIP or toll free phone number
  • a phone country code and physical address mismatch
  • invalid phone, email, or address info
  • a proxy IP address

Eva Casey Velasquez, President and CEO of the ID Theft Resource Center, which provides non-profit resources and support to victims of identity fraud, has recommended businesses take action with multi-factor authentication processes. “We are encouraging businesses to be fearless in their security,” she said. “At the end of the day, it is your customer base that you are helping.”

The rate of data breaches continues to pick up speed with no end in sight. Lenders that fortify their fraud management strategies with a multi-layer approach will be able to avoid reactive decision-making in the aftermath of a data breach.

Just because the personal data of your borrowers is available on the dark web doesn’t mean that verifying their identity is hard or impossible. It just means that basic identity data attribute verification won’t work and whole identity verification will be required. Your teams will appreciate their newfound ability to excel through the wake of the next data breach and your growing base of happy customers will be more apt to refer your business to a friend.

Authors:

Tom Donlea leads the global marketing efforts of Whitepages Pro, the worldwide identity verification data provider for risk management in banking and online lending. With over ten years of online payments and risk experience, he previously was the founding executive director of the Merchant Risk Council.

Thursday March 1 2018, Daily News Digest

JPMorgan

News Comments Today’s main news: RateSetter opens IFISA to new investors today. Amazon customers would bank with e-tailer. Zopa’s VC firm raises 500K GBP in 24 hours. Collateral goes off line. Auxmoney hits profitability. Credy raises $1.4M. Today’s main analysis: Is JPMorgan’s tech investment paying off? Today’s thought-provoking articles: Presenters at LendIt Fintech USA 2018. Klarna’s end-of-year report. Asia’s fintech investment drops. […]

JPMorgan

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Asia

Canada

News Summary

United States

Many Amazon customers would welcome banking services (RetailDive), Rated: AAA

  • More than half of 1,000 U.S. Amazon customers recently surveyed said they would be willing to use an Amazon-created virtual currency for purchases, according to a survey conducted by student loan marketplace LendEDU.
  • Among other findings, the survey (which questioned consumers, including some Amazon Prime members, that made purchases on Amazon within the previous 30 days) found that 44.5% said they would also keep their primary bank account with Amazon if the e-commerce giant offered such a service.
  • Furthermore, about half of respondents said they would seek personal loans from Amazon if they were available, and roughly 45% said they would use an auto loan offering from the company. Another 30% claimed they would be ready to take out an Amazon-created mortgage.

Broad Mix of Thought Leaders to Present at LendIt Fintech USA 2018 (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Lending

  • Jay Farner, CEO, Quicken Loans
  • Max Levchin, Co-Founder & CEO, Affirm
  • Anthony Noto, CEO, SoFi
  • Renaud Laplanche, CEO, Upgrade

Digital Banking

  • Yolande Piazza, CEO, Citi FinTech
  • Suresh Ramamurthi, Chairman & CTO, CBW Bank
  • Luvleen Sidhu President, Co-Founder & Chief Strategy Officer, BankMobile
  • Jeremy K. Balkin, Head of Innovation, HSBC Bank USA
  • Nicolas Kopp, U.S. CEO, N26 Inc.

Blockchain for Financial Services

For 2018 we looked at one of the biggest new trends in financial services, blockchain and decided to create an event within our event. We are debuting our new blockchain event Blockfin by LendIt.

  • Tim Draper Founder & Managing Director DFJ
  • Richard Craib, CEO, Numerai
  • Tom Ding, Co-founder & CEO, String Labs/Dfinity
  • Vincent Wang, Chief Innovation Officer, China Wanxiang Group
  • Kathleen Breitman, Co-Founder, Tezos
  • Catherine Wood, CEO/CIO, ARK INVEST

Will JPMorgan’s splashy tech investment pay off? (American Banker), Rated: AAA

“Retail distribution is like a muscle,” Chief Financial Officer Marianne Lake said in discussing the company’s recently announced plan to open 400 branches in up to 20 new markets. “You have to exercise it or it goes to waste.”

Nonetheless, the New York megabank raised eyebrows when it said it would invest an additional $1.4 billion in technology in 2018 — the driving factor in projections for noninterest expenses to rise 6% in the year ahead.

Fintech Platform Current Announces Strategic Investment from Fifth Third (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Current, the fintech platform that allows teens to connect their money with the people, brands and experiences they value, announced on Tuesday that Fifth Third Capital, a direct equity investment subsidiary of Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ: FITB), has joined the recently announced Series A funding, led by QED Investors.

Leasing App Honcker Plans Expansion With $ 23M Funding From IAC (Auto Finance News), Rated: A

Vehicle leasing startup Honcker secured $23 million in series A funding this week and is using the capital injection to expand nationwide and bring some added features to its app, founder and Chief Executive Nathan Hecht told Auto Finance News today.

InterActive Corp. (IAC) — the media investor behind Investopedia, Tinder, Vimeo, and many others — is making its foray into the vehicle marketplace with this funding round to take a minority stake in the company. Honcker partners with dealers and plugs into their existing lender network to provide an online leasing marketplace.

How Are Fintech And Proptech Changing The Real Estate Industry In 2018? (Forbes), Rated: A

2. Ability To Reach New Investors Online

The ability to raise capital online and reach new accredited investors through online portals is still in its infancy.

5. Data Analysis To Drive Investment Decisions

Really use data analysis to drive your investment decisions, don’t just look at the headlines. Utilize big data and predictive analytics to dig into what is responsible for the migration of renters, and what those renters are seeking in their new apartment.

7. Reduced Friction In Buying, Owning And Selling

We are constantly pushing to incorporate or develop technologies to improve our business and customer experience by reducing cost, friction and time, as well as improve transparency and security. Some of these we develop ourselves, like application of machine learning and AI to develop a national neighborhood rating system. Others we adopt, like animated 3D visualization software. –

LA tech startup InvestFar’s innovative platform spearheads globalization of real estate investing (Digital Journal), Rated: A

Rising LA startup InvestFar; recently launched its signature mobile app to help aspiring investors with informed investment decisions. Titled as “InvestFar”, the app is the first platform to boast all the tools and resources needed for successful investments in long-distance or local markets nationwide.

Built in LA, this real estate tech startup is on a path to innovating how real estate and investors in this industry scale and manage their investments beyond local markets, especially in markets like Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York – where we often see inflated housing prices and shrunken inventory given increasing foreign investment.

Small construction companies lukewarm on tech investment (ConstructionDive), Rated: A

  • A recent customer survey from small business funding siteKabbage revealed that fewer than 35% of small construction companies planned to make investments at some level this year in technologies that could help their businesses and further bring them into the digital age.
  • More than 65% of contractors who responded to the study did not have a plan to invest in tools like big data solutions or mobile technologies, and the same percentage was either neutral, against or not likely to spend more than 20% on social media advertising.
  • Kabbage also found that even with well-publicized cyber attacks and other computer-related crimes, not even 40% of small construction firms planned to invest in cybersecurity.

ACA International Responds to Misleading ACLU Report on Debt Collection Industry (ACA International), Rated: B

Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) released a misguided and heavily misleading report accusing private debt collectors of using the criminal justice system to “punish” and “terrorize” consumers. This is absolutely false and undermines the commitment and integrity of the professional debt collection industry.

Legitimate debt collectors work with consumers to help recover outstanding debt on behalf of businesses, nonprofit organizations and governmental entities.

Tiny Kansas bank bets big on fintech (American Banker), Rated: B

Nbkc bank in Overland Park, Kan., is comfortable sitting at the same table as many of the banking industry’s biggest innovators.

The $632 million-asset bank, a unit of Ameri-National Corp., recently participated in a $16 million investment in Greenlight Financial Technology, which offers debit cards for kids that parents can control from their phones. Other investors included the Amazon Alexa Fund, SunTrust Bank and Ally Financial.

United Kingdom

RateSetter to open IFISA to new investors on Thursday (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER is opening up its Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) to new investors on Thursday, meaning that two out of the ‘big three’ lenders will be offering the tax wrapper outside of their existing customer base.

Industry onlookers argue that the IFISA will only begin to move into the mainstream once the largest P2P platforms offer the product to new investors.

VC firm behind Zopa raises £500,000 for fintech fund in just 24 hours (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

A FINTECH venture capital firm that has a stake in Zopa has surpassed a £500,000 fundraising target for a new investment company in the first 24 hours.

Augmentum Capital, which has a 7.4 per cent holding in peer-to-peer lender Zopa worth £18.5m, is looking to raise £100m through an initial public offering (IPO) alongside a crowdfunding listing on Seedrs.

What’s Up at Collateral? (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

A question concerned investors have been speculating on for over 36 hours now, since the website of UK p2p lending platform Collateral went down around 7pm two days ago and is showing a maintenance message. Investors criticize that there was no pre-announcement of this maintenance and worse that Collateral seemed to have ceased all communications to investors and did not react to any phone or email messages.

With no communications from the platform whatsoever investors wondered what to do. Some investors reported the incident to ActionFraud squad of the police while another contacted the FCA to voice his concern and seek advice.

1) How should a p2p lending platform communicate in a crisis?

In my view not communicating at all is the worst choice.

2) What can concerned investors actually do to react, if the platform is seemingly unreachable/unresponding over a longer period of time?

Collateral investors in limbo after lender shuts down site (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

Meanwhile, it emerged that the three limited companies listed on the Financial Services Register that have traded under the name of Collateral have not had regulatory permission to operate as a consumer credit business for at least 11 months and have all now been dissolved.

Cash4Assets, which traded under the name Collateral, had cancelled its interim permissions with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). A permission end date is given of 23 March 2015.

Regal Pawnbroker, which also listed Collateral as one of its trading names, saw its interim permissions lapse on 31 March 2016.

And Goldmann and Sons saw its interim authorisation lapse on 31 March 2016.

Assetz Capital introduces manual lending Isa (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

The P2P lender recently announced it had registered 2,000 investors for its Innovative Finance Isa(IFIsa) since it launched in December last year.

So far, Isa users have invested £14m, with one third coming from transfers from other Isa providers.

Funding for finance start-ups hits all-time high in threat to big banks (The Telegraph), Rated: A

Major fundraisings in the UK last year included digital insurance distributor BGL Group getting $900m, while payments venture TransferWise got $280m. Elsewhere Monzo raised £93m in two separate rounds, while Revolut got $66m.

Britain’s two biggest lenders, Lloyds and RBS, announced £5.5bn worth of investment programmes between them last week, with online banking a primary focus of their spending plans.

Banks scramble to be open as clients shrug (Royal News 24), Rated: A

Open banking, as this particular revolution is known, was introduced on the second weekend of January, forcing Britain’s biggest banks to provide third parties with access to the accounts of any customers who authorise it.

A Citigroup analysis published last week finds three reasons why disintermediation of the established order is likely to be delayed. One is slow consumer adoption. A second is the fragmentation of the market for new “open banking” services in early stages of the regime. The final one is the ability of established payment providers to adapt to the new rules.

European Union

Klarna year-end report January – December 2017 (Cision), Rated: AAA

July – December 2017
● Compared to last year, total sales volume grew by 43%
● Total operating revenues increased 32% to SEK 2,474m (1,868)
● Operating income for the period was SEK 203m (35)
● Net income for the period amounted to SEK 117m (17)

January – December 2017
● Year over year growth in total sales volumes was 42%
● Total operating revenues increased 27% to SEK 4,526m (3,561)
● Operating income amounted to SEK 524m (168)
● Net income for the year amounted to SEK 346m (113)
● 26,000 new merchants, Group total now 89,000
● 19 million new consumers used Klarna this year

Highlights from the year
● Bank license was obtained in June
● BillPay GmbH was acquired in September
● Additional tier 1 capital was raised in May and a senior unsecured bond was issued in September

German fintech lender auxmoney hit profitability in 2017 (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Its origination volumes rose by 75 per cent during the course of the year, with over 40,000 loans and €316 million funded. Auxmoney has now disbursed more than 100,000 loans in its history, with a cumulative funding total of around €700m.

BNI Europa eyeing up further P2P lending deals (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

BANCO BNI Europa is eyeing up further deals in the alternative finance space to diversify its portfolio and widen its product offering for clients.

The Portuguese online bank has announced several funding deals over the past year, including peer-to-peer lenders Funding Circle in Germany and Raize in Portugal, and UK P2P invoice finance platform MarketInvoice.

JSC VIA SMS Group interim twelve month report for year 2017 (GlobeNewswire), Rated: B

The Group has closed the reporting period with a net turnover of EUR 20 141 087 that shows 21,5% increase in comparison with the same period in 2016. The largest net turnover was reached in Spain where the net turnover has increased by 63%; the second largest turnover was reached in Sweden – by 55%, the third – in Poland where net turnover increased by 17% in comparison with data reported to December 31, 2016.  Company’s EBITDA in 2017 has reached EUR 2 779 456 and has ensured the net profit of EUR 835 542.

International

Cerberus Capital Management to Acquire Bluestone Group’s Australasian Operations (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. today announced that one of its affiliates has entered into an agreement with Bluestone Group, the international financial services business based in the U.K., to acquire its Australasian mortgage lending and portfolio servicing operations (“Bluestone Holdings Australia”).

India

Credy raises US$ 1.4 million in seed round (Tech in Asia), Rated: AAA

The online lender secured the funding from Y Combinator, Khosla Ventures, and Vy Capital, in addition to several Silicon Valley-based angel investors. It will use the capital to expand its loan book, build partnerships with institutional lenders, enhance its underwriting technology, and hire new team members.

Asia

ASIA SEES MASSIVE DROP IN FINTECH INVESTMENT AS CHINA LOSES MOMENTUM (CFO Innovation), Rated: AAA

Total fintech funding in Asia was US$3.85 billion in 2017—a massive drop-off from the more than US$10 billion invested in 2016 while the amount in Q4 2017 declined to US$748 million across 38 deals after a solid US$1 billion+ in Q3, said KPMG.

Decreased fintech investment in China accounted for much of the decrease in investment in Asia, KPMG explained. According to the firm, China saw just US$45.8 million in investment in Q4’17, while total investment in 2017 was US$1.33 billion.

The top five fintech deals in the region in Q4 are as follows:

  • WeLab (lending firm in Hong Kong): US$220 million, Series B
  • GoSwiff (payments/transactions firm in Singapore): US$100 million, M&A
  • BiWang Group (Institutional/B2B firm in Shenzhen, China): US$100 million, M&A
  • PolicyBazaar (Insurtech firm in Gurugram, India): US$77 million, Series E
  • Onlyou (Institutional/B2B firm in Shenzhen, China): US$45 million, late-stage VC
Canada

Katipult Named Among Industry Giants as Finalist for “Most Promising Partnership” Award (Cision), Rated: A

Katipult Technology Corp. (TSXV:FUND) is honoured to announce that it has been nominated, alongside Polymath Inc., for the Most Promising Partnership Award at the second annual Lendit Fintech Industry awards in April. The Katipult-Polymath partnership will be competing against some of the world’s finance and fintech giants including partnerships involving Goldman Sachs, Macquarie Group, Swedbank, and Lending Club.

National Bank CEO praises federal cybersecurity plan (Financial Post), Rated: A

The chief executive of National Bank of Canada said Wednesday that the federal government’s latest budget included “a big step forward” on cybersecurity.

The federal budget tabled on Tuesday proposed various cybersecurity-related commitments, including $155.2 million over five years so that the Communications Security Establishment could create a new “Canadian Centre for Cyber Security.”

Crypto KABN launches Blockchain-Enabled Biometric ID Validation (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

Crypto KABN Holdings Inc. (‘Crypto KABN’ or the ‘Company’) an innovator in financial services, technologies and products for the blockchain industry, is pleased to announce that it is launching a revolutionary Blockchain-enabled biometric validation platform, called ID KABN, as the first component of its suite of financial and technology services, at the FFCON18: Velocity Conference in Toronto on March 5, 2018.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor