Thursday October 25 2018, Daily News Digest

Funding Circle Holdings PLC

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi CEO explains how market volatility, rising interest rates create opportunities. Amazon debuts no-fee AmEx card for small businesses. Funding Circle broker channel hits 1B GBP lending. China Rapid Finance is expected to break even. Today’s main analysis: Funding Circle’s short-lived rally. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Is student loan debt creating a millennial class […]

Funding Circle Holdings PLC

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United States

SoFi CEO Anthony Noto: Market volatility, rising rates create ‘opportunity for us’ (CNBC) Rated: A

Rising interest rates and market volatility, while feared on the Street, create an opportunity for online lending platform SoFi to gain new customers, according to CEO Anthony Noto.

“When the markets pull back, people evaluate: ‘Where am I putting my money from an investment standpoint?'” Noto said on CNBC’s “Closing Bell” on Tuesday.

Made conscious decision to focus on quality, not quantity of loans: SoFi CEO Anthony Noto from CNBC.

Amazon Debuts No-Fee AmEx Card to Lure Small-Business Spending (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

Amazon.com Inc. and American Express Co. are upping the ante in their bid for small-business spending.

The two companies unveiled a new co-branded card for small businesses on Tuesday. Cardholders with an Amazon Prime membership will be able to choose between an interest-free loan for 90 days or 5 percent back on purchases made at Amazon.com, Amazon Business, Amazon Web Services and Whole Foods Market, the companies said in a statement. The no-fee metal card will also offer 2 percent back on purchases at U.S. restaurants and gas stations and on mobile-phone services.

Student-Loan Debt Is Bringing on Millennial Class War (Vice) Rated: AAA

MagnifyMoney, an independent service that compares financial products and is affiliated with the loan marketplace LendingTree, recently analyzed 2016 data from the Federal Reserve and estimated the average millennial with student debt had 75 percent less net worth than their debt-free peers. Though many of the stats they calculated might have been skewed by extremes—think people with debt loads of $200,000 and trust-fund kids worth seven figures—they were able to reach some pretty startling conclusions. For instance, the median net bank account balance (checking and savings) of all grads under 35 who had loans, they found, was $5,500, while it was some $10,180 for those who didn’t.

So what’s the most meaningful difference between those with loans and without?
The one that’s really most costly is when you look at the retirement savings. On that side, the average grad under 35 with debt has around $21,000 in retirement savings. Someone who doesn’t have student loans has an average of almost $40,000.

Credit Card Stats & Studies (Hub Wallet) Rated: AAA

Source: Hub Wallet

Building Loyalty with Gen Z and Millennials Starts with a Better Experience (Globe Newswire) Rated: AAA

In particular, changes in the credit card market have been heavily influenced by the youngest generations. While TransUnion studies have found that consumers generally have a much higher propensity of opening their next credit product with a lender with whom they already have multiple relationships, this doesn’t appear to hold true for Gen Z. Younger consumers are engaging with new lenders rather than going to existing lenders for new products. In the report, Gen Z respondents indicated that they were the least likely to open a new credit product with a financial institution as a result of an existing relationship with that lender.

While consumers are carrying more credit cards in their wallets today than in 2010, the industry has seen five straight quarters of declining year-over-year origination growth. The study also found that the average duration for which a credit card remains open has shortened across the majority of age groups, which would indicate shifting loyalty.

Source: Trans Union

The Fintech 250: The Top Fintech Startups Of 2018 (CB Insights) Rated: AAA

The financial services industry is being transformed by insurgent startups. From capital markets to insurance and digital banking to wealth management, the Fintech 250 are among the most promising of these companies globally.

The entire 

Lendio Named to the 2018 CB Insights Fintech 250 List of Fastest-Growing Fintech Startups (PR Newswire) Rated: A

CB Insights today named Lendio to the second annual Fintech 250 list, a prestigious group of emerging private companies working on groundbreaking financial technology.

“It’s an honor for Lendio to be listed among the innovative companies driving the fintech industry forward,” said Brock Blake, Lendio CEO and founder. “Lendio is doing its part to power the economy by bridging the financing gap for small businesses. We are committed to shaping the future of marketplace lending to help business owners unlock their financial potential.”

Lendio, the nation’s leading marketplace for small business loans, recently announced it has facilitated over $1 billion in financing to more than 51,000 small businesses across the U.S. Through access to this growth capital, Lendio’s small business customers have generated an estimated $3.8 billion in gross economic output and created more than 25,000 jobs nationwide. Lendio’s milestone comes after an 80 percent increase in loans funded through its platform in the last year.

As Rates Rise and Recession Threatens, Alternative Lenders Batten Down the Hatches (Bank Innovation) Rated: A

The CEOs of Prosper Marketplace, Lending Club, and Social Finance Inc. all spoke to a common theme – preparing for the coming storm and choosing loans for quality, not quantity. JPMorgan Chase has predicted a 60% chance of recession by 2020, and it’s not clear how traumatic an event it will be.

JPMorgan signed a deal with Plaid for customer data sharing (Business Insider) Rated: A

JPMorgan on Monday signed an agreement with Plaid, a technology company that connects bank accounts with fintech apps like Robinhood, Venmo, and Acorns, that will give its customers better control over their personal data.

Plaid will access JPMorgan’s customer data through a secure application programming interface or API, allowing customers to share their financial information more easily and safely. Banks including JPMorgan have pushed back against so-called screen scraping, another way for fintech apps to companies to access customer data that generally is viewed as less secure.

Goldman shifts Marcus digital bank to its wealth unit (American Banker) Rated: A

Goldman Sachs Group is shifting a heavily touted business line into its wealth management unit as the bank eyes expansion through products that can be pitched to the division’s customers.

The firm is handing oversight of the Marcus business — its retail-banking effort, which offers personal loans online — to its $1.5 trillion investment management division, according to a memo seen by Bloomberg. The move is aimed at starting new business offerings under the Marcus brand that can be sold to the unit’s expanding roster of clients.

A spokesman for Goldman Sachs confirmed the contents of the memo.

U.S. ‘Unbanked’ Population Continues to Fall (Wall Street Journal) Rated: A

The number of U.S. households without a bank account fell to 6.5% in 2017, according to a federal government survey, as the improved economy helped bring mainstream banking services to more people.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said Tuesday the number of ”unbanked” households reached its lowest level last year since the regulator began the biennial survey in 2009. The share of households without an account at a federally insured financial institution was down half a percentage point from 7% in 2015.

We’re Closer Than you Think to Autonomous Finance (Lend Academy) Rated: A

Autonomous finance isn’t a well known term within fintech, but it may be the biggest innovation in the consumer finance space in recent years. Ken Lin, the CEO and Co-Founder of Credit Karma talked with us recently on the Lend Academy podcast about this concept of autonomous finance, a concept that is slowly turning into reality.

Credit Karma is in the unique position to capitalize on this idea, particularly when it comes to the lending business, which still relies heavily on credit scores. The company has built a platform in which users can track their credit score over time and get suggestions on products based on their financial life. From my perspective Credit Karma has a monopoly of sorts on this business with no other serious competitors at scale. Due to their sheer size and the engagement with their members, Credit Karma is a significant lead generator for the major online lenders that exist today.

New UltraFICO score stokes concerns about data privacy (American Banker) Rated: A

A new credit score that includes a consumer’s cash flow alongside their credit score — dubbed UltraFICO — is winning praise for its potential to help expand access to credit but also stoking concerns about its data privacy implications.

FICO announced this week that it is testing a new credit score with Experian and data aggregator Finicity that draws on several months’ worth of data from consumers’ bank accounts. The idea, according to FICO, is to create a “second chance” score that could allow consumers who’ve been denied credit due to the traditional model another shot at obtaining it.

Short on Cash? Use Your Employer as a ‘Payday Lender’ (Nerd Wallet) Rated: A

In recent years, startups from Silicon Valley and beyond have stepped up to offer payday alternatives through the workplace. Some, including Earnin and PayActiv, have put a new twist on the two-week pay cycle to give people access to their wages as soon as they’ve earned them. Others, such as HoneyBee, SalaryFinance and TrueConnect, allow employers to offer low-cost emergency loans as an employee benefit.

Paycheck advances in the modern workplace

What technology companies like Earnin and PayActiv say they offer is a streamlined approach for employees that retains the employer’s traditional two-week pay cycle.

Navient eyes end of non-compete with Sallie Mae in January (Asset Securitization Report) Rated: A

Navient Corp. has been ramping up origination of refinance student loans even as rising interest rates reduce the potential savings for borrowers. Earnest, the online lender it acquired late in 2017, originated $903 million of refinance loans in the third quarter, bringing year-to-date originations $2 billion. But so far, the servicing giant’s ability to expand has been limited because of a non-compete agreement with the largest private student-lender, SLM Corp., better known as Sallie Mae.

Under the terms of their split in 2014, Navient is unable to refinance either private student loans made by Sallie Mae or any federally guaranteed student loans held by Sallie Mae.

The non-compete clause expires in January, and Navient CEO Jack Remondi doesn’t plan to waste any time. On a third quarter conference call Wednesday, Remondi made it clear that he sees plenty of potential to refinance loans made or held by Sallie Mae.

Kabbage Extends Access Of Small Business Lending (Benzinga) Rated: A

Kabbage is now lending over $10 million per day to small businesses, in congruence with the company’s recent addition of 30,000 customers in 2018. The company reported its first $500 million quarter this year, according to the press release.

The lender serves up to 1,400 businesses daily and has demonstrated a 68 percent increase of working capital accessed by Kabbage on mobile devices, as well as a 283 percent growth in use of the Kabbage Card since 2017.

“It was a great growth quarter for the company, and is a direct result of developing flexible and convenient solutions that simplify accessing capital for small businesses,” Kabbage CFO Scott Rosenberg told Benzinga.

Beyond Kickstarter: 10 Niche Crowdfunding Platforms for Startups (Entrepreneur) Rated: A

1. CrowdStreet

If you’re building a real-estate investment business — or developing real-estate projects — check out the online crowdfunding opportunities on CrowdStreet.

4. FundThatFlip

If your business is remodeling and reselling homes, FundThatFlip offers a place to get quick cash to fix up and resell. Investors put in a minimum of $5,000.

Guaranteed Rate Ranks as the Best Mortgage Lender for Online Mortgage Service by U.S. News & World Report (Bankless Times) Rated: A

Guaranteed Rate, an industry leader in technological innovation, tops the list of the Best Mortgage Lenders of 2018, according to U.S. News and World Report. The Chicago-based retail mortgage lender was named the Best Lender for Online Service with its groundbreaking advances to make the mortgage experience fast, simple and secure with its digital platform.

US News & World Report recommended the Guaranteed Rate mortgage process as best for borrowers who:

  • Want to complete most of the mortgage process online
  • Want help figuring out the right product for their situation
  • Want access to a variety of home loan options

Bought Mega Millions Tickets? Here’s What You Could Have Made If You Invested That Money Instead (Time) Rated: A

Americans spend a lot of money playing the lottery. Approximately 370 million lottery tickets were sold between Saturday and Tuesday before the Mega Millions drawing, according to a lottery official. The U.S. generated nearly $73 billion in lottery sales in 2016 and CNN reports that in 2017, U.S. residents spent about $73.5 billion on tickets. The average American spends about $223.04 per year on lottery tickets, loan marketplace LendEDU found in a report that calculated its average by dividing the 2016 lottery revenue by the U.S. population (325.7 million).

Milwaukee, Cincinnati and Minneapolis Are the Most Promising Places to Open a Restaurant (PR Newswire) Rated: A

LendingTree, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, today released its study on the best cities to open a restaurant. The study found that while traditional foodie destinations like New York and San Francisco are saturated with restaurants, up-and-comers have room to grow. The restaurant population in cities like MilwaukeeCincinnati and Minneapolis cities is less dense than in other areas, and labor costs are lower.

LendingTree analyzed the 50 largest U.S. cities to see which offer prospective restaurateurs the best shot at success. Many top spots are in once-overlooked Midwestern cities now experiencing urban renewal. The least promising cities have historically been the restaurant industry’s most competitive.

Nav and Clover Partnership Streamlines Access to Business Credit Scores & Financing (PR Newswire) Rated: A

Today, Nav and Clover, a subsidiary of First Data, formally announced an integrated, multi-year partnership to deliver U.S.-based Clover users access to their free business credit scores, as well as custom-tailored business financing and credit card options.

The Federal Reserve Bank and other surveys consistently report around 70 percent of small business loan applicants are denied by their bank. As credit data is a primary way that banks and other financial institutions evaluate business loan applicants, the integration of business credit scores and insights directly into Clover’s dashboard enables these merchants to manage this important data.

Memorial Healthcare System Taps ezCarePoint to Provide Instant Online Financing for Patients’ Out-of-Pocket Medical Costs (AP News) Rated: A

Patients at facilities run by South Florida’s Memorial Healthcare System (MHS), one of the nation’s largest public healthcare systems, can now easily and quickly finance their out-of-pocket medical fees online, thanks to a new program powered by ezCarePoint, a next generation medical financing technology platform created by ezVerify, a Sunrise, Fla. based company and LendingPoint, a Kennesaw, Ga. based company.

RealtyFolio Updates Its Platform for a Big 2019 (PR Newswire) Rated: B

RealtyFolio, the online real estate investing platform has updated its interface, including a redesign, rebrand, and upgraded features. The upgrade was meant to “make it even more comfortable for clients to navigate the platform and for clients to be able to invest in real estate projects, quickly and easily,” according to the company’s CEO, Jonathan Klein. He went on to say that they “expect a very big year in 2019, with many projects in the works, and a lot of demand from clients.”

RealtyFolio is ushering in the future of real estate investing by allowing you to build a real estate portfolio online. With over 30 years of real estate investing and management experience on its team and a vast network of strategic partners across the United States, in cities such as New YorkMiami and Los AngelesRealtyFolio gives everyone a chance to swim with the sharks.

Tamarack Hires Seven and Expands Headquarters (ELFA) Rated: B

Tamarack, a leader in providing independent software solutions in the equipment finance and commercial lending industry, has moved to a new headquarters in the North Loop, doubling their space, and added seven new positions over the past three months to meet the growing demand.

With over 25 years of Leasing and Lending experience and an expert in InfoLease®, Tamarack hires on George Burke. Burke adds extensive experience to Tamarack’s back office software engineering team.

White Oak ABL Appoints Griffith to Managing Director (ABL Advisor) Rated: B

White Oak ABL, LLC, an affiliate of White Oak Global Advisors, LLC, announced the appointment of Clark D. Griffith to Managing Director, based in San Francisco. Griffith joins from Encina Business Credit where he held the position of Senior Managing Director in charge of West Coast originations, offering lines of credit and term loans from $5 million to $50 million.

PNC to offer online business loan option in 2019 (Delaware Business Now) Rated: B

PNC announced that in 2019 it plans to begin offering fully digital business lines of credit, up to$100,000.

PNC will partner withOnDeck and use its Platform-as-a-Service to simplify and accelerate the conventional lending originations processes for PNC Bank’s small and medium-sized business customers.

PNC will combine its expertise with ODX’s online origination technology and professional services to create PNC Small Business Lending.

TickPick Announces Affirm Partnership, Expands Payment Options at Checkout (PR Newswire) Rated: B

TickPick, the no-fee ticket marketplace that is transforming the industry, announced today a partnership with Affirm, the company founded by entrepreneur Max Levchin to provide fair and honest alternatives to traditional credit. This new payment option makes TickPick the first and only secondary marketplace to offer Affirm, which allows customers the ability to spread out the cost of their purchase over time through simple monthly payments.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle’s broker channel reaches £1bn lending milestone (Bridging and Commercial) Rated: AAA

After four consecutive record-breaking quarters, the in-house broker team has supported the growth of 9,600 British businesses.

Prior to the lending milestone, the P2P platform promoted Tom Shave to head of broker.

Tom has assisted in developing a diverse network of introducers, big and small, across the country.

UK regions come to the fore in producing $ 1bn tech companies (London Loves Business) Rated: A

The UK’s leading tech clusters are competing head to head with European capitals, according to new analysis of company growth, in a sign that the success of the UK tech sector is pushing far beyond its London heartland.

Following the IPOs of Farfetch and Funding Circle, the UK is now home to 15 unicorns and six cities have produced so-called unicorns – $1bn tech companies – according to research prepared for Tech Nation and the Government’s Digital Economy Council by venture capital analytics company Dealroom.co. This latest research is published ahead of the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s first meeting with the Digital Economy Council on 24 October 2018.

Looking at the creation of $1bn tech companies, Oxford and Cambridge combined have produced more fast-growing tech companies than both Paris and Berlin.

China

Loss-Making China Rapid Finance Limited (NYSE:XRF) Expected To Breakeven (Simply Wall St News) Rated: AAA

China Rapid Finance Limited’s (NYSE:XRF): China Rapid Finance Limited, through its subsidiaries, provides a consumer lending marketplace for lenders and borrowers in the People’s Republic of China. The US$156m market-cap posted a loss in its most recent financial year of -US$122m and a latest trailing-twelve-month loss of -US$49m shrinking the gap between loss and breakeven. As path to profitability is the topic on XRF’s investors mind, I’ve decided to gauge market sentiment. Below I will provide a high-level summary of the industry analysts’ expectations for XRF.

European Union

Klarna Talks Split Payments at Money2020 Conference (Cheddar) Rated: A

Klarna is launching a new ‘Slice it in 4’ product, allowing users to split up payments. Michael Rouse, chief commercial officer of Klarna, explains how it works.

INDOCHINO Chooses Klarna to Give Consumers the Power to Pay Over Time (PR Newswire) Rated: B

INDOCHINO shoppers can now Slice it at the checkout by using Klarna’s online consumer financing to easily spread the cost of their purchase over 6-36 months. Slice it has a simple 4-step credit application process, real-time decisioning and is offered within the merchant’s own website – no re-directs – for a frictionless and fast purchase experience.

By taking the premium made-to-measure experience direct to the consumer, INDOCHINO has created a superior alternative to off-the-rack clothing at ready-to-wear prices. Their immersive multi-channel experience enables customers to order their custom garments with ease online or in-person at one of 30+ showrooms across North America

German fintech poster child N26’s major security gap (Handelsblatt) Rated: A

Germany’s fintech darling N26 is potentially vulnerable to money laundering and terrorism financing, according to research by Handelsblatt’s sister magazine WirtschaftsWoche, which exposed a security gap at the online banking startup.

The apple of discord is how easily someone can open an account with a fake ID. A WirtschaftsWoche correspondent saw first hand how a man, Milo T., scanned a friend’s ID, added his own passport photo to the ID, printed it out and stuck it atop of a white plastic card that was the same size as the office ID card in his country. He cut the edges to make them round and voilà: a new identification card.

It took five minutes and the result is so blatantly a forgery that it would fail to convince even the laxest of nightclub doormen. None of the holograms or other security features found on original IDs can be seen on the fake. Regardless, Milo effortlessly used this ID to set up an N26 account, and this wasn’t a one-off occurrence. WirtschaftsWoche documented how several people opened N26 accounts using forged papers.

Robo.cash welcomes new loan originator (Peer2Peer Finance  News) Rated: B

LATVIAN peer-to-peer payday lender Robo.cash has added a loan originator from Kazakhstan to its platform.

Z-FINANCE provides short-term private lending in Kazakhstan with an average loan size equivalent to €60 (£52).

Investors on the Robo.cash site can now invest in these loans, which have a repayment period up to 30 days and an expected interest rate up to 12 per cent per annum.

Z-FINANCE was launched in July this year and currently lends through a network of 102 sales branches in Kazakhstan.

International

ID Finance Group reports 61% revenue growth for the nine months of 2018 (Fintech Finance) Rated: AAA

ID Finance Group has reported 61 per cent revenue growth and revenues of $141.3 million for nine months of 2018 following strong growth in Europe and Latam. The data science, credit scoring and digital finance company issued $215.7m in loans in the first nine months of the year, a 64 per cent increase on the same period last year.

Its European and LatAm operations comprising Spain, Poland, Brazil and Mexico demonstrated exceptional growth experiencing a 197 per cent revenue growth and revenues of $32.6 million for the nine months of 2018. It issued $63.8 million in loans, a 142 per cent increase on the same period last year, and has also grown its customer base to over one million registered users with 20,000 new users joining weekly.The Group has now separated its European and LatAm operations from its CIS businesses (comprising Russia, Kazakhstan and Georgia) and it is functioning as a separate entity under the ID Finance name.

Moven Enterprise Expands Availability of AI Smart-Banking Solution with Global Launch (Business Wire) Rated: A

Moven Enterprise, the smart-banking solutions division of Movencorp, Inc, today announced that it has expanded its footprint globally to help banks deepen their digital customer engagement and drive new revenue streams while significantly reducing attrition and acquisition costs.

After working successfully with TD Bank (TD) in Canada, Westpac in New Zealand, and others, Moven is now bringing its AI-driven digital banking platform to banks across LatAm, APAC, Africa, the Middle East and Europe. The global expansion is well-positioned as Moven Enterprise received investment from SBI Group to enhance Moven’s footprint in Asia earlier this year. This included the formation of a joint venture, SBI Moven Asia. The company’s innovative platform leverages a bank’s data and uses proprietary algorithms to create contextual, individualized smart-banking experiences for consumers; providing them the right advice at the right time with the right offer and helping them move towards a better financial lifestyle.

The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Becoming a Private Lender—Pros & Cons (NuWire Investor) Rated: A

Private lending has picked up the pace in recent years. This is despite high-interest rates charged by private lenders. Many reasons have pushed lenders into this space including tightened requirements by banks.

In addition, banks tend to shy away from lending money to small businesses and startups. As a result, many borrowers look for other ways of funding, and such opportunities provide opportunities to private lenders.

However, starting out as a private lender is no easy walk in the park. Numerous risks lurk in the business, and you need to tread with caution. In this article, you’ll learn how to become a private lender and some of the pros and cons involved, so if you have an interest in becoming “a bank,” read on.

Fintech Streamlines Socially Responsible Impact Investing Via Robo-Advisors (Investor Place) Rated: A

What makes an investment socially responsible? There are several criteria. For instance, SRI investing avoids tobacco companies as their products cause health problems and death. Typically, a company’s social responsibility rating is based on its performance in three categories: environmental, social and governance (ESG). Positive practices across one or more of these spheres can land a company in the socially responsible category.

At the same time, robo-advisors are digital investment managers designed to grow your wealth through investing with models are based on sophisticated computerized algorithms, including ESG consideration. These fintech darlings have answered the call for socially responsible robo-advisors with a host of diverse options. Of course, you could choose a socially responsible mutual fund or ETF on your own. But, for the busy investor, let one of the many robo-advisors take charge of your investing, in line with your personal values.

Uphold Joins Crypto Lending Platform Cred for New Lending and Earning Solutions (Coin Speaker) Rated: A

In today’s business community, partnership has become one of the most promising tools on the way to new amazing developments and interesting projects that are aimed at offering customers really unique experience and opening new opportunities for them.

News about recently established collaborations regularly appears here and there. This time the headlines are made by Uphold which is a major global digital money platform, that has conducted transactions worth over $4.0 billion across 184 countries, and Cred that is a crypto-backed lending provider with over $250 million in credit facilities.

Joint Projects

Having announced their partnership Uphold and Cred have revealed their plans to launch two cutting edge blockchain-based consumer finance products: Uphold Earn and Uphold Borrow. Both products are aimed at helping customers to earn interest from stablecoin holdings and borrow money against the cryptocurrencies they have.

India

Indian P2P Lending Operators forms Association to Make P2P Industry More Credible (Indian Web2) Rated: AAA

After the Reserve Bank of India unveiled guidelines last October recognizing the need for peer-to-peer lending platforms as NBFC-P2P in the country, the regulatory authority had issued first license in May 2018 and since then 9 players have been recognized as NBFC-P2P companies. More than 12 companies are in the process of getting approval from the regulatory authority. Some of them are at advance to mid-level stage.

To represent the NBFC-P2P industry at various front as well as to represent country’s P2P lending industry at international forums, most of existing & new players have teamed-up and formed a registered body – Association of NBFC P2P Platforms.

The association has been registered under The Society Registration Act, 1860. Mr. Pramod Akhramka has been elected as President, Mr. Rajiv Ranjan as Secretary and Mr. Mukesh Bubna as Treasurer of the association.

Choose bank or online lender based on nature of loan (DNA Online) Rated: A

Unexpected expenditures often come knocking on your door when you want them the least. The reasons could range from maintenance for your vehicle to your old washing machine that needs to be replaced. The plus point of such expenses cropping up during the festive season is that you can always get a good bargain online (or at the store nearby). The fact still remains that these are expenses nevertheless. And that too when your festive expenditure is already lined up, leaving no financial bandwidth.

At times like these, loans bring a sigh of relief. But with so many options available in the market, whom should you approach with your loan requirement- banks or digital lending platforms?

Today, Indian consumers are benefitting from a range of financial products and financial institutions (FI) such as banks, non-banking finance companies, online lending platforms, etc, available at their disposal. If you are planning to take a loan or feel like there’s a possibility of availing the same in the near future, you must primarily understand that every lender has its own unique pros and cons. Some are quick in terms of loan approval and disbursal, some are cost-effective, some offer greater flexibility to their customers, while some offer innovative products that are more relevant for an applicant.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday April 3 2018, Daily News Digest

FT Partners

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi issues $2.6B in ABS notes in Q1 2018. GreenSky files for IPO. China’s P2P lenders brace for more regulations. FinanZero raises $3.6M. Today’s main analysis: FT Partners’ CEO alternative lending market analysis. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Cities with highest share of cash-out refinance borrowers. Retailers grow financial services capabilities. India’s unsecured instant loan interest rates […]

FT Partners

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United States

SoFi Issues a Record $ 2.6 Billion in ABS Notes in the First Quarter of 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

SoFi announced today that it completed $2.6 billion in loan securitizations in the first quarter of 2018, a 35% increase over the prior-year period and its largest-ever quarterly ABS issuance volume.

In Q1 2018, SoFi completed a total of three securitization transactions: two student loan ABS offerings ($960 million SOFI 2018-A Notes and $869 million SOFI 2018-B Notes) and one consumer loan ABS offering ($774 million SCLP 2018-1 Notes). The SoFi 2018-B Notes marked the first time SoFi included medical residency loans as a part of the collateral.

LendingTree Ranks Cities with the Highest Share of Cash-Out Refinance Borrowers (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

LendingTree today released the findings of its study on where cash-out refinancing was most prevalent in the past year.

Cities with the highest share of cash-out borrowers

Source Lending Tree

Cities with the highest cash-out loan amounts

Source Lending Tree

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

Financial-technology firm GreenSky LLC has confidentially filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a sizable initial public offering that could come as soon as this summer, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Atlanta company, which operates a lending platform that enables retailers, health-care providers and home contractors to offer loans to their customers, could seek to raise $1 billion at a valuation of roughly $5 billion, some of the people said.

FT Partners’ CEO Monthly Alternative Lending Market Analysis  (FT Partners), Rated: AAA

This month’s report features an exclusive interview with Manu Smadja, co-founder and CEO of MPOWER Financing, an alternative lender that enables high-potential international students to finance their education. In our conversation with Manu, he discusses the inception of MPOWER, along with the unique opportunities and challenges of lending to this market.

M&A

Source: FT Partners

Read the full report here.

Max Levchin To Participate In A Keynote Fireside Chat At LendIt Fintech USA 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: A

LendIt Fintech announced today that Max Levchin, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Affirm, a financial services technology company that is reimagining consumer credit and banking, will be featured in a keynote fireside chat on April 9. The world’s most prominent and emerging fintech CEOs from Wall Street to Main Street will gather April 9-11 at Moscone Center in San Francisco to focus on the hot-button topics and issues exploring the future of finance.

In a session titled The future of credit: Reimagining the financing ecosystem, Levchin’s keynote fireside chat will delve into how the retail industry has evolved and how retail experiences are continuing to grow beyond the capabilities of traditional credit and lending. Levchin will share his thoughts on why the industry needs to reimagine the financing ecosystem from the ground up in order to unlock the future of credit. Levchin will also discuss why Affirm is committed to reinventing credit, starting with the belief that it should help improve consumers’ financial lives in addition to financing their purchases.

Kabbage: Small Businesses Turning To Mobile Lending In Big Numbers (Payment Week), Rated: A

Sometimes, businesses need ready cash to get from “the latest bills” to “the next paid invoice,” and that’s where lenders are coming in. A new report from Kabbage says that small businesses are turning to mobile devices to get in on that lender funding in increasing numbers.

Kabbage surveyed almost 150,000 small businesses, and found that loans accessed by mobile device had increased better than three-fold, over 360 percent, of what they were back in April 2014. While the total numbers went through the roof, the value of the loans accessed went through the roof and over the treetops, having increased over 1,220 percent.

Why Marcus Has Changed Everything (Orchard Platform), Rated: A

Fast forward almost 18 months and Marcus is the fastest growing online lender in history. They have lent $2.5 billion in this time to 350,000 customers and have 700 employees spread across three offices. Not only that, but they have grand ambitions in the space. Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein has repeatedly talked about the importance of Marcus to the future of Goldman Sachs.

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal the consumer banking business of Goldman Sachs is expected to generate $1 billion in revenue for the firm by 2020. That is significantly more revenue than LendingClub is expected to generate in 2018 as an 11-year- old business.

We have heard that Barclays and PNC Financial will be launching their own lending platforms in 2018 and there are rumors that many other large banks are going to do the same.

Most people probably don’t know Goldman Sachs offers a savings account with excellent perks — and anyone can use it with just $ 1 (Business Insider), Rated: A

Marcus— named after the Goldman Sachs founder Marcus Goldman — allows any adult (except in Maryland, where Marcus is not yet available) to create a savings account.

The big selling point for Marcus is the 1.5% annual percentage yield offered. Whereas interest rates for many banks have plummeted to as low as 0.01%, Goldman Sachs’ savings accounts create significant interest.

There is also no minimum amount needed to open an account with Marcus, and a deposit of even $1 allows users to earn the 1.5% APY.

Ohio Insurtech Root Insurance Completes Series C Round With $ 51 Million in Funding (Crowdfund Insider), Rated:A

Root Insurance, an Ohio-based car insurtech company, announced last week it secured $51 million in funding through its Series C round, which was led by Redpoint Ventures, with Scale Venture Partners and existing partners Ribbit Capital and Silicon Valley Bank Capital Partners. 

Root will use the new funding to expand into additional states and continue to invest in technology that significantly improves the customer experience.

That Fast Online Loan Could Have Super-high Interest Rates and Hidden Fees That Bankrupt Your Business (Entrepreneur), Rated: A

recent lawsuit against fintech small-business lender Kabbage Inc., charging that it partnered with a bank in order to offer interest rates that exceeded the legal limit, highlights the need for more regulatory oversight of the growing number of online lenders signing deals with small businesses.

Online lenders are getting more scrutiny.

The recent Massachusetts federal case brought by a small business against Kabbage (and its partner Celtic Bank) highlights why non-bank fintech lenders should be regulated. The suit alleges that Kabbage used its relationship with Celtic — which “rented” its balance sheet to Kabbage — as a basis to charge interest rates that violated usury laws.

How Credit Karma is using data to become a central finance hub (Tearsheet), Rated: A

It’s not a bank, but it uses customer data to help banks find customers.

Currently valued at $4 billion, Credit Karma has 80 million customers — half of whom are millennials. The company joins a growing number of financial startups like Clarity Money, SoFi, Chime and Varo Money that are aiming to become one-stop shops for customers’ finances. The field is growing increasingly competitive. Meanwhile, banks are bundling personal finance advice into their mobile apps. But Credit Karma has two advantages its competitors often struggle with — scale and data — and it’s using a chatbot to lock in the relationship with the customer.

A Chase Sapphire experiment is getting revived and expanded after the trial run blew away expectations with millennials last year (Business Insider), Rated: B

Last year, ahead of the spring homebuying season — the busiest of the year — JPMorgan Chase engineered an experiment to gain an edge in the mortgage-lending competition.

So the bank targeted its Sapphire customers, offering another 100,000 in rewards points if they closed a mortgage with the bank — a bonus worth as much as $1,500.

HNW Clients Warming Up To Digital Advice (Financial Adviser), Rated: A

In its report, “The Cerulli Edge—U.S. Retail Investor Edition, 1Q 2018 Issue,” the researcher found that more than one-quarter of investors over 70 who have $2 million to $5 million in investable assets said they would consider online-only engagement. Beyond that, high-net-worth investors in general seemingly are more receptive to digital advice platforms.

In 2015, Cerulli found that 38% of investors with investable assets of $2 million to $5 million said they were willing to engage with digital providers. Last year, that number jumped to 46%. And among investors with $5 million-plus in investable assets, those numbers went from 30% in 2015 to 38% last year.

Why borrower experience will be the principal driver of bank revenue in the lending market (Lendit), Rated: A

Tech giants such as Google and Amazon have rewritten the rulebook for consumers when it comes to what they can reasonably expect from their service providers. Consequently, bank offerings are being judged to the same standard as the most innovative digitally native products in the world.

The benefits of improved customer experience

More generally, banks must focus on improving user experience to remain competitive as digitally native fintech products flood the marketplace. Focusing especially, the motivations for improving customer experience can be described as:

  •  Differentiation Financial services can no longer lean on long-standing relationships and brand positioning to generate new customer business.
  • Positive brand response in addition to research, some customers will also emphasize the emotive impression they receive from a product when making purchasing decisions.
  • Coping with an economic downturn During a recession or other global economic hardship businesses are placed under increased financial strain. Services viewed positively by their existing clients will stand a better chance of retaining their clients as well as growing their client base during the downturn.

Pindrop Introduces New Biometric Solution: Tongueprinting (Finovate), Rated: A

Banking Technology’s Anthony Peyton reports that the Atlanta-based anti-fraud and authentication specialist has unveiled Tongueprinting, a technology that analyses every person’s unique tongue as its newest biometric engine. Banking Technology is Finovate’s sister publication.

The idea is for Tongueprinting to stop fraudsters from taking over legitimate accounts by spoofing the call centre with automated bots, social engineering, and knowledge-based authentication questions.  

HomeUnion Launches Crowdfunding Platform for Individual Investors (Business Wire), Rated: A

HomeUnion, the leader in online residential real estate investing, has launched a crowdfunding platform that allows investors to purchase stakes in funds of single-family rental (SFR) properties on its website. Starting with a minimum investment of $10,000, retail investors now have the ability to acquire interest in the HomeUnion Fix-and-Flip Fund. The fund enables consumers to invest in SFR assets acquired for fix-and-flip purposes in seven HomeUnion markets: Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Raleigh and Tampa.

Upstart tests buyer appetite with riskier loans, more sub notes (Global Capital), Rated: A

Online lender Upstart is the latest marketplace loan company to broaden the risk profile of its ABS, announcing a deal this week offering more subordinate bonds and backed by a higher proportion of longer term loans.

The California-based lender, founded by ex-Google employees, uses an underwriting model which incorporates data points beyond borrowers’ FICO scores, utilizing other factors such as schools attended, areas of study, academic performance and work history.

Is low pay hurting banks in the battle for tech talent? (American Banker), Rated: A

Conversations about pay in the banking industry typically focus on whether executives at the top are paid too much or workers at the bottom are paid too little.

But new data available as a result of the Dodd-Frank Act is drawing rare attention to the compensation of employees in the middle. In what will become an annual exercise, publicly traded U.S. companies are now required to disclose annually the median pay of their employees.

Information and Data Integrity: A Two-Way Street (Lendit), Rated: A

For many businesses, data is an important aspect of decision management. When you are choosing with whom to do business, you rely on the validity of data to guide you. If it proves faulty, you may be steered into accepting bad customers or rejecting good ones, which can seriously affect your bottom line. For consumers, inaccurate data can be equally harmful—leading to the appearance of having bad credit, denials of services or products or worse, flagged as potentially fraudulent.

Spanning both digital and real worlds, and encompassing data about identity, financial characteristics, behaviors and more, an integrated view is the foundation of enhanced insights that can ultimately improve financial outcomes. TransUnion understands the importance of current, accurate data and gives its customers access to information—including both highly-regulated and publicly available forms of alternative data—that creates powerful, comprehensive views of consumers.

Here’s Why Millennials Are Choosing Personal Loans (Lendit), Rated: A

When it comes to millennial spending habits, it looks as though they’re rounding a corner to a new kind of credit. With the vast treasure trove of accumulated data available, credit bureaus like TransUnion are seeing spikes in personal loans compared to Generation X’s spending habits in the early 2000s. It’s a tremendous opportunity for marketers to capture a demographic that expects more from their lender.

The Overarching Trends

The newly minted adults of Generation Z are at the very beginning of their financial journey, but millennials are at the age where they’re expected to make major purchases. As they struggle with the economy and student debt, they’re making different financial choices along the way.

Adopting New Technology

Lenders are turning to financial technology (fintech) to help peddle their products, which millennials are all too happy to use. Ironically, applying for a personal loan without the face-to-face connection can be far more attractive than the traditional application process.

A Decline in Credit Card Usage

Right or wrong, credit cards have long been linked to perpetual debt in many people’s minds. In 2009, the CARD Act was introduced to place stricter limits on the marketing of credit cards at college campuses. Debit cards have become more of the rule as opposed to the exception, leaping from 8 billion transactions in 2000 to 60 billion in 2015.

Small Business Confidence Is Up, What Does that Mean? (Lendit), Rated: A

The year 2017 saw small business owners across the United States grow more optimistic about the future than they’ve ever been—at least since the creation of the Optimism Index by the NFIB in the 70s.  “2017 was the most remarkable year in the 45-year history of the NFIB Optimism Index,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan.

The Tax Bill Could be a Boon for Small Businesses

Sole proprietorships, partnerships, and S corporations are all examples of what are called pass-through businesses; and make up roughly 95 percent of all U.S. businesses. They also happen to be many of our customers at OnDeck, and other online small business lenders. One of the main components of the new tax bill is a 20 percent tax deduction for those businesses, where business owners can “shield” 20 percent of their business income from flowing through to their personal income tax returns.

Cincinnati-based financial tech startup raises $ 1.2 million (Cincinnati Business Courier), Rated: B

A Cincinnati-based financial tech startup that aims to help users secure low-dollar loans without having to resort to a payday lender raised $1.2 million in venture capital.

Mayor proposes employee loans to offset predatory lenders (Santa Fe New Mexican), Rated: B

A few months after a new annual 175 percent cap on small-loan interest rates in New Mexico went into effect, Mayor Alan Webber is proposing a short-term loan program to help municipal workers avoid payday lending businesses viewed as predatory by consumer advocates.

BlockFi Gives Hodlers Another Option to Borrow Against Crypto Assets (BitcoinMagazine), Rated: B

Options for borrowing and lending with cryptocurrencies are on the rise. One of the latest start-ups to join the likes of SALT and Unchained Capital is BlockFi, a New York City–based startup that issues loans backed by bitcoin and ether to individuals, companies and institutions in 35 U.S. states.

BlockFi takes cryptocurrency as collateral, offering interest rates on loans of around 12 percent. This is generally lower than unsecured loans and higher than loans secured with traditional assets such as securities or real estate.

eBus to offer visitors financial advice, credit reports (The Repository), Rated: B

The eBus is a mobile classroom which is equipped with 14 personal computers and satellite technology staffed by Fifth Third bankers and representatives from nonprofit community organizations. On the bus, visitors can request a credit report and review it with a professional; receive a personalized evaluation of finances; receive internet banking and bill pay demonstrations; speak with nonprofits about housing, money management and business advice; receive consultation on foreclosure prevention; and conduct online job searches.

United Kingdom

Scots ‘side businesses’ generate £1.7bn a year (The Scotsman), Rated: A

More than 500,000 people living in Scotland have started a side business, generating a collective £1.7 billion a year out of more than £33bn UK-wide, according to new research.

Online lender Sunny said many of those north of the Border turning to side businesses are doing so to help with the cost of bills, savings and debts, and bring in an average of £272 a month on top of their main income.

That represents a 20 per cent increase from when they first started their business.

China

China’s P2P lenders brace for renewed regulatory crackdown (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

China will soon be rolling out new licensing requirements for p2p lenders; The system will kick off in April with approvals slated to come at the end of this month, but many lenders aren’t aware of the filing process; in 2016 and 2017 many p2p lenders shut down and according to data there are around 2,000 remaining; it is expected that many of the 2,000 will not pass the new requirements; the new rules won’t allow platforms to guarantee loan payments and also limit loans to individuals and businesses; it will also require that platforms use custodian banks.

China Rapid Finance Executives Selected to Speak at LendIt Fintech USA 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: A

China Rapid Finance Limited (“China Rapid Finance” or the “Company”) (NYSE: XRF) announced today that the Company will participate as a sponsor and exhibitor at the upcoming LendIt Fintech USA 2018, to be held between Apr 9th and 11th in San Francisco, California.

China: WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On March 28th, cross-border payment company iPayLinks announced that it had completed, at the beginning of this year, a hundreds of million-yuan B1 round of financing led by Tencent and followed by Legend Capital.

NIFA Issues a Self-Discipline Convention for Debt-Collection Practitioners

The five-chapter convention is mainly applying to regulate the behavior of overdue debt collection within the Internet Finance industry by establishing several basic principles (e.g. observing laws and regulations, prudential regulations, protecting privacy, and strict self-discipline). In other words, the document outlines a framework of debt-collection regulation in terms of discredited punishment, business management, personnel management, information management, outsourcing management, and complaints.

China’s internet lenders fall foul of data privacy rules (Financial Times), Rated: A

More than half of Chinese internet finance lenders are failing to comply with data privacy regulations, research has found, raising risks for investors as China steps up the implementation of laws to protect consumer data.

The breaches include collecting phone numbers from users’ contact lists, which can be used to mount harassment campaigns and shame users into repaying debts.

The survey of 200 finance apps by Renmin University and Nandu Personal Data Protection Research Centre, a Beijing think-tank, ranked 111 apps as having “low” compliance.

It found that almost half — 95 apps — wanted to read users’ text messages, while 97 of them wanted access to users’ contact lists, despite such access not being necessary for the app’s functioning.

International

How retailers are growing their financial services capabilities (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Amazon isn’t the only retailer encroaching on the financial services space. It may be the scariest — just the rumor of it entering a company’s space will send its stock price down — but ultimately, Amazon only cares about getting more buyers and more sellers to join its platform.

Overstock’s Raj Karkara, vp of loyalty and financial services, echoed that sentiment earlier this year, saying that offering financial services or connecting customers with financial services providers is a natural extension of its retail function of buying and selling consumer goods.

Rakuten
Rakuten is Japan’s largest e-commerce site and has slowly been growing outside of the country. It has a footprint in media, video-on-demand, mobile messaging, e-books, travel, fashion, marketing and even sports. It also operates the largest online bank in the country.

Overstock
For the past few months, e-commerce company Overstock.com has been quietly building out FinanceHub, a sort of marketplace for financial services that includes existing Overstock credit cards and insurance products; loans by LendingTree, Prosper and Sofi; a robo-adviser for automated investing; and, most recently, a discounted trading platform.

Sainsbury (and Tesco)
Amazon may not be interested in becoming a bank but that doesn’t mean it can’t succeed in stealing customer attention from them. The U.K.’s largest grocers have all opened banks attached to their brands —  Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

ETHLend (LEND) Token – Will It Go Down After Kyber Network Partnership? (Hot Stocked), Rated: A

ETHLend has recently partnered up with Kyber Network. The ETHLend (LEND) Token has reached a market capitalization of 45.69 Million US dollars in the last 24 hours. The token traded 9.50%higher against the U.S. dollar during the last 24 hours ending at 10:30 AM EDTon April 2nd. That rise might be as a result of the partnership. ETHLend aims to become another decentralized and secure financial marketplace, but targeting peer to peer lending agreements via Blockchain and Smart Contracts.

Source CoinMarketCap

 

Australia

SMALL BUSINESS LOANS IN AUSTRALIA: SHOULD YOU SEEK FINANCE FROM A BANK OR AN ONLINE LENDER? (Dynamic Business), Rated: A

Considering the small business sector employs nearly half the national workforce and contributes around $380 billion to Australia’s GDP [1], it’s easy to see why it’s frequently referred to as the ‘engine room’ of the economy.

Like all engine rooms, the sector requires sufficient fuel – in this case, working and growth capital – to not only keep running but also accelerate. However, poor access to capital remains a significant barrier to small businesses, accounting for a majority of failures in the sector.

Part of the reason is that banks are reluctant to lend to small businesses in circumstances where the borrower doesn’t have bricks-and-mortar security – especially if a short-term loan is sought.

APRA rejected CBA home loan data as inaccurate and incomplete (Financial Review), Rated: B

Commonwealth Bank was being pressured by the prudential regulator to appoint external consultants and fix its flawed home lending data almost 2½ years before the Hayne royal commission began exposing the big four for sloppy administrative errors and irresponsible lending.

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority’s frustration with the failure of Australia’s biggest home lender to accurately identify what proportion of its loans were taken out by property investors and its level of exposure to big borrowers has been revealed in evidence tendered to the banking royal commission and published in a massive dump of more than 100 documents late last week.

India

Interest rates on unsecured instant loans are high (LiveMint), Rated: AAA

Financial institutions and fintech companies have launched multiple small credit products in India in the past 1-3 years. It is now possible to get loans even on your mobile phone. But how do you pay for this convenience?

P2P lending platform

Peer-to-peer lending companies such as Faircent, i2ifunding and Lendbox connect lenders and borrowers on their platforms. Usually, the lender is an individual and not a financial institution. The interest rates are between 15% and 36% per annum and the loan amount can range from Rs50,000 to Rs5 lakh. The interest rate is decided based on the credit profile of the customer. Usually, the P2P lending companies take into account your Cibil credit score. The loan tenure is 3 months to 24 months.

Fintech eco-system is moving to blockchain and AI: Rajat Gandhi, Faircent (Economic Times), Rated: A

A lot of players have come into the fintech space. There are wallet players, then there are PPI, P2B, crowdsourcing and other payment players as well. So, regulation is one of the key challenges the private players are going through. What is your take on it?

Surprisingly, the Indian regulators, I would say, are strict. You can see the example of NBFC P2P licences regulation. It is a good rule-based model. In fact, the players themselves were pushing for some kind of regulation because financial markets need them. It’s not like e-commerce or running a taxi where the risks are not that high.

India’s Finzy Raises $ 1.3 Mln At Pre Series A Funding (Reuters), Rated: A

Finzy, India’s fastest growing peer to peer lending platform, has raised USD 1.3 million in first round of Pre Series A from investors in the industry. A second round of fundraising is expected to close with pre-identified set of investors within the next 60 days.

Latin American

Brazilian Loan Marketplace FinanZero raises USD 3.6 million in Series A Funding Round (PR Newwire), Rated: AAA

FinanZero is a leading marketplace for consumer loans in Brazil. The business is an independent broker for loans, negotiating the customer’s loan application with several banks and credit institutions, to find the loan with the best interest rate and terms for the consumer. FinanZero handles the lending process from start to finish.

The Series A round was led by Swedish publicly listed investment company, Vostok Emerging Finance, with participation by other Swedish investors, including Webrock Ventures and Zentro Founders.

Africa

Fintech is central to Nigeria’s future success (Financial Times), Rated: A

Central to this opportunity is an acceleration in the development of a modern banking and financial services sector. We are already seeing huge breakthroughs in digital banking and the adoption of fintech-based services by Nigerian consumers — be they retail or business customers. But this expansion must be encouraged by policies that will see greater inclusion of women and rural communities into mainstream banking activity.

Asia

Meet the most disruptive fintech startup in South Korea (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Viva Republica is the most disruptive fintech startup in South Korea. Since the 2015 launch of its simple peer-to-peer payments app Toss, banks are finally revamping their user experiences and customers have easier access to financial products. South Korea’s mobile payments have more than quadrupled in that time to $4.6 billion, according to Bank of Korea data.

The startup, funded at $76 million, hasn’t stopped there. After PayPal joined a $48 million investment in Toss in March, Toss has grown from a simple money-transfer app to a diverse consumer-finance platform generating Viva Republica’s $20 million in expected revenue in 2017. Toss thus joins Asia’s ranks of fast-growing mobile P2P payment services, reaching a $12 billion transaction volume in 2017.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday April 3 2018, Daily News Digest

FT Partners

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi issues $2.6B in ABS notes in Q1 2018. GreenSky files for IPO. China’s P2P lenders brace for more regulations. FinanZero raises $3.6M. Today’s main analysis: FT Partners’ CEO alternative lending market analysis. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Cities with highest share of cash-out refinance borrowers. Retailers grow financial services capabilities. India’s unsecured instant loan interest rates […]

FT Partners

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

Australia

India

Other

News Summary

United States

SoFi Issues a Record $ 2.6 Billion in ABS Notes in the First Quarter of 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

SoFi announced today that it completed $2.6 billion in loan securitizations in the first quarter of 2018, a 35% increase over the prior-year period and its largest-ever quarterly ABS issuance volume.

In Q1 2018, SoFi completed a total of three securitization transactions: two student loan ABS offerings ($960 million SOFI 2018-A Notes and $869 million SOFI 2018-B Notes) and one consumer loan ABS offering ($774 million SCLP 2018-1 Notes). The SoFi 2018-B Notes marked the first time SoFi included medical residency loans as a part of the collateral.

LendingTree Ranks Cities with the Highest Share of Cash-Out Refinance Borrowers (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

LendingTree today released the findings of its study on where cash-out refinancing was most prevalent in the past year.

Cities with the highest share of cash-out borrowers

Source Lending Tree

Cities with the highest cash-out loan amounts

Source Lending Tree

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

Financial-technology firm GreenSky LLC has confidentially filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a sizable initial public offering that could come as soon as this summer, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Atlanta company, which operates a lending platform that enables retailers, health-care providers and home contractors to offer loans to their customers, could seek to raise $1 billion at a valuation of roughly $5 billion, some of the people said.

FT Partners’ CEO Monthly Alternative Lending Market Analysis  (FT Partners), Rated: AAA

This month’s report features an exclusive interview with Manu Smadja, co-founder and CEO of MPOWER Financing, an alternative lender that enables high-potential international students to finance their education. In our conversation with Manu, he discusses the inception of MPOWER, along with the unique opportunities and challenges of lending to this market.

M&A

Source: FT Partners

Read the full report here.

Max Levchin To Participate In A Keynote Fireside Chat At LendIt Fintech USA 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: A

LendIt Fintech announced today that Max Levchin, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Affirm, a financial services technology company that is reimagining consumer credit and banking, will be featured in a keynote fireside chat on April 9. The world’s most prominent and emerging fintech CEOs from Wall Street to Main Street will gather April 9-11 at Moscone Center in San Francisco to focus on the hot-button topics and issues exploring the future of finance.

In a session titled The future of credit: Reimagining the financing ecosystem, Levchin’s keynote fireside chat will delve into how the retail industry has evolved and how retail experiences are continuing to grow beyond the capabilities of traditional credit and lending. Levchin will share his thoughts on why the industry needs to reimagine the financing ecosystem from the ground up in order to unlock the future of credit. Levchin will also discuss why Affirm is committed to reinventing credit, starting with the belief that it should help improve consumers’ financial lives in addition to financing their purchases.

Kabbage: Small Businesses Turning To Mobile Lending In Big Numbers (Payment Week), Rated: A

Sometimes, businesses need ready cash to get from “the latest bills” to “the next paid invoice,” and that’s where lenders are coming in. A new report from Kabbage says that small businesses are turning to mobile devices to get in on that lender funding in increasing numbers.

Kabbage surveyed almost 150,000 small businesses, and found that loans accessed by mobile device had increased better than three-fold, over 360 percent, of what they were back in April 2014. While the total numbers went through the roof, the value of the loans accessed went through the roof and over the treetops, having increased over 1,220 percent.

Why Marcus Has Changed Everything (Orchard Platform), Rated: A

Fast forward almost 18 months and Marcus is the fastest growing online lender in history. They have lent $2.5 billion in this time to 350,000 customers and have 700 employees spread across three offices. Not only that, but they have grand ambitions in the space. Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein has repeatedly talked about the importance of Marcus to the future of Goldman Sachs.

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal the consumer banking business of Goldman Sachs is expected to generate $1 billion in revenue for the firm by 2020. That is significantly more revenue than LendingClub is expected to generate in 2018 as an 11-year- old business.

We have heard that Barclays and PNC Financial will be launching their own lending platforms in 2018 and there are rumors that many other large banks are going to do the same.

Most people probably don’t know Goldman Sachs offers a savings account with excellent perks — and anyone can use it with just $ 1 (Business Insider), Rated: A

Marcus— named after the Goldman Sachs founder Marcus Goldman — allows any adult (except in Maryland, where Marcus is not yet available) to create a savings account.

The big selling point for Marcus is the 1.5% annual percentage yield offered. Whereas interest rates for many banks have plummeted to as low as 0.01%, Goldman Sachs’ savings accounts create significant interest.

There is also no minimum amount needed to open an account with Marcus, and a deposit of even $1 allows users to earn the 1.5% APY.

Ohio Insurtech Root Insurance Completes Series C Round With $ 51 Million in Funding (Crowdfund Insider), Rated:A

Root Insurance, an Ohio-based car insurtech company, announced last week it secured $51 million in funding through its Series C round, which was led by Redpoint Ventures, with Scale Venture Partners and existing partners Ribbit Capital and Silicon Valley Bank Capital Partners. 

Root will use the new funding to expand into additional states and continue to invest in technology that significantly improves the customer experience.

That Fast Online Loan Could Have Super-high Interest Rates and Hidden Fees That Bankrupt Your Business (Entrepreneur), Rated: A

recent lawsuit against fintech small-business lender Kabbage Inc., charging that it partnered with a bank in order to offer interest rates that exceeded the legal limit, highlights the need for more regulatory oversight of the growing number of online lenders signing deals with small businesses.

Online lenders are getting more scrutiny.

The recent Massachusetts federal case brought by a small business against Kabbage (and its partner Celtic Bank) highlights why non-bank fintech lenders should be regulated. The suit alleges that Kabbage used its relationship with Celtic — which “rented” its balance sheet to Kabbage — as a basis to charge interest rates that violated usury laws.

How Credit Karma is using data to become a central finance hub (Tearsheet), Rated: A

It’s not a bank, but it uses customer data to help banks find customers.

Currently valued at $4 billion, Credit Karma has 80 million customers — half of whom are millennials. The company joins a growing number of financial startups like Clarity Money, SoFi, Chime and Varo Money that are aiming to become one-stop shops for customers’ finances. The field is growing increasingly competitive. Meanwhile, banks are bundling personal finance advice into their mobile apps. But Credit Karma has two advantages its competitors often struggle with — scale and data — and it’s using a chatbot to lock in the relationship with the customer.

A Chase Sapphire experiment is getting revived and expanded after the trial run blew away expectations with millennials last year (Business Insider), Rated: B

Last year, ahead of the spring homebuying season — the busiest of the year — JPMorgan Chase engineered an experiment to gain an edge in the mortgage-lending competition.

So the bank targeted its Sapphire customers, offering another 100,000 in rewards points if they closed a mortgage with the bank — a bonus worth as much as $1,500.

HNW Clients Warming Up To Digital Advice (Financial Adviser), Rated: A

In its report, “The Cerulli Edge—U.S. Retail Investor Edition, 1Q 2018 Issue,” the researcher found that more than one-quarter of investors over 70 who have $2 million to $5 million in investable assets said they would consider online-only engagement. Beyond that, high-net-worth investors in general seemingly are more receptive to digital advice platforms.

In 2015, Cerulli found that 38% of investors with investable assets of $2 million to $5 million said they were willing to engage with digital providers. Last year, that number jumped to 46%. And among investors with $5 million-plus in investable assets, those numbers went from 30% in 2015 to 38% last year.

Why borrower experience will be the principal driver of bank revenue in the lending market (Lendit), Rated: A

Tech giants such as Google and Amazon have rewritten the rulebook for consumers when it comes to what they can reasonably expect from their service providers. Consequently, bank offerings are being judged to the same standard as the most innovative digitally native products in the world.

The benefits of improved customer experience

More generally, banks must focus on improving user experience to remain competitive as digitally native fintech products flood the marketplace. Focusing especially, the motivations for improving customer experience can be described as:

  •  Differentiation Financial services can no longer lean on long-standing relationships and brand positioning to generate new customer business.
  • Positive brand response in addition to research, some customers will also emphasize the emotive impression they receive from a product when making purchasing decisions.
  • Coping with an economic downturn During a recession or other global economic hardship businesses are placed under increased financial strain. Services viewed positively by their existing clients will stand a better chance of retaining their clients as well as growing their client base during the downturn.

Pindrop Introduces New Biometric Solution: Tongueprinting (Finovate), Rated: A

Banking Technology’s Anthony Peyton reports that the Atlanta-based anti-fraud and authentication specialist has unveiled Tongueprinting, a technology that analyses every person’s unique tongue as its newest biometric engine. Banking Technology is Finovate’s sister publication.

The idea is for Tongueprinting to stop fraudsters from taking over legitimate accounts by spoofing the call centre with automated bots, social engineering, and knowledge-based authentication questions.  

HomeUnion Launches Crowdfunding Platform for Individual Investors (Business Wire), Rated: A

HomeUnion, the leader in online residential real estate investing, has launched a crowdfunding platform that allows investors to purchase stakes in funds of single-family rental (SFR) properties on its website. Starting with a minimum investment of $10,000, retail investors now have the ability to acquire interest in the HomeUnion Fix-and-Flip Fund. The fund enables consumers to invest in SFR assets acquired for fix-and-flip purposes in seven HomeUnion markets: Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Raleigh and Tampa.

Upstart tests buyer appetite with riskier loans, more sub notes (Global Capital), Rated: A

Online lender Upstart is the latest marketplace loan company to broaden the risk profile of its ABS, announcing a deal this week offering more subordinate bonds and backed by a higher proportion of longer term loans.

The California-based lender, founded by ex-Google employees, uses an underwriting model which incorporates data points beyond borrowers’ FICO scores, utilizing other factors such as schools attended, areas of study, academic performance and work history.

Is low pay hurting banks in the battle for tech talent? (American Banker), Rated: A

Conversations about pay in the banking industry typically focus on whether executives at the top are paid too much or workers at the bottom are paid too little.

But new data available as a result of the Dodd-Frank Act is drawing rare attention to the compensation of employees in the middle. In what will become an annual exercise, publicly traded U.S. companies are now required to disclose annually the median pay of their employees.

Information and Data Integrity: A Two-Way Street (Lendit), Rated: A

For many businesses, data is an important aspect of decision management. When you are choosing with whom to do business, you rely on the validity of data to guide you. If it proves faulty, you may be steered into accepting bad customers or rejecting good ones, which can seriously affect your bottom line. For consumers, inaccurate data can be equally harmful—leading to the appearance of having bad credit, denials of services or products or worse, flagged as potentially fraudulent.

Spanning both digital and real worlds, and encompassing data about identity, financial characteristics, behaviors and more, an integrated view is the foundation of enhanced insights that can ultimately improve financial outcomes. TransUnion understands the importance of current, accurate data and gives its customers access to information—including both highly-regulated and publicly available forms of alternative data—that creates powerful, comprehensive views of consumers.

Here’s Why Millennials Are Choosing Personal Loans (Lendit), Rated: A

When it comes to millennial spending habits, it looks as though they’re rounding a corner to a new kind of credit. With the vast treasure trove of accumulated data available, credit bureaus like TransUnion are seeing spikes in personal loans compared to Generation X’s spending habits in the early 2000s. It’s a tremendous opportunity for marketers to capture a demographic that expects more from their lender.

The Overarching Trends

The newly minted adults of Generation Z are at the very beginning of their financial journey, but millennials are at the age where they’re expected to make major purchases. As they struggle with the economy and student debt, they’re making different financial choices along the way.

Adopting New Technology

Lenders are turning to financial technology (fintech) to help peddle their products, which millennials are all too happy to use. Ironically, applying for a personal loan without the face-to-face connection can be far more attractive than the traditional application process.

A Decline in Credit Card Usage

Right or wrong, credit cards have long been linked to perpetual debt in many people’s minds. In 2009, the CARD Act was introduced to place stricter limits on the marketing of credit cards at college campuses. Debit cards have become more of the rule as opposed to the exception, leaping from 8 billion transactions in 2000 to 60 billion in 2015.

Small Business Confidence Is Up, What Does that Mean? (Lendit), Rated: A

The year 2017 saw small business owners across the United States grow more optimistic about the future than they’ve ever been—at least since the creation of the Optimism Index by the NFIB in the 70s.  “2017 was the most remarkable year in the 45-year history of the NFIB Optimism Index,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan.

The Tax Bill Could be a Boon for Small Businesses

Sole proprietorships, partnerships, and S corporations are all examples of what are called pass-through businesses; and make up roughly 95 percent of all U.S. businesses. They also happen to be many of our customers at OnDeck, and other online small business lenders. One of the main components of the new tax bill is a 20 percent tax deduction for those businesses, where business owners can “shield” 20 percent of their business income from flowing through to their personal income tax returns.

Cincinnati-based financial tech startup raises $ 1.2 million (Cincinnati Business Courier), Rated: B

A Cincinnati-based financial tech startup that aims to help users secure low-dollar loans without having to resort to a payday lender raised $1.2 million in venture capital.

Mayor proposes employee loans to offset predatory lenders (Santa Fe New Mexican), Rated: B

A few months after a new annual 175 percent cap on small-loan interest rates in New Mexico went into effect, Mayor Alan Webber is proposing a short-term loan program to help municipal workers avoid payday lending businesses viewed as predatory by consumer advocates.

BlockFi Gives Hodlers Another Option to Borrow Against Crypto Assets (BitcoinMagazine), Rated: B

Options for borrowing and lending with cryptocurrencies are on the rise. One of the latest start-ups to join the likes of SALT and Unchained Capital is BlockFi, a New York City–based startup that issues loans backed by bitcoin and ether to individuals, companies and institutions in 35 U.S. states.

BlockFi takes cryptocurrency as collateral, offering interest rates on loans of around 12 percent. This is generally lower than unsecured loans and higher than loans secured with traditional assets such as securities or real estate.

eBus to offer visitors financial advice, credit reports (The Repository), Rated: B

The eBus is a mobile classroom which is equipped with 14 personal computers and satellite technology staffed by Fifth Third bankers and representatives from nonprofit community organizations. On the bus, visitors can request a credit report and review it with a professional; receive a personalized evaluation of finances; receive internet banking and bill pay demonstrations; speak with nonprofits about housing, money management and business advice; receive consultation on foreclosure prevention; and conduct online job searches.

United Kingdom

Scots ‘side businesses’ generate £1.7bn a year (The Scotsman), Rated: A

More than 500,000 people living in Scotland have started a side business, generating a collective £1.7 billion a year out of more than £33bn UK-wide, according to new research.

Online lender Sunny said many of those north of the Border turning to side businesses are doing so to help with the cost of bills, savings and debts, and bring in an average of £272 a month on top of their main income.

That represents a 20 per cent increase from when they first started their business.

China

China’s P2P lenders brace for renewed regulatory crackdown (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

China will soon be rolling out new licensing requirements for p2p lenders; The system will kick off in April with approvals slated to come at the end of this month, but many lenders aren’t aware of the filing process; in 2016 and 2017 many p2p lenders shut down and according to data there are around 2,000 remaining; it is expected that many of the 2,000 will not pass the new requirements; the new rules won’t allow platforms to guarantee loan payments and also limit loans to individuals and businesses; it will also require that platforms use custodian banks.

China Rapid Finance Executives Selected to Speak at LendIt Fintech USA 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: A

China Rapid Finance Limited (“China Rapid Finance” or the “Company”) (NYSE: XRF) announced today that the Company will participate as a sponsor and exhibitor at the upcoming LendIt Fintech USA 2018, to be held between Apr 9th and 11th in San Francisco, California.

China: WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On March 28th, cross-border payment company iPayLinks announced that it had completed, at the beginning of this year, a hundreds of million-yuan B1 round of financing led by Tencent and followed by Legend Capital.

NIFA Issues a Self-Discipline Convention for Debt-Collection Practitioners

The five-chapter convention is mainly applying to regulate the behavior of overdue debt collection within the Internet Finance industry by establishing several basic principles (e.g. observing laws and regulations, prudential regulations, protecting privacy, and strict self-discipline). In other words, the document outlines a framework of debt-collection regulation in terms of discredited punishment, business management, personnel management, information management, outsourcing management, and complaints.

China’s internet lenders fall foul of data privacy rules (Financial Times), Rated: A

More than half of Chinese internet finance lenders are failing to comply with data privacy regulations, research has found, raising risks for investors as China steps up the implementation of laws to protect consumer data.

The breaches include collecting phone numbers from users’ contact lists, which can be used to mount harassment campaigns and shame users into repaying debts.

The survey of 200 finance apps by Renmin University and Nandu Personal Data Protection Research Centre, a Beijing think-tank, ranked 111 apps as having “low” compliance.

It found that almost half — 95 apps — wanted to read users’ text messages, while 97 of them wanted access to users’ contact lists, despite such access not being necessary for the app’s functioning.

International

How retailers are growing their financial services capabilities (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Amazon isn’t the only retailer encroaching on the financial services space. It may be the scariest — just the rumor of it entering a company’s space will send its stock price down — but ultimately, Amazon only cares about getting more buyers and more sellers to join its platform.

Overstock’s Raj Karkara, vp of loyalty and financial services, echoed that sentiment earlier this year, saying that offering financial services or connecting customers with financial services providers is a natural extension of its retail function of buying and selling consumer goods.

Rakuten
Rakuten is Japan’s largest e-commerce site and has slowly been growing outside of the country. It has a footprint in media, video-on-demand, mobile messaging, e-books, travel, fashion, marketing and even sports. It also operates the largest online bank in the country.

Overstock
For the past few months, e-commerce company Overstock.com has been quietly building out FinanceHub, a sort of marketplace for financial services that includes existing Overstock credit cards and insurance products; loans by LendingTree, Prosper and Sofi; a robo-adviser for automated investing; and, most recently, a discounted trading platform.

Sainsbury (and Tesco)
Amazon may not be interested in becoming a bank but that doesn’t mean it can’t succeed in stealing customer attention from them. The U.K.’s largest grocers have all opened banks attached to their brands —  Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

ETHLend (LEND) Token – Will It Go Down After Kyber Network Partnership? (Hot Stocked), Rated: A

ETHLend has recently partnered up with Kyber Network. The ETHLend (LEND) Token has reached a market capitalization of 45.69 Million US dollars in the last 24 hours. The token traded 9.50%higher against the U.S. dollar during the last 24 hours ending at 10:30 AM EDTon April 2nd. That rise might be as a result of the partnership. ETHLend aims to become another decentralized and secure financial marketplace, but targeting peer to peer lending agreements via Blockchain and Smart Contracts.

Source CoinMarketCap

 

Australia

SMALL BUSINESS LOANS IN AUSTRALIA: SHOULD YOU SEEK FINANCE FROM A BANK OR AN ONLINE LENDER? (Dynamic Business), Rated: A

Considering the small business sector employs nearly half the national workforce and contributes around $380 billion to Australia’s GDP [1], it’s easy to see why it’s frequently referred to as the ‘engine room’ of the economy.

Like all engine rooms, the sector requires sufficient fuel – in this case, working and growth capital – to not only keep running but also accelerate. However, poor access to capital remains a significant barrier to small businesses, accounting for a majority of failures in the sector.

Part of the reason is that banks are reluctant to lend to small businesses in circumstances where the borrower doesn’t have bricks-and-mortar security – especially if a short-term loan is sought.

APRA rejected CBA home loan data as inaccurate and incomplete (Financial Review), Rated: B

Commonwealth Bank was being pressured by the prudential regulator to appoint external consultants and fix its flawed home lending data almost 2½ years before the Hayne royal commission began exposing the big four for sloppy administrative errors and irresponsible lending.

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority’s frustration with the failure of Australia’s biggest home lender to accurately identify what proportion of its loans were taken out by property investors and its level of exposure to big borrowers has been revealed in evidence tendered to the banking royal commission and published in a massive dump of more than 100 documents late last week.

India

Interest rates on unsecured instant loans are high (LiveMint), Rated: AAA

Financial institutions and fintech companies have launched multiple small credit products in India in the past 1-3 years. It is now possible to get loans even on your mobile phone. But how do you pay for this convenience?

P2P lending platform

Peer-to-peer lending companies such as Faircent, i2ifunding and Lendbox connect lenders and borrowers on their platforms. Usually, the lender is an individual and not a financial institution. The interest rates are between 15% and 36% per annum and the loan amount can range from Rs50,000 to Rs5 lakh. The interest rate is decided based on the credit profile of the customer. Usually, the P2P lending companies take into account your Cibil credit score. The loan tenure is 3 months to 24 months.

Fintech eco-system is moving to blockchain and AI: Rajat Gandhi, Faircent (Economic Times), Rated: A

A lot of players have come into the fintech space. There are wallet players, then there are PPI, P2B, crowdsourcing and other payment players as well. So, regulation is one of the key challenges the private players are going through. What is your take on it?

Surprisingly, the Indian regulators, I would say, are strict. You can see the example of NBFC P2P licences regulation. It is a good rule-based model. In fact, the players themselves were pushing for some kind of regulation because financial markets need them. It’s not like e-commerce or running a taxi where the risks are not that high.

India’s Finzy Raises $ 1.3 Mln At Pre Series A Funding (Reuters), Rated: A

Finzy, India’s fastest growing peer to peer lending platform, has raised USD 1.3 million in first round of Pre Series A from investors in the industry. A second round of fundraising is expected to close with pre-identified set of investors within the next 60 days.

Latin American

Brazilian Loan Marketplace FinanZero raises USD 3.6 million in Series A Funding Round (PR Newwire), Rated: AAA

FinanZero is a leading marketplace for consumer loans in Brazil. The business is an independent broker for loans, negotiating the customer’s loan application with several banks and credit institutions, to find the loan with the best interest rate and terms for the consumer. FinanZero handles the lending process from start to finish.

The Series A round was led by Swedish publicly listed investment company, Vostok Emerging Finance, with participation by other Swedish investors, including Webrock Ventures and Zentro Founders.

Africa

Fintech is central to Nigeria’s future success (Financial Times), Rated: A

Central to this opportunity is an acceleration in the development of a modern banking and financial services sector. We are already seeing huge breakthroughs in digital banking and the adoption of fintech-based services by Nigerian consumers — be they retail or business customers. But this expansion must be encouraged by policies that will see greater inclusion of women and rural communities into mainstream banking activity.

Asia

Meet the most disruptive fintech startup in South Korea (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Viva Republica is the most disruptive fintech startup in South Korea. Since the 2015 launch of its simple peer-to-peer payments app Toss, banks are finally revamping their user experiences and customers have easier access to financial products. South Korea’s mobile payments have more than quadrupled in that time to $4.6 billion, according to Bank of Korea data.

The startup, funded at $76 million, hasn’t stopped there. After PayPal joined a $48 million investment in Toss in March, Toss has grown from a simple money-transfer app to a diverse consumer-finance platform generating Viva Republica’s $20 million in expected revenue in 2017. Toss thus joins Asia’s ranks of fast-growing mobile P2P payment services, reaching a $12 billion transaction volume in 2017.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday September 22 2017, Daily News Digest

APAC alternative finance

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi hit with a new lawsuit. Former SoFi loan reviewer says company created a hostile work environment. LendingClub launches Android app for investors. ZhongAn prices Hong Kong IPO at HK$59.70, raises $1.5B. Australia passes Japan to become second largest alternative finance market in APAC. Today’s main analysis: APAC alternative finance report. Today’s thought-provoking […]

APAC alternative finance

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

APAC

South America

News Summary

United States

SoFi Condoned ‘Rampant Sexual Activity,’ Lawsuit Alleges (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

A former loan reviewer at Social Finance Inc. claims in a lawsuit she was repeatedly sexually harassed while working there, ratcheting up pressure on the embattled fintech startup.

Sonoma County Superior Court court clerk confirmed by phone that the complaint was filed Thursday.

Top management indulged in the inappropriate behavior, which then trickled down through the ranks, according to the complaint. Cagney dated subordinates at SoFi’s San Francisco office — where his wife works as chief technology officer and vice president of engineering — and attended parties with SoFi’s Healdsburg staff while intoxicated, Zamora alleges.

SoFi Faces New Sexual Harassment Claim Days After CEO’s Departure (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Yulia Zamora, who worked as a loan reviewer at SoFi’s Healdsburg, Calif., office from October 2015 until October 2016, said in a complaint against the company that a manager had propositioned her for sex and retaliated against her when she refused.

She added that SoFi exhibited a “hostile work environment where sexually inappropriate behavior became widely accepted and laudable by upper management.”

In her complaint, Ms. Zamora said that a SoFi director of operations who had authority over promotions approached her during and after an office Christmas party in December 2015. The manager, Adam Cobb, told her that he was “intimidated by [her] beauty” and that he “want[ed] to do sexy things” to her, according to the complaint. She denied his advances, the complaint added.

In the weeks following those comments, Mr. Cobb refused to promote Ms. Zamora and refused to write her a letter of recommendation after she resigned from the company, according to the complaint. She raised the issue with supervisors just after the party, but said that they found the story “entertaining rather than upsetting.”

Why Startup Founders Should Be Required to Sign a ‘No Go, Bro’ Clause (Fortune), Rated: AAA

Startup CEOs like Cagney, Travis Kalanick at Uber, and Taylor Freeman at UploadVR—accused in a recent lawsuit of bragging with his co-founder Will Mason about how many girls they were going to have sex with at company parties, and designating a room at the office as a “kink room”—can destroy as well as create billions of dollars in value for their companies, all while creating toxic work environments.

Whether they resign like Cagney and Kalanick or remain with the company like Freeman and Mason, startup executives typically own a large percentage of company stock. That often leads investors and boards to treat them gently when it comes to sexual harassment allegations and other forms of misconduct—but it should not.

Before making a big investment in a startup, investors should use their power to require CEOs to sign a clause under which they forfeit a large proportion, or potentially all, of their stock, if fired for misconduct, including reasons such as sexual harassment and misrepresentations to investors.

 

 

 

LendingClub, a peer-to-peer loans platform, just launched its Android app for investors (Android Police), Rated: AAA

With the LendingClub Invest app, you can log in via your fingerprint, view information like your current value and return, as well as transfer money.

Keep in mind that this is for investors, not borrowers. It’s for those using the service who want to manage their accounts and view the details of their current investments. Borrowers using LendingClub don’t have an app just yet.

The full log for this initial release is below:

WHAT’S NEW

Access your LendingClub investor account through a convenient experience optimized for your mobile device.
In this initial version you can:
– Log in to your account with a touch of the finger (for Android 6.0 or above)
– View and manage your account
– See your Net Annualized Return (NAR)
– Invest in Notes
– Use your saved filters to find the Notes you want
– Set up and update automated investing
– Transfer money between your LendingClub account and your bank

Hackers Entered Equifax Systems in March (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Hackers roamed undetected in Equifax Inc.’s EFX +2.76% computer network for more than four months before its security team uncovered the massive data breach, the security firm FireEye Inc.FEYE +0.24% said this week in a confidential note Equifax sent to some of its customers.

FireEye’s Mandiant group, which has been hired by Equifax to investigate the breach, said the first evidence of hackers’ “interaction” with the company occurred on March 10, according to the Mandiant report, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Equifax has said it didn’t discover the breach until July 29. Days later it called in Mandiant. Equifax didn’t disclose the breach until Sept. 7.

In a progress report that accompanied that announcement last Friday, Equifax said hackers accessed consumers’ data from May 13 through July 30. It didn’t mention in that report that the attack had begun at an earlier date.

Mandiant’s report this week noted the hackers accessed one of Equifax’s servers by taking advantage of a flaw in software called Apache Struts, used by many companies to build interactive websites.

Two days before the access occurred, on March 8, security researchers at Cisco Systems Inc. warned of the flaw in Struts and a patch was issued by the Apache Software Foundation. Equifax in its report last week said its security staff “took efforts” to fix the system, saying it understood the intense focus outside the company on patching efforts and that its review was ongoing.

After interacting with Equifax’s server in early March, the hackers then entered the computer command “Whoami,” Mandiant wrote. This command would have given the attackers the username of the computer account to which they had just gained access, an early step in a hacking attempt.

The Ultimate Anti-Competitive Mergers (Prospect), Rated: A

When you need a new mortgage in the future, will your only options be AmazonWellsFargo or AppleChase? The prospect of a mash-up of banking and commerce keeps people like George Washington University law professor Arthur Wilmarth up at night. “This would mean an end to healthy innovation and startups and competition,” said Wilmarth. “I think it is that dire.”

In principle, these maneuvers could inject competition into a banking industry controlled mostly by four Wall Street giants, making financial services more accessible and flexible to modern needs. But special charters also let fintech evade critical regulatory scrutiny. And the tentative steps by SoFi and Square seem like a dry run for the day Silicon Valley’s giants decide to get in the game, building sprawling businesses the government has aimed to prevent for decades.

Banks get all sorts of privileges from the government—and if banks can also function as ordinary commercial enterprises, they have unfair advantages against other businesses (who are also their clients).

Non-Prime Gen-Xers Lack Financial Stability According to New Research by Elevate’s Center for the New Middle Class (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Members of Generation X (those born between 1965 and 1980) now sit at the age where they anchor the country’s economic and social structure. Yet, new research from Elevate’s Center for the New Middle Class shows that Gen-Xers face a slew of economic challenges that perpetually keep them off balance. Worse still, that lack of balance means they can’t plan for the future or get back on track.

Non-prime Gen-Xers, in particular, lack stability – in their employment as well as their income. They have difficulty predicting their monthly income, and consequently act like cash accountants in managing their day-to-day finances. Non-prime Gen-Xers are thus the least likely generational cohort to be able to save money—an important aspect of financial planning. Compared to their prime counterparts, non-prime Gen-Xers are:

  • 4x as likely to be living paycheck to paycheck
  • 4.5x as likely to worry about meeting monthly expenses
  • 2x as likely to have been laid off in the past year, and almost 3x as likely to be laid off in the last 5 years
  • 5x as likely to feel “significant stress” over finances
  • 5x more likely to say that in the prior 12 months they were never able to plan for a major expense

The planning gap between prime and non-prime Gen-Xers is wider than any other generation, and 1 in 5 reports running out of money every month. When it comes time to pay for unplanned or unexpected expenses, such as medical bills or car repairs, only 13 percent feel confident they could come up with $1,200. This lack of confidence may be due to lack of reliable options. Though 80 percent of prime Gen-Xers have a solid option – savings, credit or turning to family/friends – only 44 percent of their non-prime counterparts have a solution for coming up with the funds.

3 Stocks With eBay-like Return Potential (The Motley Fool), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lending platform Lending Club is finally starting to show signs of growth after several quarters of stagnant loan originations. With the stock down 74% since its first trading day in 2014, there’s certainly potential for a big investment win if things continue to go well.

For the second quarter of 2017, Lending Club’s loan originations grew by 10% year over year as well as sequentially, which came as a pleasant surprise to investors. Revenue grew by an impressive 35% from last year, and profit margins improved tremendously. What’s more, Lending Club’s CEO said that the company could approach GAAP profitability as we head into 2018, which would be a major improvement from the first half of the year.

Lending Club’s loan portfolio is currently about $11.1 billion in size, which may sound like a lot, but consider that the U.S. nonrevolving (loan) consumer lending market has more than $2.7 trillion in outstanding balances, not including mortgages, according to the Federal Reserve.

US auto-loan fintechs help incumbent lenders stay up to speed (Business Insider), Rated: A

Hyundai Capital America, the car maker’s US lending division, has partnered AutoGravity, a US-based digital car shopping and financing platform, to extend its loans more easily to consumers looking to buy a Hyundai, Kia, or Genesis vehicle.

Hyundai Capital will be one of several auto lenders that consumers can borrow from via the platform.

JPMorgan Chase partnered online car marketplace TrueCar in August 2016 to launch an end-to-end digital platform, Chase Auto Direct, for finding and financing a vehicle. Additionally, Ford Motor Credit Co., the car giant’s lending arm, started leveraging US marketplace lender AutoFi’s software in January to make it easier for customers to buy and finance a vehicle without going to showrooms.

The Saatva Company Partners with Payment Solutions Company Klarna (PR Newswire), Rated: A

The Saatva Company, the largest online luxury mattress retailer, has formed a strategic partnership to offer financing plans to its customers with Klarna, a global payment solutions company that works with other top U.S. brands like Microsoft and Taylormade.

Through this partnership, Saatva customers now have the option to “Slice Up Your Payment” through Klarna and spread the cost of purchases over time with convenient, stress-free low APR financing offers. It is available immediately under all three Saatva Company brands – Saatvamattress.com, Loomandleaf.com and Zenhaven.com.

After selecting the perfect mattress, customers can apply for Klarna financing at checkout through a simple three-step instant credit approval process. Customers are approved for an open line of credit that may also be used at any other merchant where Klarna is accepted.

Digital Lending Dramatically Cuts Down Closing Times (The M Report), Rated: A

In a recent sampling of 10,000 purchase loans from LendingTree, a leading online loan marketplace, the closing times on mortgages saw a sharp decrease thanks to more digital lending; approximately 74 percent on average from May 2016 to May 2017. According to the report, the average closing still takes roughly 72 days, but this rate is influenced by several other buying factors as well as digital integrations.

The study shows the average amount of days to close in Boston (79.5) strongly differs from the time spent in a city like Denver, (56.2); a 23.3 day difference.  New York closely followed Boston at 79.2 days and Cleveland at 71.5. Phoenix and Dallas barely ranked above Denver at 57.5 and 57.6 days respectively. The time to close also varies largely by state, with Montana measuring at 52.7 days until closing and New York at 91 days.

Activehours raises $ 39 million for its new take on cash advances (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Nine months after raising $22 million for its unique take on the cash-advance business, Activehours has gone back to the venture capital well and pulled out another $39 million in financing.

Led by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from the company’s early-stage investors Matrix Partners, Ribbit Capital, and March Capital Partners, Activehours has managed to now raise nearly $65 million since its launch in 2013.

The Palo Alto-based company skirts regulation as a payday lender because it doesn’t charge interest on the cash that it fronts to customers. Instead, the company asks that users pay a small voluntary fee for access to their money ahead of their payday.

Tribal Lender Claims Immunity From Challenge To Immunity (Law360), Rated: A

An online lender accused of striking “rent-a-tribe” deals with a Native American tribe in order to benefit from tribal immunity urged a Virginia federal judge Tuesday to dismiss a proposed class action over its lending practices, saying it is, in fact, a sovereign arm of the Chippewa Cree tribe and therefore immune from the litigation alleging false immunity.

The Government Shouldn’t Collect Private Financial Information from America’s Poor (National Review), Rated: A

The CFPB, which was created under Dodd-Frank supposedly to protect consumers and prevent the next big financial crisis, is now being used to try to discourage payday lending, vehicle title, and certain high-cost installment loans.  The rule will require customers applying for a small-dollar loan – the average of which is $350 — to submit extensive personal financial information in support of their applications. In addition to determining a customer’s ability to repay the loan, the lenders will be required to share this information with each credit reporting agency (CRA) registered with the Bureau.

With this data all in one place, it will be vulnerable to a potential hack.

And just this week the SEC reported a hack.  Now government will have a new pool of data for hackers to try to infiltrate.

Embracing Blockchain Is in the ‘National Interest’ (Coindesk), Rated: B

Giancarlo continued:

“Everything we do has been digitized. The one thing that has not yet been digitized is regulation. We’re still very much an analog regulator of digital markets.”

And most importantly, Giancarlo stressed that it is imperative that U.S. regulatory structures catch up with the fast-moving digital economy.

eOriginal Announces Coluzzi as New Chief Financial Officer (Benzinga), Rated: B

eOriginal, Inc., today named Michael Coluzzi as Chief Financial Officer (CFO), another valuable addition to the executive team of the rapidly growing financial services technology firm.

Coluzzi is the third key addition to eOriginal’s leadership following a growth capital investment by LLR Partners. In addition to the new CFO, Brian Madocks joined as Chief Executive Officer in April 2017 followed by Timothy Wall as Chief Revenue Officer earlier this month. These hires and the existing eOriginal management team together will drive the business towards achieving full potential.

Veteran CFO Bruce Felt Joins Personal Capital’s Board of Directors (Business Insider), Rated: B

Personal Capital, the leading digital and professional advisor based wealth management firm, today announced that Bruce Felt, the Chief Financial Officer of DOMO, has joined Personal Capital’s Board of Directors and will chair the Audit Committee.

Felt is the CFO of DOMO, one of the fastest growing SaaS companies in the country. Previously, he was the CFO of SuccessFactors, where he guided the company through six acquisitions, a public offering and the sale of the business to SAP. Felt has spent 25 years managing financial operations for high-tech companies and serving on multiple boards of directors.

Form 8-K Elevate Credit, Inc. For: Sep 15 (StreetInsider.com), Rated: B

The Registered Office of the corporation in the State of Delaware is changed to 251 Little Falls Drive, in the City of Wilmington, DE, County of New Castle, Zip Code 19808. The name of the Registered Agent at such address upon whom process against this Corporation may be served is Corporation Service Company.

United Kingdom

Ex-Barclays CEO Antony Jenkins raised £34 million for his fintech startup (Business Insider), Rated: A

Former Barclays CEO Antony Jenkins has raised £34 million ($46 million) for his fintech startup 10X Future Technologies.

The Series A funding round was led by Chinese firm Ping An Insurance and consulting firm Oliver Wyman.

London-based 10X, which went public last October, will help banks and financial institutions modernize their back office technology.

Older people are underserved by financial services, says the City watchdog (City A.M.), Rated: A

In its Ageing Population Project, the FCA found that older people’s needs are not being fully met which may result in exclusion, poor customer outcomes and possibly even harm.

It has called on retail banks, advisors and the savings industry to think about the vulnerabilities which older people – defined as those who are aged 55-plus – may face.

Cautious investors blind to risks of alternative favourites (FT Adviser), Rated: A

The aftermath of the financial crisis has seen investors pour capital into income generating alternative assets perceived to be low risk but market watchers have warned the dangers won’t be evident until interest rates rise.

The AIC said 70 per cent of the investment trust launches over the past five years have been in the alternative income sector.

Jonathan Davis, who runs Jonathon Davis Wealth Management in Hertford, said he has been preparing his clients portfolios for higher inflation, and higher interest rates, and generally avoiding UK equities.

LendInvest hires Aldermore’s Boden (Mortgage Strategy), Rated: B

Aldermore head of commercial mortgages Ian Boden has joined specialist lender LendInvest.

Boden joins the group as sale director, after five years at Aldermore Bank.

He has previously worked at Lloyds Bank and HSBC and has an advanced diploma in financial planning from the CII.

In his new role, Boden will help grow the business development team at LendInvest. He will help the group expand to new markets.

Deadline nears for pub purchase (County Echo), Rated: B

THE 30 September deadline to secure the necessary funds to purchase the threatened Tafarn Sinc pub in Rosebush is fast approaching.

“The aim now is to see a sum of £200,000 in shares achieved by 1 October and also the committee has endorsed a special Peer to Peer (P2P) lending scheme where a four per cent gross interest rate is offered to individuals who can lend a £5,000 sum to the co-operative to secure the total funds.

“As a target for the P2P we have 20 lots of £5,000 loans we are seeking and then this will bring in the needed final sum to purchase the pub and ensure it is owned by local people.”

China

China online insurer ZhongAn prices HK IPO at top end, raises $ 1.5 bln (Kitco), Rated: AAA

ZhongAn Online Property & Casualty Insurance Co priced its IPO at the top of an indicated range, raising $1.5 billion in Hong Kong’s biggest ever financial technology stock offering, IFR reported on Friday.

China’s first internet-only insurer priced 199.3 million new shares at HK$59.70 ($7.65) each, the top of a HK$53.70-HK$59.70 range said IFR, a Thomson Reuters publication. It cited people close to the deal.

ZhongAn Online Property & Casualty Insurance Co priced its IPO at the top of an indicated range, raising $1.5 billion in Hong Kong’s biggest ever financial technology stock offering, IFR reported on Friday.

China’s first internet-only insurer priced 199.3 million new shares at HK$59.70 ($7.65) each, the top of a HK$53.70-HK$59.70 range said IFR, a Thomson Reuters publication. It cited people close to the deal.

China’s first Internet Insurance Company is set to list in Hong Kong on 28th Sep (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

Zhongan Insurance, which was co-founded by Jack Ma of Alibaba, Ma Mingzhe of PING AN and Pony Ma of Tencent, is the first internet insurance company in China. Because of its strong background, every move of Zhongan Insurance is closely concerned. On September 17, Zhongan Insurance revealed it would be listing in the main board of Hong Kong stock exchange. More details, the price range will be set at HK$53.7- 59.7, and the company plans to raise HK$10,948 million in total, it is scheduled to begin trading on the main board of the Hong Kong stock exchange on September 28. If the plan is implemented, Zhongan will become the first publicly listed fintech unit of China.

Chinese online stockbroker Tiger Brokers gets investment from US firm Interactive Brokers (SCMP), Rated: A

Tiger Brokers, a Chinese online securities brokerage start-up backed by Wall Street billionaire investor Jim Rogers, said on Thursday it has landed an investment from Interactive Brokers Group, one of the largest electronic brokers in the United States.

The Beijing-based Tiger Brokers, which offers an app to allow Chinese investors to trade on US stock markets and the Hong Kong exchanges and in Chinese A shares, did not disclose the size of the investment by Interactive Brokers.

The Top 10 Most Valuable Unicorns (Benzinga), Rated: B

The United States is home to the most unicorn companies in the world, with over 100 such companies, according to a new report by HowMuch.

8. Lu.com ($18.5 billion): China

Lu.com is an online finance marketplace which started as a peer-to-peer lending platform. Since 2011 it has service over $2.5 billion peer-to-peer loans.

 

European Union

EU’s new data privacy law creates headaches for U.S. banks (American Banker), Rated: AAA

What happens when a cookie of a Brit in London lands in the server of a community bank in the U.S. if, on an off-chance, the Brit browses the bank’s website?

It’s unclear, experts say, but U.S. banks — especially small and midsize banks — need to go find out because the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) could affect them, unlike the EU privacy regulations before it.

The countdown is ticking on GDPR’s website. The law, approved by the European Parliament in April 2016, will take effect in late May 2018. It will apply to “all companies processing and holding the personal data of data subjects residing in the European Union, regardless of the company’s location,” the website said.

International

SoftBank’s Banker Stash (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Their presence begs a question of the Vision Fund, whose backersinclude Apple Inc. and Saudi Arabia. Is its long-term goal to get into everything from ride-hailing apps to indoor farming, or is it more about getting juicy returns?

One Fund to Rule Them All
SoftBank’s $93.2 billion Vision Fund is the world’s largest private equity fund.
Anshu Jain, Deutsche Bank’s former co-chief executive officer and key architect of its rapid growth in markets prior to the credit crunch, was an adviser at SoftBank-backed U.S. based online lender Social Finance Inc. until recently.

While SoftBank put in equity to the tune of $28 billion, its partners, including the government funds of Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, hold part of their stakes via preferred instruments, also known as mezzanine capital. It means they’re owed yearly payouts, similar to a dividend.

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, for instance, is injecting $45 billion, but only $18 billion of that is straight equity, the Wall Street Journal reported in May. The preferred units will earn about 7 percent interest annually over the life of the fund, expected to be 12 years.

Source: Bloomberg

Which banks are leading digital (and who are the laggards)? (The Finanser), Rated: A

Banks typically spend 80% of their IT budgets on legacy technology maintenance and a tier one bank could easily spend up to $300m a year on existing software which constantly needs expensive updates in order to meet regulatory requirements.

Why so much? Because most of those systems are written in programming languages that no one knows anymore. Anna Irrera writes on Reuters that 43 percent of US banks’ core systems are written in COBOL.

$3 trillion in daily commerce flows through COBOL systems. The language underpins deposit accounts, check-clearing services, card networks, ATMs, mortgage servicing, loan ledgers and other services.

In another report, Autonomous Research said the banks with the most potential to do better than analysts’ profit expectations because of digitisation were: JPMorgan Chase and SunTrust in the US, Spain’s CaixaBank, Lloyds Banking Group in the UK and KBC in Belgium.

Autonomous ranked the banks based on two criteria: their current level of digitisation and their transformation outlook. It assessed 18 attributes from customer ratings of mobile banking apps to IT expertise on the board of directors. Banks viewed as being behind on digitalisation included HSBC, BNP, Credit Suisse, Intesa Sanpaolo and Standard Chartered; the three biggest Japanese banks: MUFG, Mizuho and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group; and the four big Canadian banks: TD Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of Montreal and Bank of Nova Scotia.

Bitcoin’s connection to the real economy (Business Live), Rated: A

Among those leaving the building is Wayniloans (‘an online peer to peer lending platform based on bitcoin technology. Wayniloans INC was founded in 2015 and is based in Buenos Aires, Argentina’).

According to Juan Salviolo, Wayniloans co-founder:

On Wayniloans part of our business is achieved thanks to bitcoin, and in May we agreed to a sentence to reach consensus for the good of the ecosystem. This sentence was later changed to a longer agreement without our notice, and it was known as the New York Agreement (NYA). At the time we didn’t know that existing developers wouldn’t support it, or that most Latin American bitcoin users, our customers, would view it as a contentious proposal.

Which brings us back to Fickling’s point. The connection between Bitcoin and the real economy is sentiment and therefore, ipso facto, prima facie, mutatis mutandis, sentiment is the sole driver of value.

Australia

Australia ranked as the second largest alternative finance market in the Asia Pacific (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Findings from a joint study by KPMG, the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance and the Australian Centre for Financial Studies, released today, reveals that Australia’s alternative finance market size grew by 53 per cent from 2015 to 2016 and has now reached US $609.6 million.

According to the Second Asia Pacific Alternative Finance Industry Report, Australia has leap-frogged Japan to become the second largest alternative lending market (behind China) across the Asia-Pacific.

Outside of China, Australia now contributes 30.42% of the total market in Asia Pacific and stands well ahead of Japan (US $398.45 million) and South Korea (US $376.31 million) in terms of market size.

CCAF Asia-Pacific Report Shows Dramatic Rise for Alternative Finance in Australia (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

China is the biggest kid on the block when it comes to the emerging alternative finance market in the Asia Pacific region. In fact, China has the largest alternative finance market in the world driven by a fast growing economy, a highly connected population via mobile devices, and a need for access to capital not serviced by traditional state owned banks. But rapid alternative finance growth is not isolated to just China in the Asia Pacific region. Australia experienced growth of 53% from 2015 to 2016, according to the recent research report published by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance. Australia’s alternative finance market has now reached US $609.6 million.

MoneyPlace CEO Stuart Stoyan echoes Bertoli’s sentiment regarding online lending;

“We have now moved on from being an ‘early stage’ and ‘cottage’ industry to be a legitimate source of funding for Australian borrowers,” he said.

Daniel Foggo, CEO of RateSetter Australia, explained that while trust and confidence in banks continues to erode, peer-to-peer lenders are building a sustainable, technology-led alternative to the bank model, offering better value to Australian investors and borrowers.

Trademarks and fin-tech (Lexology), Rated: A

Technology is an increasingly important aspect of the financial marketplace. With the rapid introduction of platforms such as crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending and new crypto-currencies, it is important for fin-tech users and providers to protect their intellectual property (IP) from infringement and ensure they are not at risk of infringing the IP of another.

Businesses that provide fin-tech services are at risk of infringing the trademarks of other such providers. For instance, one European peer-to-peer facilitator attempted to register a trademark for their brand, only to be challenged by a similarly branded business. This resulted in an expensive negotiation that lasted for almost a year and a half.

India

RBI move on P2P lending companies may affect small players, say experts (The New Indian Express), Rated: AAA

While the recent Reserve Bank of India (RBI) notification treating all peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms as non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) is likely to bring some credibility to the business, experts say it’s a battle half won by the fintech firms.

The RBI proposal, they say, might cripple the operations of small players who won’t be able to comply with some of the new requirements such as keeping net available funds of Rs 2 crore.

APAC

Asia Pacific Alternative Finance Report “Cultivating Growth” Released (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance together with the Australian Centre for Financial Studies at Monash University and Tsinghua University today released their second annual alternative finance report.

Source: Lend Academy

Alternative finance volume totaled $245.28 billion in 2016, up from $103.31 billion in 2015. It’s amazing to see alternative finance continue to grow in the region. Not surprisingly, China is the main driver accounting for 99.2% of the total Asia Pacific market. China represented approximately 85% of the entire global market in 2016.

Other findings from the report include:

  • China continues to see “distinctively low levels” of institutional participation in alternative finance compared to other markets such as the US and UK, with only five per cent of peer-to-peer business lending coming from institutions in 2016.
  • In the Asia Pacific outside of China, about $1.5 billion was raised by businesses through alternative finance channels, up 72 per cent from the previous year, with an estimated 43,000 business entities utilising alternative channels of business finance.
  • In China, 72 per cent of peer-to-peer consumer lending platforms see cyber-attacks as the biggest threat to the industry, while more than 50 per cent across all platforms in China see current and proposed regulatory norms to be adequate.
  • Outside of China, 69 per cent of platforms in Japan see existing regulation as inadequate or too relaxed, while in Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia around two thirds of platforms see current regulations as adequate.
Source: Lend Academy
South America

Venezuela Said to Be Late on $ 185 Million Sovereign Bond Payment (Bloomberg), Rated: A

The intermediaries tasked with passing along interest payments for the cash-strapped nation haven’t received the funds for an $185 million coupon that was due Sept. 15, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Investors interviewed by Bloomberg say they haven’t been paid, and brokers say their clients are still waiting on the cash.

The government has a 30-day grace period — now 25 days — to make good on the payment before triggering an event of default on the notes.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor